Samstag, Juni 30, 2007

On My Birthday in 1612 . . .

. . . Galileo discovered the planet Neptune.

This is The Birthday Meme. It isn't knitting, but it's educational.

Go to Wikipedia and into the search field type the month and date of your birthday (not the year). Then share with the world:

  • Three events

  • Two births

  • One holiday

  • You are actually supposed to tag five people. So all five of you who read my blog, consider yourselves tagged.

    So. My events:

    As I said, Galileo discovered Neptune in 1612.
    He didn't get credit for the discovery because he thought it was a fixed star

    1895: the first showing of a movie to a paying audience.

    1897: the premiere of the play Cyrano de Bergerac.

    Two people who share my birthday:

    Stan Lee, creator of my second favorite comic book character, Thor (also Spiderman, X-Men, The Hulk . . .)
    my heart belonged first to Superman.

    Nichelle Nichols
    Uhura: Tell me how your planet Vulcan looks on a lazy evening when the moon is full.
    Spock: Vulcan has no moon, Ms Uhuru.
    Uhura: I'm not surprised, Mr Spock.

    One holiday:

    Proclamation Day
    in South Australia
    I like the fact that The Old Gum Tree was involved in the original proclamation

    Isn't Wikipedia great?

    Freitag, Juni 29, 2007


    1. A gripping, bookish, romantic mystery novel by A.S. Byatt

    2. A Gwyneth Paltrow movie based on the book

    3. My relationship to sock yarn

    I'm starting to think I don't own it, it owns me. In one of the podcasts I listen to, and I am forgetting which one, a comment was made about stash size. The 'caster said she was not as bad as Miss Lime, who apparently has 80 skeins of sock yarn.

    This got me thinking. I made a rough count of the yarn in my computer room closet. I say rough count, because there are a couple of skeins of laceweight in there, and because some may have gotten pushed behind others and missed getting counted.

    There were 115 of them. And there were a few in the kitchen that hadn't been stashed yet . . .

    Posh yarns Hobnob

    Merino/Cashmere sock in Daisy
    from The Knittery

    Pretty Pirate from Yarn Pirate

    Sundara Yarns Petals Collection
    Blue Grape Hyacinth

    Jubilee Sock Yarn from
    Misty Mountain Farms in Apple Rose.
    It doesn't look much like the dyelot Sheri had, does it?

    And those are just the fancy-pants, hand-dyed sock yarns. I keep my solids and commercially dyed sock yarns downstairs in a couple of those big plastic drawer/bins. There could be another 40-50 skeins down there.

    Plus, I don't feel as if I'm knitting productively if I'm not working on socks. I finished my Grasshoppers on Wednesday,

    BMFA 2007 Rockin' Sock Club

    Then I thought I would finish up the too-small Tulip Sweater. I did all the edging, but I didn't feel like doing the sleeves.

    I just couldn't go to bed last night until I had finished the gussets on my Firebird Socks.

    So, what does it mean that I have more sock yarn than Miss Lime? Maybe it only means I've been knitting socks longer--almost 11 years. But maybe it means I'm possessed by sock knitting. Or that I'm possessed by sock yarn collecting. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

    Oh well, what does it matter. I like to knit, I'm going to knit something. It might as well be socks, and I might as well have some sock yarn on hand in case of some crisis like Y2K was supposed to be, or an earthquake or something. Hey, I better put a sock project in my 72-hour kit!

    Note: the following picture has nothing to do with sock yarn, but I worked hard to get this photo so I am putting it here.

    Golden Eagle lands on nest in Salt Lake City's Hogle Zoo bird show

    Mittwoch, Juni 27, 2007

    Black Sheep, Black Sheep, have you any wool?

    Yes sir, yes sir, FOUR bags full:

    The fourth bag is directly behind these.

    And I hate to tell you, but it is mostly garbage.

    These bags were fairly heavy, 25-30 lbs each. This was all I was able to salvage.

    Notice that some of it really did come from a black sheep!

    A few weeks ago my daughter texted me while we were out of town to ask if I wanted some wool from a co-worker's kids' 4-H sheep. She said it would be free since the people were just going to take it to the dump. I texted back that you usually get what you pay for, but I would look at it.

    But later Celia told me there was black lamb fleece. I went nuts over that, so she called them right up and told them I wanted it. I picked it up last night.

    I have sent Celia an email with some suggestions for her to forward to the sheep owners, such as "please sweep out the shearing area before you start" and some instructions on how to bundle the fleece. They had just stuffed this into the bags since they thought it was going to the dump, and the fleece was all strung out so you couldn't tell what was what.

    Anyway, about 75 lbs of wool is in my trash because it was so full of straw, hay, poop, bent needles on syringes, and metal trash that I couldn't do anything with it. The other 5 lbs. are in my tub.

    Paul tactfully reminded me that I normally wash wool in bags, to protect the drains. I drained this tubfull through one of my bags, and now have the wool in a plumbing-friendly set of laundry bags for the remainder of the scouring.

    Now here's another topic entirely. Have you seen Ute's blog, Immer Wieder Socken? You don't need to read German to appreciate this blog. Just go there and look at the pictures. This woman has knitted 66 pairs of socks so far this year!!! Only 13 of these were child-sized. I am stunned.

    Montag, Juni 25, 2007

    Reality Check

    I tried singing along with the national anthem at Howard's concert in the park last night. I was able to bark out most of the notes, although I had to drop an octave here and there. This means that the nerve in my neck has recovered, so if I wanted to I could return to voice lessons and possibly redevelop some kind of singing voice. The question is, is it worth the effort?

    I'm sure that when I was singing BTS* I didn't ever sound as good as I thought I did, and it used to really bug Paul when I would jump to the high note at the end of songs ("the land of the freeEEEE!"; "happy birthday TO YOUUUUUU!"). I would have to start over from scratch. It would be a lot or work. Judging from how I reacted to voice therapy, it might be depressing, too. So--maybe not right now.

    Trusty faced his own demons before the concert, in the form of a horrible monster with a black protruberance on the front sprouting extra arms and legs. Despite my reassurances that the monster was not going to get him, he embarrassed himself next to the picnic table. Luckily for Trusty, the protruberance came off and the monster resolved into two perfectly normal humans, although he had to lick Baby Aeowyn's foot to make sure something that small really was human.

    Facing reality in knitting can be a challenge, too.

  • With some 600 yards of handspun to knit for the overdue exchange, that's probably all I will be knitting this summer.

  • Hmmm. Maybe I should redye that orange one today. Since we're not going to the zoo.

  • I wonder if I can get the other exchange out on time? I haven't even started the spinning yet. Although it's only 8 oz. of fiber, half what I spun for the other exchange.

  • My mother's silver sweater will be lucky to be finished by Christmas, let alone her birthday.

  • Blue Glass Fish and Pink and Blue Orchid stitch markers from Sunneshine

  • The blue bamboo sweater will probably end up in stash, since I haven't gotten very far on it and I plan to be a smaller size by next summer.

  • With 7 sock projects on the needles and the above-mentioned knitting load, the chances I will knit Cookie A. kneesocks for anyone by Christmas are not way good

  • Metropolis Sock

    Note to Laurel and Joanne: You should still decide which Cookie A. socks you want, just in case--Please check them out and let me know which stocking you like and what color, and email me.

    And then there's the mitten knitting I promised to six of the eight grandchildren. I'll have to start knitting those two at a time the way I do socks, judging by past performance.

    Well, I have orders from my doctor to reduce my stress level, and knitting is my most therapeutic activity. I may just go back to La-La Land, where I can finish it all up in no time and start more projects! Reality? We don't need no stinkin' reality!

    *BTS: Before Thyroid Surgery

    Samstag, Juni 23, 2007

    Lavender's Blue

    L-B made lavender wands for me! That's true friendship when a person is willing to sacrifice their knitting time to weave lavender. They smell wonderful.

    Wands shown with (top) Zen String sock club yarn Lotus Toes fingering in "Lily"; Yarn Pirate "Sonoma."

    The lavender wands are really too pretty to hide away in the yarn closet.

    Thank you, L-B. You're the best.

    Freitag, Juni 22, 2007

    Quick Update

  • 1.

  • My Blue Moon sock club kit came. It is too gorgeous for words (as usual). I am too busy knitting to take pictures, but why should I anyway when you can get great shots here, or here, or here.

    Of course if you are in the club and didn't get your kit yet and don't want your surprise spoiled, I hope you didn't click on any of those links.

  • 2.

  • It is hotter than Hades in here. Our air conditioner is mostly dead. It runs for a while, then freezes up. I know, there's nothing you can do about it. But there's nothing I can do about it either right now. I just feel like complaining.

  • 3.

  • I switched to Firefox recently (replacing Explorer on my PC and Safari on my Mac). The transition was incredibly easy, since it copied all my bookmarks, cookies, etc. automatically (I had a choice). It offers tabs, which Safari didn't, and is supposed to be more stable and secure than Explorer. I highly recommend it, especially if, like me, your Safari crashes at random in the middle of projects.

  • 4.

  • Animaniacs 3 is out on DVD now. In case you care.

    Back to my new sock kit, and the rest of Atlantis. See ya 'round.

    Donnerstag, Juni 21, 2007

    Extreme Harping

    Celebrate the Solstice with harp music, OK?

    I'm trying to catch Metropolis sock #2 up with #1 so they can live together on the needles.

    Oh, I'm sorry, were you wondering where to get a Harpsicle?

    One of the harps I play in early music groups is a Rees harp, but not quite that small!

    P.S. Terri, since you're going to ask anyway, it was a Loopy Ewe update, and the victims were:
  • The Knittery Merino 4-ply Daisy from Australia;
  • Posh Yarns cashmere/merino sock yarn in Hobnob;
  • Fiesta Boomerang in White Zinfandel;
  • Dream in Color Smooshy in Gothic Rose; and
  • a couple of small bags

  • I have never quite recovered from losing my Loopy Groupy bag at the theater last month.

    Dienstag, Juni 19, 2007

    Tolkien wrote The Hobbit . . .

    When suddenly faced with a blank sheet amidst the papers he was marking, Tolkien used the breathing space (and the paper) to begin the second greatest* story ever told: "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

    When suddenly faced with a free hour in my piano teaching schedule, I started Rhubarb Metropolis socks.

    Trusty-proof temporary yarn stash

    I'm starting at the toe, but the actual pattern is top down.

    Metropolis Socks pattern available from The Loopy Ewe. Rhabarber colorway sock yarn from Wollmeise.

    The design has some Monkeyish aspects, but makes Xs instead of Vs. It distorts the stripes into almost kaleidoscopic curves.

    I had originally bought black and white Tofutsies for this pattern, but Trusty ate it. L-B says I should try feeding him tofu. I think it was the seafood shells that appealed to him.

    The other thing Trusty ate, or at least mouthed and left incredibly slimy and disgusting, was P's new Webkinz dog. Laurel washed it off thoroughly, but P was very unhappy. Q did not have a Webkinz yet, so we went to the toy store when I finished teaching and got him a Persian cat, a frog for M, and a replacement dog. But when we got to Laurel's, P had reunited with her dog, so I gave O the new one. In case you are new to the Webkinz phenomenon, the toys come with a password that lets the wee owner onto a kid game website where their toy becomes a virtual pet that they can dress and feed and sort of talk to. Virtual pets aren't new, but these are awfully cute.

    We bought M's frog at Me & My House in Bountiful

    In case you are wondering why my grandchildren have alphabetical names, I am clueless. But we are missing an N in that series, so I think Howard and Amber will have to name their new baby something starting with that letter.

    * Opinions differ on which is THE greatest story ever told, but it is probably "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

    P.S. Can you tell I crashed my blog? Hint: Do not edit HTML after midnight unless you are a real programmer.

    Montag, Juni 18, 2007

    ooOOOoooh, Wollmeise!

    Yes, the international component of the yarn binge has come in.

    Wollmeise sock yarn, 100% superwash wool, 350m/100g, 2.5mm needle; from left: Rhabarber (Rhubarb), Frosch (Frog), Wilder Mohn(Wild Poppies), Dornröschen (Sleeping Beauty), Red Hot Chili (Red Hot--er, you figured that one out, did you?)

    It's a dry-feeling yarn with kind of a matte finish.

    When you go to the Wollmeise website, if you don't read German, click on the "Englisch" link at the bottom of the page. To order, click the "Kontact" button to email Claudia. She's fine with English.

    Freitag, Juni 15, 2007

    Life at the Subconcious Level

    The other day I had to have some blood drawn for lab tests. This is the shirt I grabbed out of the closet to wear to the lab:

    I couldn't get the photo the exact color of the shirt, but the shirt turned out to be the exact color of the deoxygenated venous stuff going into the test tube.

    In the last couple of years I have spent a lot of time getting stuck for blood tests. More recently I have been sticking myself for glucose readings. Is this beginning to affect the colors I like?

    From left: Blue Moon Fiber Arts STR Leightweight in "Backstabber"; All Things Heather "Merlot"; The Knittery Merino Cashmere Sock "Cherries";check The Loopy Ewe for availability

    And if that's so, then does it work the other way? Does buying a bunch of blood-colored yarn and clothing result in more trips to the phlebotomy lab?

    Maybe I should stick to balloon-colored baby sweaters for a while.

    Tulip Baby Cardigan fresh from its bath

    Donnerstag, Juni 14, 2007

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    TSA Employee at PDX: Is this your bag?
    Me: Uh huh.
    TSA: [rifles through bag and pulls out the above-pictured knitting] What is this?
    Me: Knitting.
    TSA: [to TSA man at the X-ray machine] Hey, Bud--it's knitting needles.
    Other TSA: [Guffaw] Oh, OK.
    Me: [slinks away]

    I guess maybe two socks on two circs with metal needles was not a good airplane choice. I don't even want to imagine what they thought it looked like. But I started these on two wooden circs, and the join on the Crystal Palace was making me SO CRAZY!

    I have had some bad luck with Magic Loop because I couldn't keep the first stitch of a row starting on the cable rather than the point from being too tight or too loose. I knitted a sweater using that method on the sleeves, and had to use a crochet hook to loop up a whole column of stitches on each one. But on the other hand, now that I'm knitting two socks at a time I'm having to deal with starting a row on a cable all the time, and it seems to be going better.

    I just can't take DP's on the plane. I drop them. I lose them. I break them. Maybe a lace project with a nice, repetitive pattern is a better choice for me.

    Chris's recital was really super. He sounds so good now. Everyone send good wishes for him to start getting mainstage roles. He is ready! Many thanks to Sarah Jane Patterson at the Portland Opera for her help and support for Chris and his career. We love Sarah Jane!

    Montag, Juni 11, 2007

    A few things show up

    The first thing to show up from the 5-day international indie-dyer binge was, of course, the Dream in Color. Maybe they don't count as independent, but they're certainly not Plymouth Yarns or Lion Brand.

    The results so far: a Very Big Swatch.

    Yes, I'm knitting a supposed 6-9 month size sweater that might, with luck, fit a 3-month-old. Well, there wasn't time to swatch, the whole thing went by so quickly. I'll finish up the edging and sleeves and hang onto it until someone I know has a girl in the winter. Then I'll switch to #8 needles for the rest of the sweaters; and maybe check my gauge once in a while.

    Incidentally, I am having a ball with my KnitPicks needle set. Every time the pattern said to put the stitches on a holder, I just twisted off the points and stuck them on a different cable. I have 24" cables waiting in all the stitches meant to be on holders, and can just pop a needle tip on them when it's time to apply the i-cord. And when I get ready to do the sleeves together on two circs, I can take the points out of my mom's sweater and leave it with one of those cool label tags to remind me what needle size it needs. I've never had to use one of them before.

    Some more binge offerings showed up late Monday.

    I ordered some of it from The Loopy Ewe.

    From left: Zen String Serendipity Fingering in October; Sport in Chocolate Cerise and Bart & Louise in the Garden.

    Those Loopy Ewe updates can get vicious. I had a skein of fingering–weight Bart & Louise in my cart, but it was snapped up by another shopper. Feeding frenzy! I missed the pinks I was hoping for (to replace the sock that disappeared at the theater) but I think I have them coming directly from Zen String.

    My big piece of luck on a day when I was letting myself shop was catching an update at Ball and Skein.

    Sock yarn, from left: Rainy Day Blues, Iris, Comet, Indian Corn, Tomato Soup

    You have to order these right when she dyes them, or they're gone. You know: you snooze, you lose. I recommend putting her blog on your bloglines, and then when she updates, you'll know.

    I think I'm done with indie binging, but it depends on whether Judy does more silk in Black Cherry or Blueberry. If either of those shows up, it's a planned purchase, right? Not a binge.

    The international component of the binge will take a lot longer to show up. My pride was cut to the quick when Claudia of Wollmeise answered my carefully-thought-out-in-German email, in English. I quickly swallowed my pride and ordered anyway. If you want to shop at Wollmeise and don't speak German, there is an "englisch" button at the bottom of the page.

    My friend Jeanne says, "Now that you've got all that yarn, what are you going to do with it?"

    Knit a lot of big swatches?

    No wonder, Stephanie!

    It's not just the colors, although they look happy as balloons at a birthday party, and a little splashed-on-looking, besides.

    It's not just the Tulip Baby Sweater pattern, although it's devilish clever and fun to knit, with all-in-one, top-down construction and adorable seed stitch color-change rows.

    It's this Dream in Color yarn. You put it on the swift and start to wind, and for a split second, nothing happens! It's sproingy, bouncy, cushy, and smooshy. It's merino yarn that hasn't been processed out of all remembrance that it began life on the back of a merino sheep.

    Since I bought full skeins instead of a kit, I have enough yarn here to knit a bunch of these. Baby Aeowyn would like one, I bet. Green edging for hers. And Baby Jayden; she's visiting this week from California; if I knit fast I can send hers back with her. And Summer Sky blue edging for Baby Callie* . . .

    You guys! There is Dream in Color sock yarn, too! It's called (surprise, surprise) Smooshy.

    * Working title

    Mittwoch, Juni 06, 2007

    Spin or Dye

    I have been spinning.

    I started yesterday at about 11:00 a.m. with one bobbin of orange, green, and yellow singles, and three bobbins-full of purple ones. At about midnight the orange skein was finished and drying, and I had a full bobbin of plied purple yarn, with maybe another half a bobbin to go. I had listened to the first nine CDs of Harry Potter: The Half-Blood Prince (preparing for The Deathly Hallows).

    This morning I had spinitus interruptus because Stephanie has that tulip baby sweater on her blog again. I resisted it before, but there were so many of them on the blog this morning that I couldn't stand it. I wasted about two hours trying to find the yarn for it online.

    String Theory Yarn Company has it! In fact, someone at their shop designed it. So don't waste your time, just order it from them. They can sell kits or the pattern with full skeins. And if they run out, Knitter's Palette has the pattern in stock and will be getting a new order of the yarn next week (although they sell full skeins only).

    I am going to go finish plying my purple singles now. And then I will have to re-set the dye in the orange skein, because it bled like crazy when I washed it last night. I guess that's not exactly dyeing. Post-dyeing? Salvage dyeing? Anyway, I hope it works.

    This yarn is for an exchange, and it was due last August. I got stuck on the project because the exchange wool was white. It didn't occur to me at the time that I could just leave it white. No, I had to dye it. The orange wool was supposed to come out peach and pale leaf and delicate gold and go with the purple in a fair isle pattern.


    I can just hear my exchange person now: "What did she do to my wool? Why did she pick two non-coordinating colorways? What was she thinking?" Probably I had better drop it off at her work when she isn't there.

    I think I will just leave this year's exchange wool natural. It's better that way.

    And once this exchange spinning and knitting are done, I vow never to enter another exchange. It's better that way, too.
    No tickers