Thursday, May 28, 2009


My camera is broken. It's not a dead battery or anything else that I can diagnose, so I think it's really broken - or deceased.

So, I cannot show you my latest sock, knit from Berroco Sox Metallic yarn. There are sparklies in it! It's so cool! Really - just imagine the most gorgeous, sparkly, perfectly-knitted sock you have ever seen, and that's my sock. Soon there will be two of them.

As I have written about in the past, I love sparklies. I love bling - not big expensive, gaudy diamond bling, but normal bling. Sparkly things. So it just figures that I had to have this glittery yarn. And no, younger daughter, I will not wear these socks when I am in public with you.

And speaking of what I've written in the past, I was, ages ago, tagged by Calicobebop (love the name, and wouldn't caliopebebop be a good one too?) to write ten things about me. But since I had recently written seven things for another tag, I put it off. But now, with no camera, I'm forced to write. So here are three more things:

8. When I was a kid, I tried to play three instruments. My father owned a violin and a flugelhorn and believed, I guess, that his kids should be musical. We started off, as grade-schoolers, on a piano. My sister was quite good at it; my brother was too young at the time we took lessons; and I was horrible. I mean, there is separate music for each hand, AND there are the foot pedals. For our first recitals, the teacher gave my sister and me the choice of two pieces by Beethoven. (What WAS she thinking? We were KIDS.) My sister's lesson was before mine, and she (rotten little sister that she was) chose Moonlight Sonata, by far the easier piece. That meant I was stuck with Fur Elise, an impossible piece for me. I struggled with it and then finished it off by butchering it at the recital. AND I was the oldest student there. It was awful.

So, on to the violin. I tortured that poor thing, and my father must have wondered if I truly was his child. The orchestra conductor/music teacher at the high school even put me in the orchestra. I have no idea now how long I lasted in it, but it couldn't have been long. In addition to reading the music and doing the appropriate fingering, I had to pay attention to the bowing instructions. You can't just saw in any old direction (and believe me, I sawed, not bowed).

Next came the French horn. That belonged to the school and I picked it thinking that there were only three (I think it was three) thingies to push, so how hard could it be? For someone with apparently no musical talent, just as difficult as the piano and violin had been.

That was the end of that, and except for a brief unsuccessful attempt in my thirties to take lessons from the same teacher who was working (successfully) with younger daughter, I've left music-making up to others.

9. My name. My first name is spelled differently (incorrectly, in my view) and I have always hated the spelling. I read once that when parents spell a girl's name differently from the norm, it's because they think that girls will not have the same success in life that boys will, and hope that by making their daughter's name unique, she will have a better shot at success. So I imagine my parents looking at sweet little newborn me and saying, "What a loser. We'd better do something to make her stand out. I know! What about misspelling her name?!"

It's been a nuisance all my life. I have to spell it out all the time, and my last name is also spelled differently from most people's. It's the correct original Irish spelling, but lots of immigrants dropped a doubled letter when they came here. So I spell my first and last names for everything I do. I had to send my passport back when the people who processed my application misspelled my name. And there is no form for this problem; I had to fill out a name change form. Once at a drugstore, when I spelled my name correctly for the clerk, she couldn't find it (this happens all the time) and when I gave her other possible misspellings and she did find it, she asked if I wanted her to enter the name correctly in the computer system. Huh? I told her that since I tend to spell my name the way it's actually spelled, yes, I would like her to do that.

10. Hmmmmm....Can't really think of anything else. Well, I like junk food (who doesn't) but I rarely eat any since I don't like going to the grocery store and that means I don't buy much of it. I LOVE salty, crunchy stuff the best. And candy. And chocolate. And my favorite word is mellifluous, because it sounds like what it means.

And that's all she wrote.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


In years past, I've had armfuls of peonies, and I just love them. But the past two years, I had exactly NO peonies. The drought killed some of the plants, and the rest just didn't flower. The watering restrictions were so strict that it wasn't possible to water enough to help much. This year I've gotten a few of my favorite flowers. Peonies aren't a given this far south; the winters aren't generally cold enough long enough for some plants and flowers. Lilacs stand almost no chance, and the varieties that do grow here aren't anything like the lush lilac shrubs of the north.
But I won't complain. This year I have my favorite flowers: peonies.

(and one rose)

But wait! Did I say peonies are my favorite? I forgot the roses. Even through the drought I had roses, and I love them the most.

Especially my David Austin antique roses:

Oh, did I say roses are my favorite? I forgot my true favorite, the lacecap hydrangeas!

Well, OK. I love them ALL. I have no favorites.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

When Will I Learn?

Here I've been, happily knitting along on this cute little Pixie Purls Bolero sweater for Elizabeth's first birthday (in October). But when I finished binding off all of the ribbing, I noticed that the sweater looks a bit....small?...for a one year old child. Hmmm....

It is sitting next to a dollar bill, which is, as we knitters know, a good substitute for a tape measure, since it is six inches long. Which means that this sweater is TINY!

Did I make a gauge swatch? Good doG, no. I NEVER make gauge swatches. Sometimes, if I remember, I count the rows and stitches in the actual garment soon after beginning a project, just to make sure I'm on gauge, which I always assume that I am. But did I do that here???


So I just did. The correct gauge is: 18 stitches/24 rows = 4".

My gauge is: 24 stitches/32 rows = 4".

OK then. A frogging we will go...unless Elizabeth needs a worsted weight merino sweater in the heat of a Texas summer. I'm guessing she doesn't.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Knitter Doth Whine Too Much

Yes, I admit it. I did whine more than a little about knitting all the loops that Shaun required. I tried to get older daughter to knit the loops for me, but she apparently:

a. is not easily fooled

b. remembers Tom Sawyer

But once I stopped whining about all the loops and started knitting all the loops, the project didn't really take very long. I sort of got the knack of making the loops more and more quickly.

So now Shaun is finished and perched over my only teapot. I usually make tea with teabags, but maybe I will have to become more traditional.......

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dear Older Daughter,

Wow! I can't believe I've been so selfish. Here I've been, happily knitting away, making loops for the Shaun the Sheep tea cozy, when I suddenly realized that you would love to learn how to do this. And as you know, I'll be visiting in June.

This sheep takes hundreds, hundreds of loops, and I've been selfishly keeping them all to myself! Well, no more of that. I'm bringing Shaun and all the supplies to Austin; I'll teach you how to make loops and you can have the FUN, FUN, I say, of making the hundreds of loops remaining.

I'm nothing if not generous.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Favorite Socks

This is my favorite pair of socks so far. I've knit quite a few socks from many different yarns, and while this Lorna's Laces (Shepherd Sock, hand-dyed, 80% superwash wool, 20% nylon, color 502-Sassy Stripe) isn't necessarily the softest I've used (I think Paca Ped and Crystal Palace Mini Mochi are the softest) I love them the best-because of the colors! Older daughter and I each bought enough for a pair at Gauge in Austin, Texas and have both made socks. I love them!

On the other hand, there's the Mini-Mochi lace scarf. Grrrr.... The lace fought me for every stitch and I swear I ripped out more rows than I knitted (take my word for it-it is possible). So here it is, finished:

And that's all I'll say about that.