Donnerstag, Mai 31, 2007

Summer Goals

Sheri and Terri are sharing their goals for the summer. It made me realize that I should codify mine, if I have any.

Of course Sheri accompanied her goals with a lot of stash photos. C'mon, Terri, let's see it!

I was actually able to codify three goals.

  • Numero Uno

  • Learn how to lose weight using Weight Watcher's Core Plan. I know how to do it with regular Weight Watchers, but my doctor strongly suggested I switch to Core because of the diabetes scare.*

  • Numero Dos

  • Learn how to defuse anxiety. I printed out some hints for stress-reduction from the Weight Watcher's website, but didn't have time to read them. Maybe I haven't simplified my life enough.

  • Numero Tres

  • Make sure it's actually Paul on the phone when I get a call-back after paging him. It's really embarrassing to answer, "Hey, Pollywoggy," only to have a surgical nurse say, "He's scrubbed."

    Those are all the goals I have.

    There are a lot of things I should do, such as get the deadly nightshade out of the rose bushes.

    There are a lot of things I want to do, mainly knitting.

    I think I'll just let those things be freeform and happen as they may.

    As far as the free-form stuff goes, here is a project-in-the-queue photo:

    Grandma's Flower Garden STR, a lot less purple than it appears on the website

    A stash-I-couldn't-stand-to-take-downstairs photo:**

    A lot of STR, plus a fair amount of sock and laceweight yarns from Loopy Ewe; a few indie dyers

    And a grandkid project I forgot about because it was in the bookcase and not the closet (sorry for the fuzzy photo, but you get the idea, right?):

    Rowan All Seasons Cotton colorway 209 for two Very Berry T-s

    *My A1C was 5.9 in February. 6.0 and over indicates diabetes.

    ** That empty space is where my bag full of early music instruments goes; it's not open to stash.

    Mittwoch, Mai 30, 2007

    The Wars of the Roses

    Beginning in 1455 and continuing until 1487, the Wars of the Roses were fought between the House of Lancaster, symbolized by a red rose

    Rosa gallica officinalis

    and the House of York, symbolized by a white rose.

    Rosa alba

    In the end Lancaster won, but not in my yard. Check out this little bottom feeder with hardly a flower on it

    then compare it with this 10-foot tall winner, covered in blooms.

    I admit this is probably my fault. Lancaster probably wants a trellis. But I do better with rambler roses, which are sturdier than climbers and stand up by themselves.

    The rest of the yard is doing pretty well, despite a lack of political affiliation.

    Darlow's Enigma (white) and Zepherine Drouhin (pink)

    I'm sorry, I don't remember who this is, and the vine is a mystery, too

    Until I find my rose notebook I stumped; it's something like Reveill or Souvenir Dijonnaise

    All roses purchased from Heirloom Roses, although some are not currently available.

    Anyway, I'm off to get my hair done, and attend O's pre-school graduation. See y'all later!

    Dienstag, Mai 29, 2007

    Cherry Blossom Shawl Finished

    Not every project looks so cute in the sink. Pinky and the brain, brain, brain . . .

    The fir cone pattern is so cute, round on one end and pointy on the other.

    Only my cast-off was not loose enough, so I did not get extravagant points like Susan's.

    I want to attach the shawl to my dress so I spent some time online shopping for a scarf clip, mine having broken. This site has stacks of them.

    It's nice how quickly lace dries; the cats only had to be banned from the bed for a couple of hours.

    I am always amazed that the simple act of blocking turns a scrambed mass of yarn into a real lace fabric, with sheen and drape and beautiful textures.

    Now I want to learn how to do this:

    Photo borrowed without permission from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, October 24th posting.

    Only not right away. I think a crochet hook might have been involved in that.

    Montag, Mai 28, 2007

    Words, words, words!

    Thanks so much to Audrey and Lynn for definitions for clapotis (see comments). Now I can knit one without worrying about what it means.

    I came late to the online knitting table, due to being in school full-time for a couple of years, and clueless. I'm so far behind that I have not knitted Clapotis, nor have I ever had a pair of Jaywalkers on the needles.

    The Batman yarn I have in my stash would be a good choice for Jaywalkers

    Dark Knight colorway from DyeabolicalYarns

    and I have something lovely from Briar Rose with more than enough yardage for Clapotis.

    Briar Rose Heritage

    It's fun to be a follower.

    Words often concern me. It's not just clapotis. For example, there's the question of whether to say "knitted" or "knit" as the past tense of what I do a lot. Websters lists them as equally correct, but the Oxford English Dictionary only shows knitted as being used between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries, whereas knit and variations (my favorite is i-cnut) have been in use from the 11th century to the present. I don't think it meant in the 11th century what it does now; it appears to have been a kind of embroidery back then. But I like the quaint, Victorian sound of "knitted" so I guess I will stay with it. People probably won't understand me if if talk about what I've i-cnut.

    Another word that troubles me is "moisture," as used in my local community, where it means "precipitation." The Oxford English Dictionary defines moisture as "Water or other liquid diffused in small quantity through air as vapour, or through a solid substance, or condensed on a surface." That doesn't sound to me like rain, snow, sleet, or hail, although it could describe dew. I wonder if I can start a grassroots campaign to use "precipitation" (heaven forbid anyone should actually say "rain"!) instead of "moisture" when people want to talk about large quantities of it.

    And then there's the word "finished." Is my shawl finished when the last stitch has been i-cnut and it's off the needles?

    Or is it only finished when it's been blocked and looks like lace instead of (as Lucy Neatby says) rat-chewed rag? If that's the case, which I suspect it is, it's not going to be finished until tomorrow.

    Sonntag, Mai 27, 2007

    Today in the Neighborhood

    Three kids in grass

    Is this a great neighborhood or what?

    One kid in grass

    Dave Barclay, who died in December of 2005, had the best funeral I have ever seen. He had a horse-drawn hearse, scads of pipers playing him to his rest (of course--he was father, grandfather, uncle, or great-uncle to many of them, and had taught most of the pipers present how to play) and Highland dancers performing at the graveside. He was the founder of the Memorial Day service the Utah Pipe Band performs at several cemeteries in our area. We all really miss him.

    Barclay family members pay a tribute to Dave

    Laurel piping

    P calls this "Mommy has four legs." I only count three . . .

    When we moved to this neighborhood sixteen years ago, we had a hard time finding a house that we liked in our price range. We started looking at spec homes, and found this one half finished. It was a boring ranch house with no trees, and we had just moved from a house with personality half buried in trees. But there was a piper practicing in the cemetery across the street. We went down to meet him and learned that the band practiced there. Our daughter, Laurel, was learning to play the pipes, so we bought the house.

    We planted trees and roses, and the house doesn't look quite so blah now. And we have had a wonderful time being members of the Utah Pipe Band family.

    The funniest incident happened when the chapel was locked and the pipers couldn't get in to practice. I offered our basement, so we had an entire pipe band playing downstairs. Our neighbors called to complain that our daughter's practicing was too loud, and that if she kept that up they would have to report us on a noise violation.

    Fortunately they moved, and the new neighbors make their own noise. Have you ever heard a 14-year-old practicing for a duck-calling competition?

    Knitting Content:

    I think I can finish the pink shawl in a couple more hours of knitting. It is up to 480 some odd stitches per row, so it's slow going. I'll let you know how it comes out.

    Samstag, Mai 26, 2007

    Musings on a 3:00 a.m. Headache

    What to do in the middle of the night while you wait for your headache meds to take effect:

  • Try all the game types on Tetris Zone

  • Get to Level 9 and give up

  • Shop online for yarn

  • Decide not to buy any. You promised not to; and your ticker has been up for less than a week

  • Try to figure out what clapotis means when it's not a shawl

  • It's not in or the first French-English dictionary that shows up, so just give up

  • Get in the shower and soak your head

  • It's not that bad yet

  • Drink another diet Coke; it's medicinal

  • Shop online for yarn.

  • Question: Why am I doing this death pact no yarn shopping thing? Don't I have room in my stash for just one skein of this?

    Answer: The laceweight bin is so full you had to leave some Sea Silk upstairs with the sock yarn. Besides, did you see the price on that thing?

    Have you ever seen so much beautifully dyed cashmere in one place? Posh Yarns

    All the shades of merino silk singles that I like are sold out at Smatterings

    I didn't tell myself I couldn't buy patterns.

    Does ship to the US?

    Hey, my head feels better! Was it the second Coke? Or was it the Gossip yarn?


    Freitag, Mai 25, 2007

    Not sure what this post is about

    After going on and on about Audible yesterday, I listened to podcasts all day instead. Hey, the best things in life are free, right? Isn't the new KnitPicks podcast great! While listening to podcasts I made my favorite granola.

    This is my almost-diabetic-diet creation. It's sweetened with fruit juice concentrate. The recipe is here in case you're interested. It's really good mixed with fresh fruit and plain yogurt, with a little Splenda or Xylitol for sweetener. Caveat: it doesn't clump. No honey, no oil, no clumping, sorry.

    I wasted a couple of hours in the evening struggling to get a book on CD into the iPod in an unscrambled form. I wanted to listen to Back on Blossom Street, and it wasn't available on Audible yet. The Blossom Street books are not great literature, but I like the characters! Anyway, I've already ordered the yarn for the prayer shawl (before my ticker went up, L-B).

    After thinking about the implications of Yarninabox gifts, especially gifts that are already late, I decided to give my mom a portable DVD player for Mother's Day. She can no longer remember how to play a DVD on her TV--too many remotes, and too many settings (Satellite? VCR? DVD? TV? Game?). I hope the portable DVD player will be simple enough that she can use it. Plus with headphones she should be able to hear her movie without hearing aids. She can never find her hearing aids.

    I do plan to knit the Tencel/merino sweater for her birthday, though. When I went through my patterns looking for the cabled pattern I found this:

    Green Mountain Spinnery Lace Cardigan

    I think I'll do some swatching in the car tomorrow. The Lace Cardigan calls for cotton, so the yarn I have may be too drapey to look right. I also want to see if I can solve the bulging problem on Celtic Cardigan where the cables meet the garter rib.

    Oat Couture Celtic Cardigan

    The sweater is on for sure: I had to get that Tencel yarn out of the bins downstairs so I could stash more sock yarn. Finally! A project from stash yarn! Woohoo!

    About the Chris's Recital Ticker I added yesterday:

    Yep, I just bought another plane ticket to Portland. My son-in-law Chris can be heard in recital on June 12th. He sounded so incredible while practicing Danny Deaver that Sharman called to tell me about it. They're not recording the recital, so I have to go in person if I want to hear it. It's a fund-raiser since Studio Artists aren't paid a lot. See the fact box accompanying the Oregonian article.

    Chris's colleague Jeff Beruan, a bass, is also on the program. Anyone in the Portland area who wants to hear the most incredible new voices of the century and is willing to sacrifice some sock yarn money to a good cause, let me know and I'll see if Sharman has any invitations left.

    Donnerstag, Mai 24, 2007

    Read to me, iPod!

    Trusty and I are team-eating this morning. We have leftover cajun rice from last night's dinner. I am eating the rice, and tossing the chicken to him. I am not very fond of chicken.

    The pink shawl is now eating 6 g. of yarn per repeat. I only have one more repeat before I do the edging. It IS taking me all week.

    While I'm knitting, I'm usually watching TV, or to be more accurate, TiVo. I don't catch a lot of series; just Bones and what's left of the Stargates. The rest is History Channel, Science Channel, Knitty Gritty, Masterpiece Theater--that sort of thing.

    But what keeps me going in the rest of my life is the iPod.

    I hate doing dishes. I hate laundry. I hate cleaning. I hate walking that hour a day for exercise. The only thing that makes doing those things bearable is knowing I can listen to a recorded book on my iPod.

    Since getting my iPod I have listened to all of the Amelia Peabody mysteries--twice. I've listened to all of the Patrick O'Brien Aubrey/Maturin novels. I listened to most of Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon thrillers. I've started in on the classics--The Woman in White, The Moonstone, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, and now The Count of Monte Cristo.

    So in a way, the iPod buys me my knitting time. I get the other stuff out of the way faster so I can knit.

    Since I like it so much, I thought I would pass on a few recommendations.

  • is easier to use and cheaper than buying individual books on CD.

  • If you get an account with them so that you have credits, you can get two books a month for about $10 each, and additional books are discounted. If you use your credits on the really pricey ones and watch for sales, you don't waste too much yarn money.

    The downside is that you can't lend them to friends and family as easily as you can a print book or a book on CD. The person has to actually download them from your computer to their iPod. There is a three-computer limit to the number of places you can download to, and a downloaded book isn't useable if you copy it to another location.

    Audible works with pretty much any mp3 player. You don't have to have an iPod.

    P.S. they are not paying me for this.

  • If possible, listen before you buy.

  • I will listen to anything read by Barbara Rosenblat. She is Amelia Peabody. Patrick Tull, sadly now deceased, is the reader for Patrick O'brian's seafaring books.

  • Use online resources for background info and to find out what order series books go in.
    I like The Patrick O'Brian Compendium for Aubrey/Maturin info; Amelia for that series (for some reason I don't like Elizabeth Peters's other mysteries all that much); Murders in the National Parks for info on the Ann Pigeon thrillers (caveat: these can get gory); and Sparknotes for those "do what?" moments in the classics.

  • Series books are great because you don't have to wonder what to listen to next!

  • I can't actually think of anything else to say, so I guess Edmond Dantès and I will take Trusty for a walk now.

    Dienstag, Mai 22, 2007

    Cute Little Fiber Fair, Aging Parents

    OK, this is how amazing I am. I looked at all the new stuff at The Loopy Ewe sneak-up this morning and didn't buy anything. I did think about calling my daughter and asking her to buy something for me, but no. I stuck it out. Incidentally, if you follow that link, also go to the home page and click on each yarn shown. There are usually more colors than show up in the "New" section.

    I also did not go to the Idaho Falls fiber fair this last weekend. I was too pooped from the trip to Portland. And too broke, truth be told. I always come away from Idaho Falls with beaucoup $$ in beads, fleeces, and rovings. See Kate's report on the fair. I have some gorgeous red roving that I bought from Kate last summer, and I also took a dye class from her. And she has Cyndi and Shirley pictured, too, and they are two of my favoritest people in the world.

    We are going up to my parents' this weekend for a postponed Mother's Day. I'm kind of puzzled about what to take as a gift. I have some beautiful silvery grey Tencel/merino yarn that I got on sale several years ago. It would make a beautiful cardigan for the woman who gets up in the morning and turns the heat up to 80 degrees, even in August. I need to dig through my patterns. I know I have this somewhere:

    Oat Couture Celtic Cardigan

    Or maybe she would prefer something fitted:

    Katherine Hepburn Cardigan from Lace Style

    She would get Yarninabox of course. I might be able to knit a cardigan in four days, but I don't want to find out. The goal would be to have it ready for her birthday in August.

    I worry about my mother always feeling cold. She doesn't eat properly and forgets to take her diabetes medicine. She's kind of anorexic, so really thin. She forgets to take her thyroid medication. These things all can make people feel cold.

    The last time I was up there I was in the bathroom next to mom's room and overheard my parents talking.

    Mom: There's something wrong with this heater. It's glowing red.

    Dad: What's it set on?

    Mom: I don't know, about 65 I think.

    Dad: D**it! You've got it set on 90! Turn it down!

    Me: Turn it off!

    I spent the rest of the night waking periodically to make sure the house wasn't burning down.

    They set their yard on fire at least once a year, burning weeds or their garbage with a flame thrower. Supposedly they have a trash service picking up the garbage now. My sisters' kids go up to weed.

    My dad set the kitchen carpet on fire last summer, too. He thought the nose-piece on his oxygen was uncomfortable, so he got out his little propane torch to melt it into a more comfortable shape. He left the oxygen running . . . not sure why. He used to be a welder, so he knows what happens when oxygen meets a torch.

    Oddly, he's the one of the two who actually knows what's going on most of the time. My sister and I are setting up an appointment for mom at the Memory Loss Center (a euphemism for Alzheimer's Care) in Salt Lake. The last time they went out of town she didn't recognize her own home when they got back. She is often disoriented, but this was worse than usual and she has agreed she might need help.

    But despite dad's being the one who knows how to run the TV and satellite remotes and remember what day of the week it is, he sure gets into some pickles.* One day he looked out and saw a cow (or cows) in his yard (the BLM isn't required to fence animals in; you have to fence them out). In his bare feet and pajamas and without his portable oxygen tank, dad jumped in the truck and chased the cow(s) up onto their range. Unfortunately he got the truck high-centered on a ridge and was not able to drive back. With no shoes or oxygen he couldn't walk back. With no phone in his pajamas pocket he couldn't call for help. So he just sat there waiting for something to happen. Mom finally wondered where he was and walked out to the main road, from where she could see the truck. Fearing a heart attack or other serious problem, she flagged down some hunters, and asked if they could take their ATV up on the mountain and find him. They brought dad back, but it took a tractor with a crane hook to get the truck back on solid ground.

    It should be a fun visit. Mom lets me raid her books and music and tells me wild stories about her childhood. My sister and her daughter will come up to gab and knit. And although it's hard getting used to my parents not being the same people I remember from my own childhood, it's a good 9 hours of knitting time getting there and back.

    *Apologies if I've told you this story before. It's cathartic for me to repeat it.

    Themselves, for all love

    The Dog of the World


    The Cats of the World



    The Shawl of the Moment

    Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style, knitted in Cherry Blossom silk yarn from Sundara Yarns

    This shawl is now at the black hole stage. It's not a huge shawl; but it's taking forever to knit each row now. I made a lot of progress on it while flying around the west coast last week. I'm enjoying knitting it. The design is easy to memorize, so I didn't need to use the pattern on the plane.

    Based on the weight of the remaining yarn, it's taking about 5 g. of yarn to knit each 10-row pattern repeat. There should be enough left for 2 more repeats after the one I'm on, plus the 22-row edging and bind off.

    I bet it takes all week.

    The missing knitting has not been turned in to Lost and Found at Kingsbury Hall yet. Do the janitors not sweep under the seats? Did someone covet my Loopy Groupie bag or the socks inside and take it home? Oh well. I actually ordered replacement yarn for the socks before remembering that I have vowed not to buy any more yarn for a while. I had to email and cancel the order. Embarrassing.

    I know exactly how much pink yarn I have in my stash

    Cherry Blossom sock yarn from Sundara Yarns

    and it is mine, mine I tell you, ALL MINE!

    I will think of something else to knit for my friend.

    Sonntag, Mai 20, 2007

    A Wee Bit o' Stash Enhancement

    I was able to pick up a few fiber-related items recently.

    A little sock yarn . . .

    Blue Moon Fiber Arts, from Left:
    Mediumweight in Torridon and Tanzanite (Fair Isle Kit #2)
    Lightweight in Backstabber, Tanzanite, a Rare Gem, Waterlilies, Dixie Chick, Cluckers

    . . . including Blue Moon's new Silkie Socks That Rock . . .

    STR Silkie
    From Left:
    Puck's Mischief, Lunasea, Downpour, Rooster Rock, Mustang Sally, Knitty Rocks

    . . . and some Bambu.

    STR Bambu
    From left: Henpecked, Calypso, Lakshmi

    While Blue Moon regularly stocks only what you see on the web, if you catch them at a show you can get all kinds of strange stuff. For example, these slinky grrls:

    STR Slinky Yarns:  Seduction, Rio, and Lupe
    From Left:
    Seduction in Lover's Leap
    Rio in Bronze, Squash Blossom, Cherries Jubilee
    Lupe in Bleeding Heart

    or some spinning fiber (although most of that goes to The Fold):

    The last Sheep to Shoe kit
    The last "Sheep to Shoe" kit, in Carbon

    I have now sworn off buying any more yarn of any kind until . . . until . . . OK, I ordered the Grandma's Flower Garden colorway, too, for the Prayer Shawl. I am such a follower. If you've read the Debbie McComber books, you'll want it too when you read Back on Blossom Street. Thanks for these links, L-B.

    Anyway, I am having to completely revamp my sock and laceweight yarn storage because of these and other recent purchases, so I really am swearing off buying any more yarn. Just don't show me any more KALs, sock clubs, or new yarn sources. Lime and Violet, stay away from me with your stinkin' Yarn Pr0n.

    Freitag, Mai 18, 2007

    Mittwoch, Mai 16, 2007

    It was . . .

    Amazon Chicken!

    chicken power2

    chicken power3

    chicken power

    The opera was great. I was disappointed that Chris did not go on as Papageno (the scheduled Papageno got out of the hospital, fortunately for him), but we enjoyed Chris in his assigned role as The First Priest. He was the loudest person in the opera, although the Thunder Sheet was pretty loud. There was a terrific dragon, Die Koenigin der Nacht had a stellar costume(get it? stellar?) and she hit all her high notes. For some reason the three boys were all girls. . . maybe Portland needs a choir school? But Die Drei Damen were ladies, and they were great.

    Kendra, I'm sorry I forgot to bring your scarf. I will mail it. Can you please give Chris your address? Only, what are you going to do with an alpaca and cashmere scarf in Texas?

    I can't tell you about where I went today. I was sworn to secrecy. I only mention it because it was amazing and I wish I could tell you about it. All I can say is that it was way fun, and that I couldn't have gotten there without Karl-Heinz, my trusty GPS unit. Do not try to go anyplace top secret in Oregon without one, because cel phones don't work deep in the woods, meaning you can't call for help if you get lost.

    Montag, Mai 14, 2007

    Back to Portland

    I am really excited about the opera. While they were not able to use the Maurice Sendak sets, they are using the Sendak costumes. I can't even talk about what else I'm excited about. I'm too superstitious.

    I haven't started packing. Instead I was working on a top-secret mystery project, a gift for an Oregon fiber friend. Laurel came over and she and Che assisted. In fact, Amber assisted, too, because she knew where my needle felting stuff was.

    If you can correctly guess what the mystery project is, I will enter you in a drawing to win a souvenir from my trip. If I get any :)

    No tickers