Saturday, December 31, 2005

About King Kong

and by the way... Happy New Year!

About King Kong -- it is now 10:55 pm and we just returned from the movie.

I have to say I was impressed -- beyoond my expectations of a remake. There were only a few of the scenes where I felt Peter Jackson had taken the 'big scary monster flick' agenda too far. There was one scene that stretched a little longer than the concept warranted, but J pointed out it was part of the 'homage' to the original -- and thus essential.

Scenery was, of course, OMG beautiful. If half of the costumes came back into fashion again (among young people), IMHO, the world would be a much better place (except in summer). ;o) but that is my opinion. I like clothes that cover what is supposed to be covered (natives and ladies-being-carried-through-jungle excused)

Overall the movie was sweet. It also caught my attention from the start with a good story - and kept it flowing even through the often-grisly action scenes. I had heard rumor that it could have benefited from an 'intermission' period. On that point I agree! But, if one is willing to sit through a three hour+ movie... it is highly reccommended.

We were set to receive the original by Netflix in about ... three years. I've asked J to bump that up to only a few months ;o)

Calling cats

I actually caught myself saying this the other day ...
'I'm a little mad at my cat, she didn't come when I called.'

Links :
Johnny Yanok (artist) <--whimsical cards
Matt Manley (artist) <--really cool, reminds me of DaVinci choose the English, and then the little duck for some cool games! I like the memory one.
I want to make one of these striped-leg chickens.

We are watching the series Lone Gunmen. Tagline on imdb : Their missions aren't impossible... they just make them look that way. J says King Kong is getting a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So, I guess we are going to see it tonight at 7 pm. Reviews later -- I don't really expect it to have a high plot-content.

I'm half-spoiling it for myself by reading this review at Bob's Film Journal.

I am drinking way too much cocoa and not knitting much. I have to clean for the landlord coming on Monday. :o( Sally no longer enjoys rides to the office. She is convinced that the car we borrowed takes 17 hours to get anywhere, and thus meows constantly while we drive. However, Willow and Sally are both extremely happy to be in the house (a large, non-moving cat carrier with all the amenities).

Friday, December 30, 2005

Pink for Sally

Breakfast with Sally, a colour palette. All about Miss Sally-Mander.

Today's links :
Molly Chicken
Mike Burnett (artist)
neat moving-parts wooden figures
ThinkMule - work of Jeremy Pruitt
I went through a phase in drawing EXTREMELY similar to this 'lion?'... hmm...
Mine was caused by viewing lots of Mayan and Australian Aborigine art...I kinda miss it.

Okay, if you can find the original text of this Prarie Home Companion joke, let me know! I'd love to link it instead. I bored the ears off half of my family this Christmas with this joke, but never failed to get a smile as well. Otherwise, here goes... my own half-remembered, much elaborated upon version.

Ole, my uncle, was a Norwegian bachelor farmer, you know -- the ones with hair growing out of their nose and ears so long you could comb it. No one knew if it was the chicken or the egg, whether they were bachelors because of the nose and ear hair or if they just let it grow after the fact was decided...

Well anyway, Ole was out front of his house, trying to teach his new dog how to fetch. She wasn't listening -- no way was she going to go run down that frisbee for a man with a beard growing out of, not under, his nose.

And then, just as Ole was getting ready to yell at the dog one last time -- a big tornado came down and picked up Ole, his dog, and the whole house and set them back down 50 feet in a gully.

After that, Ole's dog became the best-trained dog you could ever imagine.

She could vaccuum the house, go to the grocery store, the liqour store and the gas station. She would bring back all the food untouched in a paper bag - even the sausage and bacon. Because, you see... she figured, any man who could do that to a house... well, maybe that was someone she would listen to.

Paraphrased badly from a Prarie Home Companion joke of unknown date

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Odd Hobbies

Part of my colour picking hobby

Okay, maybe I am easily amused. Here are some of the odd hobbies I've picked up in the past year or so. Not to say these are ALL of my hobbies.. I seem to be aiming at being a jack-of-all-trades... (origami, weaving, inkwork, printmaking, gardening, cooking, woodcarving etc etc) I do ask myself though... when am I going to master any of these??

1. collecting images of Japanese sewing and crafts (actually, links to them)
-- Crafting Japanese (the website) is cool!
2. drawing little images for dishtowels and embroidery
3. picking colours for making web pages (out of other images)
--and sometimes profiling all the colours in an image before getting a good combo
4. blogging (heh)
-- reading lots of other people's blogs
5. collecting old vintage sewing patterns (40s,50s,60s)
6. watching Akira Kurosawa films
7. sending books by mail to my niece, mostly science books
8. attempting home tailoring (partial success)
9. learning more knitting -- socks, hats, household items
10. CSS and Python coding - both of these are new in the last year.

More likely, I am NOT easily amused... but instead need a lot of varied tasks to shuffle at all times to remain amused. Hmm?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Back from the road

We pulled in at three this morning -- the trip up was good, the trip back could have been better. There is a place called the Belvidere Oasis (near Rockford, IL) that needs to seriously re-think their traffic-flow design. J pulled our vehicle through the 'truckers' area of a one-way gas station that had No Turns, One-Way and Do Not Enter signs all the way through it -- you couldn't get back to the car section, or turn around. We had to go back on the freeway, BACK through a toll road, and get gas at another place before we could go onto our next exit. Nice. Okay, I vented about Belvidere. The guy at the pretzel place in the food court told us what we could do so we didn't run out of gas. Thanks!

The kittens went to Minnesota with us. The ride up was tolerable. It was only 17 hours straight through in the car (EEP!). They loved J's mom's upstairs room where we slept. They ran back and forth like a racetrack and met lots of new people. J's Mom has a large fluffy black cat that wanted desparately to play - but the girls would run away every time. On the way back (4 more hours than the trip up) Sally was NOT happy. There was no consoling her. I felt awful - because I couldn't control her in the cab and thus she had to ride in the cat carrier while Willow slept sprawled on my lap for the last six hours. Remember the pink toy bunny I knit? Sally finally went to sleep when I put it in front of the carrier door. She took out some frustration on it and then laid down to sleep with her nose touching it. BTW, the leash and harness thing didn't work.

Anything good about the vacation? J's family was great. We went to two different gatherings. As I am not fond of large groups, it was surprising how great it all turned out. My family survived. Everything seemed to get better, then we had a strange mini-crisis I don't want to get into... so we ended up with a delicate balance of stress and relaxation.

I knitted some dishcloths and FINISHED the red socks. I'll have to post the new kitten toy I've been making -- a kitten bow-tie/mouse.

Now back to the regular routine (and happy for it). Hope you all had a good holiday, or even better...

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Long Road Home (and back)

heh, isn't that the title of a book? probably. anyway -- We are heading off for our long trip driving to Minnesota. We leave tomorrow morning in the wee hours, about 6 am. The kittens are NOT going to like this :o( We tried out the cat carrier in the borrowed car on the way home last night and heard 'mew, myar, let-me-out' all the way. Not to mention the little paws reaching out and rattling the door every few minutes.

J and I both agree it would be even more cruel to leave them alone, even with someone that would take care of them. We did have two good offers at the office where they would have been safe. It is 10 days though, and that is a long time in 'kitten hours'. Their habit of 'lets-go-find-them' whenever we go to another room is enough to know they would miss us terribly. When we have to leave them at home for a day, the food bowls are still mostly full -- even if it has been eight or ten hours before we return.

J bought harnesses and leashes for them last night. We can't let them roam free in the borrowed car. The cat carrier is large enough for them both to lie down and move around. Still, we will be letting them have some stretch time at wayside rests if they can bear the cold. I marked their collars with their names, our name and a Minnesota phone # that has an answering machine, just in case.

I hope to get a lot of knitting done on the way up. Most of our things will be packed by tonight. I stayed up till five AM this morning making our Christmas cards and trying to get the last of our gifts for the office ready. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what gifts we will give up North - I have a few painted canisters and time to knit a few small items. J wants to make cookies (vegan!) as soon as we get there. He plans to give cookies and peppermint plants for his family's gifts.

So, we are off on an eighteen-hour drive, with cats. Wish us luck, please? ;o)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Cayenne peppers

Cayennes from our garden
There were some cool yellow ones on a ristra,
but I didn't want to take them off.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Purple oak leaves and red sock
+ puppy challenge!

I brought my red knit-a-long socks to work today. I'm going to work a little bit on them after my programming and website work is done.

In other news, I found this beautiful purple oak leaf on the road from the office. It is not perfect(Actually it is a bit chewed-on.) The colours astonished me!

Challenge : Make this with me! A cute abstract puppy just waiting to be sewn. I can see them dancing in a mobile or as appliques on bags, pillows etc etc.. What will you make?

Email me the results at or make a comment to this post!

Note for myself on Retrofish : Here is another shop keeper's art -- something to aspire to.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Kitty Cleans Up

copyright Marie Winger-Meyer 2005
I wish my kittens helped like this!
original design by me

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday morning + Retrofish cards and designs

Had a scare from Minnesota this morning -- everything is OK now. J's mother is a blessing for helping out in a time of emergency!

J and I made Vegan chocolate chip cookies last night. He found the recipe link on a message board he visits. We also made potato soup, which will be "frozen tv-dinner" until we go to Minnesota.

Retrofish Cards and Designs
click to visit

My original work : 'Retrofish'
done in the GIMP
inspired by

Our boss stopped by to pick up J yesterday, to do some outside work at the office. He called an hour before, and in that hour, our house got speed-cleaned!

I freak out so badly when someone comes to see our house... but I swear it has to be genetic. I remember our family always doing the 'this-house-is-a-mess' sprint when our friends or distant relatives would visit. I am so glad though, as the rest of the day was beautiful and relaxing. Painted two baking-powder canisters that otherwise would have been thrown away. J said they look great! I'm looking for a bamboo design to paint over the apple-greeen colour.

Knitting : 1 dishcloth, part of a dishtowel.
Quilting: Found one of my old quilt-tops almost done in a moving box. I think it will get done on Sunday evening. Just three more long seams and then to find a backing.

In other news -
The new Knitty is out, and MagKnits too!

Note : There IS another 'retrofish' out there - but they sell kayaks, and do not have the name 'Cards and Designs' as part of the title.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cats and Dogs! (dog coat, that is...)

The dog coat has been finished — but I couldn't get a picture! So, here are a couple. The coat is seen 'on-the-dog'... I tied up a pillow using measurements my Mom gave me over the phone. I think it will fit him -- but I remember him fatter! I HOPE it fits. We will be up in Minnesota for ten days starting on the 17th of December. There might be time then to make adjustments or even reknit, if necessary. Of course, "Miss Salamander" had to check it out, and ended up sleeping on the chair next to it later on.

The original photo was out-of-focus. I think this GIMPed version is beautiful. I loved the light angle and the stripes and clouds in Willow's fur really stood out in black-and-white.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Computer editor makes a joke

I edit articles for an online magazine as part of my job (my actual job description varies upon the needs of the day, but this is constant).

Fun note today :

Task : There is an article that needs a comma placed after 'mad' in the sentence '..academic elites have gone utterly mad at a time when...'

Process : Ask the editor program to search for the word 'utterly' since it is unusual. However, I happen to have my cursor about three paragraphs beneath the area I actually needed to be.

Response from computer : 'Search failed -- 'utterly'.

:o) I thought it was funny ;o)


YARN ARRIVAL :Knitpicks came! Wool yarn! (bliss)
CURRENTLY KNITTING :2 wool placemats to felt (home)
PLANNING TO KNIT :more cotton dishcloths (office gifts)
Link : Rabbit Tea Towels! I like! I have some of my own rabbit designs I've drawn.
Deja Vu : I could SWEAR I'd seen the 'Monday' rabbit when I was little!
Recipe : Actually, I recall MY mother's acorn squash fondly... making one tonight for me!
Note : I want a project scheduler on my desktop to keep track of some of the gifts I am making

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Some things about me

I saw this in quite a few places -- and thought I'd join in.
Maybe it will tell you a lot about me!

I like...
Yarn! (and wool in general)
knitted socks
the smell of Lemons
Ranma 1/2
Fuji apples
drawing in ink
working with my hands
some types of music - classical, rock and jazz
putting colours together
playing Scrabble
having long talks with my Mom
Coffee. Lots of Coffee.
knowing how to help
making something useful (and using it)
cloth with lots of texture
the sweet expression on a sleeping kitten
strong plain green tea
rugs on wooden floors
Asian-style grocery stores
good science-fiction and mystery stories
old Japanese-style architecture
getting real mail
black olives
antique/variety stores
sitting on the front porch with J in the summer
"knowing how", crafts and techniques for making things
using lots of different spices in cooking
the smell of the leaves in autumn
listening to 'A Prarie Home Companion'
small groups, not crowds
Akira Kurosawa films
brain food

my hands are cold to the touch
I clean like a madwoman
I worry a lot
I try to take on too much
it is interesting to study plants and rocks
you just have to figure out how something works
...even if it means taking it apart
I am anachronistic one day,
...then I write Python and HTML code the next.
my kittens run off with my knitting
my coffee is so strong 'it can get up and hit you back' (J)
I run into people walking too fast in stores/etc.
I stay up half the night
I don't eat enough to keep a bird alive (mom)

I don't like...
folding laundry
throwing away old letters
cleaning the microwave
when I run out of COFFEE
losing my keys
hot, humid weather
deep water
buying something I didn't need/use
crawling into the back of our truck to get things

In our house:
We sleep on a shikibuton on the floor, in a room in the center of the house.
We usually sit on the floor, although the desk and kitchen table have ordinary chairs.
We have long fabric curtains between the dining room and the main room, and between the dining room and the kitchen. We rent an old duplex that is laid out very strangely.
We have two cats who are very very spoiled.
One of us is vegan, and the other cooks for him ;o)

Here is more information about the shikibuton. We made ours by hand, and will soon be making a new one. We went to a mattress factory and picked up the queen-sized components, two different kinds of foam, and also a lot of cotton batting from a fabric outlet. We hand-sewed a linen cover around the foam and cotton layers, and placed the entire shikibuton on a hard foam base that split into three parts. The shikibuton is stored folded, against the wall in our main room, and lends itself also as a 'futon' couch. We are planning to visit Japan in about five years, and will learn a lot more about real shikibuton making there!

It took me several weeks to get used to sleeping on this type of bed - but now sleeping in normal beds is hard! It takes longer for me to fall asleep in 'soft' beds now.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Monday, December 05, 2005

The kittens are good girls, mostly

The girls are recovering nicely, that is, my kittens. They really disagree that the stitches should be there - and we have to watch them as much as possible. So far, they have done no major damage. I've been up and down and all around lately - left computer at office for the weekend.

Had to go to further medical steps with poison ivy... it came back with a new twist. My knee and ankle swelled up on Wednesday night for no apparent reason. Went to a doctor on Thursday. He said it was caused by the poison ivy and we would have to attack it from the inside (antibiotics and a shot). This is what I would call a major allergy :o( and one I will have to watch out for carefully in future.

It looks like we are travelling to Minnesota later this month for a Christmas visit with family. We will take the kittens with us - exactly how this will happen is still in the works.

Nice site
I'm really loving the crafting japanese site (look at linky). Knit some this week - a lot of cleaning and clothes-washing when I felt up to it.

Hope your week is going well.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Kitten worries

I called the vet to see when our girls could go in for their 'surgery'... and she wants them there TOMORROW at 8 AM! *worried* That was a lot sooner than I expected.

J and I don't have kids yet. We watched these two kittens since they were practically born. We helped our boss remove them from his closet when they barely had their eyes open (and that is when I knew Willow was the one I wanted... Sally was given to us about a week after we took Willow home. She was the 'last-kitten-in-the-box'.)  J has admitted we both treat them like 'surrogate children', talking to them, interpreting meows etc etc... I worry a lot about ALL *little ones*, animals too, not just human ones. These kittens are just the lucky recipients of most of that worrying.. *tries to force a grin*

They'll get through the car ride fine (see 'what cats do in transit'), but I know they will be scared and wonder why we left them in such a terrible place :o(

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Black and White Graphs

Marie Winger-Meyer, created with the GimpMarie Winger-Meyer, created with the GimpMarie Winger-Meyer, created with the Gimp
Can you see any of these on a mitten? (1px<-->1stitch)
Are they too wide? Will the detail show up?
I'm going to have to test to see if they stretch badly.
Original ideas came from absolutely garish wallpaper...

Even MORE pretty mittens, at Sandy's Knitting blog. Yes, I know its a bit repetitious... but I need to keep my ideas in one place. They won't stay in my head all at once ;o)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Dreams for yarn that is yet to come.

We just came back from tearing down the fence at the office garden. Later, I need to give J a haircut. The "temporary" purple dye he put in, on a dare this summer, is still noticeable! He had a buzz cut at the time. The rest of the hair has grown so long though, it looks like he has purplish dust in his hair.

I was browsing around today and here is what I found.

There are two absolutely beautiful shawls in this book at Nestucca Bay. One of them has roses and the other spirals.
I want to try knitting the Blackberry Edging at this site, just to see what it looks like... there isn't any picture.
I found a German knitblog, Susan's Palace with lots of neat FOs - and I like seeing how much I can read ;o) She has some English on her site too... or use Babelfish
This is a beautiful book, Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts. I read a little bit of it on Google books - this is an awesome lady! With the link here maybe I can check back on it after the first of the year. Hint: the book starts getting into a great description of the lady AFTER page 24, the last page shown on Amazon. I read three pages beyond this, and was amazed! I could only hope for such talents!
Online Article at Women's Book Illustrators site

And why am I browsing so much today? My Knitpicks order is out in the mail, sailing its way to Vancouver. Sometime in the next few weeks I will go to the office to find a nice big box full of new wool yarn and bamboo needles. I splurged even more than the box of Palette -- getting two skeins of Shadow lace yarn (merino!) in the Redwoods colorway!

This was such a cute little picture! From the public domain knitting pictures gallery here that I found by going to The 8 Track Knitting Diva's blog.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Dish ran away with the Spoon

J fixed our dishwasher!

Hooray! J found the part we had been missing for the last six months. And, he fixed it just in time for Thanksgiving dinner! What did the vegan (and the cook, of course) have for Thanksgiving?

We had...
A large platter of vegetables, roasted in olive oil, sage and italian seasonings. There was also a deep dish of apples and golden potatoes, cooked in apple juice (and olive oil). And for dessert, a sweet-potato dish with cloves, cinnamon and coriander. There was plenty to fill us up!

We watched movies... of which I liked 'The Paper' the best. Lots of knitting got done. Pink bunny is complete, as is the dog coat. Pictures on both will have to wait, but that gives me time to knit a dress for the bunny! Sally stole one of the bunny's arms, but no loss, as it ended up being too big. Next on the needles will be a black ribbed hat for J... he's been waiting long enough and it is finally getting 'cold' here, (by our standards).

Hope your holiday went well!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Created in the Gimp by Marie Winger-Meyer
to Everyone!

Hope your holiday get-togethers are warm and bountiful.

And... if Litljon is out there, somewhere in Iowa, a Special Happy Thanksgiving to you from J and I. We miss you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Maize and Flowers

Original design by Marie Winger-Meyer
Larger Image

I wonder, can I knit this? Will it take learning intarsia, or can it be done in stranded knitting? I'll have to see when I order the Palette box. I have the invoice all ready to send!

It might make a good felted needle-case, or something similar. On second thought, maybe the design would get lost if it was felted... Palette colors would be.. Wood, White, Lemon, Blue and Mist(lighter blue/grey).

This is my own original design playing around in the Gimp. (ie. - Please do not use it for commercial items) I guess it is fun to chart designs with a mouse when one cannot type well...;o)

OK, so I'm a genius(sarcasm)... I should have stayed at home today. Instead, I come to work still looking like Radiation-Burn-Girl, put the wrong soap in the dishwasher, and ended up fighting the Bubble Blob for a half-hour. THEN I put Medium-Hot Salsa on our pasta instead of spaghetti sauce... LOTS of it — H-O-T. Anyone got one better?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


J called his older sister in MN, who works in a pharmacy. She told him to get OTC Benadryl extra strength for my poison ivy, and for me to take it as often as allowed. The anti-histamine in it is supposed to calm down the reaction, giving the raw areas time to heal. I read online that it will just ease the itching (which it hasn't), not heal/stop the rash. But I can see results, and will keep taking it.

It seems to be working - or the placebo effect is.. one of the two. I am now healing a bit faster than the poison ivy can spread. Still, I stayed at home today and telecommuted. Putting on jeans was not an option. My house is a mess -- and I'm not doing anything about it... yet.

Pink bunny is getting some ears and hopefully more limbs. Sally ran off with one of the ears-in-progress and I had to chase her. Not much else going on. Thanks for the comment on the Zanfel? My DH J had gotten some of that the other night, it might have contributed (to the healing)-- broke all the blisters open on my hands. PAIN! Maybe they needed that before they could start to heal.

Willow enjoys sleeping on wool knitting projects and playing hop-chase.

Monday, November 21, 2005

If I could knit it all over again...

I saw this IK link on Amy(teruterubouzu)'s blog, 'and knitting'

What are your favorite yarn(s)? : 100% wool! Superwash, if available, please. Cascade 220 in Quatro or Tweeds would be my ultimate choice. Greens! Oranges! A skein of Oatmeal would be wonderful... My favorite wool shawl is made in Quatro color 9435. I would have to settle for what I can find here in the boondocks though... which atm means mail-order from Knitpicks. And YES, I will order now. When this poison ivy finally goes away, putting my hands in a box of new yarn will be sooooo delicious...

My ability to knit and to type has been dampened some by poison ivy. I appear to have had one of the 'serious type of reactions' to this climbing vine. It doesn't climb trees up north... just lies nicely on the ground with its three leaves easy to spot. :o(

If I could plan the chart for the dog coat again it would be like this. It is very similar to the actual WIP, but somewhat different.

More knitting news in a few days.. I hope.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Long day, some knitting

I think I'm going to get the Palette sampler box from Knitpicks for Christmas, along with a set of size 1 Takumi needles and the Northern Lights mitten pattern. I was pondering a box of sock yarn -- but I have so much Wool-Ease to still use for socks... Suggestions?

This is the chart I am using to make the dog coat for Sparky. The WIP is at 9" out of 16". Soon I have to figure out how best to shape the chest area. My mom called with the measurements! I think I can rig up a pillow or something similar into the basic shape to make sure the coat will fit. Update : I DID rig up a pillow into a 'fake dog' by tying it up with yarn. Sparky's coat is now 10.5" and I have a much better idea of what it is going to look 'on the dog'. ;o)!

We might go to Harry Potter tonight, in an hour... because we missed Thursday night's opening. J is a self-proclaimed nerd for these types of movies.

I am online doing the Fabric Shop Hop.

This morning, both of the kittens were asleep in our bed. Willowpede (Greta Garbo), was even asleep in the crook of my arm. J says she needs a cold day to remember she was meant to be a lap cat ;o)

Friday, November 18, 2005

I hate poison ivy.

Last week, while clearing brush, J and I both contracted slight cases of poison ivy. His is healing -- mine is STILL spreading. The initial site of my ivy-rash now looks like someone burned me with a hot brand... it hurts like hell. I cried today. Sally sat in my lap and tried to comfort me. I am trying to knit on the dog-coat a little, but it isn't easy to do anything.

I've tried everything reccommended and it just gets worse. I feel like crying again. This sucks.

We tried to go to the midnight showing of Harry Potter last night in Murray, KY. They were sold out.

And now, since I feel terrible... cute pictures for you.


Our boss' puppies
DeeDee and Cherry

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Henry County, Tennessee Tornado Damage

Some of the damage we witnessed in Henry County, TN from the tornado that went through earlier this week. This is actually within biking distance of where we currently rent... Our bosses were a little worried about us until we came to work that day.

And, what cats do in transit.

Knitting : On the foot of the second red minicable sock. Trying to decide if I want the sampler box of Palette from Knitpicks, or a box of sock yarn.... anyone want to help me decide?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Picture of the Green Ribbed Hat

The KnitOwl in a green ribbed hat.
Narrative How-To

I also added the picture to J's earwarmer pattern.

Anyone seen a Blind Terrier with No Fashion Sense?

Bad, Old Picture of Sparky,
the Terrier(mix) in question

I'm knitting a dog coat for my 'old man', a 19 year old terrier/pomeranian mix that still lives with my mom in Minnesota. It was 12° there this morning! When it was 44° here!

The poor old guy. He was my first puppy. My mom got Sparky for me when I was eight. He never grew very big but he has always been a happy dog that is never far from someone's heels. He has went blind in the last two years, though. He no longer remembers which door is the outside and which is the basement. My Mom is worried he won't live through this winter, and asked me to make a coat to help keep him warm.

The vet tried to convince her to 'put him to sleep' now, before it gets cold. I don't see any sense in that! He is so happy, even while blind, puttering around and finding any available lap to curl up in.

All I have is woolease (which my mom says is scratchy) and a lot of orange and turquoise acrylic. So, my poor old man will have no fashion sense. But then, he IS blind, so can we forgive him?

In other news : Pink bunny (stalled), red cable socks (in progress)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Knit, knit, knit! and a tornado watch!

One down! - One to go!

I've been knitting!
My pink bunny has progressed, with a finished head, body and one leg. I took the red mini-cable socks to work today instead (as the bunny looked kind of odd at this stage).

Bad Weather
We are under a tornado watch for tonight - and the weather outside shows it. Rain, lighting, high winds... I am glad the kittens are here at the office with us instead of at home. I know we don't have any kids yet (I'd be worrying about them if we did), so I guess I worry about the kittens instead. Everything else at our house would be replaceable in a storm...

We watched more Mermaid's Forest last night. As an anime, it sucks. I don't usually use even that kind of language (I had a strict upbringing), but this movie warrants it.

Sally being observant
and generally cute.

Went down to the library bookstore this morning. I selected about ten 1968-1989 knitting magazines, including some old Columbia-Minerva pattern booklets! The sign said 25 cents per magazine — I expected to pay more for the booklets. The lady said —
"Nobody ever looks at these. If you want them, just give me a dime apiece."
Wow! I tried arguing with her actually, over the old books, but she wouldn't hear it. Very nice!

Daily Observance :
Showing a housecat an open door, in a bad rainstorm,
could be described as a form of torture.

Slightly flattened close-up of mini-cables

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Current Project List


1. Red mini-cable socks, 60% finished.
2. Pink bunny started tonight
3. Never-Ending blue scarf (>month now)

Recent FO :

1. Baby Socks
2. Never-Ending baby blanket (finished yesterday)
3. Lots of Dishcloths
4. Slippers - 2 pr (mine and mom's)
5. Two knit mice
6. Green ribbed Hat

Next on Needles :

1. Grey Socks for J (long leg)
2. Black ribbed Hat for J
3. Shrug for me (I hope)
4. More dishcloths, likely.

I'm knitting baby socks, DH is rightfully scared...

Saturday was a big day - and I guess I'm not really on Sunday yet, as it is 1:30 in the morning ;o) I did a lot of housework (I did laundry, and even FOLDED it... rare!), we went to the library, did shopping, baked and misc. other household things)

It was not a huge day for knitting. But I have come to a conclusion.
I am a knitting geek.

I organized my yarn by type while cleaning the living room... then I started going through my magazines looking at the size needles certain patterns require...that was the point my mom called and snapped me out of it. She got her dishcloths in the mail, and loves them! My dog-back-home is 14-15" in back length...other measurements pending.

Ha! My knitting needle 'wine-bottle-tube' thingie (bought at Michael's last year) looks just like what they are selling on Jordana Paige. Mine is a little shorter though... and doesn't close on the top when the needles are in it. I've been looking for a nice 15" wooden box with a lid. It seems a hard size to find.

Tonight, we watched Mermaid's Scar (anime) and Coach Carter. During the last movie... I knitted a pair of baby socks. J is rightfully scared ;o), as we are only planning to have a baby in a YEAR or so... But — the socks are really cute! The pattern came from Baby Fixation Socks by Steph, a free pattern online. I made them with yarn leftover from a baby blanket. I found the blanket during the living room clean, finished off the last row, and gently placed it next to our wedding scrapbook.

What am I getting myself into? I told J not to worry until I start knitting an entire wardrobe. I think the pattern was just too cute&quick to pass up, considering the circumstances.

This picture is 8 years old... wow I look the same, but different...

What colors are in your closet?: It is predominantly greens(lime and forest), browns, tweedy navys and some lively oranges. I also love olive -- it matches my eyes and my 'I-grew-up-in-Minnesota-pale' skin looks surprisingly natural in it. I have one rich-red dress that is awesome.

And this picture was 3 months ago... in the unfinished office building, with Cherry the puppy. Not all that great of a picture...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Saturday again, and old picture, old friend?

We went down to the Humane Society's booth here in town, they were having an event. There is a kitten, slightly smaller than ours, that looks just like one of the kittens from their litter. The one up front in this picture, besides Willowpede. We wonder if it is him -- but we can't have any more than the two we have. Our boss says our kittens are big for their age, from being spoiled and well-fed.

We were getting info about 'fixing' our two girls - possibly also for their mom and other females out at the office. They gave us a reccommendation for the animal clinic that has been the most helpful (to the Society). They sound like good people, who have lots of experience with this.

I finished the red mini-cable sock and am working on the second one. I was too tired last night to fuss with it. The mini-cables are a bit much-to-handle while tired. I decided to fiddle with regular cables for a few minutes before bed... The experiment was mostly successful, but also knitted too-tightly. Skill takes practice... 'tis true.

My spindle should be here next week, with EXTRA FIBERS! YAY! (Thanks Annie May!) I'm happily watching videos and hoping I will soon be making yarn. J is talking about 'when we get land' and looking up plans for building houses and a greenhouse. We have some big dreams — but hopefully they are to the scale of our abilities.

Links :
Cabling without a cable needle : Yarnpath

I wonder if I can do that... hmm
Well, J is crying 'BISCUITS!' so I should go bake before he dies of starvation ;oP

Friday, November 11, 2005

My Girls

My girls, Sally and Willowpede, hanging out at the office. This room hasn't been finished yet. We have the stairs to paint again and the windows to line with flashing. Everything needs trim. We put the ceiling up in this room a month or so ago.

I'm reaching the toe decreases on the red KAL sock!

The girls' momma-cat, Newt, was hanging out on the outside porch.

Knitting Pictures!

OK - my post from yesterday somehow got 'eaten'... **peers at the Blogger system**

So here we go again.

This is my sock for the Solid Socks KAL (I'm not sure if I joined anymore!). The picture is a little out-of-focus, but I hope to get another one as the first sock is almost done. Red Wool-Ease, size 3dpns, mini-cable rib pattern.

My Rainbow-Slipper-Sock(s)! They fit nicely inside my work boots!

And, my dishcloths, made to be gifted. I was losing light outside but they would have needed a wash anyway before being given.

And, shameless kitten pics!

Don't they look all grown up now? Top pic, Willowpede. Bottom pic, Salamander (Sallly).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

SAD no retro rib socks for me

I am glad I learned the two new stitches -- but I can't do the pattern.
I don't have the size 2 dpns or a yarn fine enough to make this particular pattern. So, for the Solid Socks KAL, I will make a pair of red Wool-Ease socks, and probably also a pair of grey ones. I have the needles, the pattern, and the yarn. Any other yarn or goodies that come along between now and New Years Eve may be also get assigned to this!

I've used up all of my spare Ebay money and cannot go looking for new needles and yarn. But -- I have my spindle to look forward to!

The Nordic Mittens require size 1 & 2 dpns. I own a pair of 3s, 4s and what I think is a pair of 6s. So, I will have to wait a bit. It might give me that last push into doing a Knitpicks order.

SKILL!: I learned mini-cables from the Knitting for Baby book! Also the stitches ktbl and ssk for the sock pattern I couldn't do.

A rose by any other name...

If you knew our Sally (Salamander) better -- you would recognize her here! ;o) And also here You can guess then, what her nicknames besides 'Sally' are.

Willow's nicknames : this one, because she sits like this, and here, because of her jowls.

**After Midnight** — Forced two rows on the practice sweater. 16 more inches to go... I joined the Solid Sock KAL. However, the knitting pattern I want to use requires learning two new stitches. I think I learned ktbl finally -- and it is ANNOYING... at least in my style of knitting. I mirrored(for left & front/back) purl through the back loop and I think that is actually ktbl for me. Now ssk, and I should have all the stitches that the sock requires. Interweave Knits Retro Rib Socks pg 110 Winter 2004. Green sport-weight yarn.

And - HAPPY DANCING! - The Nordic Mittens I wanted to knit? They are in this magazine!! It has been so long since I paid attention to the DATES on the mags in my collection, that I didn't know I had it! - HAPPY DANCING!!! **J thought I was a nut, I was so happy this morning**

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

If you see a cup of coffee below, you may have a problem...

Gimp image by Marie Winger-Meyer
Caffeine Rorschach Test

Goofing around on the Gimp. Willow and Sally's younger brothers and sisters were given away :o( Their Momma-kitty isn't sure what to do.. poor Newt.

I sent MY mom her dishcloths today. I hope she likes them! I've found having a large stack of them in the house is wonderful!

It is 7 pm and J already went to bed. We had a big day with stringing fence, felling trees and clearing brush. Knitting today : 2 dishcloths.

Hey - YAY Coffee might help women's blood pressure. Too bad my blood pressure is sometimes too low! I LOVE coffee — but have to watch how much caffeine I drink, or I get dizzy!

Out to the Woods!

There is a flea market in Huntingdon, TN on Tuesday mornings. They start early. Sometimes we go, but usually it is too early for us. We didn't go today, although we did get up at 8 am.

J bought a blender last night. The last one he killed in the dishwasher. We had soymilk-OJ-banana smoothies for breakfast. Sally hit the floor when I turned on the blender. Willowpede ran for the hills. Willow was also very LOUD in the truck on the way to work - I think she forgot to eat before we left the house.

I'm having a relapse in the knitting - making another dishcloth. But I think it is just compensation for knowing that the knitting on the practice sweater won't amount to anything useful. But then, knowledge is useful, eventually ;o)

OK - on to work. We were out in the woods yesterday, pulling cedar trees and brush around. J is quite good with a chainsaw. He uses a tractor to pull the trees up the hill and into a pile to dry out over the next year. We may be able to look at some land, to buy, soon. It is about five minutes drive from work, 10 acres. That would be nice, as we drive 20+ minutes everyday now.

K&M at work gave us some hickory nuts from their tree. Hard to get into? yes. Hard to get out of the shell?, yes. Delicious anyway?, YES. Thanks! I have to get K knitting soon -- she said she wanted to learn.

NOTE : Cathy from FiberFling said I could use two dog slicker brushes to get the feel of carding wool -- cheaper, and they'll do me until I decide to buy a pair of real carders.

Today's Links :
Knitopotamus blog : Just what does a Vegan knit with, anyway?
Spindle Spinning Instructions
Natural plant dyes for dyeing wool
The Yarnpath blog
MoreGreenWool : I So Agree!
Sheep in the City
Cool pink little knitted kitty on this site! 'Paloma'

Monday, November 07, 2005

Midnight Rambling - on to the week

There is a part of me, that looks at all of the patterns in the knitting books and says, 'That looks logical - We can figure that out'.

And there is the other part of me, that looks at the same pattern and says, to the first, 'Not without a WHOLE LOT of tears...'

Some people call them the right and left brain ;o)

Anyway, I'm looking through my stack of knitting books... I've looked
through them a million times before. The right brain - the geometrical part, is telling me to try. It is measuring lengths and counting stitches.

My left brain is nice and logical -- telling me to take things slowly, look for great tutorials and remember what worked. If I got it to work once, maybe it will work again, maybe not. Logical and pessimistic can sometimes overlap.

So I guess I will just try to see what comes out.

Links : I've been cruising about for more projects I can't do ;o) -
Raglan sweater 'calculator'
Sweet Georgia
Vegan knitters!?!?!
One Good Bumblebee
Cute kittens! This blogger has cats that look like Willow in her flicker photos!

And who else I was reading the last few weeks? :
Pick up Sticks
Plath's Adventures in Knitting
Something from Nothing
Laura's Thoughts
credit, where credit is due. thanks for letting me wander your pages.

And -- more MAIL will come for me! (no one in MN mails me :o(
But.. they do call me on the phone which actually costs more! EEK
Learn to Spin kit from AnnieMay's spin & wool!
Vintage 1966 book - Knitting Men's Classic Sweaters Knit 8 versions

I am going to be busier than ever when all of that comes in ;o)
Maybe I will even let a few days go between entries!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Miso soup and yarn, not together.

Miso soup for breakfast! No wakame though :o( But still, MISO! MISO! Isn't it surprising? A little town that has no LYS except Wal-Mart (which doesn't count!), has a 'natural foods store' that carries miso? They have quinoa, too!

Decent Miso Soup :
Low-Budget Equipment - small sauce pan and a spoon (plastic will work), stove
About 2-3 cups of boiling water. Turn off the water.
Drop in a good tablespoon of miso (sweet white is what we have, red is better).
Mash, stir... Mash a bit more, stir. Drain off the liquid to get more miso that needs to be mashed. Once you have mashed your miso to satisfaction, heat it back up.
Don't boil it!
When it is hot enough to be soup, turn it off, pour it into a bowl, and enjoy.

If you have wakame and tofu :
Soak about four 4 inch pieces of wakame (broken up) in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes. Drain. They are now hydrated (aka Slimy). Put them in the miso soup after it is mashed, heat up with miso (and maybe a little longer). Wakame tastes a little like weird spinach, but the salty-richness of the miso makes a good combination. Believe me, I don't like spinach (maybe with LOTS of butter...)

Tofu - extra firm, toss it around in a separate skillet for a few minutes if you wish. Otherwise, just drop a few cubes into the soup as you heat it up.

Miso soup is good. Even the instant miso soup I've had is good! The instant often contains something called 'bonito', though... and that is a type of dehydrated fish reduced to flakes. J is vegan - so we get the miso paste.
If you have a better recipe - mail me!

OK - on to knitting, and yarn.
I went through my stash. It is a sad stash. The only fibers in it that may be quality yarns - are unidentified and lonely. I have a lot of thrift store yarn that should be made into useful things. Willowpede slept in my stash last night while we watched our movies. Sally slept in between J's experimental kumquat trees in the front room.

My rainbow slippers are almost done. Then I can throw my pink bunny slippers in the wash and not be completely sad if they don't survive :o( The sock-making process is speeding up... a lot. Writing down the # of rows before decreasing and a decrease-pattern for *my size* helped eliminate a lot of try-ons and comparisons.

Midnight Movie (last night) : The Thomas Crown Affair (1999 remake) ***-

This is TOO CUTE to leave off. A big-eared little grey-knit bunny from the Bunny-along blog.

Really, I AM blogging everyday, but this is for my benefit. I get to see the progress, and keep electronic notes. J said I should use this blog as a 'wiki'... collecting all the information I use, things I find and what, in general, has been going on. In three years when we have a house, land, a baby and a few Jacob sheep running around.. we can look back and say 'You had TIME to do all that?'... hehe.

UPDATE : I asked J what he wanted for Christmas (because my mom asked me today - I didn't have anything to tell her)... he had a great "answer".
Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men..
and vegan biscuits at least once a week.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Saturday knitting

My fingers don't fly fast enough.

Worked 3.5 inches on the practice sweater. I had 'frogged' the first attempt and increased the cast-on from 86 to 92. Started the second rainbow slipper. Finished my Mom's dishcloths and put them in a package for her.

We are watching more MST3K.

Other than that, I've been looking at more projects online. The Nordic mittens from IK Winter '04 look the most interesting! But, there are some baby projects I would like to start making too. The sizing is the hardest thing...

Found knitting Podcasts! @ KnitCast and there will soon be one at (looks at) Cast-On. (but I can't play the last one on Winamp :o(

Anyway - I saw the Nordic mittens on another blog. I REALLY want to make them! Even J glanced over and said 'Hey.. Cool! Make those!' (and he meant it).

Friday, November 04, 2005

Willowpede Gets Lost!

Willow got lost tonight!

We were ready to leave work tonight around 8:30 pm, and Willowpede was nowhere to be found. We called her, by every nickname and with every cue... but no cat. We feared she might have gotten outside. There are other cats at the office who live outside (including our girls' mother) but our kittens have been 'house cats', all their lives.

I even tried calling her for 'Dinner', which is usually met with heels-over-head scampering and a slide into 'home base' at the food bowl. But still, no Willowpede.

10-15 minutes went by, with both of us coming up empty-handed. Salamander was in the truck, confused by it all.

J and I went back in the office, because as far as we knew, she should still be in there. I tried calling her again 'Willow-Willo-Will--ow!' I heard a 'thump' on the second story. I was up there just a few minutes ago... I call again on the stairs, again, a 'thump'. It is coming from overhead - inside the ceiling.

I call again, and suddenly, over the noise of J moving a ladder downstairs -- I hear another 'THUMP'.. and I see the reflection of a kitten in one of the windows. She was blithely sitting in front of the window, looking 'up', at the part of the ceiling she finally found her way out of.. I think. I didn't actually see her get down, so I might never know where she got herself stuck.

And, she must have been stuck somewhere, or asleep, or ignoring us... She hadn't meowed back to any of our calls. However, she came right to me when I said 'Willow! There you are!'.. tail up, bird-chirping and downright happy to see me (Greta Garbo cat, remember).

In the truck, she curled up in my lap, licked my hand and went to sleep. She got a little jumpy at sudden movements (like when she has been scared). A little more evidence to me that she had been trapped somewhere for a while when she was 'lost'. She stayed in my lap during the entire ride home, and is STILL in my lap as I write my entry tonight!

Notes for later : Sheep

Great picture of Jacob Sheep

Discussion about fencing in goats with electric fence
Maryland Small Ruminants Page : Fencing
Types of Fencing Materials

Terminology of fleece terms (1)
Terminology (2)
Terminology (3)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Run-by posting... pattern for catnip mice

1. If you are looking for how to make a catnip mouse, go to pattern.
2. If you want to make an I-Cord, go to this KnittingHelp movie.

Movies tonight : Word Wars : A documentary about Scrabble... I'm not sure why we are watching this... J said a friend of his reccommended it. We also watched the 1985 version of Wierd Science.

Trying that sweater cast-on again. Dishcloths for Mom 2/4. Also, trying to switch the kittens over to adult food - they are 6 months now. Currently, they stand in front of a full bowl (after a week and half of half kitten food/half adult-food) and meow 'I'm hungry' at me. **shakes head** Its hard to listen to!

**sweater update** : Cast on, did the bottom ribbing.. switched to the larger size needles. Went a few rows, then held it up to J's measurements... I think I'm going to have to go at this geometrically. Maybe I was never meant to read a pattern after all.

OK : This was added later (on 11/07/2005) :

Knit Mice for Cats!
How-to, from someone who made it up as she went along.

Size 3 DPNS, quantity - 4
Cast on 20 stitches of a yarn your kitten seems to love already.
Knit back and forth with 2 dpns, until length is just about square.

Transfer three just-knitted stitches to another dpn, knit across until you
reach the end of the row, Knit three stitches back onto a third dpn, then knit back and forth in the middle section for 2 rows (with the 2nd and 4th dpns). Three knitted stitches will be 'hanging' on dpns on either side of this middle section.

Steadily begin to decrease at the end of each row so that the middle section becomes triangular - stop decreasing at 2 or 3 stitches.

Knit back and forth for two rows. Then, steadily increase at the beginning of the next few rows so that the middle section matches what it did before.

Knit the stitches from the dpns back on in way that makes sense (this is hard for me to explain). Decrease from the outside edges after you have all of the stitches back in one row. Decrease to three stitches. Make I-Cord down about 3-5 inches. Video on I-Cord linked from

Cast off your I-Cord. You have a very odd looking shape of yarn now.
Turn the shape inside out, and sew the 'nose' closed at the edges. Draw a piece of yarn from the base of the jaw to the back of the 'ears'(the 3 stitch parts you had done turned out to be the ears). Sew the back of the neck and the back of the mousie closed. Stuff with polyfill or fleece. Stick some catnip inside the fleece if you wish. Sew the mousie closed and toss through the air at cat.

My kittens liked a long string looped around the mousie's neck - by which I made him seem alive scampering across the floor. When one kitten picked up the mouse and ran through the house, the other one chased the string.

Better knit mice toys?
links : Matthews-Bozak catnip mouse toy
Some links at
Wendy Knits mouse toy
Wendy Knits mouse-a-long pattern

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Green Ribbed HAT

It's a HAT! (it was a disaster, last time). I'm glad I decided to try again!
How-to (notes)
80 stitch cast-on on a size 6, 16inch circular needle, with green Simply Soft yarn. k1p1 ribbing, then change to k2p2 2x4 basketweave for three pattern rows, then k2p2 until the hat reached 8.5 inches, then begin to decrease on 4 dpns every third stitch, until there were 15-20 stitches, then decrease every other stitch until there were ten stitches, then weave-off as for sock toes.

J stole it when I asked him how it looked! I have to make him one now, but just a little longer (he has a slightly longer forehead than I do). It is a close-fitting toque with a 1 inch rolled brim (k1p1 brim). It is super-warm... if this was made out of wool I'd be roasting.

It will go on a test-bike to the post office tomorrow morning! I won a 1940s sweater pattern book on Ebay... have to get a m/o for it.

**Update** : Wore it to the post office (on a wet head, blocked? :o) The only comment I got was from an older lady, to her husband. 'It isn't time for a hat yet, is it?' Well... this IS the South... I guess they think a yarn hat has to be worn when it is 'cold'... which is about 45° :o} Anyway, I'll need to take a pic when I find the camera *see below*

I bought more film for the camera we have that actually has a FOCUS. We were using a garage-sale find camera that required a 2-3 foot shooting distance for any picture it took... Now, however, I have to find the camera of which I speak... last seen in a black backpack that no longer inhabits the floor of my truck. I know I brought it in the house somewhere. Somewhere, is the problem...

:o)! Martians Kidnap Santa Claus (pic)...
Netflix tonight: Mystery Science Theater 3000 - MST3K - Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.. (really, that IS the title) ;o) It was hilarious! (Another review) WAV File from : 'Mrs. Santa Claus has positively identified the kidnappers as Martians'

The kittens learned today what static electricity is. Willow was freaked out so much she jumped away any time either of us reached out towards her. Poor girl, I think she got it on the nose. Sally didn't mind as much, just looked annoyed. Not much to be helped -- they are fuzzy and the air is dry now!

What I need to start Spinning Wool

The thing I need most is patience - that has been building, especially these past few years after college ;o)

On to the physical things/equipment :

1. A drop spindle or spinning wheel.
--What am I doing about it : I have a bid on a spindle kit on ebay.

2. A pair of hand carders for wool.
--What am I doing about it : I've been scouting prices, watching items.. I've set my mind that after I get the spindle, the carders will be the next month or so.
Update : I've posted a 'want' ad for used carders on FiberFling - with a ceiling price. Maybe someone else has a pair lying about, willing to be sold.

3. Sew a nylon bag for washing fleece.
--What am I doing about it : This is a cinch once 1 & 2 are complete.

4. Get a wool fleece to try my preparation.
--What will I do about it : If my spinning on the spindle is turning out good, then the next logical step will be to cruise more fleece auctions on Ebay, and/or, look to the Fiberfling group for a fleece. I would really like a Jacob fleece, but the skirting and separation will be more important at this stage.

------Use my nylon bag in the washing machine to wash the fleece per the instructions on Joy of Handspinning

------Do some hand separation and drying etc...

------Use the wool carders to prepare the roving from the washed fleece.

------Try a natural dyeing method?

------Spin some of the roving on my spindle.

Other things to think about - My cats are going to go nuts over a spindle ;o)

in other news : 2nd mousie for kittens, done. They love it. They 'lost' the other one - I can't find it anywhere. They may have hid it to 'eat' later.

ktbl must be wrong. It didn't work at all. I ended up with two rows of garter stitch instead of two rows of ktbl,p1 raised ribbing. If I think logically about it — maybe I need to try's version of purl through the back -- because if I ended up with garter stitch... *insert brain logic here*, and I do most of their stitches 'backward'... *insert more logic here*

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Practice a sweater?

I'm going to try some of my lonely stash yarn to practice a pattern from the 1981 magazine.

'Men's Boatneck Sweater'...worsted weight yarn, men's 40 inch chest, cast on 86 onto size 3 needles, raised rib as *ktbl,p1* for 3.5 inches etc.etc...

I'm learning ktbl, < video. I still don't know if I'm doing it right. When I do my regular purl, and what the video shows, it looks like a line of regular purls! I'll wait until I get another row up, but I might have to switch to regular k1p1...

I know this won't be a real sweater, and I'll have to unravel it later... but I really don't want to buy yarn then ruin it, or leave such an investment lay for a year because I can't figure something out. I did get J to consider some colors in Wool of the Andes from Knitpicks. He picked out Chestnut. Then I told him it would take 14 skeins of it to make a sweater his size... and he said he could wait 'till later...

in other news...
dishcloths for mom, 1 done out of 4
slipper socks for me 50%,
ribbed hat 25%,
2nd knit mousie for kittens 50%

I've got too many needles in the yarn...

Monday, October 31, 2005

Treats for them, Knitting for me.

We only got one pair of trick-or-treaters :o( Oh well, the rest of the candy will go to the office tomorrow. I'm sure it'll disappear there ;o)

We watched North by Northwest (Yay Netflix!) while we sat in the front room. I could definitely see Jimmy Stewart in the same role as Cary Grant... but that is bias. The kits loved having the door open (screen door closed). They watched moths flutter in the porch light and cars race by on Poplar Street. J even put a little bench by the door so they could sit together.

I made the kittens a knit mouse last night. I had a certain unidentified grey yarn in my stash they kept 'stealing'. I decided if they liked that particular yarn, it wouldn't take much to make a toy for them. The resulting mouse was an instant hit. They fought over it so fervently that I already have another one on my needles!

Today's Finds (early morning excursion in town)
Thrift Store : New/old magazine Fall 1981 BH&G 100s of Needlework and Craft Ideas (lots of sweater patterns!) (donation) Odds&Ends Store: J.P. & Coats 1952 Baby Book of crochet and knitting (4page leaflet, 50 cents).

Plath posted that the new MagKnits was up! Thanks! There are some interesting patterns there. Holly will have to be added to my 'Beyond me' projects.

I have went to Knitpicks and made up my 'order list' about three times - and, each time, deleted it all. I keep saying 'I'm not worthy!' I have my 'much-too-fine' yarn purchase to use still... trying that out on size 8 bamboo needles (my on-the-way splurge from our trip to the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta )

And, overall, I am feeling very grateful for what I have. While I was in the thrift store this morning, I overheard a displaced family (from the hurricanes, maybe?) talking to the storekeeper. She was helping them find clothing, etc, and talking about finding work. The grandfather was keeping their beautiful little girl busy while they talked.

I started thinking how I was here in this store for a knitting magazine. Compared to clothes, food and shelter - a magazine is a luxury. I've heard of some people (even in our town) that weren't grateful of the help they have received. These people were grateful, well-spoken and looking to work and strive to get their lives back.

By choice, J and I do not have a lot of 'possessions'... although we are not complete minimalists, either. Everything we owned, came with us to Tennessee in two pick-up truck beds and a small pull-behind trailer. We still haven't found the need to unpack it all. Not everyone can live like that -- especially if they have kids.

I'm not sure what I can do to help, at least besides my spare change, at that particular shop. I have been looking at Children in Common's socks to knit. That's a reason for wool yarn!

It is such a beautiful fall day!

These are some colours in a batch of oak leaves.
If only I could dye some wool these colours...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Notes for later...

from Unravellling thrift store finds ...
Cotton is the easiest to determine by touch but acrylic can imitate the look and feel of wool so it's sometimes hard to tell those two apart. If you bring a mystery sweater home drop an inch of the yarn into a jar and cover it with bleach. Put it in a very safe spot (like a high cupboard above the stove that kids and animals can't get into) and label the jar BLEACH/POISON. Wool will eventually dissolve in bleach. If the yarn has dissolved after a few hours or overnight then you have a wool sweater, if it looks unchanged then it's acrylic.

How to 'properly' wash a wool garment.
Another article on laundering handmade garments.
A Wool Cape.
How to Gauge your Knitting Stitches.

Cotton sock yarns?...

Daily Observance :
When Willowpede lies stretched out - she is 31 inches tip to tip.

I just happened to have a measuring tape beside me for the ribbed hat when she fell asleep in my lap. She is going to be a BIG cat... : 4:00pm

I'm starting to think about Christmas presents, and I have a dilemma. I'm the only one in my family who likes wool (odd huh?). I don't really want to buy low-quality Wal-Mart yarns for giftmaking, either. Last year I made my mom a long blue wrap out of Simply Soft yarn, but I was thinking socks or something more useful this time around.

I've been looking up some different types of yarn out there -- because my mom insists that wool is too itchy. I used to think so too! I slowly "walked" my way up using Dale of Norway's Baby Ull merino... so soft for wool.

Now I love almost all wool! I guess the supersoft merino convinced my skin wool was good!

I was looking up different kinds of sock yarn. Cotton Colori and/or Sockotta seem to be the best alternatives to wool. I would have to buy them online though.

Sally is quite busy being a resident lapwarmer. When she is not in my lap, she is curled up near one of my ankles. Willow has picked up a strange habit of sleeping in a box by the wall... I'm not sure why. She has her Greta Garbo moments.. or was it Bette Davis? I forget. **it was Greta Garbo**.

What do you keep your knitting needles in? : I saw a post on this at another site. I keep mine in a hot pink wine-bottle cylinder. I bought it at Michaels when I worked there. A lady I talked to about yarn said she had kept hers in one and it was working great. The only hitch I have with it is that the lid doesn't close with 14" needles. I keep my dpns and crochet hooks in an old checkbook box, away from the four-pawed wonders.

Book Wish List : Knitting in the Nordic Tradition... used is still 65-75$!! Our library at Fargo had a copy. I learned how to use DPNs and my sheepfeeding mittens out of this book!

Interesting site links :
Tote based on the French Market Bag
Knitted Bunny!

Current Pet Peeves :
1. People who post acrylic yarn in the wool category at Ebay. Read the label.
2. Sitting in a public library trying to read a cashmere sweater article that is directly opposite of a lingerie ad ON BOTH PAGES. (Real Simple magazine.. what were they thinking?)

ok.. I vented, ;o)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Wool Cravings

We try to live well below our means -- but I am feeling wool cravings! I made a wool shawl last year out of Cascade 220. AtM, it is a cherished object. I felt the yarn was expensive at the time (lys splurge), but it has lived up to every anticipation. J is envious - he says our culture won't let him get away with wearing a wool shawl or cape ;o) He nudged me a bit more on learning how to make him a sweater. I have to master increases first!

Today's Adventures :
I am trying to get a large amount of wool off of ebay - but not trying too hard.

We went to the storage center and pulled out another load of boxes. We were looking for our ceramic mixing bowl, and didn't find it :o(

When I made a set of long curtains for a doorway here in the house, the kittens invented a new game. It consists of attacking any movement behind the curtain, whether it be human foot or kitten tail.

Willowpede channels Confucious:

"Spearing cat accidently on DPN may well be in future..."

Sally keeps jumping into my lap at high speeds while I knit socks... this is worrisome.