Saturday, April 29, 2006

Wherein our heroine saves herself (a ton of money)

I changed the alternator in my car this week. I will take all of the credit for this automotive transformation, but I must say that my boyfriend started that last bolt, and my neighbor finished it off. I made them both cookies after I got the replacement part and installed it all by myself.

The chocolate chip recipe is a big hit. Thanks Alton Brown. There was a really bad photo of my cookies that I wanted to post. But it was very bad. They are chewy. The cookies.

Travelling back in time, I learned three new cast ons at the yarn store on Friday. One of the ladies asked who taught me how to cast on, and it was my great grandmother. She said, "and where is your great grandmother now?" My response, "Dead, but it wasn't from casting on this way." Nobody laughed. So I practiced the new casting on. We had gone to learn about socks, but since I was remedial and my friend lost interest in socks and decided she wanted to make a tank top out of mercerized (am I right?) cotton in purple and pink, we bought yarn. Ok, my friend bought yarn (hey, friend, is it ok if I use your name in here? It's a little tedious trying to find clever ways to euphamize "this other person who knits") and I was so impressed at the process of another person winding a hank into balls of yarn, as a kindness, that I suddenly needed yarn. So I bought some for all of the mothers' day presents I will be making. For my sisters, my godmother, my aunt, and my boyfriend's mother. (Hey boyfriend, can I use your name here, too?)

Progress on the House of Blue Leaves Scarf. This is a picture from last Saturday at the cardboard regatta, it's probably at least ten inches long now. maybe more. I haven't measured it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


There might be sock knitting today at lunch time. I am planning to go with another knitter whose garage sale I totally interrupted last weekend to stand around her bedroom and fondle her yarn and talk about local yarn shops. She even lent me At Knit's End. This knitter is so sweet and I am sad that we will both be moving away from this town so soon. We've never knit together, and this makes me even more motivated to find a knitting/crochet community in Hollywood,FL when I get there. (Except that she pointed out the pattern for cupcakes in One Skein and said, "This is what gives knitters a bad reputation!" I, uh, still want to make those cupcakes. I might crochet something similar from this site

We've been planning this all week and now we are both having car trouble. Hers is in the shop for tranny work and mine is in my driveway, waiting for me to take the alternator out. Yes, I will fix my own car. Unless Pete comes to rescue me. But I won't ask him this time. I mean, it's just two bolts and a wire. Where's my socket set? Hopefully there will be photos of that adventure.

**Edited to add, we're not going. I can't leave the office for the half day following lunch. My knitter friend doesn't have her car back. Maybe we'll go tomorrow if I can wash the grease off myself in time to knit and then have my massage. (It was a gift from the therapist who visits our office, and boy do I need it!)

Monday, April 24, 2006


Waiting to leave the office, waiting to get onto the knitting kitty ring, waiting to be a millionairess, waiting to upload photos onto my computer so you can see the beauty of the blue alpaca.

Monday, April 17, 2006

From the Office

Since I'm at work and can't upload pictures of my three repeats of blue "cascading leaves" I will tell the naming stories.

Mable came from the back of a beaten up pickup truck at a big box store a few days before my birthday. I won't tell you how pitiful I sounded when I turned to my boyfriend and said, "We won't go look yet at the kittens that are there. We will go get all the things we need from this huge store and when we are done, maybe there won't be any kittens left. If there are kittens, I will look. And maybe I will take a kitten home." Obviously, there were still some kittens. I picked the one that jumped out from the writhing ball of kittens in the cage to run over and bite me. I started calling her "Princess, go get me a beer," (I don't drink beer, that's the only reaons this was funny) which was fine until I was standing with her at the counter of the vet's office, shortening it to just "Princess" because the woman at the front had no sense of humor. Fast forward 6 weeks and many hundreds of veterinary dollars, in front of the vet counter again, but this time being asked if I had Princess the Kitten or Princess the Pit Bull. "Uh, how about Princess the name change?" Clearly, I wasn't enjoying calling my pet Princess. So we drove home from another expensive peek into her ears and backside, stocked up with piles of medicines and talked about a name. (Mable probably talked about getting out of the car and getting the greasy crap out of her ears, but let's not split hairs.)

We drove past the John and Mable Ringling Art Museum. And there it is, the name that every word processor tells me is misspelled. I guess that was more an acquisition story with a bonus naming blurdb. Onward.

For a year I joked that Mable would need a husband, and that next cat I rescued would be called John. In the same breath I insisted that I will not own a boy cat. They spray*, and sometimes they spray even after they're tender bits are removed. Enter Mittens, a white footed kitten that my neighbors were giving away. I was polite and called her John Mittens for about 4 hours and then she was just John.

Mable is the favorite, I am not ashamed to say. We have the most nicknames for her, she has cuter habits, and she is the cat that secretly binged on diet cat food under my sink for 4 months after we got the new kitten and had to feed them both kitten food. John is just bad, but I love her dearly, too.

*Yeah, that came back to bite me in the ass when John was a year old and living in a house with a third cat who is not popular in the cat world. John peed on my bed and at least once, me in the bed, every morning, and sometimes in the evenings when I returned home from work.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter Knitting Day

As promised, these are the booties for the twin girls my sister had a few weeks ago. The pattern comes from the book Knitting Pretty Yes, there are three pairs for two kids. They are twins, they will share for the rest of their lives. They can start now. In fact, they probably already have. I will put them in the mail tomorrow, along with some yarn pieces so she can pick a few more colors. She insisted that no pink gifts arrive, and though it was hard, I stuck to it. I will include some red and maybe one pink (just in case she's changed her mind) and some lavenders and blues.

There were Peeps this morning. And then french toast with nice Grade B syrup and some bacon for breakfast. Dinner was extra special, a replacement pb&j lovingly crafted after I almost threw the first across the room when the wildlife crawled off it and up my arm. I'm not one to be afeared of wildlife, and I have taken a phrase from my grandmother that I realize offends some of my friends, "It's just protein, dear." She was a scientist. But this was too much, and I had skipped lunch, so I was a wreck anyway, so before my boyfriend went to his music meeting, he made me a sandwich. I won't even tell you why I had left the first one on the counter long enough for someone else to start snacking on it.

The newest scarf swatch...

You can see the curling that still happens, blocking would probably fix that. You can also (maybe) see the moss stitch border that I added. The pattern is 16 stitches wide, on a background of reverse stockinette stitch. All the way at the bottom the side borders are five stitches of moss and then the five of reverse stockinetter. Clunky. So for the next pattern repeat I went to three moss. Still clunky. Then to just two. I like that, but in Worsted weight yarn, this 36 stitches is a bit much for a scarf. So I might try it in something finer on smaller needles. I have some blue Alpaca Peru, and I can get that in a green or a brown if I like the way it knits up. This is Plymouth Encore right now, which I like for knitting, but sometimes it's scratchy when it's knit. Also, the skeins I've gotten lately have all been huge messes on the inside, requiring at best a long concentrated untangling, and at worst, as with this skein, some scissors.

And as a final Easter Treat, this is one of my cats, Mable. The feet of her friend John can be seen in the background, and that sad thing she is, uh, holding, is a toy we call "Fat Mouse." Which goes pretty well with her, because we call Mable the Fatkins. As an aside, Mable and John are both girls. They are both spayed. John sometimes finds herself feeling confused when people refer to her as he. I tolerate that, since I caused the confusion with the names. At a later date, the kitten naming stories.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I'm knitting swatches from a book of knitting and crochet patterns. I want to design a scarf, and now that I know I enjoy this pattern, I need to swatch again to see what can be done with the edges of this scarf. This will be my first lace project.

Here is a scarf whose pattern is from the One Skein book by Leigh Radford. This is my third rendition of it, and I can see that it's good practice for my tension. Also, people are impressed.

Next up, photos of the baby booties I made for my sister's twins. I actually finished knitting them before they were born, sewed them up shortly after, and though the kidlets are nearly a month old, they are still not in the mail. My sister still hasn't gotten her wedding present either. So, uh, as long as they fit the feet when they arrive, I'm in the clear, right?