Friday, April 30, 2010

Whew...I made it.

Last week, as my friends and I were innocently wandering through Stitches South, minding our own business, bothering no one, suddenly out in front of us appeared The Most Beautiful Skirt Ever. We asked the woman wearing it if we could take a photo of the skirt, and she said that we could.

She turned out to be a saleswoman/enabler for Fine Points Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio. An hour and a half later, two of us had bought the yarn required to make the skirt.

These are the best photos I have found of the skirts, but they really do not do the skirts justice.

The short version:

The long version:
Making this skirt involves knitting an underskirt with Louet Euroflax (100 % Wet Spun Linen) which is a whole lot like knitting with waxed dental floss. I am not exaggerating here. It's stiff, bendable and not at all nice to knit with. It also tends to spring off the needles when I'm not looking. However, after it is washed and dried IN THE WASHER AND DRYER! it is soft and drapy.

The underskirt is all knit in stockinette except for the occasional purl row which is used to pick up stitches from to knit each of the tiers. Each tier is made from a different Claudia Hand Painted Yarn. The colors are gorgeous and it took an hour and a half to go through the various color combinations. The bonus? Claudia herself was there to help.

But yesterday, I started the project, and spent last night at knit night so immersed in struggling with the waistband that I barely knew what else was going on around me. And then this morning, more of the struggle.

Notice all the needles..........

We sock knitters always try to convince those would-be sock-knitters that you only knit with two needles at once, so they should not be intimidated by the porcupine-like mess of four double pointed needles they see us working with. This part of the project involved three circular needles - with their six points - each needle of a different size (no idea why, I was just following directions) and because I had had to take the live stitches off of a provisional cast-on length of waste yarn, I had to hold a crochet hook in my mouth to pick up all the ^&*() dropped stitches that manoeuvre had caused.

It was a mess. The goal was to knit the two long sides of the band together to form a casing for elastic. It took me over three hours to finally accomplish this. Did I even know if I had the same number of stitches on each needle? Did I even know if I had the required 205 stitches when I finished? Did I bother to count???

No, I did not. It was all I could do not to throw the whole thing into a very long time out.

But I persevered and this is the result:

The rest (until I tackle the tiers) is brain-dead easy (and probably just as boring). Just stockinette stitch on size 4 needles for 40 inches.

NOW I'll count the stitches.

And with any luck, there will be 205...but if not, I know how to increase or decrease...(in other words - cheat!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Well, that is just plain wrong!

I just read a knitter's post about an episode of Hoarders during which the people who were going through the hoarder's house found lots of knitting needles. Apparently when she wasn't hoarding, she was knitting (if she could find the needles). They told her she didn't need so many and then when they found a box of Addi Turbos, they made her throw them out along with other needles.

I'd have thrown the anti-hoarder crew out myself. But then, I didn't see what the rest of the house looked like.

Glitzy Cat's Paw Wrap

It is finished! I used just five skeins instead of six. It's long enough...

I am not going to block it because I like the texture. There is a blocked version at the LYS and it shows off the lace pattern better, but I like the texture more than the lace. So it really is finished.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The End

of the wisteria. One day of rain and this is what is left.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stitches South

Stitches South 2010 is in Atlanta this weekend, and I spent the day there yesterday with fellow knitters from our local LYS. There were more wonderful, beautiful fibers and yarns there than you can imagine.

However, what happens at Stitches South 2010 stays at Stitches South 2010.

(Right , S and L ?)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ah Wisteria!

We were warned, after we planted wisteria to grow up the posts to the deck and arbor, that we shouldn't have done that. Thanks!

Once a year, for about a week and a half, it is beautiful, covering the arbor and making this lovely, sweet-smelling, lavender curtain over the steps.

I really do love it.

But then there's this:

I have learned in years past that it is just easier to leave the leaf-blower on the deck, so that once a dozen or so times a day, I can blow the debris off.

And not to anthropomorphize or anything, but why does wisteria hate us???

In addition to dropping pounds of debris on the deck, it has taken the end of the arbor and pulled it downward. It's trying to take down the very structure on which it lives! It has also tried mightily to take down the gutters on the back of the house in its attempt to get up onto the roof of the house.

Once the blooms are gone, we (the royal we - I mean dH of course) will fix this and that will require taking down some of the trunks of the wisteria.

And I think I will buy a machete!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dear Younger Daughter,

Remember two years ago when I came out to visit? Well, before I left Atlanta, I bought what the salespeople told me were really "cool" shirts and that they were perfect for my visit to Los Angeles.

But when I got to LA and showed them to you, you rolled your eyes and sighed. You said, and I quote here: They look like something Reba McEntire would wear. I had no idea then what you meant, but I knew it wasn't good.

However now, thanks to a trip to the mall this morning, I discovered what Reba McEntire would wear because she has her own line of clothing! Who knew!!! (Example below) So I wandered through her collection and bought................................................................................................


I still don't know what, other than the label, makes something something Reba McEntire would wear, but you can breathe a deep sigh of relief. When I come to LA next time, I won't be wearing her label.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I am now knitting with the fourth of six skeins I am using for my Glitzy Cat's Paw Lace Wrap, and suddenly I realize I no longer need the directions! As long as I keep my row counter going, I know what to do on each row. Granted, there are only three pattern rows, with seven-stitch repeats, and granted, for a more experienced knitter than I, this would not be a notable accomplishment. But for me? It's huge! It's Yay Me!

The wrap is going to be really long, and I may decide, if my enthusiasm flags, that five skeins will be enough. Too soon to tell.

Another accomplishment? I can pretty well tell what I have done wrong when I come across six or eight stitches where there should be seven. I've either knit two together when I shouldn't have, or have gotten a little carried away with the yarn-overs and thrown in a couple of extras. Both of those problems are easy enough to fix if I catch them time, and so far, so good.

So again...Yay Me!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Is this a great day or what?

(No, it doesn't take much. I admit it)

I just washed down a square of Promises dark chocolate with the day-old remains of a Dr. Pepper.

The painters are really, really, really close to being finished.

Older daughter sent me a link to a blog that, if you have a really weird, off-center, twisted, odd sort of sense of humor (and I do, but you might not, so beware), you will like. And you will laugh a lot so don't read it at work.

The Mess

The painting will be finished today. Phew....

This is the mess my house is currently in, but it will be worth it in the end.(Look-the painters covered all the furniture just to paint the windows! I big puffy-heart the painters!)

Isn't it pretty? Nope, it's a mess...

And this is a bonus. I wanted the door to the garage painted to match the front door. But the painters suggested that I not use the water-based paint I had used on the front door; they told me that oil-based paint would hold up better.
I took the can of the older paint to Sherwin-Williams and asked for the same color in oil-based paint. This is what I got-gloss. But apparently oil-based gloss is WAY glossier than water-based gloss.

So now I can see myself in the shine of the door. I do not want to see myself in the shine of the door. (I don't show up in this picture once I transferred it to the blog, but in the original-I'm there.)

And another bonus-the house reeks!!! I asked the painters to use S-W Harmony paint, which is low VOC. But then when we switched to oil-based for woodwork, the odor from that paint out-did all the good of using the Harmony paint.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pros vs, well, Us

This is the first time I've had professional painters do indoor painting for us. Usually it's DH and me struggling to get some painting done. But dH is too busy, and I'm trying to put off hand surgery as long as possible (never) and holding paintbrushes and roller handles is really painful. I need my hands for knitting.

So here is what professional painters do:

*Show up completely stocked with everything they need.
*Put drop cloths on every single thing that could conceivably get paint on it.
*Sand ALL the surfaces to be painted.
*Sand the areas where they have put putty in holes, over damage.
*Then, as doG is my witness, they VACUUM up all the dust.
*Put all the switchplate/outlet covers back in place the SAME DAY that they paint.

Here is what dH and I do:

*Make at least a half dozen trips to the paint store/Lowes/Home Depot to get the things we forget or run out of.
*Find an old sheet and move it around on the floor as we paint. The sheet will not be large enough to catch all the drips and spatter. Guaranteed.
*Sometimes sand a few of the surfaces to be painted. But usually not.
*Where we do sand, if we do sand, we vacuum up all the dust. Hah, hah, hah....No.
*Eventually, maybe, put all the switchplate/outlet covers in place. If we can find the screws.
*Drink alcohol.

Lesson learned:

Hire the professionals.

(And I love, love, love the turquoise!)


I have discovered that I love knitting lace, as long as:

a. the directions are written, not charted
b. the wrong side rows are all knit or purl, so I have a safe row to frog back to if necessary.

This pattern, the Glitzy Cat's Paw Lace Wrap, (available for free on Ravelry) fits my requirements! And I've had fun so far knitting it. The patterned rows are only three in number; the rest are purl. However, the designer did warn that it is a LOT of knitting, and she is right. I'm only into the third of six skeins - of wonderful Blue Sky Alpaca Silk (50/50) - and I'm starting to think there is no end in sight. But I want to wear it to a wedding on May 22nd, so I shall persevere.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DH is Insane

and this proves it.

The very lovely (and functioning) clock DH inherited from his mother. It had previously been his grandparents'.

We have painters arriving tomorrow and the clock needed to be moved. I told him I couldn't help and that he could probably ask one of the painters to help.


Instead he said, "I need to go get my skateboard."

Of course.

The skateboard:

So I have to admit that it worked. I found the clock in a different room. But I'm glad I wasn't around to see him use the skateboard to move the BEAUTIFUL, DELICATE clock....

Insane, I say.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

More from LA

As younger daughter said, you wouldn't think that this is the sort of a business you would call based on an advertisement on a truck.

But there you are.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Will Never Say That Again!

I promise!!!

My older daughter sometimes writes for a blog called Deep South Moms Blog, and in today's post, she writes about the problems she has with her daughters' bedroom. She complains mentions that I have often rarely reminded her that the way to have an organized room is to have a place for everything and everything in its place. I try, really, really try, to be as helpful as possible in dealings with my daughters, and I'm very sure that they appreciate my help.

But I did detect a little negativity in her post, so in the future I will never, ever say anything like "a place for everything and everything in its place."

(until I do)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Knitting Woes, a Baggage Tip and a Bonus

First I'll whine.

I did it again-left a perfectly good Knit Picks Harmony d/p Needle on the plane. I'm down to three needles in size 2. I need four. I lost the third on the plane back from Costa Rica. Some day cleaning staff at Delta will find these needles between two seats on two flights and wonder what someone was up to. Then needles will be forbidden on all flights.

Sorry, fellow knitters. Now for the tip. A friend told me about this when I complained that Delta security had TAKEN the TSA approved lock off of my suitcase and not put it back. So I was off to buy another. She told me to use these wire ties and carry extras with me. If security cuts it off, you have a cheap replacement.

And now the bonus: If you go to LA, go to the Getty Center. It is amazing. It's at the top of a mountain, and the views are panoramic. The ocean, LA, it's all there!
Of course it's filled with great art, so much great art that it would take more than one day to see it all. A guard told me that it's half the size of the Louvre, but I don't know if that's true. It IS huge though, so maybe. It's the richest museum in the world thanks to Mr. Getty's oil monopoly in parts of Saudi Arabia, so whatever the directors want in the museum, they get. Again according to the guard, the trust or foundation has to spend $30 million a month, so admission is free (except for parking), the staff are very well paid and have great benefits.

We were lucky to be there on a beautiful day with no smog, so we could see forever.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Hotel

Three days before we were to leave for Los Angeles, we received an e-mail from the hotel chain where we had reservations for free nights (because we had points from my husband's work travel) stating that the hotel was no longer a part of the _________________chain and that we should contact the current management to see if they would honor our reservations.

Well, no they wouldn't. But they would give us a special rate. Our daughter checked on a site called Yelp to make sure the hotel was a good one, but apparently it was not; one reviewer said that it was dingy and another said he would give it a zero but zero wasn't included as a ratings choice.

Yes, we should have checked this out before we made reservations, but, hey, free is free. (Never again!)

Our daughter found another hotel just a few blocks from her apartment. It was a boutique hotel. How fancy. It was, according to Yelp, being renovated and was a good place to stay, but was not entirely finished. The hotel rooms looked quite nice in the pictures on the website.

They did not look like this:It was a boutique hotel only if boutique means barely bare bones. My husband spoke to Jason, the very nice manager, about how it seemed as if someone had gotten started renovating, and then just stopped. For example, he said, there was no dresser.

Jason said that the designer for the hotel had never designed a hotel before (and you hired him because?) and that the designer's vision was for a very clean, very uncluttered space. The lack of a closet and a dresser means that the room will be anything but uncluttered, with no place for guests to put their things. But Jason did say that other guests had mentioned the lack of a dresser, and that he would get us one by the afternoon. Now that is five star service!

The whole place seemed to have been furnished from IKEA and we chuckled as we pictured a hotel employee with an Allen's wrench muttering as he put together our IKEA dresser. But that's not how things went.

When we returned to our room later in the afternoon, we found this letter:

So we weren't getting a new dresser at all. We were getting one taken from the room of a departing guest. AND, as you can see, it wasn't a dresser - it was a rather small, very wobbly armoire, placed awkwardly in the corner.

The only camping I would consider doing would be at a motel with a black and white TV and this was just a little too close to camping for me. Or maybe a youth hostel. (I'm old. I get to be fussy.)

The room did have:

A rod to hang clothes on
A functioning bathroom
A bathtub, apparently recycled, complete with lots of cigarette burns on the edge
A cup-at-a-time coffee maker
Air conditioning
A recycled door to the hallway; it had many, many holes in it from previous signs mounted to the inside
A television (color)

The room did not have:

A closet
Enough towels
Cups for the coffee from the cup-at-time coffee maker
Cups or glasses for water

As we drove around the area, we noticed other hotels. When I go back to LA, I think I will check those out. Although if the hotel we stayed in is ever really finished, I would give it another try. It was convenient and the staff was very enthusiastic. In an ineffective sort of way.