Friday, October 30, 2009


What does this remind you of?

Beautiful autumn woodland colors, gently blending in to one another?



I'm thinking camouflage, and that doesn't make me happy. This is made of almost one entire ball of the three balls of yarn that took dh and me 8-10 hours to unravel (but who's counting?) and this is the shawl pattern I thought would look great in it.

But I don't know any military in need of a camouflage shawl, so what to do.......

Really, I need help-----what do I do with this yarn if I don't continue the shawl? Any ideas???

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Well I Swan!

Really, I do!

I took my broken glasses to Pearle Vision today, expecting:

a. A long, long wait for service. (I had knitting with me.) I have never not had a long wait.

b. Crummy customer service when they discovered that I was there to complain about my broken glasses.

I walked in and was immediately greeted and seated at a desk. The staff member listened to my problems with the glasses. This was about the fifth time I had been back with them; they are supposed to have a magnet in the bridge to hold sunglasses on, but that magnet had fallen out countless times, been glued back in, and fallen out, and then the original frames had been replaced twice. Not having the magnet in the bridge meant there was only the thinnest plastic holding the frames together, and I suppose that's why they broke where they did.

I did not expect to have any happy resolution, but I was wrong. The technician immediately offered me:

a. Replacement frames exactly like the ones that had broken. They would just pop my lenses in.

b. Different frames at a sale price, with new lenses made, for a price of $100, considerably less than they had cost me last time.

I picked b. and my new glasses will be ready in two weeks.

I had really expected to have to find a new source of glasses but because my problem was quickly taken care of today, my dislike/hate relationship with Pearle goes on for another year.

And I was in and out of the place in twenty minutes, so in a weird, knitter way, rats! No knitting time at Pearle Vision!

But I did run several other errands and ended up with knitting time at the car wash. I am working on this scarf:

It's made from Koigu yarn, which I have never used before. It's 100% merino wool, and it's not as soft to work with as I would have expected, but the scarf itself is soft. I LOVE the colors! The pattern is from the Yarn Paradise shop in Asheville, and I don't know if it is copyrighted or not. It was handwritten by someone at the shop and was given out free with the yarn. It uses two different stitch patterns, two different needle sizes, and two different stitch counts. That's all I dare say since I don't know the legality of posting the pattern itself. It's easy, though, and a great carry-along project.

It's a good thing that I don't need my glasses in order to knit!

Oh D*MN!!! There's a bird in the house!!!!!

Update: Two hours later - I left the front and back doors open and the bird now appears to be gone. I shut myself in my "knitting room" and when I came out, I could not find the bird.

Monday, October 26, 2009

SAFF, year two

Three Thursday knit-night friends and I went to beautiful Asheville, North Carolina this past weekend for our second trip to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair and had a blast. I have a sore throat today, and I don't think that I can blame it on a cold or's from talking and laughing so much!

On Friday we went to SAFF itself, held in a cattle auction arena at the agricultural center. We saw yarn; we bought yarn:

Laceweight yarn-

Natural mohair/wool boucle-

And I bought a gift for older daughter, the knitter-

On Day 2 we decided that because we had met sheep, goats, alpaca, llamas, and rabbits last year, we would go into Biltmore Village instead. There was a yarn shop there-who'd a thunk?

We saw yarn; we bought yarn:

Beautiful Koigu yarn for a very complicated scarf.

On Day 3 we decided that because we had been to SAFF already, and because we had been into Asheville already, we would go check out the gorgeous Grove Park Inn -----but first we stopped at the yarn shop in Biltmore Village again, because we wanted needed more yarn.

We saw more Koigu; we bought more Koigu, for another, easier scarf.

I also bought, for a friend's cat, this cute felted mouse, stuffed with catnip. I forgot about it, and filled the bag with yarns and other things for the trip home.
My cat has NEVER played with catnip, but last night I noticed Cat sticking his head in a bag of yarn. That was odd, because he rarely pays any attention to yarn either. I dumped out the bag's contents, and there was the forgotten mouse. Cat played and played and played with it. It may not end up as a gift for Miss Emily...

Anna, one of our favorite knitters, is from the Ukraine, and she brought some traditional Ukrainian food for us to try. It was all delicious and we really enjoyed it; however, she did say that it was meant to be eaten accompanied by shots of frozen vodka. Only one of us joined her in drinking the vodka, and it wasn't knittergran, but these ARE my glasses. Alcohol consumption played no part in the destruction of these glasses; we don't know what did. I looked down at the coffee table, and there they were, snapped in half. It's a mystery, but until I replace them, I have a curfew: sunset. I only have prescription sunglasses left in one piece.

It was a wonderful four days, with nothing to do but relax, enjoy great company, delicious food, beautiful fall scenery, and knit. What more could we ask for? [view of Asheville from the Grove Park Inn]

Five days??? Six days????

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Phew. I don't want to even think about how long this took. (Eight to ten hours, but who's counting?)

I put in another hour yesterday, and Dh finished it up with another two and a half hours last night. He had more patience than I (I wanted to toss the whole thing into the street and let cars run over it) but he said it apparently caused some latent OCD to kick in.

Whatever. I'm just glad it's done. And now I get to knit with it. Yay. (I think I might be holding a tiny grudge.)

Now I have to figure out where the true beginning and end of the yarn are, and I'm guessing that they are inside one of the balls or the skein...of course.

Monday, October 19, 2009

There Are No Words

for this mess.

At Stitches last spring, I bought 1,100 yards of a rayon/silk blend yarn. It was in a large hank. It cost half of what the vendor charged for two half-hanks because, as they told me, It saves us from having to split and re-hank (probably not the correct term) the length.

Until Friday, when I tried to wind the 1,100 yards, I thought that was a strange reason. How difficult could it be???? I have a swift and ball winder, so off I went to the basement. It turns out that 1,100 yards of this stuff weighs about 18 ounces, and the combination of rayon/silk is very slippery. Combine the weight and the slipperiness, and I had a disaster in the making. It kept sliding down the swift, winding itself around the shaft and any other place in its way.

I was able to successfully wind only about half of it:

So on Friday I started trying to wind it by hand. Here is the progress as of Friday night when I gave up and went to bed:

Here is Saturday's progress, a result of both my and Dh's efforts:

Here is the progress made by Sunday evening:

I would have mailed it to younger daughter, who is very good with this type of fiddly bits, but I really want to take the yarn with me to SAFF this weekend. We will be there for four days, and making a shawl of this yarn would be a good project for the times we are not fondling yarn and yarn-producing animals.

I am, however, close to saying, Forget it. I'll cut it and just use it randomly, and not pay attention to the color gradations the dyers intended.

But Dh says we've put too much time into it to give up now, so....

to be continued......................................

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thank You, Readers!!!

Thanks to readers Sigrun and Becca for suggesting that the eyes on this elephant hat were giving it the creepy quality that bothered me. And a special thanks to Sigrun, who suggested making the eyes look droopy by putting upper lids over the top of the eyes. I think the right eye might look a bit more angry than droopy, but I'll work a little more on that. And as Sigrun said, grandson won't be looking at the hat when he is wearing it!

Also, for a funny story about parents' best intentions gone awry, read Sigrun's story in her comment on my last post. It's really cute - and funny!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Was Going for Cute

but frankly, this elephant hat creeps me out a bit.

Maybe because it was staring at me all last evening as I worked on the third granddaughter's hat.

I hope my grandson won't be frightened of it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Too Dark to Clean the House

Really, it is! We had five inches of rain here yesterday (note to rain gods: enough is more than enough, already!) and it's raining again today, not as hard as it did yesterday, but it is rain and it is dark. Too dark to clean, I say. Dh is off at some sort of industry event today, and I thought it would be a good time to clean. But it would be very selfish of me to use enough electricity to light the house enough to see what I am doing. Right??? I thought so. I wouldn't want to have a huge carbon footprint just because I decided to clean.

But I suppose it would be OK to use just one light bulb in order to knit. It's one of those spirally energy-saving bulbs, so I would have just a tiny, tiny carbon footprint, just a little toe really.

I have one hat to finish so that I can give my three granddaughters matching pink hats for Christmas. The sizes are a bit iffy; I'm working from an adult's pattern and guessing at how many stitches to cast on for each of the girls. I think I may wrap them as one gift and tell the girls to take whichever one fits.

The almost-elephant hat is for my grandson. The pattern is from 101 Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders and is supposed to fit most toddlers. It knits up to a 16" circumference. My three-year old grandson's head circumference is 22", which is larger than many adults' sizes. As a result, I've had to wing it and make it larger - I hope it's large enough - and then make the trunk and ears larger so they will be in scale. I've made the trunk, bought the felt eyes, and just have to make the ears in order to finish the hat. I hope it fits....If not, perhaps sweet Elizabeth would like to wear an elephant hat!

Another project I have almost finished is this Monaco sweater from Rowan's 30th Anniversary book. It's a gorgeous book, a coffee table book really. This sweater is for younger daughter. She picked it out when she was here in July but I just started it recently. I have the back, sleeves and left front finished, with just the right front and border to go. The border band and collar are knit separately, in garter stitch, and then whip-stitched on after the other pieces are sewn together. I love the sweater, although I think it's meant to fit more like a jacket.

So, off to knit, and maybe to swim the back yard perhaps, if it doesn't stop raining!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

Last year when I went to LA to visit younger daughter, I had a list of things I wanted to do and see. At the top of the list, of course, was to go to the ocean. I am always happiest at the edge of a large body of salt water. Sigh…..

The second thing on my list was to see the La Brea tarpits. I imagined black, goopy tar, as far as the eye could see. My daughter, when I once asked her if she had seen them, said that she had passed them on her way to a job site. I thought that she must have gone very far from downtown LA to have passed the huge tarpits.

So here are the La Brea tarpits.
Yup. That’s them…
That’s all she wrote.

A very small pond with sculptures of a mastodon family about to go to their doom, sinking into the tar. Sniff…sniff….so sad. And note the soda can on the ground. Tourists chuck all sorts of things over the fence, apparently hoping to see them sink into the tar. Nice...

There is a museum next to the tar pond. Inside is a history of the discovery/exploration of the tarpits, and hundreds – really hundreds - of skeletons of animals, some now extinct, found in the tarpits.
The tarpits used to be huge, but now most of it is covered by Los Angeles itself. Los Angeles is built over the tarpits. I wouldn’t have thought that was possible; how do they keep buildings, really heavy buildings, from sinking in the tar? I don’t know, but apparently the architects and engineers do. My daughter says that in some parking lots that are beneath the buildings, tar seeps up through the concrete.

The funny thing (to me – I have a weird sense of humor) was the glass wall through which we observed archaeologists/scientists at work. They sit, facing the tourists, at tables right against the glass wall, and work at scraping/studying/reassembling the bones of the animals. In front of each person is a sign stating his title and what he does. I expected a Please Do Not Tap on the Glass sign. (There wasn’t one.)

So that’s it, the great La Brea tarpits. Next time you’re in LA, go check them out. Just don’t tap on the glass..... or try to feed the scientists.

Monday, October 12, 2009

And I wonder why I have the pool to myself....

Dh and I are just back from our swim at the local Dynamo pool. He uses the regular pool and swims a zillion or so laps.

I use the heated pool, regulation length, but wonderfully HEATED! I am a very poor swimmer; in fact, it's probably not even correct to call myself a swimmer. But I try.....and try....and...

Mostly I use a kick board and do laps that way. But because of my sinus surgery a couple of years ago, I decided that when I do actually try to swim, I need a nose plug and ear plugs. And new goggles. (nothing to do with sinuses) When I asked for the nose and ear plugs, the nice woman in the shop sort of giggled and then said Both?

Yes, both. And if there were such a thing as a mouth plug that would let me breathe, I would use that too, thanks to older daughter's (former competitive swimmer and Master's coach) assertion that there is no such thing as a competition pool that swim team members have NOT peed in.

Thanks H. There has been quite enough peeing in my life lately, thanks to Cat.

I promise to NEVER mention peeing, human or animal, again in this blog. Really. I promise.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Could You Please be Quiet?

I think that is what Cat is saying. He had been asleep on the sofa until Dh began pulling up the vinyl or linoleum or whatever it is on the laundry room floor. It's a noisy project - he has to chip up the edges and then pull and tear the stuff out. Cat is annoyed.

However, the reason that the flooring is coming out is NOT because it's twenty years old and worn (which it is), NOT because I don't like it (which I don't) but because it REEKS....of cat urine. It doesn't have a scent, or a smell, or an aroma. It has a stench.

We have tried every solution to this problem: putting in a second litter box; coating the floor with stuff that didn't get rid of the smell so much as just change the stench to something almost as bad; putting the water dish where he had peed (from the Humane Society site), and feeding Cat outdoors so he could make it to his outdoor bathroom more quickly. But each time, after only a couple of days of success, Cat went back to his new old habit: using the floor as his litter box. He has been to the vet's, had lots of expensive tests, is on cat glucosomine in case his arthritis is a problem, and nothing is working.

So now we (that's the royal we) are ripping out the flooring. We don't know what to do next. DH wants tile, but with tile comes grout, and I see problems with grout absorbing cat pee. I want self-stick, foot-square tiles because if one is damaged, or absorbs you-know-what, it's easy to replace. But the woman at the flooring department at Home Depot said that the self-stick tiles don't stick all that well.

So we're flummoxed.

Maybe drugs (for us or for the cat, whatever works).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Friend's Fault

I was just talking with a friend (Hi K!) and she mentioned how much she loves Leonard Cohen (we had both discovered him on PBS lately) and I agreed and then I got my Ipod out and was listening to him and then I remembered that he was supposed to come to Atlanta and then I went online to see if he had already been here and he hadn't so I bought two tickets for his show at the Fabulous Fox Theatre on October 20th and dh may croak since he might not like him at all but it's all my friend's fault. So if dh doesn't want to go, I'll offer his ticket to my friend, since it's her fault and all.

The end.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Fragments

This is the first time I have written a Friday fragments post on a Friday! I've had Monday editions, and maybe a few other days' editions too; I'm not sure, but the concept was created by Mrs. 4444 over at Half Past Kissin' Time. It's a place for all those partial post ideas that never turned into whole posts. Check her out!

First Fragment:

I big puffy heart my Knit Night knitters! (Hi!) Last night I took in instructions for a new project I’m working on. The book is from England and I just didn’t understand this wording for shaping the sleeves, both of which are knit identically:

Dec 1 st at each end of next 9 rows (ok), then on every foll alt row until 33 sts rem (huh?), then on foll 4 rows (ok), ending with WS facing for next row. 25 st.

The way I understood this, even after reading it over and over, and even aloud once, was that one side of the sleeve would be different from the other. And both sleeves would be identical, so I couldn’t even interpret the directions to mean that I was knitting a right sleeve and a left sleeve.

But I read it aloud to my knitting group, and within just seconds, they understood the directions. The at each end wording applies to all of the decrease rows, not just the first 9 and the last 4. OK!

Maybe my problem is that I’m an English teacher by training, and I parse every word to near-death, or, more likely, I’m just slow when it comes to interpreting instructions…

Second fragment:

Dh has been out of town all week. Yesterday I heard shrieking in the basement, and thought, RATS! My cat has brought in another bird. It sounded like a bluejay. So I closed the door at the top of the basement stairs, opened the door from the basement to the outdoors, and warned dh to check for a bird when he got home. (He usually works in his basement office.)

When this cat adopted us twelve years ago, we put a cat door in the basement door to the back yard. A friend warned us that we would have every creature in the neighborhood in our basement, and I laughed at the idea. Really, would chipmunks, squirrels, and birds learn to use a cat door???

Well, no they wouldn't. What she meant, and what we soon learned all too well, was that the CAT would bring every creature he caught in the neighborhood into our basement. Oh…..

Anyway, dh arrived home when I was at knitting and went into the basement to discover the head – only.the.head – of a rabbit. (Rabbits can shriek; don't ask how I already knew this.)

Oh, yuck. And I’m sorry to share this story with you, but I’m hoping that doing so will take the thought of it out of my head and put it someplace else. Sorry if it’s in yours now…..

Third fragment:

My family makes fun of me for throwing just about everything out, or taking it to charity, when I determine that I have no use for it. A couple of weeks ago I found this shoe belonging to my younger daughter. She just checked her apartment in LA and doesn’t have the mate. So she has chastised ME, saying See what happens when you throw things away.

Well, I have the shoe. She doesn’t have the mate, so just who threw what away, I’d like to know. Huh? Huh?

Fourth Fragment:

The leaves here are starting to turn red. Yay! A pretty fall is ahead.