Friday, December 29, 2006

I have a date

January 31st. It means I have all of February to do nothing but knit, read, watch Perry Mason and movies, and snuggle with the cats. And sleep. And have funky hormones. It's a good thing I have the knitting and am confined to my house. I'm scary enough when my hormones are whacked now.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Passing of a Moderate

I was in grade school when the Watergate scandal broke. Mom had the hearings going so I saw people like Haldeman and Ehrlichman and Dean speaking before the Congress panel led by Sam Ervin. When Nixon resigned and Ford took over, the country was like a child who had been told that Santa Claus was really Dad. We really hurt. Sure we knew politicians were lying sleazy crooks but we didn't want to believe it. Heck, Johnson didn't trust Nixon with a ten foot pole.

Then this affable man came in with the job of moving the country on. He seemed to be such a lightweight. Almost insubstantial. Yet in the short time he was in office he did his job. We hated what he did when he pardoned Nixon, but we moved on.

Goodbye Jerry.

Hey Cast-On Lady!

Brenda Dayne of Cast-On fame has been fighting a nasty infection and hasn't said much since the 17th. Send her good wishes, will ya? She may be getting in a lot of knitting time, but spending Christmas feeling icky doesn't sound like fun.

Blog update

I moved to the updated Blogger and lost my links in my sidebar. They'll be updated later, most likely Thursday night. Let me know if there are other things missing.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Rogue hood detail

.....getting closer to the grafting point.

The day after

Hope your weekend was stressless or if it was you had a place to retreat to. If you're not a surly teen or a decrepit great-grandma, retreating to the kitchen to help work on feast items is a good strategy. That way if an irritating relative comes by, you can say, "Sorry, can't talk. Gotta get this done." And there are knives near by.

This weekend was spent doing my best to imitate a figgy pudding. I was inert this weekend. Other than doing laundry, which for one person is a piece of cake. And knitting on the Rogue. I'm on the second chart for the hood and working on the hood decreases for those of you taking score. And I must say the cabling on it is certainly rewarding for the work. I did myself proud when I found I had crossed a cable wrong and was able to tink all the way down and redo it correctly without leaving any telltale signs of the tinking. Smug.

Friday, December 22, 2006

But you will never find her in a pair of plaid pants

Jeanne tagged me (a hit! A most palpable hit!) with the Six Weird Things About Me meme that's making the rounds. And since she put in such a nice comment I'll play. However, I will leave my gentle readers the option of being tagged, since not everyone likes to play. So here goes.

First, the requirements: "Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.” Like I said, if you want to play, let me know and I'll tag ya. Or you can swipe this on your own, comment that you swiped it, and everyone will be happy.

Let me preface this that I got the notice that I was tagged this morning and while I was at work I spent my dead time thinking of what weird things I have. If you were looking for something kinky, I gotta tell you you're gonna be disappointed. After that weaselbutt comment for just encouraging people to give to those less needy, I don't want to attract the anti-sex coalition. Those of you who want more details can leave me your phone number and your fruit preference.

1. I have a beard. Not a few whiskers that stick out of Aunt Ethel's mole, but a beard. It runs from the corners of my mouth down to under my chin. I'd let it grow, but people think I'm crazy enough as it is. During my time off recovering from my surgery, I might just let it grow to see what it looks like.

2. I think circus clowns are disturbing. There's something about a man or a woman who puts on garish facepaint and tries to make you laugh by doing bizarre things in front of you. I prefer rodeo clowns. They're doing what I want circus clowns to do: stand in front of a half ton of angry pot roast.

3. I never liked baby dolls or stuffed animals when I was a child. I never wanted to have a baby and these creatures that just stare at you trying to be cute are just disturbing. I had Barbies, but the baby dolls gathered dust in the bottom of my toy chest.

4. I collect stuffed sheep. I have 19 of them, including one received for Christmas that doubles as a pillow. It's going with me to the hospital so I have something to hug when I need to cough up the crap left behind from the anesthetic. And I have kits for Sam the Ram and Sue the Ewe. They may get done during my convalescence.

5. I'm a neatnik at work but a slob at home. I live in an old house with no storage space. I need fifty million cabinets. I've even done preliminary plans to turn one of my bedrooms into a giant closet with a bunch of cabinets for my stuff. In the meantime, stuff just gets dumped on the floor wherever.

6. I find some words visually repulsive and some words fascinating to look at. When I write, I see the words as patterns, not an ordered blend of letters. For me, some words like crotch and son and secret and slacks look weird. Then there are some words that for some reason at a particular moment will strike me and I'll stare at them for a minute or two. Like cake or shoe or pastrami or plaid pants. This visualizing words as patterns helps me spell words correctly, but there are times when I look at a word and think, "Is that spelled right?" only to realize that it's the pattern that's attracting me.

I won't go into other things that are simply my opinion, like I think ice skating is overrated, that every driver should take the driver's test at age 40, and that we should bring back the word contrary as an adjective to describe someone who is slightly stubborn.

Anyone want to be tagged?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And now: your letters

First, I want to thank everyone who has left a comment and wish all my readers good tidings during this time of year. It's nice to know that not only have I been read but I've written something that is worth commenting on. Thanks too for the wellwishing. I appreciate it.

The Stash Busting 2007 has a number of folks that are jumping onto Wendy's wagon. Even if you don't do much stash busting this coming year, give yourself an E for effort. It's not easy to resist the call of new fiber. But to think I have more stash than Knitterguy Ted--eep.

Anonymous paid a call and left a message: "I made another contribution to George Bush in your honor... can you be any more self-righteous...or self pitying?" Am I really that self-righteous about my opinions? Somehow when I think "self-righteous" I think of Bill O'Reilly or some of the radical Christian right or radical feminists or environmentalists. I'm willing to listen to other opinions expressed in a mature, reasonable fashion as long as facts back them up. But I don't think I should censor my own opinion on my own blog. As for self-pitying, well I welcome you to take a hammer to your back tooth, your knees, and your feet, followed by spending a week of having blood pour out of your ass. When you're done, write back. And don't forget your name this time. Because I care.

Back to our regularly scheduled program

I'm back to working on the Rogue. The front is nearly done and I'll be starting on the hood tomorrow. In retrospect, I could have worked on this without the class. It wasn't that hard. But I did get some tips that I would not have picked up from the pattern and it was fun knitting with others on the same item. I should have it done by the end of January at this rate.

Ho ho ho and a bottle of eggnog

I haven't put up a tree (no room), I have no decorations up (too lazy), the Christmas letters are waiting to be stuffed in envelopes and flung to the four winds, and I have no plans for the weekend. It's a good weekend to just sit back and enjoy the quiet, read a good book (I have a few P D James mysteries waiting for me from the library), and sip hot tea. No traffic, no screaming children, no hollering in-laws, and no commercial hype.

May you find that quiet spot in your life this weekend and have a merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


It's that time of year when strains of cynical Christmas songs go wafting through my fevered brain as I juggle chorus commitments, holiday tasks, and year end brouhaha at work. Who was the wise guy who decided to have the fiscal year of thousands of companies end a few days after a major holiday?

This year I went very very simple: Heifer International donations. The gift that gives to others. All of my relatives are at the point where they don't want more stuff. So I don't give them stuff. I like some stuff, but I appreciate donations to charity at this time of year even more. While the time for giving occurs all year long, many folks use this time of the year to give. So give money if you can, and if you can't, give of your heart, attention, and time.

Off to work. Heigh ho, heigh ho.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Blow, blow thou winter wind

It's not unusual for us to get windy rainstorms during the winter, but the one that passed through Thursday and Friday was apparently the biggest one since 1993. We don't get named hurricanes through here, but we get hurricane force winds on the coast and tropical storm strength winds inland. It blew a lot of trees down, broke tree limbs, tossed trash cans and recycling bin contents, and taxed the electrical grid by taking down power lines and blowing transformers. Thursday night I went home at 5 and watched from the parking structure flashes of electric blue as transformers arced and blew. Some places are still without power even today. My sister and brother on the coast are fine fortunately. Pam said that the winds were so fierce it was blowing the fir trees on their property about like they were just bushes. She and my brother Larry lost power but it's back on and all is well.

Stash Challenge 2007

Wendy of Wendy Knits! is challenging herself to work her projects completely from stash. She's put up some guidelines of the challenge, which runs from January 2007 to September 2007. I think that's a great idea for me, since I'll be trying this coming year to spend my money reducing debt instead of yarn. This is just the natural fiber portion:

The acrylic chunk, sad to say, is just about as big, but most of it was of donations for the preemie cap project. The rules say nothing about acquiring tools though. Maybe I need a knitting machine....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I'm here

Hey ho.

I know it's been a while since my last posting. I wish I could say my time's been occupied by a girlfriend or boyfriend, but nothing so sordid as that has been keeping me busy. Part of it is learning how to live with diabetes: taking classes, making changes, gathering info. Part of it has been chorus. It was our holiday concert last weekend, so I was very busy with rehearsals and performances. Part of it was other medical stuff, which I'll get to in a minute. And part of it was knitting. Really!

Sing of joy!

I live in Portland but sing in a chorus based in Salem. It's Confluence, the only GLBTS* mixed voice chorus in Oregon registered with GALA Choruses. We sing three concerts a year, one in December, one in March, and one in June. Each concert consists of two performances, one of which is in Salem, the other in Corvallis or Portland. The December concerts were held in Corvallis and Salem with the tech rehearsal in Corvallis. Last week, I went to Corvallis on Wednesday for the tech rehearsal then back home, then returned to Corvallis on Friday, stayed the night with friends, sang in Salem on Saturday, then returned home Saturday night. Tuesday this week the chorus sang in Portland for PFLAG's Christmas party. Not much room for other things. The concerts were a lot of fun, though, done jointly with the choruses of the Unitarian Universalist Congregations of Salem and Corvallis (all but the Portland one). They held a special place for me because I was surrounded by my chorus family when I needed them.

Lordy Lordy do I feel forty

It seems I've had a litany of ailments this year. It used to be that the worst thing I would get was bronchitis in the winter and achy knees from too many stairs. Who said that it was my turn to get old? It bites, let me tell you, to be told your cholesterol's jumped because you're getting older, your blood sugar's jumped because you're getting older, and you're wheezy because you're getting older (well, not really but it sure as hell feels that way). Then that old fart Perry Menopause comes around and decides that not only should my body feel hotter than it already feels but I should experience the Johnstown flood 3 days every month. The Kotex and Tampax people love my buying their products by the case. Well, not anymore, kids. This end of January I'll be going under the knife and having a hysterectomy. The fibroids that have recurred have given me the ticket to have my womb removed. I'll never use it and gawd knows I don't need another place for the big C to be tempted to try to rear its ugly head. I don't know which it will be: laparo or abdominal; my surgeon's consulting with another in the clinic to see if I qualify for the laparo. That will shorten the recovery time significantly. Remember the hernia back in September a year ago? (If not, go to the archives if you so desire.) The recovery time will be a little longer than that. It doesn't matter to me which as long as it gets done and done well. And I'm just loving telling people that I got a hysterectomy for Christmas.

Click and click

So the WIP basket has been sort of overflowing. The Rogue sweater went on hiatus while I worked feverishly on a pair of mittens and a pair of gloves for a couple of kids who are patients at the Providence Child Center. Our office is gathering gifts for them this year as part of our mission projects for the holiday. We love them dearly, those kids. Today I turned them in, so now I can go to another project. I want to make a felted hat for my friend Linda, so I'll be working on that this weekend. It will go quickly. After that, I can return to the Rogue. And if I time my surgery right, I'll be able to take my class in Orenburg shawls from Joan Schrouder January 27th. Whee!

My LYS got copies of XRX's latest Knitter's compendium, Victorian Lace Today, which I've been waiting to see. What with the latest issues of Knitter's offering patterns ranging from dull to OMG, I was skeptical about what would be offered. But I was pleased to find that there were items in it I would make. I consider myself to be sort of an intermediate lace knitter, beyond the simple stuff but not ready yet for Shetland shawls and certainly not up to Knitterguy Ted's league. I felt comfortable with the patterns in the book. I wasn't crazy about the photography of some of the items, though. When I look at lace, I want to see the pattern. I don't give a rat's ass about the model. So I have a copy to peruse, and if I'm up to it, to play with on the needles.

*I want to spell it GBLTS, but then I want to pronounce it giblets. I don't think the community would appreciate being compared to turkey guts.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cribbage and knitting on the coast

Last weekend I went to my sister Pam's on the coast for Thanksgiving. She and I had a lot to talk about, and while we're of different faiths (she Independent Baptist, me deist), she's in a way my surrogate mom. We had a good weekend together. My brother-in-law enjoyed playing cards and I made progress on the Rogue Sweater. While I was there, Pam and I visited my brother Larry who has property adjoining a canal that runs into the ocean. He gets quite a bit of wildlife there and regular visitors, mostly Canada geese and a local goose named Gus. Larry has been feeding them regularly so they came up for a handout while we were there. He's not the only one with wildlife. The deer like to come up to my sister's door and get apples or other treats. Most of the birds are gone so there are no handouts for them except for seed in the feeders. Just a nice little place in the country, perfect for spending Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


It's been a while since I last posted. It started off with my hands being cranky from working the Pendleton wool, but it was other medical issues that have come up that I now have to deal with.

I'm glad I have choir this afternoon. I need hugs today. Physical hugs. The presence of friends. Knowing that I'm not alone. Sure there's the cyber community but the real physical presence of people who make a point of letting you know that they really care about you is so important to have. Most of the time I prefer to be left alone. I'm used to doing things without having to bring in another person into the picture. But when you're given news that changes how you handle your life's activities, it's very comforting to have the support of friends.

Fortunately, it's not the Big C. And it's not like I haven't been aware of this condition potentially arising. It's the fact that it has and that I have to be more aware of what I do and don't do. I have been diagnosed with diabetes. I don't require medication or insulin, but if I continue down the path I'm going I will. I have to monitor my glucose. I have to exercise. I have to change. And that's what is making me so angry and depressed. I don't want to change. But if I don't change, I will die sooner than I would if I reduced my weight and maintained my blood alcohol levels.

I am blessed with great friends. One is diabetic and was very encouraging when I talked with him Friday. I have a sister who is diabetic. She is very encouraging and supportive (I'm visiting her for Thanksgiving). I work at a health based company with many resources available. So I have support. It's getting past the depression that I've fallen in and preparing for making changes. I've started evaluating what I eat during the day and when. I'm working on my mindset on what food is. And I'm talking. I'm hoping that when I start taking my diabetic classes that there will be information on a support group to get me through this initial stage. They say that for habits to be formed you have to work at it for 3 to 4 months minimum. I have my work cut out for me.


This weekend I returned to the Rogue sweater and knit up a felted hat for my friend Ruth. It took me three washings to felt it down (I have a 30-year old washer) but it finally got down to normal human head size. For a while I thought I had made a hat for a troll.

Last weekend I got to ride in NeedleGirl's London taxi. I promise there will be pictures. Not enough time to post them now. It was great fun running around Portland though a little disconcerting to have the driver on the right hand side of the car. I'm glad I wasn't riding up front.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's time for healing

The Democrats have regained control of the House where much of the rancor in politics has been occurring since 1994. The partisan politics and downright nastiness started with Newt Gingrich and his Contract With America. After being branded as tax-and-spend, terrorist-loving, illegal immigrant housing liberals, the Democrats are now back in power in one of the houses of Congress. We have a woman as Speaker of the House, a first, which will be interesting to see how she handles the more contentious of the representatives. The Senate is usually more reasonable in working out compromises so I'm hoping that the business that comes out of Congress will help offset some of the crap that's been coming out since Dubya was elected.

It's a time where the politicians have an opportunity to undo some of the damage they've done with their shrill bickering. The American voters have said their piece. They're tired of it. Make reasonable decisions and move on.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Soggy election day

The Pineapple Express, a flow of tropical moist air that brings heavy rains to the west coast of the US, paid an early visit to us. We usually don't see it until later in the year, but this one is particularly heavy. With all the leaves down, the gutters and grates are clogged and ponds of water are everywhere on the city streets. I have water in my basement due to a small leak in my old foundation. But I'm not on a flood plain like some folks. I imagine the folks along Johnson Creek are digging out the sandbags again and those along the rivers are watching.

This is Election Day in the US. I checked the Multnomah County Elections website to see the number of ballots turned in and we're already showing 45% turned in. For a non-presidential year, that's pretty good. Multnomah County's a strong Democratic county in a state that for the most part is pretty Republican (there's a high number of folks registered Independent) so it will be interesting to see how the numbers pan out. Ted Kulongoski, our current governor, is in a close race with Ron Saxton, the Republican contender. There are some nasty measures on the ballot, including a measure requiring parental notification if a teen girl has an abortion and a spending limits bill.

On the needles

I'm still plugging away at the Rogue Sweater and NeedleGirl's socks. The Pendleton wool is a little stiff to work with, making my hands protest. But I have the pocket ready to be attached and I'm done with the first chart of cable work along the sides and the bottom hem. I have class this week. It'll be interesting to see how the other knitters are faring.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Vote! Vote!! Vote!!!

Only 4 days left to vote, kids. Have you voted?

"My vote doesn't count." Barf. You may not make much of an impact on the national scene, but you do on the local, which in turn affects the national. Even if you hate everyone on the ballot, you should still file a ballot.

"I'm not registered." So you're not registered to be able to vote in this election. Register to vote in the next election.

"I don't like either party." That's what voting Independent is for. And just because you're registered Democrat or Republican doesn't mean you have to vote for the doofus the party people put in to run.

"I don't have time." Gawd this makes my teeth grind. You make time to do things you want to do. Make this a priority in your life. Especially if you're female. Women have had the right to vote for less than 100 years. And those 18 to 12 got it since just the 1970's. It's your right dammit. Exercise it.

"I don't know where to vote." Call up your friendly county elections office. They'll be happy to tell you what precinct you're in. Or if you have vote-by-mail (which we do in Oregon), where you can drop off your ballot.

If you're mad as hell about the shenanigans going on in Washington and you didn't vote in the last election, I don't have ANY sympathy for you. Not voting won't make them go away. Voting will. So do it!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A blustery day

Today was one of those days where I dream of cuddling up in a blanket on the couch with a hot drink and a good book. A full view of the wind casting the year's leaves about on the street and rain streaking the window is necessary to give that feeling of coziness. This is my favorite time of year where the colors are vibrant and ever changing each day. It's a time of change. The weather changes. The sky changes. The trees and shrubs change. People are changing as they absorb new knowledge in school and donning warm clothes. They speak of experiences ahead that will never be repeated. This tree will not be the same orange next year. This child will know more about her world. The rain will stop for an hour before the next squall line comes through.

Halloween with a black cat

One thing that I've done each year around Halloween is keep a close eye on my cats. Since Buster graced us with his presence 4 years ago, I've been extra vigilant in keeping him indoors for several days until Halloween is past. Nothing says temptation to an animal abuser than a friendly black cat on Halloween. Buster was not at all happy about spending the day and night in the house but we got through it and today he was able to go out. But he was one testy cat that nearly spent the night in the cold basement last night, the monster.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Twice a year the chorus goes on a weekend retreat to work on the upcoming concert's music and bond with each other. Past years we've gone to Beverly Beach State Park and the 4-H Center outside Salem. The Center was nice and close, but we didn't have the bonding time we would have at the beach, so this year we went to Beverly Beach.

Oregon weather in October is always tricky. October starts off with warm days and cool nights, then the weather patterns shift and the rains start coming in. Beach weather is especially tricky. You never know if you're going to have a glorious sunny day, clouds and fog, or constant rain. We had a little of everything this weekend. The drive to the beach was dry and beautiful with all the fall foliage starting to fade from its glory. Saturday was foggy but cleared up a little. Sunday started with rain but ended with sunshine, making the drive back a pleasure. But it was guaranteed to have damp cold nights.

The yurts at Beverly Beach have heaters, so if you had a yurt you had warmth. However, there were more people than yurt accommodations and some of us, including myself, needed housing. I was willing to tent it but not looking forward to those cold nights in a tent, even with an air mattress between me and the ground. And don't forget the frozen trek in the middle of the night to the restroom. At the last minute, a friend of a friend came through with accommodations for me and my carpool buddy. They turned out warmer and drier than the park accommodations, so in thanks for the hosting at the last minute I made up a Tychus hat for our host. The retreat coordinator saw the hat and liked it so much that I have another hat on the back burner for him. Retreats are hard to organize well, so for having done his first one Don is getting one himself.

The Rogue is coming along well. I'm on the pocket now, working my way up gradually. The cables on the sides gave me a bit of a headache but I got past the crankiness.

Halloween is tomorrow. I won't be giving out candy, taking refuge in my house with the cats. We'll dress up at the office though and make all sorts of mischief.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Another use for a crutch.

Remember the Pendleton wool? This is one of the spools of yarn unwound and drying after being washed to remove the coating for weaving. It's destined for being worked into a Rogue sweater. I'm taking a Rogue Knit-a-along class starting this week. This will be for me, a reward for whipping out a shawl in a month.

The foot is much better. The week spent in a wheelchair at work gave it the time it needed to heal. Last week I tested it and it's doing well. I'm taking care not to overdo it and ice it down when it gets too swollen. But I don't see surgery in the near future. Whee!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Thanks everyone who posted on my rant. Fortunately I work amidst fellow crafters who appreciate the work I've done and believe it worth every cent. The Bunny expressed interest in getting a ticket. The raffle is tomorrow at Providence Office Park at 1 pm, but I'm not in charge of tickets. I couldn't find your email link so email me directly at before 7:30 am tomorrow and I'll send you the contact info of the ticket seller privately.


The raffle to raise money for the West Women's and Children's Shelter has been going on since Monday. Like many raffles, the start was slow but is picking up. Payday is tomorrow so we should sell more tickets then. I've been talking it up with fellow employees all over the building since half the battle is making people aware of the raffle in the first place.

One of the disheartening things I've been hearing (and confirms my reasons for refusing to sell things at bazaars, farmers' markets, and the like) is that people are dismayed at the value placed on the shawl. It's priced at $400 value which for some folks seemed horribly overpriced. One person commented she wouldn't have paid $30 for it. It's very insulting to me. I spent on average 20 hours a week for four weeks knitting it. Deducting $30 for the yarn and the time spent designing it, it works out to my knitting it for under $5 an hour. That's less than minimum wage. If you use the method of 18 cents a yard, it's $360. So bite me, cheap asses.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday At Mabel's

Portland's Indian summer finally came to an end yesterday with a steady rain and a distinct chill in the air that only a rainy fall day can provide. A good day to sit and knit and sip hot drinks. It was in that atmosphere that I met up with fellow listers Leigh, Gary, and Melissa at Mabel's Cafe. Leigh was in Portland on one of his many jaunts across the country, so we three got a chance to meet him. I would post the picture of him and Gary but it's an awful shot. I won't torture them; Melissa's pictures are much better. *wink* But I did get a nice picture of Melissa working on one of the afghan squares she's doing out of handdyed alpaca. We had a marvelous time chatting, showing and sharing projects, and getting glances from other knitters.

Since the shawl was done, I needed a project to work on while at Mabel's so I took along the Araucania I was going to use for Sock Wars and started working on the socks for NeedleGirl. By the end of work today I had the foot and heel turn done. The yarn next to the sock is the handspun NeedleGirl sent me (the chocolate's long gone).

Saturday, October 14, 2006


The Shelter Shawl is done and is drying from being spritzed and dressed. It's not quite 5 feet in diameter, so it's not quite as big as I would have liked it, but it's going up for raffle Monday. There is nothing quite so satisfying as finishing up a piece of lace and seeing it all spread out after working one's fingers to the bone and cursing on occasion when you do a pattern wrong. It's addictive. I'm basking in the post-FO high now mmmmmmmmm...

Where's that Rose Trellis Shawl I was working on earlier?

Coming up on the next FiberQat...

Sharon Rose aka NeedleGirl sent me some of her handspun and some nummy chocolate in return for my making her socks out of the Araucania yarn. I'll have to find a fun pattern to do the tops. She's promised me a ride in one of her Austin taxis when she comes in to visit Portland as well, so this will be well worth making her sockies. The yarn originally was going to go to Sock Wars but now that I've read some of the posts I'm glad I opted to drop out. So tonight I'll start searching for a pattern and take them with me tomorrow when I go out for choir practice and knitting with list buddies.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The end is coming!

I'm down to 4 rounds on the shawl. This weekend was a very productive one as I overdid it during the week and my foot is telling me I must slow down. It was while I was at work that I pushed the foot too far, fetching reports for month end. I now have a wheelchair at work (a benefit of working next to a medical equipment department) which is giving me the experience of what it's like being wheelchair bound in a walking world. It's been an eye opener. I've had to deal with my knees not letting me be as mobile as I would like to be, but this puts it in a different dimension. Try it some time for a day and see what it's like to be living below the usual level of eye contact and restricted in movement. My power knitting has given me the strength however to push myself down the long corridors. Cowabunga!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


How far am I on the Shelter Shawl? I'd put up a picture except that it's at the point where it's impossible to get a decent picture of it due to the number of stitches on the needle. Besides, the picture wouldn't have told you much compared to this.

The stockinette spiral section started out at 288 stitches per round. To complete it, I'm planning on doing 80 rounds. I hear you experienced knitters going tsk tsk, why doesn't she have a pattern in there instead of row upon row of dull boring stockinette? Because this is a speed knitting project and a pattern would mean I would have to devote more attention to what I am doing instead of doing the knitting while I'm doing something else. I can knit stockinette without looking at my hands. The points where the spiral increases are going in are marked with markers so I don't miss those points.

So 80 rounds of stockinette. What does that mean stitchwise? It means that the final round will end up being 768 stitches. I'm at 606 stitches now. If I do a little over 1500 stitches a day, I'll have that section done in time to do the edging, which is a 12 row repeat (I'm doing it sidewise). I have 12 days of knitting left (not including the day of blocking).

What about tendonitis?

If you're a regular reader, you probably recall that I have problems at times with tendonitis in my hands. A speed knitting endeavor like this could do some major damage if not done right. But proper care and maintenance helps keep my tendons from being damaged. It's like an athlete taking care of his/her body, only in this case I'm working with just my shoulders, arms and hands. I've done enough knitting to have developed my muscles in my arms to the point where I have pretty good tone for someone who overall is in poor athletic shape. Muscular enough to scare my boss *BEG*. So far I'm doing well.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I did a swatch of the edging I want to do for the Shelter Shawl. It is Shark Tooth's Edging (Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns) and two points took me 40 minutes to knit up. I figure it will take me several weekdays to knit them up and the pattern is easy to memorize. It's a nice capping to a pattern that has a theme of light and radiance and energy to move from the darkness of abuse to a new life of possibilities.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Sorry, no pictures. I forgot the camera in the flurry of getting out the door (I also forgot my music for choir practice; good thing I'm the librarian and had the library with me).

The Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival takes place in late September at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby. It's not as big as the Black Sheep Gathering but it does offer a good selection of fibery items for freaks enthusiasts like me. Most are local people selling the year's production but there are also outside folks who come in. I recognized one vendor who came from Utah to sell spindles and wheels. My goal this year was to find Romney roving I could use to practice spinning on a drop spindle. While there were many kinds of fiber available from merino top to guanaco wool, most fiber was either washed but unprocessed or processed into top. One outfit had a veritable palette of dyed Romney locks that you could bury your hands into. Very tempting but not what I was looking for. I did find some tucked in a corner of a vendor's booth: creamy white Romney roving that was nummy to touch that whispered "Learn with me!" At the same booth was a tiny spinning wheel that looked like a child's wheel but turned out to be an antique wheel from the Balkans. The vendor told me that all the wheels found there were small because they took up much less room than the wheels we're familiar with. With its small ratio it spun very quickly, which is ideal for making very fine thread and yarn. The wheel itself was less than a foot in diameter; the distaff above the flyer was three feet tall.

My thrill was finding the booth for Interlacements Yarns and meeting Judy and Clay Ditmore. I initially pulled myself away from the booth but later returned heeding the call of Toasty Toes yarn. It was rewarding as I will tell you later. For now, let's just say I've been floating like I'm in love for the past 24 hours and making plans. And no it's not a girl.

Tee hee....

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gimme shelter

I'm a quarter of the way through the Shelter Shawl. I'm in the easy section (knit like the wind, adding a yarnover to create a spiral of increases). The edging will be more detailed. I have a couple of edgings in mind that will be harmonious with the design. One is the Beech Leaf edging; the other is Godmother's edging. I haven't decided which I'll put on, but it will be challenging to get it done.

Sock Wars yarn

And the winner is NeedleGirl! I'm going to take up her offer of making a pair of socks for her for handspun and a ride in one of the taxis. Squeal!

Coming up: my experiences of the Oregon Flock & Fiber Fest. I dare you to get drunk and say that five times without making it sound dirty.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lunch note

A quick posting while I'm at lunch here at the office. The foot is doing okay. I've been struggling with the herringbone faggot stitch I'm working on the Shelter Shawl that's going to be raffled off. Mostly mucking up a stitch then ripping back then dropping a stitch and ripping back again to fix the previous rip. I have to have it done by October 16th. WILL SHE DO IT? Who will give out first? The shawl or the knitter? Stay tuned, fans!

Yeah, it's nuts. But I'm using stash yarn, kids!

Friday, September 15, 2006


After having gone out and picked up sock yarn for Sock Wars, I found myself having second thoughts about doing it. It was further confirmed today as I was using a crutch to help take the weight off my left foot. The tendons in my right hand were making little protesting noises warning me of impending carpal tunnel from all the data entry, the knitting, and the pressure of the crutch handle or cane against my palm. It told me that speed knitting socks was not a thing I could participate in without risking severe damage or crippling from overuse. So I have sent in my withdrawal from Sock Wars. Sorry, Don and Mel. You can't torment me with your size 12 feet.

However, if someone is nice to me and doesn't mind waiting a little while, I could knit up a pair of lovely purple socks....


I can't resist putting my skills to work when it comes to fundraising. If I can make something beautiful that will bring money to a good cause, I don't mind putting in the effort. So instead of Sock Wars I'm focusing my knitting time on the shawl for raising money for the West Women's and Children's Shelter, which is one of the shelters available for victims of domestic violence. There will be another Sock Wars according to YarnMonkey if there is enough demand for one, but you can never raise enough money for protecting the helpless.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Getting the boot

One doesn't realize just how complex the structure of the foot and the ankle are until an anatomical picture is viewed. I think if I had done better in chemistry in high school I would have been pursuing a medical career because I find the human body just so darn interesting. Researching the medical issues that have surfaced over time in my body has been so fun to do. But I'm not a hypochondriac. Case in point: my ankle and foot aching several days and my being reluctant to go once more to the doctor after having seen him just two weeks before for my cholesterol.

But it turns out that I was wise in seeking medical advice. In the last couple of days I had been thinking twice about going to see a podiatrist because my foot and ankle were feeling better after treating them conservatively like a sprained ankle. You know the routine. The R.I.C.E. method: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate (if you don't know it, you know it now). But after seeing the ultrasound pictures of my foot and how the affected area appears compared to healthy tissue, I was glad that I didn't listen to my head and opt to not go. Turns out I have a torn ligament (the peroneus longus). Everything is still attached, but the tissue is very inflamed within my foot and making it and my ankle immobile for 6 weeks is the treatment required. After that will be a follow up visit to see how it's doing and whether it is ready for physical therapy or if I need to have surgery. So now I have a lovely walking cast boot to wear for 6 weeks. The price of going shopping for new clothes.

On the needles

I've put projects on hold because of my tendonitis flaring up in my hands (a lot of data entry and mousework at the office) but it hasn't stopped me from doing stuff. I took a cone of the Pendleton wool and my niddynoddy and started skeining up the wool for washing later, finishing up two skeins today. My partner in crime at the office looked at me funny while I was doing it at lunch. The look didn't change when I explained what I was doing. It is a big cone of yarn. Futile? Not after it's washed.

One of the women who is active in the company's Mission activities came to me with a proposal of selling craft items for one of the women's shelters here in town. I suggested a silent auction and said I would think of what I could do. The event will happen the third week in October, so I had to think of what I could do that would be quick and portable and attractive. I have a skein of Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in a lovely colorway they call cedar which is a nice heathered olive green. Last night's insomniac reading took me through EZ's Knitter's Almanac and I read her story of the Pi Shawl. My first shawl was a Pi Shawl and I finished it in a month. I could do another. So all afternoon my mind was whirling with possibilities. Now I find I have a nice stash of Cherry Tree Hill laceweight in blues and purples and more yardage and already wound into balls to work! Ai!! Which yarn? What size needle? Plain or eyelets? Or work a single line of spiralling eyelets and do a backwards e loop instead of a yarnover for the increase row?

I think I have it worked out. First dinner, then sit down with the needles and start knitting.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years

People say they knew what they were doing when certain events occurred in their lives: Kennedy's assassination; the Cuban missile crisis; John Lennon's assassination; the Challenger explosion. I was too young to remember the first two. I remember sitting in my friend's dorm room when we got the news and later looking at the Rolling Stone with Annie Leibowitz' photographs. I have no recollection of what I was doing when the Challenger exploded. But the day four hijacked planes crashed, killing over 4000 people, is very vivid in my mind.

I woke to NPR talking about the first plane's crash into the World Trade Center and heard the announcement of the second plane crashing there. I heard about the plane crashing into the Pentagon and later the plane dropping to crash in rural Pennsylvania. I watched briefly on TV the coverage while I dressed for work and fed my cats, not sure what to think. When I got to work, everyone was listening to the radio. Few spoke. Many were numb. Not much work got done to say the least but we were together. We could look to each other for some sort of comfort.

That solidarity really came into being when all of a sudden it was announced that there was the possibility of a bomb in the building and we had to leave it NOW. Don't stop to pick up your purse. Get. Out. Now. We piled out of the building and across the street to a neighboring parking lot in the sunny September noontime, frightened by this threat. It was a good hour before they gave us the go ahead to return to our offices to pick up our things. We were told to go home. It was just as well as we would have been next to useless for the rest of the day. The towers had collapsed by then and we were all shaken from the bomb threat.

Since then, I've had to really think about my own beliefs. I'm one for negotiation and diplomacy to ensure the peace. I was ambivalent about going to Afghanistan and definitely opposed to invading Iraq. It was a difficult thing to decide upon. I could not deny the families of those who had been killed their anger and desire for resolution. But I could also see that retaliation for the attacks would take us down a path of no return. The war we would be fighting wouldn't have a simple front line but many front lines with many innocents in the way. I got into an argument with a friend of mine over this because she was for full invasion. She had lived in the London area during the time of many IRA bombings. She understood what it meant to live in terror. But I also saw the results of the years after then. People grew tired of the militancy and the fear. They chose peace. In the meantime, both sides developed ways of dealing with terrorism. It led to the breakup of another attempt to hijack planes in London. Yes, I was afraid when the bomb threat was called in. But I also was thinking who was the stupid jerk who was preying on our fears? Was it a patient angry about his bill? Was it just a copycat who was getting his ya-yas from frightening an office building full of financial clerks and analysts? I was no longer afraid. I was pissed. But not pissed enough to demand that the army be called in and hunt down the idiot, then leave him for us to rip him to shreds.

I think what bothers me the most is the arrogance that some people have that because we are Americans and live in a country that has a large economic and military effect on world affairs. It's an arrogance born of not knowing poverty, of not experiencing government corruption, of feeling that the privilege is God-given and damn those who don't follow in the path of the righteous. I was aware of that arrogance prior to the attacks, but the behavior of the nation since the attacks has reinforced this in my eyes, and made me sick to think that these are my fellow countrymen.

I will not leave my country. This is but a phase that will pass. I will remain here doing what I can to make change happen and support those who also desire change. I will sing for the voiceless. I am an American.

Knitting content

Whew! If it weren't for knitting, I'd probably be curled up in my chair with my nose buried in a thick book trying to escape all the media circus. I started working on the second patch go-round for my sister's dog sweater on a set of Crystal Palace circular zeroes and ran into the problem of the join. I ended up ordering a set of Addi Turbos from Woodland Woolworks. I don't want to do too much fine work right now as I'm feeling twinges from the muscles in my right arm tightening up again and cutting off the nerve circulation to the thumb and forefinger. Must be ready for Sock Wars. I can't wait to start on the Araucania! In the meantime, I'll check out the latest Knitty and maybe even cruise MagKnits pattern archive for goodies, snicker!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Building the arsenal

Sock Wars is coming up soon. Reading Don's blog led me to the entry Yarn Monkey entered on what yarn is needed for the upcoming pattern. So today I went out to fetch my arsenal.

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I'm a tight knitter. The pattern calls for a gauge of 22 stitches = 4 inches / 30 rows = 4 inches. That's 5 1/2 stitches an inch, close to worsted. The pattern is calling for DK weight on size 5s. Well, I've done DK weight socks on size 5s. They were my first socks. The stitches are too far apart to work for working socks, so I'm going a yarn size larger to get gauge. Sock fabric to be comfortably wearable and long lasting must be firm. The Araucania Nature Wool is a light worsted that should work for socks. That's if I get a woman. If I get a man, the butter colored Nashua will work. Unless he wants vibrantly purple socks. *wink*


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A fellow Stumptowner and lister, Gary, is the king of treasure hunters in my book. He can come out of a Goodwill with an armload of items one wouldn't dream of finding. Today I must have had his touch because I came out of the Goodwill outlet store with a Folkwear pattern for the French cheesemakers smock and a handmade knitted scarf made from Noro yarn. The outlet store visit was an exploration sort of thing, going there en route to Abundant Yarn to fetch some fine point needles for the dog sweater patch. I was expecting it to be organized with sections of items, but it was a true outlet store. Bins filled with store castoffs were spread over a warehouse floor. People were digging through them for whatever they could find and items were sold by the pound. I didn't want to stay there long because of my ankle, so I made the rounds of a few of the bins. The scarf lay in the corner of one bin. The pattern lay in another. The pattern was complete and had never been used. The scarf had no holes or cuts and appears to be unblocked. Someone went to a lot of work doing seed stitch with what looks like three balls of Noro (I think it's Kureyon). And to think they ended up in a Goodwill outlet store!

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Pendleton Woolen Mills, famous for their blankets and Native American motif items, has an outlet store not far from Abundant Yarn and the Goodwill store. It was a day for playing, so I swung in there to see what they had. They were having a fabric sale on their surplus yardage but I was most interested in their surplus wool yarns. They run about 800 yards a pound I learned after picking up three large cones amounting to 3 1/2 pounds. At ten bucks a pound, you can't beat it. If the gauge is right, I may use it to make my Rogue sweater that I'm thinking of doing later this year (Abundant has a knitalong class). It will have to be washed first before I use it because it's coated with a special coating for weaving, but you can't beat the price. They also have instructions on how to Koolaid dye the yarn, but I like the natural color.

Book List Meme

Don tagged me on this with my permission.

1. One book that changed your life: The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien. I discovered this book when I was a freshman in high school and hungry for something of substance yet be entertaining. It was the bridge for my adventures into adult fantasy and science fiction. Cat Among The Pigeons by Agatha Christie was my introduction into adult mysteries.

2. One book that you've read more than once: I have several that I read over and over again. With each reading I find something new or see something in a different perspective. The one that gets the most wear is "The Riddle of Stars" trilogy by Patricia McKillip, which includes "The Riddle-Master of Hed", "Heir of Sea and Fire", and "Harpist In The Wind". It's the story of a man's transformation from a reluctant leader of a small community of farmers to a powerful wizard with dangerous enemies desiring his eradication.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: Some say Shakespeare, some say the Bible. I would want something that would help me maintain my humanity yet keep me amused. Most likely a complete edition of Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

4. One book that made me laugh: I love humor, both in illustrated form and written. For politics, I love Molly Ivins. For culture, Roy Blount Jr and his take on Southern American culture. For comics, Charles Addams and Gahan Wilson. The book of humor I read over and over again is Molly Ivins' "Molly Ivins Can't Say That Can She?" Her take on Texas politics and "bidness" is just a hoot.

5. One book that made you cry: I admit it. I cried when Dumbledore died in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." I knew that Harry would have to be released to deal with his nemesis on his own, but the loss of the most beloved father figure in his life was hard.

6. One book that you wish had been written: A memoir by my father's father, describing his life from when he was born in England to his death in a small town in Nebraska. He was never a part of his son's life and my dad refused to say anything about him. I would love to learn why he emigrated to Canada and what he did during all those years.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: Two come to mind for the impact they had on the people that wreaked awful havoc upon the societies they inhabited: "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler, and "Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong", also known as the The Little Red Book. Religious books have been used for evil but they have also provided great good and inspiration. But these two particular books have had no such redeeming legacy.

8. One book you're currently reading: I'm between books but I have "Witness for the Prosecution" by Agatha Christie waiting in the wings. The last one I've finished was "Full Cry" by Rita Mae Brown, a mystery taking place in the foxhunting community of Virginia.

9. One book you've been meaning to read: I have many books from my mother's library that are either history or biographical that I haven't read. I also have books that I've purchased but not read, some on heavy subjects that I don't feel ready to tackle.

10. Tag 6 people: I won't unless you want me to.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, better known as the Yarn Harlot, came in to Portland yesterday to tout her latest book "Knitting Rules!" There was some confusion as to when she would be speaking (Powell's said 7 pm; she said 7:30 pm), but once she arrived and had a chance to get a bite to eat and rest a bit, she came out and regaled us with one of her trademark essays. She didn't fail to amuse, taking all of us whacked out knitters in stride and much charm. It was hard to be restrained in the atmosphere of so much cameraderie that a group of knitters can generate. So Ms McPhee, if I seemed a bit over exuberant, please forgive me. You're published; I'm not.

My plan was to leave work and go directly to Powell's on Hawthorne to secure a decent parking spot and a chair at the meeting place. I ended up going home and changing my clothes because one: I had forgotten my camera and two: it was too warm to be wearing nylons. It turned out that although I had left later than I had planned I was still in good stead, securing a fabulous parking spot around the corner from the store (thank you Asphalta, goddess of parking!) and a chair in the front row. I parked there with my knitting and proceeded to wait the 2 hours before SPMcP arrived. I had brought with me the helmet liner that I'm making for my youngest nephew, who is currently stationed in Baghdad, and the Opal Lollipop socks. I had fetched dinner at the office cafe but since it was spaghetti, I opted to hold off eating until after the book signing. I would already have mohair fibers all over me. It wouldn't be good to have tomato sauce stains as well.

Powells overrun with knittersThe group was a varied bunch: young and old; moms and daughters and granddaughters; knitting buddies; the hip and the not-so-hip; exuberant and shy. One gal behind me had come from Tillamook to see SPMcP. Another was spinning on a drop spindle while holding her dog on her lap. The owner of Tangle Knitting Studio was seated next to me. One young mom had her 4 year old daughter on her lap, knitting needles in hand, knitting some red yarn. By the time SPMcP had arrived, little Elizabeth had 2 rows done.Elizabeth knitting

SPMcP of course brought The Sock, what appears to be the mate of the one that was traveling around earlier, so she took her pictures of the crowd with The Sock, Elizabeth with The Sock, and I'm sure a number of others with The Sock. There wasn't much of The Sock but my Opal Lollipop got to pose with The Sock. Glee!


I gave her my card and scooted out of there but not before seeing her receive a hat and Socks That Rock sock yarn from Tina Newton of Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

Thank you, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, for coming to Portland! Next time, ask a local before walking from a yarn shop to the next book venue (she walked from Yarn Garden, 1 1/2 miles away, to Powell's on Hawthorne. Up hill. In the heat).

Monday, September 04, 2006

Everybody say "ARRRRGH!!!"

I'm cruising along on the Indian logo for my sister's dog sweater and take it with me to my LYS Saturday for a morning of knitting when Lisa tells me that the yarn I'm doing it in is superwash. Yes. Superwash. Won't felt a bit. May shrink a little but not felt.

I think I'll use it as a patch on the back of a knitted jacket. It's too nice to abandon. In the meantime, I'll tweak my chart a bit and use some FELTABLE fine gauge yarn for shot number two.


Thanks everyone who are posting comments. It at least tells me that I'm not only having people see my blog but feel compelled to add their own feedback. That's part of the fun of blogging is connecting with others in the ether.

On my statin regime, Carol and Jan posted comments on the cramps I've been experiencing. I've had leg cramps prior to going on statins. It's usually a sign that I'm not taking enough calcium or my potassium level is low. I had the cramping problems the first month I went on the statin, but now my body chemistry has evened itself out on the regime and am not experiencing that problem. I discussed the cramping problem with my doctor when I followed up after a month of being put on the statin and he agreed with my route of treatment. Thanks for the tips.


Sock Wars is coming. Only 18 days away. Don and Mel, you better get your fingers limber. I don't think I'll be getting your size 12 feet in the first round, but I'm gathering up my support staff and I'm a-gonna be flying on those needles! Watch out NeedleGirl! I'll have you crying in your Austins! Rrraawwwrr!!!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Labor Day

Labor Day was initially conceived as a day to honor the guy in the pits, the girl at the sewing machine, and the working stiffs toiling in awful conditions in order to put food on the table for their families. At the time it was conceived in the late nineteenth century, many workers were working in dangerous or body breaking conditions for as little as the business owners could get away with. There were no pensions, no health care plans, and no representation for the worker in financial considerations of the business. The union movement was building up to address the issues. The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882 in New York City by the members of the Central Labor Union and Oregon was the first to pass legislation to make it a statewide holiday in 1887.

Nowadays, the image of a union is not very positive. Contracts negotiated in the past in the auto industry are now hobbling the big manufacturers, especially General Motors. Teachers' unions appear to favor a system of seniority, keeping teachers that no longer teach effectively while paying more effective teachers less than what they deserve. Transit strikes extract the ire of commuters and government union pensions suck budgets dry. The high wages that unions have been able to obtain have raised the cost of labor so that we cannot compete with low wage countries like China and India. That is what we see in the news.

While there are many complex issues out there related to unions, remember that the labor movement brought to the average working man things we now take for granted: a 40-hour work week; pensions; health care coverage; a means of arbitrating safer working conditions; minimum wage and overtime wage provisions; child labor laws. You don't have to belong to a union to garner good benefits.

Today's workplace is more and more geared toward service-related industries. While some jobs don't have the danger factor like coal mining or steel working, the hours that are demanded to maintain efficiency wear people down. Ask anyone who is a supervisor in an office how they are paid and chances are they're salaried. It means that regardless of how long you're working in a day there, you're paid the same. This is something you see in the computer industry amongst engineers and programmers.

I count myself fortunate that I'm in a good paying job with excellent benefits. I've worked in jobs that didn't have those things. So this Labor Day as you're noshing on barbecue raise your cup in a toast to the working men and women who stepped up to bring to us a better life. They were more than the men and women with smudged faces. They were also the people outside of the working poor who believed in a greater good for all when the working man is treated with dignity.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Walking wounded

I think the Middle Age Fairy has hit me with a major whammy this year. First it was the perimenopause, then it was the cholesterol. Now it's stupid stuff that I can't figure out how the hell it happens.

A few months ago, I noticed that I had swelling in my left ankle that I couldn't explain. When I asked my doctor about it, he said it was possibly lymph buildup and it comes with ageing. While I was going through the first month of taking the statin for my cholesterol, I was experiencing leg cramps more than usual and one cramp occurred in my left foot just below the ankle. There was swelling and pain and eventually the pain went away but not the swelling. When I went on my shopping excursion last week, both my feet were ready to secede but my left foot in particular was hurting. I did the RICE treatment, thinking that maybe a strained a muscle, but the pain hasn't really subsided that much. Well, I'm now scheduled to go see a podiatrist because it's possible I may have strained or torn one of the ligaments just below my ankle.

So now I'm hobbling around with my sympathy cane to keep the weight off it. Just when I'm trying to increase my exercise. Guess I'll just have to do presses with the cats.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Booby prize

The Race for the Cure is coming up in September here in River City. In the past, I've done the 1 mile walk but it's so crowded that you can't really walk, so it's often called the Crawl for the Cure. I figure they want my money more than my participation, so I opt for doing the Sleep In For the Cure.

The organization I work for is one of the big medical groups and they're plugging having employees sign up. They want to break the record of most participants, which adds fun to the whole event. We had a fair chunk of folks last year, all dressed in purple team shirts, so hopefully we'll do it this year.

In the meantime, my office is putting together a team and we're thinking of doing something special for the two breast cancer survivors. I've offered to make them scarves if folks are willing to fork up the yarn money. The team will be in a drawing for a prize. When I talked this over with one of the organizers, I got the idea of a "booby prize", which would be one of these. We'll see what happens.

After that conversation, I decided to go ahead and head over to here to pick up the yarn for making a boob. I thought about using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, but the color was too pink. Instead, I picked up some Cotton Cashmere that was the appropriate color, including one ball in a different color for the aureole. So far it's coming out nicely.

I think I'll give one to my gynecologist.

Orenburg dreams

While I was there I signed up for a January class with Joan Schrouder to learn how to knit an Orenburg shawl. It's not Galina Khmekelova (sp?), but Joan's local and known for her shawls. I'm looking forward to doing that while in the post-holiday doldrums.

Other projects

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I'm plugging away at other projects, switching back and forth from one to another. The Rose Trellis shawl gets a couple of rows done now and then. Currently, I'm working on the dog sweater for my sister Shirley's mini dachshund. I have the body done except for cutting the armhole steeks and am working on the logo patch in the round. When I'm not working on that, I'm plugging away at my Opal Lollipop socks. I tried a different heel this time and like how it curves to go around the heel.

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The heel is from Charlene Schurch's "Sensational Knitted Socks" and is the heel flap heel only doing it on a toe-up sock. In case you're wondering how I was able to take a picture of my foot on the stool, the model is a plaster casting of the bottom of my foot done about 5 years ago for another art project. It works well at modeling socks, but I have to stuff the casting in order to give the upper part any shape.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A shorty...

Today I opted to go clothes shopping because I'm in dire need of office wear that's halfway decent. We have Nordstrom Rack here, which is the clearance store for Nordstrom. I usually go to the one out in Clackamas but I didn't want to fight the traffic, so I opted for the one downtown.

After hunting and hunting for items that could cover my body and not cause people to lose their breakfast, I came home with three tops and six pair of socks. Yes, my friends, I bought socks. At the gauge they would have to be in order to be thin enough to be comfortable, I would have to do them on 8-aughts. Fergit that, piston puss! I also found out that the larger sized items are shipped to the store out in Hillsboro (WTF? That's 20 miles from here). So Saturday will be spent tromping over there to hunt for pants.

My feet are dead. I'm fixing something simple for dinner and working on my latest project if I can muster enough energy. I'm soooooo out of shape. No advice please; I know what I gotta do.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ghost stories

Mel had posted a story of ghost guardians from his childhood. It got me thinking about my own ghost.

The house I have was built in 1913 and was owned by the grandmother of the woman from whom I purchased it. It was a rental for a time, then Marie and her husband Boyd inherited the house and raised their son there. Marie's father was a carpenter, so he did some work on it. It's a Craftsman house, solidly built, and haunted.

When I purchased the house, I had a month available before I needed to move in, so I set to work making improvements. The walls of most of the rooms were covered in icky wallpaper. Those were going to be painted. At the time I was working graveyard shift at the grocery store with weekends off. The weekends were spent at the house, stripping and painting walls and woodwork.

The first weekend I encountered nothing, but the second weekend I was half awake when I sensed there was someone in the room with me. When I opened my eyes, I saw this head of an old man the color of bright green grass staring at me. I became more fully awake and the head vanished, leaving a deep emptiness that creeped me out.

I asked Marie if there had been a murder in the house or any unusual occurrences, but she said she had encountered nothing. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it had to have been her father watching over the house. The third weekend, I asked a friend who I knew was sensitive to ghostly presences to come to the house and help me paint. While she was there, I asked her to sense the house to see what I had. She told me I had a ghost, that it was benign, and not to worry.

The first year I spent in the house had two strange occurrences. My answering machine, which had worked perfectly at the previous residence, became cantankerous. The doorbell decided it wouldn't work. After a while though, they started working without any problems. My eldest sister came to stay one weekend but after that she never stayed at my house. A friend stayed the night and told me she saw something green in my dining room. Another friend felt the presence but was too terrified to look.

My take is that the ghost is curious, sensing foreign presences and checking them out. I've talked to the ghost, which I think spends most of the time in the attic, and explained that I was there for some time and would try to take care of the house as best as I could. In the meantime, I've felt that the ghost is protecting me. I've never had a burglary or major breakdown. The first night I brought my cats from the old place to the house I found them huddled in the basement, terrified, and chewed out the ghost for frightening them. Since then, I've not seen him, but I know he's there. Watching.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

You want to do it.......Really you do.......

My hand is better today. Icing it down, gently stretching the tendons, massaging the forearms, and resting have helped. I've found that mouse work while on the computer aggravates it more than the knitting, so I've taken to using my laptop's touchpad instead. I still limit myself and focus on not tensing up my right hand.

So what do I do? Sign up for Sock Wars.

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If you haven't heard about it, click on the above logo to get to YarnMonkey's site. She'll tell you all about it. So far she has over 400 warriors signed up. This will be interesting. Whether I make it past the first round or so will be the challenge. Since this is a long-distance speed event, conditioning for doing small gauge knitting over an extended period will be important. Not enough conditioning and maintenance of the muscles will open oneself up to injury. Too much can do the same. There will be young knitters who will have time on their hands to knit. We will see how the FiberQat does. I better not get someone with size 12 (men's) feet. At least I'll get a pair of socks.

I promise I won't whine if my hands give up on me. I won't whine to my loyal readers. I won't whine to my fellow glbt-knit listers. I will suffer in silence, a casualty in the battle to determine who's the badass sock knitter.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Short post today. Tendonitis has developed in my right hand to the point where I can't lift anything more than a few pounds. So no computer work or knitting. Pretty much lay off as much as possible, ice my hand down, and consume NSAIDs. I went over to the neighbor's to fetch a few movies for tomorrow; Sunday will be spent playing pinochle (peaknuckle) with the guys. I'm glad I can do it. I'll miss the knitting though. I'm 2/3's through the body of the mini-doxie sweater.

Ted can do my lace knitting instead of making snarky remarks in my comments. *BEG*

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A letter to my LYS

My dear,

This is difficult to put into words, but I feel that I must be honest with you. You have given me so much these years with your cameraderie, your encouragement, and your generosity that I at least owe you that.

I have fallen for another.

I can see you now. "How could you?" you would say to me. "There have been others but you have always come to me, never tempted by their tawdry displays or hipness. I have always been here for you: steady, solid, and providing you with quality product at a reasonable price."

This is true. I have not fallen like others to the wiles of other shops who fell for the trends and stocked their shelves with novelty yarns that are now collecting dust. Those who employ stylish waifs who deign to assist you because you aren't making the latest shrug from Vogue Knitting. I have come to you because you are careful with your choices of merchandise and provide the expertise of a team of knitters who are happy to guide the novice through the jungle of ill-written patterns.

But the spark that had been there in the beginning has started to fade a little. I love your companionship, but I'm afraid you have been less than inspiring to me. I admit I am easily drawn to new things and ideas and have come back to you for the security you provide. But the one thing that would truly satisfy me is missing.


You see, the LYS I'm seeing now has classes. Lots of them. And reasonably priced too. Classes that can challenge an intermediate knitter like me. I know you think that I don't need to take a class because I've learned so many new techniques on my own. But a good class can give me something that I could not give myself with my limited experience. My own experience of teaching classes has shown me that. I'm woefully inexperienced compared to some folks when it comes to knitting. If I come to a class with my skills, I can help but it's an experienced teacher who knows the little tricks that can help in certain situations.

I will visit you and give you first preference when I need to shop for a project, but I want you to be aware that I will be going elsewhere as well. They are open on Thursday evenings which is a dead night for anything interesting on the idiot box. They are inspiring to me and very supportive of my explorations like you. I will still see you on Saturdays, but know that I am sharing my love of knitting with another.

I hope you forgive me.

Sincerely, FiberQat

Friday, August 11, 2006

Goofy Friday

I think the events in the last 48 hours made people silly today at the office. I was feeling fey, others were feeling fey, and a general air of goofiness pervaded the air. I wish I could get more specific on what we were doing, but my brain was refusing to hang onto any short term memories. Gotta love that perimenopause. But there were times when the giggles threatened to take over the department. It was payday, it was Friday, the bosses were gone, and it wasn't blistering hot. So let's plot to make the boss's window to his office an Etch-a-Sketch, shall we? **giggle snort!**

Stitches Midwest is going full bore right now in Chicago. Franklin, Jon, Sean, and Lars have gathered together to up the manliness factor there (and hope to find other fellow manly men drawn by Franklin's beefcake picture who love to knit). So why the heck should I care? Same reason I'm drawn to blogs belonging to men as opposed to women, I guess. I have no idea. Sure, I have a snowball's chance in hell in hooking up with these guys in the romance department. But I also like to sit and listen in on conversations guys have. Well, most guys. I pass on the dick and date comparisons and sports (except baseball). And I love the give-and-take joshing guys give each other. The mild insults and good-natured ribbing. I guess it comes from joining my brothers in ganging up on my younger sister.

Anyway, while I was waiting for reports to print, my brain wandered over to the Stitches Manly Four and started churning verse a la Gilbert and Sullivan. This happens periodically: a song starts up in my head with goofy verses and I must write it down (not necessarily to a Gilbert & Sullivan tune). So I wrote down the verses and liked them so much that I thought I would actually send a copy to the Stitches Manly Four via Franklin's email addy. I feel like a fan writing to a pop star. It's just been that sort of day.

I'll let you know what happens. Maybe the verse will show up. Or maybe I'll find Dolores at my doorstep with a baseball bat with "Cease and desist" written just under the Louisville Slugger brand.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Yes there is knitting

August is here and with it comes working on rehearsal tapes, sorting music, and preparing for the upcoming singing term. The chorus is supposed to be doing a joint concert with Satori in December, so we'll be singing in Portland as well as Salem. More to come.

I have been knitting things. Really I have. Here are the Submarine socks I've been mentioning, made from Interlacements Toasty Toes Submarine.

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Currently in my knitting bag are my Opal Lollipop toe up socks. I'm using the heel from Charlene Schurch's "Sensational Knitted Socks" and really like how they curve around the heel.

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My sister Shirley requested a dog sweater for her mini dachshund with the Indian motorcycle logo on the back. I had the choice of using teeeeeeeeny weeeeeeny gauge yarn or shrinking a patch down. Guess which one I chose. In the meantime, I took a print of the logo and made a chart from it. It's going to be a fair bit of work, regardless of what I do.

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I'll make a patch with the logo then sew it onto the back of the actual sweater. It's a process that will produce fewer grey hairs.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Calgon take me away

I've always been emotionally sensitive, but in the past few years I've noticed that my sensitivity has increased. Part of it I can attribute to my going through hormonal changes. It doesn't take much anymore to make me feel hurt or guilty or angry. I deal with it through medication, awareness, and stress reduction. Quiet seclusion is one of my favorite methods.

Unless you're hiding in the wilderness somewhere or in the depths of Alzheimer's, you're aware of the many conflicts that are going on that threaten the balance of world relations. The US has isolated itself with its current administration's foreign policy and the Middle East is on the brink of a religious war. North Korea talks about their nuclear bombs they're going to use, making Japan very jittery. I never thought that news about Fidel Castro's medical problems would be such a welcome relief.

It came to me why I have latched onto knitting and reading knitting blogs over the last year. I am desperate for some relief from all the horrible things that I see on the news. I turned on local news yesterday, something I don't normally do, and saw report after report of people doing awful things to each other. One was on a good samaritan stopping a man from kidnapping a woman and her two children at the zoo so in a way it was good news, but it reminded me that an innocuous trip with one's children is not one hundred percent safe. I used to listen to the news religiously in the morning and evening. Now it's just the morning and even then there are times when I shut it off. I would start my weekend mornings with listening to NPR news followed by their programming. Lately I haven't been doing that. I'd rather go to my favorite websites and read about someone's observations of the events in their own lives. I'm seeking that seclusion that helps me deal with my own emotional turmoil.

If it weren't for newspapers and the Internet, there would be no resources for me to seek out the news. Connection with the rest of the world is important. You can't make a difference in your community if you cut yourself off from it. For me, it's the silence that is so important. I work in a noisy office. The last thing I want to do at the end of the day is bombard myself with more noise. Give me an online newspaper and dinner and I'm happy.

All I need now is a mouse that can be operated by my foot so that I can knit and read the news at the same time. Get at it inventors!

Knitting stuff

I'm not so much a yarn freak as a book freak. I can't tell you the number of knitting books I've picked up in the last three plus years but they outnumber my cookbooks, my humor books, and my art books. It's the designing part of it that attracts me as well as having a library I can turn to when I'm looking for a project to do. I find a book, fall in love with some of the patterns in it, and before you know it it's on my bookshelf. Lately I've been more selective, but haven't really slowed down. Ray is having a moving sale at his Knitivity site so while I was perusing his list, I found this:

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I had to have it. Once I got it, I found some patterns that I would most likely use later on. Don't you love the model at the bottom? The rabbitty teeth really make her.

Amazon is evil. They would put in my Gold Box this at nearly half price at a time when I can't take advantage of it. Evil! Evil! A pox upon them, the scurvy swine!

Off to go play with yarn and chat with the grrrrls.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sharpen those Turbos!

Grumperina posted a few days ago that someone told her that "Karin Skacel Haack, Vice President of the Skacel Collection, makers and distributors of the Addi Turbo, is entertaining the notion of making Addis with sharper tips!" When I saw that, my heart beat just a little faster. I'm a big fan of Addi Turbos but the tips are too blunt for my liking when it comes to working lace or socks. Grumperina is calling out to everyone who is interested in sharper tipped Addi Turbos to write to Ms Haack indicating their support for such a line. Email her at this.

Stay cool if you can!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

One year

A year ago I decided to start journaling my journey through fiber online. It has been an interesting journey. I have readers but few commenters. I'm not as erudite as some bloggers but that's okay. This way I can share with you (and maybe inspire a few) to try something new instead of the same ole thing. Thank you for taking a peek at this nutty knitter's ramblings and giving a few words of encouragement. I'll be there to enable you to go beyond the plain.

The scarf and poncho phenomena have worked their way out of the hearts of the weekend knitter, leaving those folks wondering if it's worth taking the time to try different knitted things.


Get out there and talk with your local yarn store folks. Browse through the magazines (Interweave Knits this quarter has a great issue out. Even if they're beyond your skill level they're inspiring.) Check out books from your library if you have access. Surf the Internet. Read more blogs. Listen to podcasts. The beautiful thing about knitting is that it has so much potential for one to express one's creativity.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Gail asked about the Blue Heron mercerized cotton yarn and where she could get it for less than what her LYS asks for. Unfortunately I don't have any sources. I would contact Blue Heron Yarns to find out where you can find it. Even at $40 a skein it's a good deal for 1000 yards of handdyed fingering weight yarn.

Brooklyn asked about stitch pattern of the Rowan socks I'm working on. The stitch pattern is from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks and is called Woven stitch. I didn't find it in Barbara Walker's Treasury but it's a simple pattern:

Repeat of 4 stitches
Row 1, 2 - Knit
Row 3, 4 - *K2, P2*
Row 5, 6 - Knit
Row 7, 8 - *P2, K2*

Sharon Rose mentioned the Denise needles in response to the query I had about putting a long tube connector on two sets of circulars. I have a set but I don't like them. The cable in the middle doesn't allow the yarn to slide and I've had the tips come off while I've been knitting with them. The one thing about the tube connector I proposed is that it can double as a point protector when not in use as a connecting tube.

So if you have a comment or observation, don't be shy! I really do read them and do respond.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Despite blistering heat, the Stephens clan gathered at Grant's for family, feasting, and fun. All of the siblings of Earle and Virginia and their spouses were there as well as all three of Grant's children with their spouses and offspring and one of Pam's sons. Grant and Yvonne put on a grand spread and provided coolth for the adults and entertainment for the youngsters. There was plenty of room for folks to find comfort and a good time was had by all. There were a few misunderstandings, but nothing awful. Games of pinochle were played in the evening, including retraining one sibling and training a nephew and a nephew-in-law to much amusement. When the kids had too much of the heat, they had a place in the basement to cool down and watch movies. All the while there was food, food, and more food. No one starved.

When things were relatively mellow, I worked on this in Southwest Trading Co's Phoenix raspberry. It took me three tries to get the lace to work, but on the third try I resorted to markers and so far I have 3 1/2" of the back done. It will go fast. It's a nice break from the shawl without being heavy. On the plane I had with me some Opal socks of which I finished the foot part of one and started the foot of the second before working the heel (I didn't have my instructions for working the heel flap on toe-ups).

At night before I went to bed, I read Hotel Bemelmans by Ludwig Bemelmans of Madeleine fame. It's a series of stories he wrote of a fictional hotel called the Splendide and the goings on in the dining rooms of the hotel. It's been very amusing and biting with its commentary on the characters who are part of the operations as well as the clients who use the facilities for their dining and entertaining purposes. The Hotel Splendide is said to be the Ritz Carlton and all the scenes take place in the nineteen twenties and thirties, so the stories have all of these people from Society, celebrity, and wannabes before the age of media glam.

I had an amusing conversation with my grand-niece Lauren Saturday night. It was twilight and near her bedtime, but she was being a typical four year old. Lauren is very curious about things and quite intelligent. Combined with her strong will, her personality can make her into a formidable woman in the workplace. For now, it makes her a tough kid to raise because you don't want to quash that desire to learn new things but you also don't want her to do things she shouldn't be doing. During the reunion however Lauren was being very good and enjoyable, playing with her cousins and uncle Dean during the day. That evening, I had gone out to talk with one of my brothers-in-law, Dick, when Lauren came out. She took a seat and saw the bugs that were attracted to the lights on the pergola. "Fireflies!" she said.

"No, those aren't fireflies," I said. "They're moths and regular flies."

"Oh," said Lauren. "Will there be fireflies?"

"I don't think so. They don't live here."

"Oh. Where do they live?"

Dick said, "I remember seeing them in Pennsylvania."

"Where?" asked Lauren.

"Pennsylvania," I said.

Lauren thinks this over. "How can I get to Pennsylvania?"

"Well," I said, "you could fly there in a plane, or you could take a train, or you could ride in a car. The car would take a while to get there; I would take a plane."

"How long does it take?"

"About 6 hours."

She thinks this over, then says, "Then I will fly in a plane to Pennsylvania to go see fireflies."

Her dad appeared at the door to tell her that she had to go to bed in a couple of minutes. "But Dad," she said, "I haven't seen any stars yet!"

Aunt Leslie took care of that. I got up and looked, and sure enough there were a few appearing, including the handle of the Big Dipper and the North Star. So I called her over and showed them to her. She was so happy she went inside to tell her dad.

It's great being an auntie.