Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Do You Know a Knitting Wizard?

I do!  Her name is Anna, and she just saved me from having to rip out many rows of the State Fair Cardigan I have been working on, oh, forever.

After I thought I had repaired the wrong-way cables, I had some long strands of yarn that I couldn't figure out. Where did they come from? Where should they go? Anna poked around, pulled strands here and there, and diagnosed the problem. I had knit the new cables too tightly and the yarn strands really belonged IN the cables. So she ripped the six stitches back, got them started again with the correct tension, and I was able to work up the columns correctly. Whew....  I had even put in a lifeline in case I had to take the whole piece back about three inches. But now, thanks to Anna, I don't!

Do you see loose strands here?

or here?

No, you do not.  And that's because what appeared to be extra yarn is all back in place in the cables.  

Thank you, thank you, thank you Anna!

Last week at knit night a woman wearing a completed State Fair came into the shop. I recognized the sweater right away and it was nice to see it since I had only "seen" it in the Interweave magazine. The knitter said that she had made it in six weeks. 

Sigh.......I wish I were that fast a knitter.


Did you know that unwaxed dental tape works perfectly for lifelines? It doesn't break or shred as you pull it through the stitches.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Time on Your Hands?

Here you go:


It is gorgeous today, and I am lethargic.  I blame the flu shot I had yesterday.

Days like this---what the internet (and knitting) is for....

Friday, October 17, 2014

Why I Do Not Live in Texas, part 3

This spider, a Death's Head according to my daughter's biologist friend, is currently about the size of a silver dollar, and has built a web three feet in diameter.

It is building this web on my daughter's porch and she has enjoyed watching it work. Contrary to the recommendations on this spider guide:

she is leaving the spider alone.  She has named it Vincent, although it is probably a female.  

A large female. I bet it is waiting to have babies, zillions and zillions of babies.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oh, Sweet Mother of Purl

I have gone from this:

To this:

 To this:

It only took three size 1 double pointed needles, a crochet hook, two cable needles, a couple of pins, an OTT light, more time than I wish to think about, and nerves of steel. No wine allowed.    

The stitches are kind of stretched out, but I believe, Ah Believes, in the miracle of blocking.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

My friends all drive Porsches.  I must make amends.

No, they don't. No, I must'nt. (Is that even a word?) My brain is trying to distract me by putting Janis Joplin song lyrics in my head. Seriously. I am trying to figure out how to fix this:

And suddenly I hear Janis Joplin in my head.

Very weird.  

Have I ever told you that we went to see her in a tiny bar in Schenectady, New York, just a couple of weeks before she died, and a week or so past my due date for daughter #1? Well, we did.  And that my husband thought that if I went into labor during the show, we should name child (if it was a girl, of course) Janis? And that that is my name, although I spell mine differently?

Well, it's true. But I vetoed it. (You're welcome, H.)

Anyway, back to the problem at hand. I am struggling with fixing this. It's many, many rows of cable that I had crossed the wrong way, and now I have to figure out how to knit them back correctly, crossing them on the correct rows and ending up on the same row as the rest of the stitches. And my mind is taking detours.

Maybe the solution will just come to me in the lyrics of a song. It's as good a way as any I can think of at the moment.  

Just as long as it's not Llama, Llama, Duck. Yes, it's knitting related, but it would not be helpful.  

I'll wait for delivery, each day until three.

Just stop!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

But Wait!

There's more!

annnnd....I see a mistake. No, a design element. 


Nope.  It's a mistake.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Major Concentration and No Wine

That is what my knitting friend, Lucille, told me a few minutes ago when she saw what I have gotten done on the back of H's sweater so far:

It only measures about five inches in length, but it took ages to get this far. The cables are tricky and it took me awhile to figure out a system to keep track of what is what. 

Tip #1

This is the stitch guide:

There are TEN, count them -TEN- different cables in this pattern. Yikes! They use anywhere from four to six stitches apiece, some with all knit stitches, some with knit and purl stitches, some where three of the purl stitches are done into what had been three knit stitches, and some increasing a stitch IN the cable (WHAT???). Sorting out the cables was confusing. At first. Then I wrote in the number of stitches each type of cable requires so that I don't have to look through all of them to see what the pattern calls for, and from then on, Bob's your uncle.

Maybe.  Do you have an uncle named Bob?  If so, I must be psychic!!!

Say Hi to Uncle Bob for me.

Tip #2

Have I ever mentioned that I love, love, love Knit Companion?  Because I do.
The chart for the cable pattern is tiny, but with Knit Companion and my iPad, I can embiggen (official internet word) the chart on the screen, and then scroll up and down, back and forth, do the hokey-pokey, and see where I am working.  No magnet boards, no magnets, no writing on paper, no losing paper, no misplacing of pencils....

All I have to do is remember to keep the iPad charged.  

There are 68 stitches in the rows of this cable section, and I just scroll to where I need to be, and it's simple, YO!

When dH gets back from his bike ride, we'll have chili for dinner, but I don't think I want wine with that. I'll have a beer, which IS, after all, alcohol, and so that precludes any and all major concentration.  

No more knitting tonight.

Sorry, H.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Year Ago Today

Exactly one year ago yesterday was my youngest granddaughter's fifth birthday.
Exactly one year ago yesterday, while I was in Texas to celebrate her fifth birthday, I fell and broke my ankle.  Ouch...

Exactly one year ago today I went, on crutches and with a plaster cast on my ankle, to Hill Country Weavers in Austin, TX to buy this yarn:

Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed
It is sold in very few places in the US and no place in the Atlanta, GA area, so I HAD to go to the store in Austin, no matter what the doctor at the ER had told me. I hobbled up the ramp to the store (Which came first in indoor living? Ramps or stairs? I bet ramps. A ramp is a wonderful thing.) and the saleswoman took me directly to the Shelter yarns. I had planned on a neutral color, but when I saw this Thistle color, with the help of my daughter and the saleswoman, I changed my mind.  Pick the color you love, one or both of them said.  And I did.

SO, would you like to see the sweater I bought the yarn for one year ago today?

So would I.

This is all there is so far:

In my defense, I have knit two zillion things---well, maybe seven or eight things---since then, and I am working on another sweater at the same time.  

But it WILL be finished some day, maybe by the first of the new year.

More importantly, however, this itty bitty baby girl:

born five weeks early six years ago yesterday,

is now a very sturdy, lively, completely charming six-year old!

Good things come in teeny packages!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Now I Have to Learn to Crochet

How did we knitters and crocheters miss these? From the 2014 Spring/Summer Men's Runway Show in London:

But wait!  There's more!

I must not have been travelling in the right circles during the 2014 spring/summer season.  I never saw anyone wearing these creations.

(dH says No thanks.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Failed!?

Poor little innocent me.  

I just tried to open a new bank account.  The bank representative, my husband and I were having a nice chat, and then it was time for the background check.  

No problem, says I. I don't even have any traffic tickets in my permanent record.

And then I failed.  

Homeland Security failed me.  


Really, I'm no threat to anyone.  (Well, maybe to a couple of people, but I'm mostly harmless.)

It turns out that because I have had my credit stolen twice in the past two years, and as a result of that, because I've put a security flag on my credit reports, Homeland Security has put a security flag on ME.  Poor little older-ish ME.

TSA trusts me; I always get TSA pre-check when I fly and I don't have to take off my shoes or empty my bags or undress at security checkpoints. TSA doesn't care about my stolen credit id.

Even the local police don't care about my stolen credit id.

But Homeland Security does care!

I feel so loved.  

(And so inconvenienced. I have to go back tomorrow with my social security card, my birth certificate, and a bill in my name. And then they'll take my money.)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Everything Old is New Again?

Yesterday dH and I went to see Boyhood (loved it!) and then to the Panera next to the theater for dinner.  As we stood in line, a high school girl behind me said to me, "I love your shoes."

My response?

"Really? They're Birkenstocks. People make fun of them."

She and her friend both protested that no, they are cute.

I don't think Birkenstocks have EVER been called cute.  I've heard plenty of other descriptions, most from my younger daughter, but never cute.

Birkenstocks were popular in the 60s, I think, but now? These two high school girls both claimed to wear them, and said that they are comfortable. Both girls are tennis players, so it's not as if they are throwbacks to the hippy generation. Maybe Birks ARE cool!  

So that means:  Tah Dah, so am I!!!

Yay me! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Well, Swertz,"

as my older daughter said when we told her she was not allowed to use grown-up expletives.  Not that she would have learned them from us, of course.

Remember how I've told you that I'm a genius? Not modest, but a genius?

Turns out, I'm not.

How do I know?

Well, in the photo above, where there are five purl stitches there should be three. Where there are three purl stitches, there should be five. I don't know HOW I managed to mess this up, but I do know how I'm going to fix it.

My first thought was that I would just rip all 127 stitches out.  Ouch.

But then I realized that I'm only seven rows in, and I can just take the first two of the three knit stitches back and turn them into purl stitches, and take the first two of the five purl stitches back and turn them into knit stitches.

Right?  I think it will work.

Easy peasy, nice and breezy, as my youngest granddaughter says.

I hope.


It was easy!!!

3,6 (not 5, I was wrong about the count), 3

Took one crochet hook and less than five minutes. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Why I Do NOT Live in Texas, part two

My daughter just spotted this car in a parking lot near Austin, TX, where she lives, and where she risked life and limb to take this picture. Back AWAY from that car, H! Don't DO that! These people are armed!!!


(Although I suspect Georgia might be just as bad, just not as obvious about it.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

If I Were Three and Twenty

I have been accused, by some closed-minded members of my family, of having somewhat/ very tacky taste.

And I posit that I might just have been born too soon. 

If I were younger, I would have:

a teeny-tiny diamond nose stud,

not my nose, not my diamond

a flowery tattoo on the side of my right foot, like Joss Stone does,

not my feet, they're Joss Stone's

very sparkly eyeliner,

not my eye

or, be still my heart!!!!! sequined um, eyeliner?  eyeshadow?  Whatever it is, I LOVE it.

not my eye either...I hear someone in my family breathing a sigh of relief.

But because I am a few decades past three and twenty, this is all the glitz I dare to wear:

Nail color that is teal or turquoise, whatever you call it. I call it my favorite color.  

When I'm eighty, I will wear all the other stuff. If I remember to.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why I Do NOT Live in Texas

My daughter, who DOES live in Texas, just posted this on Facebook:

This was on her windshield.  

And yes, it is a tarantula.

And yes, she totally should set that car ON FIRE.  

OMG!!!  OMG!!! OMG!!!  OMG!!!  OMG!!! and so on.....


I stand corrected.  It is a Daring Jumping Spider, known for its ability to jump up to 40 times its length.

Gosh, that is so much better.  OMG!!!   and so on....   Burn the car.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


My younger daughter is in Ireland and just bought this beautiful hand knit sweater:

Why do I say Whew?  Because she has asked me for ages to knit one of these for her and I have delayed, delayed and delayed some more.

I did knit a pullover similar to this when I was in college, but when I was in my 20's and stupid, I accidentally felted it.  No need to take this to the dry cleaner's, thought I.  I can wash this on a gentle cycle in the washer.

The sweater I made.  It is VERY small.

The sweater was clean, but much, much smaller after the wash. In my defense, I had never heard of felting and it was only the second sweater I had ever knit. Some of my granddaughters could possibly wear it, but it is VERY dense and VERY warm.  They live in Texas....

I can make a pillow from it and someone suggested using the arms as wine cozies (NO! NO! NO!) but I haven't worked up the courage to cut it up.  

So I am happy that I don't have to knit another one and I'm sure my daughter prefers the authentic Irish-knit sweater that she has bought.  I know I do.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Because I'm a Genius

I made identical twin socks:

using Jan Stephens' basic sock pattern, size 2 needles, and String Theory Colorworks Self- Striping yarn, colorway Time.

(And to those knitters who know that genius has nothing to do with knitting identical twin socks: Just hush.)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Is My Daughter Crazy?

Here she is with her youngest daughter, who just started kindergarten.  Doesn't LOOK crazy, does she?

But, in spite of having four kids:
Hi best grandchildren ever!

One Black Lab:
Hi Feebee!

One hedgehog:
Hi Wembley!

And one hermit crab (which dH and I have NEVER seen, in all our visits, and which I think might not actually exist---hence no photo),

she just texted to say that she and the kids are on the way to the animal shelter to pick out, not one, but TWO kittens!

So yes, she might be crazy, but since I love kittens and cats and dogs, she could only be crazy in a GOOD way.  

And now I have to visit so that I can play wid da cay-uuute widdle kitties.


Meet Lucy and Milo!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When Will I Learn?

From Interweave magazine/Winter 2014

I have started working on this State Fair sweater for my older daughter. (Shh...) I decided to knit a sleeve first so that I could use it as a gauge swatch.  Good plan, right?

Right. Except that I forgot about using it to check my gauge until I measured to begin the bind offs for the armhole portion and then it was TOO LATE.  My gauge is too large, and the sleeve so far is 3" longer than it should be. The cuff is cabled, and gaw-jus, if I say so myself, and I do, so just folding the cuff back is not a good solution to the problem, and really, a bespoke sweater should actually fit!

So now I have to rip back to the cuff and start again, making the increases closer together. It will work out ok (as long as I make both sleeves according to the new rate of increase) so I guess I don't mind.

I just wish I had remembered to measure way sooner....

Saturday, August 9, 2014

They Ain't Purty

You all know by now that I use a lot of Pioneer Woman's recipes. Generally, they turn out pretty well, but now I'm starting to suspect that she uses a professional chef to cook and a professional photographer to take the pictures for her blog.

Case in point---her Mini Blueberry Galettes:

Pioneer Woman's photo
My mini blueberry galettes:

Or maybe I'm just not a good pastry maker.

But they did taste great.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Neanderthals Are Us! Are We! Whichever...


My daughter sent me the link to her DNA test results on 23andMe and the information is much more complicated and broad than the information I received through Ancestry.comEither that or I just don't understand much about genetics. (Pretty likely)  

According to 23andMe, all humans beings outside of Africa have between 1% and 4% Neanderthal DNA. Neanderthals were concentrated in  Western Asia and Europe, especially northern Europe, and most heavily in what is now Finland.


About 35,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens from East Africa migrated northward into what is now Europe and Scandinavia, where they came into contact with and bred with married Neanderthals. The Neanderthals went extinct 30,000 years ago, and then during an ice age 20,000 years ago, surviving Homo sapiens were able to migrate to every continent on the planet except for Antarctica. Ta Dah! So that's how we are partly cave people.  


In addition to learning that she has 2.7% Neanderthal DNA, my daughter also learned about her haplogroup. I don't really understand that well enough to explain it, but this is what her results show:


She is part of haplogroup W.

And her ancestry might include the DNA matching DNA from these countries.


DNA matching that of people in Ireland, UK and the Netherlands makes sense and is more specific information than what I received from I knew I had ancestors from Holland, so this matches what I knew. What Pakistan and northern India have to do with our ancestry is a mystery to me.  

Kind of fun! Even though I'm not sure what some of it means.


I'm not sure what to make of this:

We are going out to LA to visit our younger daughter in a few weeks. We asked her to find a beach hotel for a couple of days after we stay with her, and she posted the above on FB. 

What does "not too nice" mean?

Fortunately her friends have come up with several suggestions for us to check out. We'll make sure we don't pick something too nice.  

Sunday, August 3, 2014


These are the results of my genetic testing:

No surprises, except for the 26% Scandinavian DNA. I had thought it was a good bit less than that.

No mention of Neanderthal. No mention of Denisovans. There was a lot of information in the e-mailed results about the areas of the world listed, and I learned that through the centuries, through the millennia, countries' borders and names changed so that to say that someone is from Norway, for example, doesn't really mean anything. They are from that geographical area, but who knows what country, if any, it might have been so long ago that there is no written history.

However, my daughter used a kit from 23andMe and her results in terms of countries do not list Scandinavia at all, which can't be possible. I was there when she was born so I do know that she is my daughter.  But her test does say that she has 2.7% Neanderthal genetic material, as does the average 23andMe user.  

None of us has any of the Neanderthal characteristics listed and since the average user of this test has the same 2.7% genetic material, I think that perhaps the test isn't all that accurate. And I doubt that's test is particularly useful except for people who have no idea where their ancestors came from.  

Anyway, it was fun, sort of, to see the results, even though I don't really think either my daughter or I learned anything all that surprising.  

Anyone tempted to try the testing should be forewarned that the tests do not require just a cheek swab; they require spit, lots and lots of spit, and it's kind of gross.