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14 posts from February 2008

EditingFebruary 29, 2008

I'm reading a book.

The main character is remembering cuddling with her grandmother in Scotland as she learned to knit:

In the afternoon, they'd rake up the coals and get the heat going in the small stove, sitting in just their socks on the two-seater sofa.


Naked grandmother. Naked six-year old learning to knit in the cold Scottish winter. Just socks. That might not be what the author intended.

Maybe I'm just super-hyper-conscious about what I want to avoid in my own writing. I think I'm an okay writer. It's definitely what I want to do; it's my passion. While I know most of the rules, I know that I tend to ignore them or just steamroll right over them sometimes out of laziness -- you see that all the time on this little blog.

I'm hip-deep in this novel rewrite. No, more like neck-deep, and OHMYGOD I'm such a bad, horrible, shockingly terrible writer sometimes. Truly. Many of my sentences are much, much worse than the one quoted above. Adverbs just fly. I was writing a romance! I let myself break those kinds of rules, and now I'm slightly horrified. I dunno. Some parts I like. Other parts I think don't deserve the recycled paper they're printed upon. Upon which they're printed. Sigh.

So I'm just about done with the rewrite of the novel, but now the hard part happens -- I've made all the line-edits and written most of the additional material by hand, but starting this weekend, I'll be putting those all into the computer. That might take just about forever. I think I'll make myself work three hours every day off until it's done. And then I'm going to kiss it and send it off and get to finishing the next one.

Yep. And I'll wear just socks while doing it.

Things That Help AngstFebruary 26, 2008

1. Going to San Francisco and meeting my wife for a burrito.
2. That burrito having half an avocado in it.
3. Discovering that the Salted Caramel ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery has no soy-lecithin.
4. Walking the city on a cool sunny day.
5. Listing to This American Life on BART, sitting in the sunshine while the world goes by outside.
6. Taking the dogs on a hike in the canyon.
7. Watching in both horror and joy as Clara splashes in the creek.
8. Getting ready to cast on for something that Will Not Suck.

    Miss Idaho is very tall.

AngstFebruary 25, 2008

Why is there a fruit fly in my yarn room? It's not a moth; that much is okay. OH GOD, what if it IS a moth, and I just don't know what one looks like? Need more cedar in here.

I am a little angsty today. Still haven't sold the condo, NEED to sell it, though, and we have an HOA meeting coming up on Wednesday, and that alone is enough to jangle my nerves. I hate the meetings. I really do. With every fiber of my being (and my yarn room), I hate the meetings. I feel like a very grown-up girl for having been the one to schedule this one, and I have to do some things for it today. Sigh.

Also, while Stitches was fantastic and all that, I've been having some awkward knitting mojo. I must have used all my mojo up with Jeanie.

I bought a pattern at Stitches which was so badly written I ended up making myself a frilled collar yesterday instead of a sleeve. Dude, since when is 200 be divisable by 7? That was the first instruction -- I should have given up then. Reading further on, it told me pick up stitches around the neck, back and fronts. IT GAVE NO INSTRUCTIONS FOR FRONTS. I don't think it actually HAS fronts, as the collar is kind of the front of it, hard to explain, but don't write it like that, please. Pity, because I really want to make the pattern, but now I won't. Might futz with my own version of it, though.... (Don't  worry, it's not an available pattern yet, and I'll email the designer. You are in no danger.)

I started to wind the yarn for that Shelridge Farm kit. The two black skeins almost kilt me, I swear. Lala came home from her comic-book convention to find me on the floor in the kitchen (the best light), trying to untangle the Skein That Would Not Be Untangled. I was swearing at all the animals who thought it was THE BEST GAME EVAR and trying not to cry. I wanted to cast on right that moment and I wouldn't be denied. (Damn Claritin. I always have a Claritin meltdown on the days I give in and take it.)

I said, "I hate all the animals! None of them are helping! And it's so dirty down here on the floor!"

She said, "Why don't you try dealing with it on the table, then?"

Me: Dumb silence. Hadn't thought of that.

Returned the black skeins the next day at Stitches and paid a nice charity to wind them for me. Taking no chances. I felt like a dumb-ass, though. I even brought the other skeins, the not-black skeins, to show the Shelridge Farm people that I *do* know how to wind a damn skein, really. They were very nice, and their yarn is delicious, and I recommend them, I really do. But I think they might have more problems with that batch of black.

I fell in LOVE with a new pattern from Article Pract which I MUST start now. Thinking about handspun, but not quite sure yet. Have to start it, have to start it. And I'm sure I'll eff it up somehow.

I will try not screw anything else up today. No guarantees, though. Perhaps I will take the dogs for a nice walk. That will help. As did the big nose-kiss Waylon just gave me.

Jeanie Does StitchesFebruary 23, 2008

I wore Jeanie to Stitches today. She was very, very popular. My favorite "what pattern is THAT?" question came from a masseuse in a booth across from the booth I was in. The masseuse was busy doing her thang and just kind of jumped up and down and wagged her head until she caught my eye, and then mouthed over the heads of all the shopper, "WHAT PATTERN IS THAT?" I ran over to tell her. Free pattern, people! (I used the yarn specified in the pattern, about 2.75 skeins.)

Love, love, love it. It sat well, felt great, and it was just the right weight for the convention center.

Oh, pictures? Well, okay.


It blocked out WAY longer and bigger than it had been. This suits me fine, since the only reason I really stopped knitting was because I wanted to get it done in time for Stitches, and I'm so glad I did or I might have been making a bedspread instead.


From the back. (Bonus Where's Lala? shot.)


My dress has pockets! (Bonus Where's Lala? shot.)


And for your viewing pleasure, Willie says hello:


Yes, Stitches was great. Jill, your Grommet knits tattoo was AWESOME. It was wonderful meeting everyone I met. I'm not sure if I'll be back tomorrow -- Wondercon, the comic book convention is on at the same time, and while I'm not a comic-book person (sorry), I do support my wife in her comic-book lovin'. She supports me in the yarn, after all. Good stuff.

She's actually still out at her convention right now, so I'm going to pour a glass of wine and turn up the heat (brrr!) and cast on for a new sweater right NOW. I bought a Shelridge Farm Kit that was so cute in person, the Haida Pullover. The picture on their site doesn't do it justice. Very cool. And BRAINLESS. I need brainless.


JeanieFebruary 21, 2008

Jeanie is finished!

Blocking pictures:


Note two things here:
1. Yes, it goes on forever, doesn't it? I stopped knitting because I wanted a shorter, hit-you-at-hip kind of shawl. Not sure I'm going to get that.
2. I'm a terrible blocker. I actually know how to do it better, and someday I would like blocking wires. But for now I'm just lazy. At least I'm blocking it at all. Lala called the design "subtle" when she saw it unblocked, when I was deciding whether to block it or not. When she called my two-month project "subtle," I ripped it off my body and into the drink for a good dunk. SEE the pattern. WORSHIP the design. And honestly, there is not much that is as fun as dropping six miles of stitches, right at the very end.

I loved this project, enough that I never got bored or angsty. Sure, I've wanted it to be done, but I still enjoyed it every time I worked on it.


This is truer to the color. (Yarn and color specified in pattern, linked above.)

And see:


Those two-by-two crosses? Are FOUR-BY-FOUR. Therefore, it's reversible -- looks just like this on the other side. O, joy divine.

And I will wear this to Stitches this weekend, so there will be modeled pictures. Just couldn't keep my doneness to myself tonight, though. Yeehaw!

WorkingFebruary 19, 2008

I am at the coffee-shop, and it feels wonderful. I haven't been here in a long time, and this is where my brain says, Yes. Okay. I will work now. I'm sitting in the window, something I can't usually do because of the glare, but it's lovely and overcast, so I can today. I'm smack-dab in the middle of the novel rewrite, and I'm going to work for a couple of hours on it here. Then I'm going to go home and knit and watch TV and look at the rain in the justified manner of a writer who has Done Something. I'm determined that I will wear the Jeanie shawl at Stitches this weekend, and I reckon I have at least twelve more hours of work. Luckily, I have the next two days off, so I will chain myself to the couch and knit my little paws off.

I am devastated about one thing, though. I have been dying to watch Project Runway Canada but have had no time. Now I have the time, and IT'S NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE ANYMORE. I sat down yesterday to pull it up on the Tubes, but it's been removed. I know, pirating is bad, blah blah blah, but I wanted to see it! And I can't buy it, which I would! But it's not on iTunes! Not on Netflix! Very sad indeed.

I will have to make do with catching up with Lost. Which will be fun, I'm sure. Whatever. I wanted Iman.

Harumph. Now to get down to work so I can goof off sooner rather than later.

Your Cat Digit reminds you that:


    Yoga. I has it.

Click to embiggen. I think I shall make this shot my desktop.

Rob and Nuala Get HitchedFebruary 18, 2008

Attention: To all of you planning on getting married, please do so like this -- Get married in a sweet sea-side town (Ventura is nice), on a late Saturday afternoon, at a cute hotel where all the guests are staying. Also, have an Irish drink-up sing-along the night before at a family-owned pub where everyone is related and TALL and they don't mind that you're neither. That means all day Saturday will be spent by your guests rambling the downtown area, eating Cajun breakfasts with hot sausage and feta scrambled eggs, and trolling the many great thrift stores.

Speaking of thrift stores, I scored. Got a great blue hat (as a friend said, "Nice top") and then found blue clip-on earrings to match. Wore them that afternoon to the wedding, which I hadn't realized was Casablanca themed and there were other vintage-dressed folk (Lala wished I'd told her so she could have worn her suit).


Also, when you have this wedding, you should invite all your old friends from back in the day so that they can hang out and dance like they used to. Oh, yeah, but when your friend with the allergy to soy lecithin has a drink or two and then eats THREE red-velvet cupcakes because somewhere in her very small brain she thinks they don't count as Trouble In A Paper Wrapper, you should tell her she is going to be very, very sad the next day.

But it will be worth it.

This is my favorite shot of the wedding:


And now we are home, and I am going to do something about my station wagon that suddenly seems to be throwing various kinds of fits -- the rear brakes are leaking brake fluid, the serpentine belt is yelling, the starter is finicky, and I ran over a branch last week that is requiring me to keep an eagle on the oil level. Anyone know a good mechanic in Alameda? I want to find one there so I can catch a cheap cab ride to the airport car rental agencies if I need to rent a car.

And speaking of car rentals, Hotwire.com, anyone? Do you KNOW about this? I rented an Avis Ford Taurus this weekend for the wedding for $14.95 a day. My sister got a Mustang for $20 (although I think that's because they were out of Economy cars, but WOW). Highly recommend this service (you have to pay in advance, no refunds, and you don't get to choose what rental agency you'll get, but it will be big name).

OKCFebruary 14, 2008

If you are knitting Jeanie, and you get to the end of a row, and you are crossing the last 4 x 4 cable without a needle, and 911 rings while you're doing it, and you have to drop it in your lap, the four tiny sock-yarn stitches waving in the simulated breeze, it is a good thing if you then pick them up and cross the cable, just like that.

Sometimes knitting is good like that. Probably means that I'm about to run out of yarn or something. I should check.

In other related knitting news, I just stole a sweater right off a guy. A radio technician was wearing an amazing old Norwegian style sweater, looks at least forty years old, maybe more. Light brown with darker brown and cream patterning, pewter buttons. I'll take a picture when I'm at home, but something about the bottom pattern reminds me of Elizabeth Zimmerman. You fanatics can help me pin its exact derivation later. I've seen this guy wearing it before -- apparently his coworkers give him shit about wearing the sweater, but he's kind of a tall Mr. Rogers kind of guy, very sweet, and carries it off gracefully. Jimmy Stewart-ish, really. I've only ever spoken to him a little bit before -- couldn't remember his name (it's Don), and he didn't know my name even though we've discussed brining turkey in the past.

He was working on a co-worker's radio console, and I said, "I love your sweater." I kept myself away. It was hard. I would not touch.

He said "Thanks, it was my dad's."

That's all it took. I had my hands all over him, because people, the holes! The HOLES! Oh, some moth has fed generations with that sweater. I had it off him in less than forty-five seconds with the promise of repair. He looked a little stunned, but happy and grateful.

The sweetest bit of the sweater is an old hole that's been darned with a different color yarn -- someone really cared for this thing. It deserves some more years. I never offer to do this, and I can't say how good I'll be at doing it. I *love* to darn, but it's not always  a successful endeavor. I'd like this to be, though.

I'll keep you posted.

Oh, and hey! I'm out of town this weekend for a good friend's wedding, and I'm so excited! I won't be around the blog parts because I'll be partying like it's 1993. No, really. I will be.

Tricot MachineFebruary 12, 2008

I feel like a knitting hack. I like to knit. I knit nice things. But this, people, is AMAZING.

700 knitted panels in this music video, which LOOKS like a music video, from the Quebec band Tricot Machine (Tricot means knitting in French). The panels were knitted by designer Lysanne Latulippe of the fashion label Majolie. And I love the song. It's a lovely, gorgeous piece.


SuitcaseFebruary 9, 2008

I seriously think this is the cutest thing EVAR:


Green....it's the New Blue's Kirsten made it. Link here. Matching dog toy! Oh!

I want it all. The suitcase, the dog, the everything. I have a thing for old suitcases anyway, and this is just too delightful.

Saturday night! Not for fighting, but for brined chicken and white wine and plenty of cute animals who sadly have nowhere to sleep as adorable as that suitcase. It is to weep.

Awww. February 6, 2008

You are very nice about the hat. Thank you. I blush. Ahem. Anyway.

It's my last day off before the new week starts, and I'm determined to enjoy it. The house is toasty warm because I've decided that paying for heat is a good idea, and I keep it running when I'm home. I understand that the fact that Lala's car has a frosty sheen on the roof isn't that impressive to most readers of this blog, but we take what kind of cold we can get here in California.

The Waylon cat is sitting on the arm of my chair and is watching the street. He jumped up a minute ago and I shooed him away -- he was litter-box stinky, and that's not okay. He went away, cleaned up and made himself arm-chair-worthy and is now back with me.

I'm going to sit and type a bit, and drink coffee for a while, maybe read some blogs. I love the unhurriedness of this kind of morning. I have to do laundry and make some food, and I'd love to get an oil change, but whatever. Dogs need to go for a walk -- that will be fun.

Yesterday I went to the city to have lunch with Lala. We walked down Market to get a burrito (Tacqueria Cancun, best veggie burrito in the world, grilled tortilla, half an avocado in every one), and then, because I find the 6th and Market location rather grim, we walked up to Union Square to picnic. Man, it's been a long time since I sat in that square during the day. They've really done it up nicely, haven't they? Nice tables, plenty of sitting room. Reminded me of those public spaces New York and Venice have everywhere, pockets of outdoor space where people meet, hang out, drink coffee or wine, and watch people go by. It felt delicious (and tasted the same way, actually. Damn good burrito).

Then I went to Tiffany's. Why do their diamonds sparkle more than anyone else's? Also delicious.

Then I spent too much time in the mall. I have to remember that it's usually a bad idea for me to go to the movies inside a mall, even if it's the Westfield at Powell Street. It's still a mall, and I exit the premises with a head and neck ache, probably from being overwhelmed with How Cool I Could Be with a trillion more dollars. That's something that doesn't usually affect me, so I dislike it a LOT when it happens.

However, the movie I saw, 27 Dresses, could have had something to do with that feeling. Lord. Anyone else? I'd been so looking forward to it -- I know it didn't get good reviews, but Katherine Heigel? Who cares? It's about weddings! She's in it! How bad could it blow?

Oh, it badly blew. Horrible writing, bad acting, dismal moral messages, just very sad.


The worst part is where she destroys her sister's attempt at happiness, then realizes it and apologizes. Her sister goes I HATE YOU but oh, I guess I love you anyway. That's just about as deep as the movie got. No one would do any of the things they did in that movie. It offended me.

But. It was still fun, watching her -- she's so pretty! And who doesn't love a wedding movie? Just.... not worth it.

Did you know that when you leave the mall, heading underground to BART, you can still buy your emergency Elizabeth Arden products? From the vending machine?


I'm sure you feel better knowing that. I know Lala does. Dude.

Now, go see my friend Kate. Her brother has been recently diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, and she's got a raffle going on to help the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.... Chance to win yarn-goodness! Cute picture of them over there, too.

The Digit HatFebruary 4, 2008

The hat you've been waiting for! Inspired by the gigantor paws of Mr. Digit, the magical cat Who Is Not Dead, I used a larger version of the classic Cat's Paw lace motif and designed a hat for your cold noggin! It's a super-quick knit, and you have plenty of yarn to cast on for one right NOW.

Click Here for The Digit Hat - $3.75


I made the green and gray ones out of stash Lamb's Pride, worsted , took maybe half a skein each, maybe a little more. The light green/yellow one is out of Classic Elite Lush, and took a single ball (50g). You're just like me -- I know you have those precious balls of yarn, single skeins, and you don't know what to do with them. This is just the ticket!

Wanna see how they look?


See? It's lace, but light. Just gives it that flash of class, but doesn't overdazzle.


Better view of Digit's paw:





And from the top (look at that angora halo, yum):


I made one in Paton's Decor for my sister-in-law and I like the way the colors pooled:


I also thinks it looks fabulous on a cat named Waylon:


I would not dare do that to the hat's namesake:

Wrong! Side! Of! Door! (Digit story here if you missed it)

Digit Hat Pattern

Enjoy! Hooray! (PS - I Ravelry'd it, too.... xox)


Super. February 3, 2008

I am tired.

I want to write a good blog post, but I have lost all my good words. I can only think of ten-dollar words which in these days of inflation don't mean that much anymore, and I'd use them wrong anyway because I am TIRED and I don't even use forty-cent words right when I'm this tired.

Sixty hours worked in five days plus ten hours of commuting.

Only two more hours to go, and then I have three days off, hahlay-LOO-jeh.

Also, I am irritated.

I am irritated that I am at work during the Super Bowl (although I am on a shift-trade that I agreed to, so it's my own damn fault). I would very much like to be home watching the game from my couch. As it is, I am trying to ignore the TV in here (they've nicely turned it way down for me, and I'm sitting as far from it as I possibly can), because my brother-in-law is going to wait on watching the game until I'm home tonight. We're going to catch up with Tivo. But it is not the same, is it?

I am also irritated that I am reacting yet again to something. All itchy, my eye swollen, bumps on my arms. I ate some dip earlier that I've had before, only to learn that it was made with all low-fat ingredients this time. Low-fat mayo, low-fat cheese.... Low-fat equals chemicals and crap, and something that makes me want to rub my back all up and down my chair like a bear rubbing against a tree. Can't take Benadryl -- too tired, need to be able to drive for an hour after work. It's not life-threatening, no lip/tongue swelling, just irritating.

I hope I can stay awake tonight to watch the game. Bah. Not even grumps, but just meh. I was talking to Lala on the phone earlier today, (I've seen her for a grand total of about eleven minutes this week) and I said something brilliant like, "Bleh."

She said, "What?"

I said, "I don't know..... I just..... I'm....."

She said, "You're tired and you don't feel right."

Yes, that exactly, only I was too tired to figure that out.

I don't want to knit. I don't want to eat. I don't want to edit (but I AM pleased that I've been progressing well with my re-write I'm working on -- just don't wanna right now). Less than two hours left. Can't come soon enough.

And Celia's having Super-Duper International Galactic Pajama Day. So is Erika. Man. Sigh. I hope they have some fun for me.

Oh! A reader (thanks Sharon!) just alerted me that today I'm in the Chicago Tribune! With my hot water bottle cozy pattern! I feel much better now. Yay!  (It's funny, though. I usually tell people that I've been knitting for 30 years and that I learned at age 5. That sounds cool. The article just says I've been knitting for 30 years. That sounds quite different, I think.)

Just So You KnowFebruary 1, 2008

I am not a major Starbucks fan, but I will drink it if it's an off day, a day I don't feel well, not up to making my own tea or coffee. Yesterday I felt pretty sick on my way to work and stopped for a latte. Also picked up my new favorite thing: their bacon-egg-avocado-cheddar wrap. Oh, yes. It is as good as it sounds. No, better. Made me feel almost all better (is everyone fighting something off right now? Sheesh).

Also, the latest Reno 911 with the bulletproof vests for women? Funniest thing I've seen in a while.

Me: Working a lot this week. Sleepy. Making hats. It's all good.