Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I dropped out of communication there in the rush to get out of town. I've been safely at my parents' house since Saturday around 10am. We made the trip in 17 hours! I couldn't believe it.

I finished all the knitted gifts I wanted to get done. The sweater for the nephew-in-progress did have to wait for its final wash until after the gift was given, but it was essentially finished. Of course the batteries in the camera were dead, so I don't have any pictures of the gift opening. I think everyone was pleased with what they got from us. My brother asked me to sign the photos I gave him to hang in his apartment, so I think that makes me officially a famous artist.

It's been fun to be at home so far. I have to admit when I saw the stroller and car seat my parents bought (to keep around their house for ALL of their grandchildren, my Mom assured me), I got teary, but mostly it's been fine. I forgot that even though my sister has gotten much happier, she's still pretty self-centered. She mostly talks about what the baby is doing, how she's feeling at any given moment, whether or not she needs to eat/go to the bathroom/pass gas, and she truly believes it's terribly fascinating to all the rest of us. I don't really know if it occurs to her that it might bother me. And for the most part it doesn't. I'm fine.

I just wanted to say merry christmas, all you lovely little imaginary friends out there on the internets! And happy whatever holiday you celebrate, too. Thanks for being out there!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Have you ever had crab rangoon at 4am? It's delicious.

I woke up at about 3 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep because I was starving! Finally I got up and threw a couple of leftover crab rangoon into the toaster oven and chowed down. It's not a practice I intend to continue, but it seemed to work at the time.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Six Weird Things About Me

It's Christmas, and I'm feeling expansive, so I'm not going to tag anyone specific. Whatever holiday you celebrate, think of this as my gift to you. It's just your size, right?

1. Sometimes, when I think of something stupid that I've done in the past, I wind up talking to myself or making some sort of loud noise to either (A) correct the situation in the past or (B) drive the disturbing thought from my head.

2. When I get into bed and the sheets are cold, I have to run to warm them up. I lay in bed on my side and run my legs (or bicycle them, I suppose). I've done it ever since I was in nursery school.

3. I always drink milk with spaghetti and tomato sauce. Again, something from my childhood. I spent time in Italy- I know this is a faux pas. My friend's Italian grandfather used to punish the kids for drinking milk with tomato sauce. My Sleepy-Voiced Husband calls it borderline-repulsive.

4. I was totally compelled to look at the photos of Britney Spears's "Devil's Onion Ring" as SVH calls it (just that specific one- not all of them). Oh yes, I regretted it. Oh yes, I think it's ridiculous that all these notorious tabloid queens are flashing their ladybits to the world and it's being considered news. I don't normally seek out pictures of the cooters of the rich and famous. And yet- I looked. And I made my husband look, which is simultanously weirder AND hilarous, because it made him very sad.

5. When I get the oh-my-god-it-hurts-but-I-can't-stop-laughing giggles, when I begin to settle down, I have to make a "hmmmm" sound. Which usually sets them off again. It's a vicious cycle. I didn't know I did it until SVH pointed it out.

6. I love bizarre, violent anime. I practice yoga, I'm compassionate, I'm a bleeding heart liberal, I hate real life violence... but give me an animated film with women with impossible measurements wearing too little clothing, carrying ridiculously huge machine guns and causing people's limbs to fly off in fountains of blood, and I can't get enough! Actually, one of my very favorites was called Hellsing- it was about vampires, and the main vampire gets shot so many times that his jaw falls off. Then he laughs and he reassembles, and dogs come out of his hands and then nothing recognizable is left of the people who shot him, and, and was awesome. I may have blended a few different scenes together, but you get the gist.

If you need to know any other weird things about me, I direct you to the post a few days ago in which I showed pictures of my bathroom and told how I was going to eat in the tub. Which is apparently much more common than I thought. I'm glad I'm in good company.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I finished the socks!

Kouros helped them get dry by lying on them shortly after this photo was taken.

The Big 3-0

I went to my friend's 30th birthday party on Saturday night. In the upstairs of a bar that he rented. As Carl, Nicole and I headed up the stairs, feeling the thud of the pounding music, I turned and said (in what would be the last thing I said that night in anything resembling a normal voice), "I'm getting too old for this shit!"

Oh, I only celebrated my 30th birthday about 2 years ago (I'm an aquarius, of course), but considering I was planning on being about 7 months pregnant right about now, I really hadn't thought I was going to be in the position to be doing a lot of late night, loud, dancing and partying any longer. By the end of the night (make that OUR night- it was only midnight), Carl was losing his voice from trying to chat with people. He said, "Hey Nicole, just give a yell when you're ready to go," to which she said, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed catching up with friends I hadn't seen in a long time. And I just love the birthday boy. But I'm beginning to understand why my Dad used to grin at my Mom on nights when we'd all be laying around the fire playing games and say, "There is no place else I'd rather be right now!"

We had such an active social life right up until maybe the last year... now it's more mellow. We like it that way. I reckon I'm nesting.

In honor of this weekend and my old age, I give you a picture of me at MY 30th birthday party.

I was given a tiara by a friend.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The one where I have no pride

As promised, a picture of the gifty Jaywalker socks:

So this morning, I started to feel just the slightest bit of concern about whether I'll get everything done that I want to get done before we leave for Christmas (Friday). I decided that I needed to do something terribly nice for myself to get through. I'd been reading about April (Yes, yes, I'll get to that meme later) having those moments where she just had to follow her gut with her knitting and how doing what felt right rather than what she should do. It actually got her further in what she needed to do than forcing herself would have done. I'm actually not worried about completing my Christmas gifts- the socks are nearly done and the baby sweater should be a breeze- I'm thinking the Christmas cookies might not happen this year. At least, not before Christmas.

So anyway, I decided to do something nice for memememememe! I ran a nice hot bath, made a pot of coffee, lit a bunch of candles and had a bath while listening to Heather Ordover's dulcet tones. I found a really good bathtub iPod set-up where I was unlikely to drop the little thing into the tub with me.

I love knitting podcasts in the tub, don't you?

And I had a friend join me. After trying to sniff the flame on one of the candles, Kouros decided to hang out further away from them.


Dear God, I'm posting pictures of my bathroom. I have really lost it now. Well, as long as I've destroyed any illusion of normalcy, I'll confess that if Sleepy Voiced Husband hadn't awakened and come out to talk to me, I was fixing to eat that last piece of caramel apple pie IN THE TUB. Instead, I ate it while we chatted and before I got in the bath. He saved me from truly bizarre behavior.

Wow. I think I'll go now before I completely embarrass myself (actually, before I embarrass SVH- as I said, I have no pride). I'll answer April's 6 weird things meme later... although I think this post may have provided more than six on its own.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

The beauty from afar

I'm working my way through the heel gusset of my second Jaywalker. But it's dark so I'm not going to take ANOTHER crappy picture. Honestly, I fancy myself an artist, and then I post positively horrendous photos on my blog. Of course, I'm never in my home when it's light unless it's a weekend, so I'm going to have to wait until Saturday to post a picture. Instead, I think I promised a long time ago to say something about painting things to be seen from afar.

My set looks pretty good from far away, but when you get up close, the freaks come out. Here's the little mutant girl, who doesn't have features, just creases:

Have you ever been to the Cosmos? It's this crazy-ass house in the Black Hills in South Dakota that they claim has all these weird, mysterious forces. Whatever. It's all how it's constructed. The floors and walls are at odd angles so it looks like you're standing on the wall or a ball is rolling uphill. I've apparently channeled the Cosmos Mystery Area in my church- this building is NOT structurally sound:

And no freak show could be complete without a bearded lady:

So that was all in fun- really, I felt pretty good about the set. However, I noticed when my friend Nestor came over to do the lettering (he wants to get into set painting- he does billboards right now) I immediately began to point out all the flaws. I thought I was making a joke, but at one point he said, "Man, you haven't said one nice thing about yourself all night!" And I realized that he was right! I didn't even feel bad about what I was saying, it just seemed natural. Like I needed to say, "Hey, don't think I didn't notice that thing sucks. I don't want you to think I'm dumb and didn't see it or anything." Why do we do that? It's almost encouraged in women.

I'm beginning to think that shit is for the birds.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I was in the kitchen and I heard a strange noise.

I found this cabinet open (note the gap at the top between it and the next cabinet).

The noise was coming from the next cabinet over (which was closed). So I looked inside.

Three guesses why he climbed in there...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Better Late Than Never

I went to the show last night, and I was duly impressed. It was one of the better high school plays I've seen. The actual title of the show was
The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of "A Christmas Carol" by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jr.
and it was hilarious! We laughed a lot, which is always good. Really brought me into the spirit of Christmas happiness.

Here are the pictures:

The blank slate... well, with the place we tested the airbrush. It's got the sketch drawn on it, but you can't see it here.

Maybe here you can see a bit of the sketch

The sky brushed in... and it looks like shit.

The trees add a lot and make the sky look less shitty... it recedes. So then I forgot to bring my camera for the next 3 days...

And this is the final, finished project

This is the corner I kept showing you before. There was a lot more going on in it than you could see from the earlier pictures.

Tomorrow- how painting things to be seen from a distance is different than my regular painting.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I finished the crazy air-brushed backdrop tonight, since the little high school play opens tomorrow. I started taking pictures of the process, but I don't have any of the past couple of nights. Maybe tomorrow I'll bring my camera and snap a few shots before the play so I can show you the progression.

Air brushes are kind of cool. However, they are often A HUGE PAIN IN THE ASS! They get clogged, they are temperamental, and you have to have a frigging air compressor to make them go. I don't think I'll buy one any time soon, but I do appreciate what you can do with a good airbrush. Still, give me a real brush any day.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with what I managed to accomplish in a week's work. The first time I ever touched an airbrush was last Friday night. I learned a lot. And whatever isn't so great doesn't show up from the audience. PLUS, the thing was supposed to be painted by a bunch of batty old British ladies anyway.

Like I said, pics tomorrow. Ta!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cara's Story

I don't know if you read January 1- a lot of knitters do, though I only started reading it recently- but she told her story today about leaving grad school and the panic and anxiety and being a perfectionist and feeling sick all the time and it was all so familiar and so RIGHT ON THE MARK that I felt that feeling in the pit of my stomach all over again.

It's been nearly 3 years since I left. I haven't moved on as quickly as I'd like in some ways and in other ways I'm progressing so fast. I really didn't know what the hell I was going to do, and while I'm still working in science, I've got a JOB that I can forget about when I leave at the end of the day (and sometimes even during the day) and a Fantastic Boss who knows the score and is glad to have me work for him for as long as I wish. I've taken a few classes, learned to paint, designed a few graphic-type thingies and been paid for them. I've painted sets and even won awards. I know it's only the beginning. I've got good feelings about the year to come.

I'm so glad Cara decided to share her story. It was so similar, except that she showed amazing maturity at 22 and stopped it THEN rather than at 29 with 7 years of torture under her belt. I don't know how to explain the sense of deja vu... it was like she was saying things from out of my memories. And it was good to remember, to take stock of where I am now compared to then. It was good, too, to know, even now that I'm through the whole ordeal, that someone else out there knows how terrifying, and yet how absolutely, undeniably necessary the choice was.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My New Year's Resolution

One of my new year's resolutions last year was to knit a sweater. And I did, albeit a mini-sweater. This year, I'm going to knit one hell of a sweater, starting on New Year's Day! I'm inviting all of you to join me and my favorite displaced Minnesotan, Amanda, in our quest to learn colorwork and steeking! The THRILL! I give you, the Enid Cardigan Knitalong!

This will be my first adult size sweater, heaven help me, and I'm going to jump in with both feet! Yee haw! Our group blog is located here. This will be our first big project of 2007, so you don't have to worry about it while you're frantically doing your holiday knitting. And the bonus? You can ask Santa for the yarn!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

$#!^ $#!^ $#!^

Do you see what I see in this picture on the left?

Yes, as Irie described it in episode 13 of Irie Knits, I knitted the second sock in "coffee gauge." TIGHT! TOO TIGHT!

I can feel it when I pull the finished sock on and off, then I try to pull the second sock on and off. It's not much tighter in the leg, but I can feel it trying to pull it over my heel.

Why the *bleep* didn't I *bleep*ing notice that the *bleep* *bleep* colors weren't striping like in the first *bleep*ing sock? Now I'm going to *bleep*ing rip out twenty-*bleep*ing-five *bleep*ing pattern repeats and do them over again! *BLEEP*! *Bleep*, *bleep*, *bleep*!


At least I don't have to rip out anything on the uber-simple sweater I'm making for the Nephew-in-the-Oven. I thought one side was longer than the other, but they seem to line up all right. It's a boat neck sweater, so it's pretty easy. Started one of the sleeves, even. Thank God for small favors.

P.S. Yes, I realize this is a very boring picture of two knitted squares. Shut up.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

December Project

I was just going to have holiday knitting for my December project (which was also my November project). But then- the lovely director from the show I did last summer called me and buttered me up good and now I'm painting the (MUCH, much smaller) backdrop for his high school Christmas play.

The play is the weekend of December 8, and since I have a fair amount of time and it's small enough that I don't need anyone to help, it will be all about the painting and rather than the organizing and people managing. And since Carl and I love each other and we want to stay married, some time away from one another is the best gift I can give. So Carl and I get time alone, I get to paint, and Steve gets his set painted by someone he trusts (see, he played to my ego). This is a win-win-win situation.

The play sounds funny. I don't know the title, but it's something like the Batley Townswomen's Guild Re-enactment of A Christmas Carol. Something about a few British women trying desperately to put on A Christmas Carol, but they speak to one another out of character, and they start over from time to time. Good fun. I'm painting the background to look like a Victorian Christmas Card. And I get to learn to use an air brush, so after this I can move to the beach and open my own T-shirt stand.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What I learned over Thanksgiving

1. I make lots of wonderful rich foods. I should not make them all at once.

2. I totally love Daniel Craig as the new James Bond. Best Bond movie ever.

3. Even if it seems like a good idea while watching The Big Lebowski, I cannot drink White Russians. I've had this revelation before, but I think it was a couple of years ago. It had apparently been long enough that I forgot. I am too damn old to be drinking anything much other than wine, and even then, only with care.

4. Sleepy-Voiced Sister and her husband are the Best House Guests Ever. Not a single complaint.

5. Kouros, despite being small, needs his space. After 5 nights of guests, he begins to show his dissatisfaction by clawing the carpets all night and knocking stuff off the table to make people wake up.

6. Sleepy-Voiced Husband, after a night of this noise, begins to declare loudly that he hates that damn cat, and makes plans to barbecue him.

7. I can knit stockinette in movie theatres without looking and it turns out pretty darn well!

8. I need to be more physically active again... this whole lounging because I want to be hibernating thing is getting to me. Time to move more.

9. We have absolutely GOT to get out of this damn town and move back to the Twin Cities. The more I looked at everything while taking our guests around town, the more I realized this place has very little of what I want for my life, and I can't take it anymore. Really, staying here is bad for us. My next priority is to ramp up the job search and get us out of here within 6 months. You heard it here first, folks.

I'm glad I got all my holiday over-consumption and idiocy out of the way early. Now I can enjoy the holiday break in December when we go visit family, because I'll have my wits about me and I won't overdo. I feel like I have a Thanksgiving-over. It's like a hang-over, but it takes more than a good night of sleep and an antacid to fix.

I was listening to Cast-On this weekend, and Brenda's essay really hit home for me. She was talking about how her physical surroundings often need to transform to reflect her inner changes. I've been feeling weighed down by our circumstances. I need to dump some of this load. I've been feeling the need to cull and downsize our possessions. Get rid of the junk. Lighten up so we can take off when the opportunity presents itself. Great revelation to have right before Christmas, when people want to pile stuff on you, but there you go.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

No Pardon for Tom

So, we're meat eaters in our house. I thought I'd get that out there right now. This year, we decided to get a turkey from our friend who raises turkeys every year for the holidays. I know this bird was well cared for, and had a good life.

The problem? He sent me a picture of it!

I'm sure there are issues of responsibility here, like I should know where my food comes from. We're very disconnected from our food sources in this modern world, and I think that's why farmers make smaller incomes and people insist on paying less and less for food. However, I'm also a product of my time. I'm not used to seeing the individual animals that make up a part of my diet.

I think I actually feel worse about seeing the picture of my turkey all alive and stuff, and still being ok with going ahead and cooking it for dinner tomorrow. I feel like I should have had some conversion to vegetarianism. I'm so disappointed in myself. Maybe that means I'm more responsible in my views than I realized- that my decision to be a meat eater was well considered and responsibly made? Man, sometimes I wish I could just coast through life, blissfully unaware....

Well, the house is ready for SVS and her husband to arrive tonight. The cooking frenzy will begin after work today. All you USA-resident-types- have yourself a happy Thanksgiving! Kisses!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cats and Hair

Kouros is incredibly helpful. Here he is, this time helping me dry my hand washables.

I got me a new haircut. In honor of Crazy Aunt Purl's Hairstory week, I decided to post a picture. I wanted to be a flapper for Thanksgiving. I like it!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Preparing for a holiday...

I've spent a lot of time this weekend crawling into all the scary places in my apartment where it appears Kouros is trying to replicate himself. Unsuccessfully. All he's really made are hundreds of furballs that could be mistaken for actual kittens. But man, if he ever figures out how to animate those kittens- boy, are we outnumbered.

This is all part of trying to make our three rooms hospitable to the Sleepy-Voiced Sister and her husband (he actually has 3 sisters, but this one has a similar vocal quality, hence she gets the nickname). Now that all the fur has been removed, I think we can fit guests in the apartment. To make this possible, I've been doing the kitten extermination (AKA sweeping behind the computer table), I swept the entire apartment twice and then mopped, and this will be followed by several maintenance sweeps before Wednesday night. I've also been trying to remove our piles of clutter, since there really isn't even room for us in this place.

Amidst all the crazy cleaning (did I mention the Sleepy-Voiced Husband has tendonitis and has to "aggressively rest" his arm? And his other arm is starting to hurt because it's not used to all this use?), I have been working on the holiday knitting. I've finished one of the Jaywalkers, presented by the mighty Kouros below. The second one is about 3 inches into the leg.

Last night my friend, Eric, asked if he could try it on. I said his feet were too big. He said he didn't want to try it on his foot. I took the sock back.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

*Awwwwwwwwwwwwww* (now with pictures!)

To continue the mushy theme...

I met Carl at a party in the apartment I would shortly move into. My soon-to-be roommate, Emily, worked on the school newspaper, and she invited a bunch of the kids from The Record. There was this one guy, leaning back against the stove with the hood light back-lighting his long blond hair. He had clear blue eyes that matched the blue t-shirt from his summer archaeological dig in Corinth. His voice fascinated me as he told stories from his summer in Greece. He was teaching us a drinking game he learned on his trip. I won.

I didn't see him again for a while. I had gone to that party with my boyfriend at the time, who was always drunk and usually embarrassing. I do remember seeingCarl twice more around campus before Emily and I ran into him again and she reminded me of his name. We were inviting him and his friends to come play Charlie's Angels with us in one of the academic buildings (you ran around with your fingers like guns and jumped around corners and kicked over tables and stuff). I went to volunteer on the paper the next week.

One day, Emily and I made Carl come see a band that had been big when we were sophomores (we were seniors by then, the band had graduated, and Carl was a wee sophomore). We were playing pool in the pub, waiting for the band to start. I can still so clearly see Carl walk around the table after a particularly bad shot on his part and I thought, "I have such a crush on this guy."

Eventually I cut the old boyfriend loose, something I should have done much, much earlier. One week later (exactly) I was hanging out with Carl and his friends. Somehow Carl and I were the only ones who went to dinner in the cafeteria that night. On our way back to his dorm, conversation drifted to what his friends were saying about us. I said, "Well, I have to admit, I have a terrible crush on you." And he said, "Yup, me too." Then he hugged me. We decided to talk some more (on the balcony on his floor- that was when I still smoked) and we decided we should wait a bit, since I'd just gotten rid of the deadbeat ex. And right after we agreed to wait a while to start "seeing" each other, but still spend plenty of time together (I don't know, either, but I was a bit giddy and it sounded great at the time), he kissed me. And that was it.

That was ten years ago tonight.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


So I found this one today while cruising my bloglines...

Scout’s Meme:

1. How and when did you learn how to knit/crochet? Who taught you?
My Norwegian friend Berit taught me a few years ago. I had tried to teach myself back in college, but I never quite got it.

2. How has this craft impacted your life? (besides financially!)
I've got something to keep my hands busy (did you know I'm a bit hyperactive?)! I've got something soothing and productive to do in my "down time," and it's a good repetitive task to inspire creative thoughts. I get to make stuff, which I love. I get to buy yarn, which truly is wonderful stuff. Plus, I've made a bunch of new friends! Friends I get to take with me no matter where I go!

3. Pick at least one person to talk about who you have met through the knit-world and why you are thankful to have met them. Feel free to get all mushy.
I hear from a few people quite regularly (in particular, Aprilynne, Amanda, Hesira and Jacey- love you guys!), but I think what meant the most to me was hearing such supportive, kind words after my miscarriage in August. Every comment at that time made me feel like a cozy hug with a warm plush blankie. I love that my imaginary knitting friends are so forthcoming with affectionate words. It's so much warmer than the outside world- must be the wool. Thanks, guys. *sniff*

Bring your swatch to work day

Yesterday was Swatch at Work day around these parts. Of course I forgot my camera, so I have no proof. Gauge was spot on for the Nephew-In-Progress sweater. I cast on for the front last night and moved up to the bigger needles before calling it quits. I'm working on the Boatneck Pullover from Debbie Bliss Beginner Baby Knits. I wanted something very simple that nearly everyone would see as unisex- my brother-in-law is a true blue John-Deere-working, country-music-listening GUY. He's great, but I have the feeling we might have different ideas about what is unisex. Also, it was the only pattern I'd found that had a newborn size. NIP is due at the beginning of March, so something that fits 3-6 months would hit squarely in the summer. Not helpful. Anyhoo, it's straight stockinette with a nice wide neck for those big floppy baby heads. It won't be the most challenging knit, but it'll be another good chance to get a feel for sweater construction on a smaller scale before I delve into my first woman size sweater (stay tuned for further info on that one in the coming weeks!).

Big straight needles felt totally awkward. Turns out I'm missing working on that tiny wee sock. Actually, I think I'm missing working on Circs. The first time I knitted with a circular needle, I felt at home. I noticed when I was working on the felted bag (pictures of the needle felting to come, I promise!) that even the 10.5 circs give me the same feeling. Maybe I'm to spastic for straights. I may move the sweater off my beloved Addi Turbo US8 straights and onto my FABULOUS Knit Picks Options 8s instead! Squee!

Oh, and I might cast on for the second sock and knit simultaneously. I figure if I get too behind on the holiday knitting, straight stockinette is better car knitting that a jaywalker. Yes, we drive from NY to MN. Usually through the night. In good weather, 18 hours. Christmas time, we rarely make that good time.

Monday, November 13, 2006

It's official, I'm in love again

This time, it's with the entire band OkGo!. And it's for this video. And maybe this one, too.

How can I not love them? They're so ridiculously cute, they dress in my favorite nerdy-chic style, and they obviously have a sense of humor. Carl and I watch the videos regularly on YouTube.

I was going to get Carl the CD for Christmas, but I think we need it sooner than that. Like tomorrow.

Finishing up the toe on the first pansy jaywalker! I'm thinking I'll start the sweater for the nephew-in-the-oven next and then I'll do the second sock. I need to knit something on bigger needles for a bit.

Kiss kiss! Talk to you tomorrow!

Me likes the Spider Solitaire

D'you ever have those days where you need to play solitaire like it's your job?

Especially at work?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Suspect Apprehended

12:30 pm EST, Geneva, NY - The suspect in the sock attack that took place late Friday has been found in his Behind-the-futon Hideout. He was discovered based on an anonymous tip, potentially from a relative of the sock. Further information is unavailable at this time. Rest assured, he will be brough to justice. Or given a good belly scratch, since he has the memory of a gnat, and punishment would mean nothing.

America's Most Wanted

Do you see this cat? Don't be fooled by how adorable he is. He is a menace. Under no circumstances should he be cuddled, scratched, petted or, most of all, fed. If you see this cat, please contact the authorities. Do not try to approach on your own, especially if you have any knitting with you. Below are some photos of the scene of his most recent crime. He should be considered... uh, toothed and dangerous.

(L to R): End of yarn attached to skein, where sock was originally attached; Small bit of yarn chewed off- we have no way of knowing how many pieces like this were swallowed, only to be discovered later as brightly colored kitty nun-chuks in the litterbox; A needle, found on the other side of the room, formerly a part of the sock in progress.

The sock in progress, found in yet another corner of the room. Notice the lack of second circular needle. It is believed the needle pictured above is the needle removed from this sock. Note, too, the purple hippo, plaything of the suspect, in close proximity to the victim. The sock is in good condition and has already been released. The yarn has been re-attached and all ends woven in. A full recovery is expected.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Big Decisions

Since in one of my more recent posts I told you how sickeningly smitten I am with the entire Winter IK, the following announcement will likely NOT come as a shock to you.

I hereby declare that I am going to frog Tempting.

It's about 7 inches of 2x2 rib HELL and I don't even care for the bloody thing anymore. It is so desperately boring, and I've been trying to finish it just to finish it. I wouldn't actually wear it. This, much like my desperate attempt to complete a grad school when I was also in HELL, is an example of having the message "You've got to finish what you've started" pounded into your head a little too well. I've been wanting to try other sweaters, but I felt like I had to finish this one before starting another. So, no more. I'm not going to finish it. I feel so free.

Because tempting is a short sleeved sweater with a very wide neck the yarn doesn't lend itself well to another project- either not enough or too much yardage. I'm contemplating a full size clapotis (my other one was 3 repeats short and in DK rather than worsted), or perhaps finding more of this brand of yarn- whatever the HELL it is- to begin another project. Just checked in an old post - it's Baruffa Maratona. Does anyone sell that anymore? Can't seem to find any online other than on Ebay.

So, that's my proclamation. And now that I've had the rather tempting invitation to knit along on the Enid Cardigan with Amanda, I think I may have found my new sweater project... hello, Knit Picks Telemark!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We regret to inform you that Susan cannot come to the computer right now to write about knitting or art or the pet behavior class she attended because she is busy doing the happy-happy dance over the election results. She'll be back when she can talk about these things without her bleeding-heart liberal political views seeping into her yarny commentary.

Please Stand By.

Monday, November 06, 2006


So, the weirdest thing happened today. I told the husband to check out my blog because I had finally posted a good picture of him. He went to google, typed in "hyperactive hands" and found an article on Associated Content called Ten Blogs About Knitting that included my silly little blog! It just seems so bizarre. Blogging is such a strange thing, because you're writing all this stuff and putting it out for the public, but at the same time, you're shocked when people actually read it. Carl's response was, "You're famous." It was funny and far, far from the truth, but it's still surreal to see my blog listed with some of the greats, like Wendy Knits, Claudia's Blog and Needles on Fire.

So, now that I'm all full of myself and my opinions, I'm going to spout off about the winter knitting mags I got recently. I'm so totally in love with Interweave Knits, especially this issue. As usual, there are about half a dozen projects I want to make. The one I want to make the most is the Venezia Pullover that Eunny Jang designed and showed little snippets of on her blog a while back. It might be one of those things I get to someday in the future, considering it's knitted on size 0 needles. It might make me insane. Kate Gilbert has TWO designs this issue- A Cardigan for Arwen and the Equestrian Blazer! They're both clean, good looking pieces, and I think I need them both. She's so brilliant. I'm quite taken with the Cabernet Ribs. Such a great idea and beautifully executed. I'm also smitten with the Enid Cardigan and the Nantucket Jacket from the cover.

I'm gonna have to pay some close attention to Eunny's article on steeks, because several of the patterns this month require steeking. I'm starting to feel the siren call of steeking. It's drawing me in, like a really scary rollercoaster that I have to ride. The anticipation! The adrenaline! I'm becomming a thrill seeker, I guess. I'd better take my wild-child self back out to the greenhouse and get back to work. I'll post on the newest Vogue Knitting another time.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The one where I make up for the lack of pictures lately

So, the art show ran Wednesday and Thursday. It was lovely. I got lots of great feedback, and many people thanked me for doing it. It almost made up for all the pain. Still, when people asked me if I was going to plan it again, my typical response was, "Oh hell no."

Kouros was extraordinarily helpful in getting my September art together for the show.

In other news, my bag is knit. I've already felted it, but I don't have a picture. I think it needs another cycle. I'll post a picture later (the picture below is pre-felting).

Finally, my sleepy-voiced husband has complained that the only pictures of him that I post are of him asleep with the cat. So, here is a well-groomed, bright-eyed Carl at our banquet on Friday. Behold the cuteness.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Love Note To Knit Picks

Dearest Knit Picks,
Hi. I feel a little shy writing to you. I'm all fluttery and nervous because I have a crush on your Options. They came yesterday, and I've been so happy ever since. They're all I can think about. They're so sleek and sharp. And they come with such a terrific storage case. I spent all of study hall today doodling "Susan + Knit Picks" all over my Trapper Keeper.

Do you think maybe we could go together? You know, like, on dates and stuff? We could go together to my knitting class tonight. And tomorrow night we have our banquet for work. You could be my date (there's nothing wrong with knitting at a semi-formal event, is there?). And we could go out on Saturday and find a coffee shop to spend hours cuddled into a cozy chair together.

Do you like me? If so, check this box: []

Love always,

Monday, October 30, 2006

My First Day of Knitting School

By Susan

I signed up for a 3-night knitting class to make a felted bag. I went and got all my stuff in advance. I found a lovely purple heather skein of Cascade 220 (color 9454). I got my set of US10.5 dpns. I waited to buy a US10.5 circular needle to see if my Knit Picks Options (can't wait can't wait can't wait) would arrive in time. Considering I ordered them on Tuesday and class was Thursday, this was ridiculous, but hope springs eternal.

I get home from work Thursday and call the yarn shop to see when I need to buy my circular needle, because OF COURSE the set of wonder needles didn't arrive magically in 2 days. She says I could come a couple of minutes early because they are closed until class begins.

I believe that I may have given many of you the false impression that my cat, Kouros, is a good cat. This is simply not true. He is a holy terror. And on Thursday, he is in rare form. I have had a stupid thought recently. Since he tries to head out the door every time we come into the house, I thought taking him out in harness and leash might get it out of his system and eventually (HA!) he would be trained so that he would only go outside when his harness was on. So after I speak to the yarn shop lady, I try taking him out, and while he likes being outside, he despises the harness. When I take the harness off, he begins to shoot around the apartment at the speed of sound. After we get back in the house, it is crazy-go-nuts time. He jumps onto the coffee table and sweeps everything onto the floor, including the coasters, several magazines, a book, all 3 remotes and the hard cider I had just opened, which spills all over the floor.

An hour before class, I have another stupid thought. I think, "I need to wind my skein into a ball for class!" I don't have a ball winder. I know most yarn shops will wind the yarn for you. I KNOW! I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I didn't want to arrive unprepared. So I hang the skein from my coat rack and begin winding by hand. It would have been fine, except eventually that bad cat notices what I am doing. He jumps up and begins catching the very bottom of the skein with his hateful little claws. Meanwhile, I'm freaking out and trying to hang the yarn higher and my husband is reading something terribly important on Wikipedia and thus can't wrangle the cat for me. The final time the cat goes after the yarn, Sleepy-Voiced Husband comes and gets him, but the integrity of the skein has been compromised. And in my haste I make it worse. So now I have 3/4 of a skein wound into a ball, and the rest a tangled mess. And it is 6:35. Class starts at 7. Fortunately the shop is only a few blocks from my house.

I eventually give up on my skein. I change out of my work clothes (which have little bits of dried nasty grape all over the sleeves) and go to grab my knitting bag. I hadn't noticed my knitting bag was in the line of fire in the earlier hard cider incident. Several hearty gulps of cider are pooled in the bottom of my bag. All of my stuff is wet, including the jaywalker I'm working on. I have to take everything out to dry and put whatever I think I may need (that isn't completely cider-covered) in a plastic grocery bag. My husband, back at the Wikipedia again, informs me that I really should get going. He gets his head bitten off.

I pull up to the yarn shop (because I left my house at about 5 minutes of 7:00 and had to drive) right at 7, according to my clock. The lady sees me and says, "You need to buy a needle, right?" I look back at the table where I usually see classes, and it's empty. Only 1 woman in the shop, looking at yarn. Yay! I'm not too late! She rings me up and says, "Ok, you can head to the back room. The others are back there already. I'm teaching a different class up front." So I interrupted her class to buy my needle. Damn. And as I walk past the clock, I see that their clock says it's about 7:12. Double damn.

The teacher and the other 3 women were all knitting away happily when I arrive. I sit down, and the teacher (Marie) says, "We'll get you caught up. You just need your yarn and your circular needle." So I slap down my wad of tangled yarn and tell my sad tale and everyone tells me that they would have wound the yarn for me. I KNOW! I KNOW! Marie helps me detangle the yarn for the next 10 minutes or so. I spend the rest of the class behind, but that's not a big deal. I'm always behind. And late. The final moment of “DUH!” comes when she says we need 4 stitch markers, one of a contrasting color to the other 3. I only brought 1 kind, because the bag of my other stitch markers was full of beer. By that point, though, I was completely numb, and was just used to being the class dunce.

But you know what? Class was awesome! I had a great time! I liked the other people, and after knitting a lot on socks lately, knitting on 10.5s was terribly satisfying. I can’t wait for next Thursday.

Sometimes you just have to get used to how you roll. I guess I sort of roll downhill without brakes (after getting to the top of the hill late).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More knitting news!

I've signed up for a class at my LYS! I'm going to try to meet some other real-life knitters (even though I like all of you best). And I'm going to actually see other people knitting! I'm excited. The class is for making a felted purse, and it includes needle felting. It takes place over the next 3 Thursday evenings. I went and bought a deliciously lovely skein for the purse and it got me all giggly.

I'm not sure what has kept me from doing this before. I think because I've been mostly self taught, other than my first lesson (Love you, Berit!), I've maybe felt someone was going to tell me I'm doing it wrong? You know what, I don't even think that's it. I think I've wanted to go back to the days of the Crafty Beavers.

What? I've never told you about the Crafty Beavers? Well, back when I was leaving my Ph.D. program, a couple of my grad student friends, Megan and Jodi, and visiting scientist from Norway, the famous Berit, and I got together to drink tea and bitch. It was near my birthday and they'd gotten me the most delicious birthday card with Aragorn on the front (He's so handsome, especially the dirtier he gets; I could eat Viggo Mortenson for dessert). They drew all over the envelope and had so much fun they decided we should get together regularly to do crafty things. My friend Emily had named her all-girl, crazy-law-school-competition-thing team the Crafty Beavers. It seemed to fit our little group, so I blatantly stole Emily's clever name. So every Sunday for a few months we got together and did stuff like make beads, paint our toenails and learn to knit. It was a group of women who were my friends and with whom I had a lot in common. They were my age, and they knew me well. None of the Beavers live here anymore. They've either gone back to Norway or gotten their Ph.D.s and moved to other states.

I hate to say this, but I guess I felt I was too young and hip for the LYS. I've never seen anyone in there my age- or maybe I have and I just don't realize I'm over 30 now. Why have I made such a big deal of this in my head? I've been against this whole "It's not your grandma's knitting" thing because I think it belittles the women who've passed these crafts on to us. So what's my deal?

Maybe I'm used to older women being more conservative. I'm not tatooed or pierced or anything that I'm worried would cause people to draw unfounded, incorrect conclusions. Maybe it's that oldest child, uber-responsible thing coming out, and I feel I have to be respectful by not saying anything controversial (which is something I do). I'm not sure what I think is going to come up, but I've got something of a potty mouth (especially lately) and I tend to talk about things like porn or ultra-liberal causes I'm championing. Maybe I've been as prejudiced as I accuse others of being. Or maybe I've still got this age means authority thing and I'm still afraid of getting a bad mark on my permanent record! How did I get this far, with my rebellious mind and childhood training constantly at odds?

Well, no more. I'm going to go knit with whomever shows up, and if I drop an f-bomb or something I'll just have to move on from there. Most women rock, and I'm sure these women will be no different! Me and my little ideas in my head. Ugh.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Guess what I just ordered?!?!


Monday, October 23, 2006

Fearsome leader

Sometimes I get really grumpy. I'm having one of those days where I'm feeling all pathetic and tired and crabby and I just want to curl up like Kouros, with the tip of my tail up over my nose, and be left alone.

I'm not one of those organized types. I don't like being in charge. Why do I keep doing it? This time, it's the art show. We had a meeting for it today, and I just hated everyone I'm working with on it because they just stared at me during the meeting OR complained about the fact that we were asking for photographs to be matted or framed for display. A pre-cut matte is only a few bucks, and it doesn't seem to me to be exorbitant, but you'd think we were asking people to mount them on gold bricks the way she was going on about it.

I don't like doing the calling, emailing and coordinating. I have ideas. I can get excited. I can get other people excited. The follow through? Not so much. Oh well, it'll happen and it'll be over next Friday. It's just a gray, cloudy, cold day out there, and I'd much rather be snuggled up in the delicious plush blankie my sister gave me as a bridesmaid gift, knitting on my super secret project (to be shown at a later date, after the gift has been given) or on those pretty pansy jaywalkers (see last post).

Thank goodness I have yoga tonight after work. That will put me back into a more relaxed frame of mind. Oh, did I mention I'm in charge of that, too?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tiptoe through the... pansies?

Hi. Remember me? I just fell off the face of the earth for over a week! I don't know what happened, but apparently nothing in my life was blog-worthy. I'm sure y'all just assumed I was busy playing with all my yarn, and you'd be right!

I cast on a pair of jaywalkers with my new sock garden AND my new Knit Picks needles! Love the sharp pointy wonderful needles even better than my addis! Love them!!!! They're US1, and that is damn small! I'm really having to concentrate not to knit too tightly. Love the pattern, though! It feels so simple, but the results look magical.

I had a bit of trouble with the gauge. When counting gauge in the zigzag pattern, do you count along the zigzag row? I can't imagine how you would count directly across, but I just wanted to be certain. I know some of you out there (APRIL!) have made several pairs and I would welcome your expertise (hint hint). Also, my socks aren't 4" across, so it's hard to get the actual gauge. I've mostly been using my own leg as a guide- ah, the beauty of knitting socks on 2 circs- so easy to try on! I'm pretty sure the recipient of these socks has daintier calves than I, so if they're a bit snug on me, they should be just right on her. I'm also keeping track of the number of repeats I'm doing (this is the most organized I've ever been!), so if I have to make the first sock shorter, I can still make them match.

I like the way the yarn looks, especially the transitions between the yellow and the black on one end and the pink on the other. I almost wish the transitions were longer and more gradual. The one change I myself would make would be to use a red, perhaps more like a maroon or burgundy, rather than the pink. It's a more common pansy color to my mind.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oh my god oh my god oh my god!

First- I finished my second sock!

The only problem is I couldn't find the first sock while I was knitting the second one. And I changed the length of the cuff to make them sport socks. And I didn't write down how long I actually made the cuff on the first sock. Sooooooo...

If you count stripes, were a bit shorter on the right (which is the second one).

Then, when I got home today- THERE WAS A PACKAGE FROM KNIT PICKS! Just a little history- I never buy yarn for more than one project at a time. I usually can't afford it. But Knit Picks is so bloody cheap! If I think about it too much, I start to worry, so I'm not going to think about it, because I just barely made the $40 free shipping mark with ALL THIS-

The needles are US1 for socks- my addis are US2. The variegated yarn is Memories in Pansy- it's for socks for a Christmas gift (You aren't reading this, are you, Mom?). The green is Swish in Jade for a sweater for my still-in-the-oven nephew. The glorious Burgundy Gloss is for knee scoks for ME ME ME! And the red stuff is for a felting experiment that I'll get around to someday. I've never had such a haul before! It was so awesome!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My sleeping boys

So Kouros has a thing about forts. He used to like to sit in boxes turned on their sides. He loves to snuggle into the space under the television on the cushion I put there for him. He sits under chairs and likes to dart out from under them when a foil ball is tossed. But he never liked to be under the covers. Unless I was making the bed. And I think he liked to be in the way far more than he liked to be under the covers.

Did you see that?

Lately, though, Kouros has enjoyed climbing under Carl's knees when he reads in bed. It's like a little pup tent for my kitten (lame). He even falls alseep under the blankets with us now. Carl's game "buried alive," played when Kouros would be annoying us on weekend mornings when we wanted to sleep later than 6am, is no longer a punishment.

You didn't? Look again!

So tonight when I couldn't find the boy in the fur coat, I started to ask my sleeping sleepy-voiced husband where he was, and then I stopped, because I saw this:

Carl's gonna kill me for this one.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My New Favorite Website

Go to this site. You won't be sorry...

Angry Alien Productions

"... in which a troupe of bunnies parodies a collection of movies
by re-enacting them in 30 seconds, more or less."

I'm on a roll...

It's a sweater! (said like El Guapo in The Three Amigos)

Pattern: Baby Yoda Sweater
Yarn: Brown Sheep Company Cotton Fleece (80% cotton, 20% merino wool) in Putty
Needles: US 8 straights - but again, that tight knitting thing

Now I can have a baby, right? All you really need is a sweater, right? I'm glad it's finished. After the difficult first try (the story is here), this was a nice way of letting that go and getting ready for the next try, whenever that will be.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

One down!

Well, well, well... looky what we have here. It's a finished object!

I finished the pompoms last night. They might be a bit big, but little sister Cat can decide when she opens the damn thing on Christmas morning, and I'll deal with them then.

Here's another vanity shot, because I'm just so damn proud of the first hat I've ever knit.

Here's the info:
Pattern: Official Kitty62 Hat
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Worsted in color 217 (Black)
Needles: The pattern recommends size 7 needles, but I still haven't lost my newbie tendancy toward overly tight knitting, so the size 8 16" circular I used for my Gryffindor scarf was perfect.

Woo hoo! One Christmas present done! I've never done this before! I'm always late! Excuse me while I go do a happy dance.

I'm the one on the right. I know it's hard to tell.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Workplace Encounter, Part Deux

Carl has taken the liberty of putting several very important dates on our work calendar (our lab's time off calendar). Tomorrow, for example, is "Carl Appreciation Day." Fantastic Boss said, to him, every day is Carl Appreciation Day.

Next Tuesday is "Blond Guy Day, " while Friday, October 20 is "Bring Your Gin To Work Day." October 24 is "Give Carl 20$ Day," and October 27th is the Feast of St. Awesome, which Carl needs to take off to celebrate.

I'm pretty sure October 18th is the "Leos Among Us Celebration" which works for both FB and Carl, since they are both Leos. It's conveniently happening two weeks before the "Artists Among Us Show" that I'm coordinating. Thank GOD I didn't double book and have them the same day!

Mark you calendars, kids. October is a very important month.

Workplace Encounter

I just walked into the greenhouse where Fantastic Boss was working. He snapped his head up and looked at me, a bit startled. I said,
"So sorry- I hope I didn't frighten you."
His reply?
"Noooo. (pause) Not any more than you usually do."

I love my work environment, even if I am sick of my job.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Overachieving 102, or How I will try to do too much in October.

So this is the piece based on the layout of an ad that I found in my Yoga Journal. It's an interesting blueprint, but I couldn't decide what to do with it beyond that.

And what I made of it is below. I regret making the bottom box in the piece stretch the full width of the paper. I like it ok, but it doesn't really feel as satisfying as most of my pieces. It feels more like doodling than a finished work. I almost typed "dork" rather than work. I guess that's my subconscious saying it's no good.

Over all, I'm glad I did this little exercise. The discipline was good, as was the momentum the project has left me with. On the flip side, it was difficult to complete a piece every day. I relaxed my expectations, but it was still hard to get a piece looking satisfactory every day after work. I need to be able to put some things down and come back to them the next day with a fresh point of view. I also felt a bit confined by the size of the pieces. The most rewarding part was that I never missed a day because I couldn't think of something to do- I missed a couple due to other circumstances, but it was never due to a lack of inspiration. I had plenty of ideas, and they always felt right, perhaps with the exception of the piece above.

So, whatever am I going to do with myself in October? I'm going to give myself a bit of a break on the daily challenge front. Instead, I am going to focus on 2 things: knitting, and a painting I started for my brother. I got the canvas primed and the sketch done and fixed, and that's it. Oh, and that was done in May. Ahem. The knitting projects I have going right now are 1) an official Kitty62 hat for my sister Cat for Christmas (almost done), 2) the baby yoda sweater I made this summer and still haven't seamed, 3) the second homely sock that I have about 3 inches left on, and 4) the Tempting sweater I abandoned this spring. So I guess you could call October The Month of Finishing the Unfinished Projects. Oh, and if I finish those things, I'm going to start a sweater for my due-in-March nephew, and a pair of socks for my favorite Mom for Christmas. So much for a break.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A case of scotch. Pitch in and help him.

Heaven help us, Carl's found a new hero. Nick Charles.

Last night we watched The Thin Man, the first of the series of movies from the 30s and 40s, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. The movie was terrific. It had everything: mystery; intrigue; witty banter; fantastic clothes; good-looking people... but it was the drinking that really captured Carl's heart.

Near the beginning of the film, Nora Charles (whom you may have read about not too long ago on Crazy Aunt Purl) finds her husband Nick in a bar, schooling the bartender on the necessity of rhythm in properly shaking a cocktail ("a dry martini you always shake to waltz time"). She asks him how many drinks he's had and he says six martinis, so she tells the waiter, "All right. Will you bring me five more Martinis, Leo? Line them right up here." Brilliant.

When it was over, Carl said, "Wow. The drinking was Magnificent!"

Perhaps I'll have to get him a smoking jacket and several cocktail shakers for Christmas. And a flowing evening gown for me... it's fun for the whole family.