September 29, 2003

The Ultimate Long-Term Storage Solution

The last two Gratuitous Stories of the Day have been about things that have disappeared mysteriously which, in turn, reminded me of something that appeared mysteriously.

A few years ago, my sister sent me a birthday card filled sneakily and stealthily to the brim with confetti. (Har, har, har, big sister, har, har.) When I pulled the card out, needless to say, the Evil Confetti from Evil Sister went e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Months passed, during which K and I were forever stumbling across confetti in the strangest places. Indeed, one day, when I was taking a bath, a piece of confetti floated gently by me in the water. This led to great scratching of the head and furrowing of the brow because I was completely baffled as to where the confetti had come from. I was starkers, natch', and had been the entire time I was in the bathroom so it couldn't have fallen out of a pocket or a fold in my clothing. I wasn't reading so it couldn't have fallen out of a book. I hadn't brought my purse into the bathroom with me, so it couldn't have fallen out of my purse. Which led to the inevitable conclusion that, since the day of my birthday, lo, those many months before, I had been sporting it in a very—ahem—secure place on my person. One thing was certain—wherever it had been, it required full immersion in a tubful of water and lots of splashing and wallowing to dislodge. I leave the solving of this puzzle to your imagination.

Knitting Knews
This weekend, while 40-going-on-14-year-old K played her latest video game find, Dr. Muto, I got a few repeats of the Arboretum Sock done. Okay, okay—I'm not immune to the charms of video games. In fact, it was hard for me to tear my eyes away from the cyberdogs, cyber police officers, lakes of green goo, mutated monkeys, used and abused Gomer slave beings, hidden vials of life fluid, Splizz gun, exploding planets, and laser battles that are the essence of the Dr. Muto game. But I focused on my knitting enough to finish this much of the sock. This picture shows the sock pseudo-blocked with a few spritzes of water and then stuffed with scads of cardboard to better show the vine pattern.

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Observations:

Because the Debbie Bliss DK is tighter spun than the Rowan DK, I now know that I shoulda cast on at least 64 stitches, but I'm going to stick to the 60 for now.

The size 2 needles are making a very tight fabric but for socks, the tighter, the better.

The messy transition from cuff to vine pattern makes me go cross-eyed. In retrospect, I should have done one row of all-knit or all-purl under the cuff to make it look more tailored.

The sock currently measures 5". Each repeat of the pattern measures about 3/4" so I'm going to do about two more and start the heel. I'm toying with the idea of continuing one-half of the leaf pattern down the foot of the sock, if I can figure out how to do it without ending up in the loony bin.

Dye Garden Dyegest
The Henry's Attic arrived, my first mail-order yarn! I'm constantly envying the photos on other blogs of great treasures that have arrived in the mail so, although this was just 560 yards of plain undyed yarn, what fun it was to to find my first Biq Squishy in my mailbox.

Although some people dress up their cats and dogs, we've decided to dress up our sunflowers. See?

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Actually, we're trying to protect one sunflower head from the marauding sparrows and chickadees to see if we can get the seeds to mature so we can store them away for next year. It occurs to me that a squirrel can rip right through this bag like buddah but perhaps they'll focus on the other, more easily available sunflower heads long enough for the seeds to mature. Yeah, sure. Squirrels are so logical that way.

Posted by Ryan at 10:18 AM | Comments (7)

September 26, 2003

Toasting Bread: The New Spectator Sport

My griping about disappearing stitch markers reminded me of my family's Mystery of the Disappearing Toast.

toast.jpgWhen we lived in Brazil, we owned the word's most, well, enthusiastic toaster. When it had finished toasting some bread, it wouldn't just genteelly raise the bread up into your waiting fingers, or happily pop it up with flair and style; instead, it would fling it feet into the air. During breakfast, we kept a vigilant eye on the toaster so we could grab the toast before it landed in the dust bunnies behind the sideboard. One day, however, in a fateful moment of neglect, no one was minding the toaster. We heard it go "bing," we heard the the crispy-crunchy sound of the toast being launched skyward, but when we looked to see where the toast had landed, it was nowhere to be found. Parents and children alike immediately commenced an exhaustive search of the breakfast room, looking in the toaster, on and under the table, on and under everyone's plate, behind all the furniture, on the window sill, under the rug, even peering hopefully up at the ceiling, just in case. Over the course of the next few days, one or another of us could be found on hands and knees making an impromptu spot-check but, to this day, we are still mystified by what happened to the wayward toast. I hear, however, that the astronauts on the International Space Station were recently startled by crispy, brown, breadlike and slightly moldy object that caromed off the surface of the station.

Knitting Knews
As a replacement for the Rowanspun, I bought a skein of bright lime-green, infinitely more cooperative Debbie Bliss Merino DK. I have knitted a second, obedience-schooled green paralyzed octopus (which looks very much like the first green paralyzed octopus, hence no photo) and am feeling cautiously confident about the success of this version of the sock.

Reader Mary reports that she knitted an entire sweater out of a yarn which broke repeatedly like the Rowanspun but, unlike me, she had the patience to finish the sweater and says it is now one of her favorites. I, on the other hand, eventually reached the point with my Rowanspun where I felt like throwing it on the floor, stomping on it, and yelling unladylike obscenities at it. The Zen of knitting, my a__!

Dyeing Dyegest
Since my LYS failed me in the Henry's Attic area, I went ahead and ordered some from very responsive Lisa Souza at LisaKnits. It cost me a boatload more than it would have had I purchased it at my LYS but I'm too eager to try the sunflower dye to care about $7.00 one way or the other.

Stay tuned!

Posted by Ryan at 10:05 AM | Comments (8)

September 24, 2003

Circle Marks the Spot

In online knitting forums or other blogs, I frequently read about special beaded or bejeweled stitch markers like this or this. (A Quick Etymological Aside: If it's "bejeweled," why isn't it "bebeaded?") While I appreciate these mini works of art, I donít understand the practicality of using them. In my experience, stitch markers are eternally sproinking off the end of my needles into my couch, the Bermuda Rectangle. (Okay, okay, what actually happens is I canít find them until I stand up and they cascade out of all my fat rumples). Using free or cheap plastic stitch markers, rubber bands for braces, twist-ties, or loops of yarn seems so much more economical. Keep in mind, though, that I'm not big on stitch markers in the first place. I'm constantly saying to myself ďYou know, you really should put a stitch marker there. It would make things sooooo much easier.Ē And I proceed merrily on my way without putting a stitch marker there. I canít tell you how many times that thought crossed my mind when I was knitting the baby blanket swatch. Oh, wait, with the help of a little grade school math, I can. 33 rows; two places on each row where a stitch marker could go. 33 x 2 = 66. Yes, indeed, that thought crossed my mind 66 times.

Knitting Knews
The Rowanspun DK has proven to be a royal disappointment. It breaks at the slightest, and I mean slightest, provocation! Trust me—If you were to knit a sweater out of it, you would not want to sneeze or burp, unless you wanted to wear what would remain of the sweater down around your ankles. In my case, last night I gently snugged up a stitch and—snap! I frowned mightily, tinked a bit, started again with a new strand and—snap! Tink, knit—snap! Tink, knit—snap! Tink, knit—snap! Tinknitsnap! Tinknitsnap! Tinknitsnap! Into the garbage with you, paralyzed green octopus and ball of Rowanspun! Back to the greyish teal Pingouin DK!

Sent the chart for the Acoma Pattern off to Janine. I can't wait to see the results! Perhaps you'll let me post a picture, Janine?

Dye Garden Dyegest
I was honored recently to have the dye garden and my Clueless Natural Dyeing Experiments written up for the Seattle Knitter's Guild newsletter. The night before I left for San Diego I received an email from Mary, a Guild member who was a stranger to me at the time but who has since proven to be a genuinely warm and friendly person. Mary said she occasionally wrote articles for the newsletter and, much to my surprise, wanted to write one about my homegrown efforts. The catch was we had a teeny-weeny window in which to get the article written and submitted but we managed it, in between my trips to Torrey Pines Reserve, Old Town, a farmer's market at a winery, and the Welburn Gourd Farm; a neighborhood wine tasting; a picnic; twice-daily trips to the kids' school; and "girl chat" with my sister. Phew! Fortunately, my sister and brother-in-law have computers literally dotted all over the house so I could sit down at a moment's notice and natter with Mary about the article. Thank you, Mary, for thinking of me and putting together such a fun and flattering article! And thank you, sister and brother-in-law, for the liberal use of your computers!

Speaking of the dye garden, I am sad to report that it is starting to wind down for the fall. The strong rains we had recently had pretty much beat the bejeezus out of the flowers, most notably the hollyhocks, which is unfortunate since I had grand visions of dyeing a sizeable amount of yarn with the blossoms that were left. However, as always, nature keeps on giving, and K was able to gather this handful of seeds from our only two successful Cosmos "Bright Lights" plants. I wasn't able to dye with any this year because we had so few blossoms, but maybe next year... Also next year—indigo! Anyone out there know when I should start growing it for next year? Should I start it now?

cosmos_seeds.JPG

Posted by Ryan at 10:40 AM | Comments (7)

September 22, 2003

An Addiction Revealed...

Today's Gratuitous Story of the Day is for booklovers, not just people who read books but people who like to open old books and sniff the sweet, musty smell of the paper and ink, who know that email and instant messaging can never replace the magic of the printed word, who live for the quiet moment in their day when they can sit quietly with their latest read, who love the book they're reading but are already thinking about the next one, who have run out of room for books in their house but don't really care, who feel the same hush in their soul going into a bookstore that they feel going into a cathedral or temple or museum. You know who you are...

Twice a year the Seattle Friends of the Library has a book sale in a cavernous old naval warehouse. On the days of the sale, the warehouse is filled to bursting with books, people, remarkably quiet chatter, and the shuuuush, shuuuush, shuuuush of hundreds of book-filled cardboard boxes being pushed along a cement floor. I usually go about once a year but do major damage each time, buying from 50 to 70 books (hey, ya' want I should go crazy during our long rainy winters?). This weekend was no exception; I bought about 60. Usually I just buy whodunits, science fiction, classics, the usual, but this time I also came away with these books, all published in the 1800s. I know the books are in bad shape (what do you expect for one dollah each?) but how they exude character and life and history!

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From top to bottom, "The Mysteries of Paris, Vol. 1", Eugene Sue, no publication date but owner-signed in 1896; "Brown's English Grammar and Analysis," Goold Brown, published 1872; "The Poetical Works of Owen Meredith (Lord Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton)," no publication date but owner-signed in 1888; and "The Battle of New York," William O. Stoddard, published 1895.

A beautiful signature in "Brown's English Grammar and Analysis." (This says "M. W. Satterfield, Libertyville, Lake Co" which, from another signature in the book and from some online research, I now know stands for "Miles Wilburn Satterfield, Libertyville, Lake County, Illinois.")

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The embossed cover of "Eugene Sue's Works:"

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The tooled leather cover of "The Poetical Works of Owen Meredith:"

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Knitting Knews
This weekend I started knitting what will now be called the Arboretum Socks (in honor of the beautiful, lush arboretum we are so lucky to have in this city). Interestingly, the Rowanspun DK feels very cottony, although it is 100% wool. I've also discovered it breaks frighteningly easily. Frankie lay on my yarn while I was knitting (which she always does) so I tugged very gently on the yarn to pull it out from under her fat furry belly (which I always do) and it broke instantly. I have concluded that this yarn is not good for socks but it will suffice for this trial run.

Here, a photo of the cuff, looking, from this angle, very much like a green octopus with paralyzed wooden legs:

greensockcuff.jpg

Good news! Despite the fact that my interest in the Acoma Sock has gone "phhhht," Janine from Guild has offered to try to knit it! I am thrilled! Janine, I'll try to write up a pattern for you and send you the chart ASAP.

Dye Garden Dyegest
Ack! Now that I'm rarin' to go again with the natural dyeing, my LYS is completely out of Henry's Attic! Yesterday I marched in there confidently, my $25 gift cerficate clutched in my sweaty palm, only to be greeted by tiers of Henry's Attic-free shelves. Pooh. I left my name for them to call me when more comes in, or I may just order some online. I say again, "Pooh."

In the meantime, I started to experiment with the sunflowers from the dye garden. All of the recipes I've read for dyeing with sunflowers say to soak the entire sunflower head, seeds, petals and all. However, since the petals on our sunflowers are so dark I decided to experiment with using just the petals.

A photo posted in an earlier entry of one of the sunflowers:

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The petals before being soaked. Note that the colors range from a deep yellow to a dark plum brown:

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The petals steeping in hot water:

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A freshly picked sunflower petal next to one that has steeped overnight:

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The color of the dye water after steeping (but before simmering, which I haven't done yet). It seems somewhat transparent and more like a wash than a true dye, but we'll see what happens.

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Posted by Ryan at 11:43 AM

September 19, 2003

Avast, Ye Scurvy Bilge Rats!

Today, four short, unrelated blurbs make up the Gratuitous Story of the Day.

First, happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, everyone!

Secondly, time again to check the corn cam!

Thirdly, as a public service announcement, my knee, which is currently loathsome shades of yellow, purple and blue, wants everyone to know that you cannot attempt to put both of your legs, albeit mistakenly, in the same leg of a pair of jeans and hope to stay standing. I suspect I looked very much like a paralyzed stork as I fell over.

Lastly, just for grins, a picture of the souvenir I bought in San Diego for K, the Gecko Girl.

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Knitting Knews
I say, enough slumminí in Scarf World and Sweater World! Iíve plunged right into designing a sock based on the leaf swatch from the baby blanket. Yesterday I went to Skeins Limited, an LYS near where I work, and purchased this skein of Rowanspun DK.

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I chose this yarn for three reasons. First because itís DK, and I wanted a yarn that was fine but not too fine (which is actually code for "because the baby blanket pattern calls for DK and I'm not bold enough to try something different"). Secondly, because itís green (the color name is ďGoblin,Ē actually) and I think it will highlight the leaf pattern well. And, thirdly, because itís not just green, itís a wacky, edgy lime green with minute flecks of bright blue and gold, not a color I would normally choose, but that's the point—Iím trying to force myself to think out of Le Creative Box. (Thank God, says innovative graphic designer K, who groans every time she sees me position a picture e-x-a-c-t-l-y in the middle of a wall.)

This yarn is curious. It has a slight "bloom" to it that makes it look like worsted weight, but if you examine an individual strand closely, you can see that is definitely DK. I'm a little concerned that the bloom will muddy the leaf pattern but I'm so intrigued by the yarn and by the color that I'm just going to plow ahead anyway.

Now the challenge is to figure out how many stitches to cast on since I haven't knit a sock in DK weight before. I emailed the savvy folks at the socknitters group on Yahoo and got these answers: 48, 50, 52, 54, 60, and 64. Ack! The good news is that I can add or remove stitches from the stockinette areas to my heart's content.

Dye Garden Dyegest
As I mentioned a coupla entries ago, I recently gathered some madrona bark for dyeing. Madrona trees shed their bark naturally so one need only gather it from the ground or peel it easily from the tree. No begging one's partner to pleezepleezepleeze prune the tree, no fighting the ornery dawg for the stick, no accidentally cutting one's finger with a dull pocketknife.

As with the cherry stick, I gathered this madrona bark from a local park. K and the two friends who accompanied us showed great patience as I kept darting off to bounce around on all fours like a frenzied monkey, picking up pieces of bark. At one point, K even joined me in doing the frenzied monkey dance, bless her bark-pickin' l'il heart.

I regret not getting a photo of one of the madrona trees, because its colors were particularly curious and stunning. The peeling madrona bark, as you can see, was a rich, lustrous, rust red while the new, exposed bark was an astonishingly bright, silky smooth, chartreuse green. The things you can find in nature—amazing!

madronabark.jpg

Posted by Ryan at 09:08 AM | Comments (4)

September 17, 2003

Lost and Found

We are huge Cirque Du Soleil fans so this weekend we hied ourselves off to see ďAlegrŪa,Ē the latest of their shows to come to Seattle. Because the aisle in front of the seats is narrow, I stored my sweater underneath my seat. About half-way through the show, I gently felt around with my foot to verify where my sweater was. And felt around. And felt around. And felt around, a little less gently now, pounding my toe quite smartly into the flooring, in fact. No sweater. Unbeknownst to me, there was a gap all along the front of the risers and, sure enough, my sweater had fallen through that gap. I spent the rest of the show fully expecting to see a vibrant, athletic trapeze artist plunge to an untimely death because some vital member of the safety crew was staggering blindly around under the flooring with my sweater draped on his head. (Didnít happen. Furthermore, this Spontaneous Disappearance of Patrons' Things seems to be a common occurrence because when we went to the security station after the show, there was Sweater, waiting patiently for Mommy to take it home.)

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Despite the sweater mishap, I actually left the Cirque with more items than I arrived with. (Neat trick, eh?) We took two friends to the Cirque with us as a treat, so, by way of a thank you, they gave us books which they had carefully selected with each of our lifestyles and interests in mind. My book? "The Zen of Knitting!"

Religion-wise, I'm sort of a mutt, thanks to a confused upbringing which included a half-Episcopalian/half-atheist mother who still made us say grace "just in case" (her words), a Catholic father who was semi-excommunicated because he married a half-Episcopalian/half-atheist woman who still made us say grace "just in case," a "born again" stint in high school, and a plethora of theology classes in college. So now I'm an adult who doesn't have a clue what role religion, Episcopalian, Catholic, Zenish, or otherwise, plays in one's day-to-day life. However, I am conscious of that "special place"—which is indeed Zenish—that you go to when you've found the perfect project; you've bought the perfect yarn; your gauge is spot on; the pattern is beautiful, just challenging enough, and accurate; you're listening to an interesting show on TV; a warm critter is lying by your side; and you're having good thoughts about the person for whom you're knitting the sock/sweater/vest/scarf/dischloth/(fill in the blank). I suspect I will approach the book with a certain scepticism but I am looking forward to reading it.

Knitting Knews
Below, two pictures of a swatch from this baby blanket. Mind you, I have no intention of knitting the baby blanket itself since I'd die of complete and utter ennui after the fifth row, but the pattern is so charming it just cried out to be swatched. The yarn I'm using, a Pingouin DK weight acrylic-wool blend which is a refugee from Sheila's "Bag of Balls," is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen, truly the color of a teal ocean on a stormy day.

leaffar.jpg

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Now that I've completed the swatch, I'm rubbing my chin and thinking, "Hmmm...Maybe I've finally found my sock pattern for the Guild's October SockFest." Yes, Dear Readers, I've given up on the Acoma Sock, at least for now. Janine from Guild very patiently looked at my work and gave me some helpful advice, especially about the lumpy seam up the back, but the enthusiasm for and interest in the pattern still slowly leaked away, like the air in an inflatable mattress. You know how that is, don't you?

Dye Garden Dyegest
A respite from dyeing, and another look at the Greenhouse Project. Here, a picture of the base for the greenhouse which K constructed and which she and I installed on Sunday. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a manual-labor-type girl, quite the opposite, in fact. So you can imagine my foot-stamping petulance when I jammed my shovel into the ground and nothing happened except a huge vibration boi-oi-oi-oi-oi-nged itself up the shovel, into my hands, up through my body and out my head, very much like something from a Bugs Bunny cartoon. K came to my rescue and used her Mantis tiller to dig the ground up first. Then we dug out all the required trenches, put the base pieces in, she fiddled around all kinda butch with her level until everything was Just Right, we screwed the pieces together with The World's Longest Screws, backfilled all around, and put the greenhouse on the base. Uh, we won't talk about the fact that the greenhouse appears to be a little larger than the base and is falling off on one side...

greenhousebase.jpg

Posted by Ryan at 10:59 AM | Comments (10)

September 15, 2003

Letís Play Dress Up!

On Friday, I posted a link to a site for animals made out of clothes. Doing a complete about-face, today we have sites with clothes made for animals! First, a sweater knit for a rat (close-up pictures; not for the ratophobic).

Secondly, a site for a Japanese company that makes clothes for cats. Don't miss the ďAnneís Housekeepers Package.Ē A cat wearing a red ringlet wig. Now I can die a happy woman.

After exploring the cat site in some depth, I discovered how they so successfully put and kept hats and wigs on cats, which traditionally have large pointy ears that uncooperatively take up much of the catís head. Their secret? They very cleverly use cats that donít have ears! See? (Now, before any cat lovers have horrible nightmares about cat ears, sharp scissors, and creative pruning, it's natural for this breed of cat to have smaller, folded ears. Scoutís honor. Some of them have ears that are so small and squished it looks as if they don't have any ears at'all. Again, see?)

------------------------------------

Back to animals made of clothes. My comments in my Friday entry about sock monkeys released a veritable flood of similar confessions from My Dear Readers. They divulged that they have similar feelings about Curious George; Lamb Chop; anything that has a face and is made out of a sock; Winchel Mahoney puppets; and Howdy Doody. I further divulged that Mr. Rogers gives me the creeps but his cat puppet even more so. (I was so relieved to recently find someone else who feels the same. Trust me; you do not want to go through life as the one and only person who finds Mr. Rogers creepy.)

Anyone else want to add to the list of Cultural Icons That Everyone Else Thinks Are Cute But That You Are Afraid To Admit You Don't?

Knitting Knews
Hallelujah! The Sisyphus Scarf is finished! Below, a photo of one end with buttons attached. (Of course, the weight of the metal buttons make you walk around all hunched over like Quasimodo, dragging the scarf and the buttons along the ground, gathering dirt as they go, but, hey...)

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Dye Garden Dyegest
Below, a swatch knit from the hollyhock-dyed yarn. It looks extra dark because I had to squirt it with water to get it lie down. It was quite the battle, let me tell you. Kind of like those cartoon battles where all you see is a cloud of furious fightin' activity. (Not likin' this genyoowine aran yarn. It's the only yarn I've ever used that's so rough that it makes the skin on my fingers sore. Ouch!)

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Posted by Ryan at 10:32 AM | Comments (10)

September 12, 2003

At Last We Know Where Missing Socks Go!

Despite it's public nature, I find this blog is sometimes a good forum for unburdening one's soul. Making confessions, if you will. My confession for today is...Sock monkeys give me the creeps. And, if sock monkeys, with their disturbingly red lips and ghoulish white crania, aren't bad enough, now there's this.

What astounds me even more than the freakishly weird creatures are the names. "Ninnyhammer," "Wronky," and "Kludd" I can understand, but "Genevieve?" How can you look at something which is made of used socks, that is slate blue, has a red face, four arms, googly eyes, a pooched-out belly, stumps for legs, and a tail and think, "Hey, I think I'll name it 'Genevieve!' " One can only hope that the artist did not name the macabre wee beastie after a friend.

Knitting Knews
Below, a photo of the silver buttons destined for the ends of the Sisyphus Scarf to give it a little je ne sais quois.

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I bought these buttons at a Joanne's Fabrics after a VFEAMLYS (Very Frustrating Experience At My Local Yarn Store, pronounced Vuh-FEE-Muh-Lis). Said LYS has a veritable sea of buttons to choose from, all stored in tubes with sample buttons affixed to the top. But the "sea" was misleading for, when all was said and done, my choices seemed to be:

The right button but the wrong color.
The right color but the wrong button.
A tube whose sample button didn't match what was actually in the tube.
A tube with one button in it when I needed six.
A tube with two buttons in it when I needed six.
A tube with three buttons in it when I needed six.
A tube with four buttons in it when I needed six.
A tube with five buttons in it when I needed six.
A tube with no buttons in it.

Drat, double drat, and even fershlugginer, for those of you who remember that all-purpose swear word from Mad magazine. But I'm very happy with the silver ones. They echo the lace of the pattern and contrast well with the blues and purples of the variegated yarn. The scarf is slated to be washed, blocked and buttonized this weekend. Photo Monday.

Dye Garden Dyegest
I've finally figured out why my regular readers keep coming back: So they can see fascinating, awe-inspiring photos like this:

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All right, maybe not fascinating and awe-inspiring but I have my hollyhock-stained fingers crossed that natural dyers (or natural dyer wannabes) might find this at least faintly interesting. It's a small branch pruned from a cherry tree which branch I, ahem, "liberated" from a local park and which is slated to have its bark pared off ŗ la birch branch.

I have now gathered some madrona, birch, and cherry bark. Unfortunately for me and Mossy Cottage readers, these barks all have to soak for a long time before I can use them (not to mention the fact that I have no wool, mordanted, unmordanted or otherwise, to dye right now anyway). I'll try to get pictures of the soaking bark and bark-dyed wool up as soon as I can.

Posted by Ryan at 09:07 AM | Comments (15)

September 10, 2003

What I Did on My Vacation

Knitting Knews and Gratuitous Story of the Day, All in One

Below, a photo of the continued work on the aran pillow, much of it done on my trip to San Diego. After I got home, I realized that, just as the rings on a tree tell the tale of the growth of the tree, this pillow tells the tale of my trip to San Diego. To wit:

Row 1-8: Even, relaxed stitches. Knit at home, on my couch, in front of my TV, with one of my mysteriously cloned adopted black cats, warm, asleep and upside down, by my side.
Row 9: Excruciatingly tight stitches. Take-off from Seattle.
Row 15: The occasional excruciatingly tight stitch. Turbulence.
Row 20: Excruciatingly tight stitches. Landing in San Diego.
Rows 21-30: Even, relaxed stitches. The hour I spent watching ďCaddyshackĒ with my sister and brother-in-law. While not my favorite movie (sorry, brother-in-law), itís infinitely preferable to take-off, flying, turbulence or landing.
Row 31: Excruciatingly tight stitches. Take-off from San Diego.
Row 36: The occasional excruciatingly tight stitch.Turbulence.
Row 37: An increase in excruciatingly tight stitches. An increase in turbulence.
Row 38: A preponderance of excruciatingly tight stitches. A preponderance of turbulence.
Row 39: Superhumanly tight stitches. Hard landing in Seattle.
Row 40-49: Even, relaxed stitches. Knit at home, on my couch, in front of my TV, with one of my mysteriously cloned adopted black cats, warm, asleep and upside down, by my side.

(FYI, the pattern for the pillow is located here.)

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Dye Garden Dyegest
As promised, here are photos of the hollyhock-dyed yarn. Photo 1 (which is the more accurate of the two) shows a skein dyed without any afterbath. As you can see, it came out a dark, almost black purple. Photo 2 shows the original skein plus another silvery-green skein which was the result of using an ammonia afterbath. For the second time, I remembered to include a photo of the flower in the picture! I am on a roll, baby!

I've run out of Henry's Attic so the yarn I used for this project was the genyoowine Irish aran yarn I received from K's neighbor.

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Posted by Ryan at 12:45 PM | Comments (7)

September 08, 2003

Shoeless Joe and Steve and Sue and Betty and Frank...

Now that Iím back from vacation, I can reveal that said vacation revolved around an unannounced, surprise visit to San Diego for my sisterís birthday. Ho hum, you say. But thatís because you donít really understandÖ This was my first airplane flight since 9/11. If I had acute flightophobia before 9/11, which I most assuredly did, you can imagine what a twitchy ball of noives I was this time around. My gift to my sister was not, in fact, my arrival or my visit; it was the fact that I had to spend two hours holding an airplane 30,000 feet up in the air with nothing but my stomach muscles.

However, my terror was alleviated somewhat by an experience in, of all places, the airport security line. At Sea-Tac Airport, everyone passing through security has to take his or her shoes off. I never knew what a great equalizer stockinged feet could be! As long as Person A is wearing flip-flops made from recycled tires, Person B is wearing scuffed but respectable tennis shoes, and Person C is wearing $400 Ferragamo calfskin lace-ups, everyoneís place in society is known and understood. But make all of us stand around in holey socks or with our hangnails, calluses, or hairy, hobbit-like insteps revealed to the world, and society as we know it goes to pot. Oh, but I had a good, relaxing laugh over that tableau.

Knitters, I am pleased to report that my size 8 metal needles and trŤs pointy metal cable needle made it through security sans a hitch. My knapsack did get sucked back two or three times for more careful eyeballing but eventually I, my needles, my yarn, and my current project were reunited at the other end of the conveyor belt. Hallelujah!

A big thank you goes out to the England family for their hospitality this week, especially to my niece, EvilSmartandGigglyBob (donít ask), and my nephew, Agent Cody Banks.

More about my trip on WednesdayÖ

Knitting Knews
Thanks to some Knitting Friends Who Shall Remain Anonymous who are working on a Highly Secret Project, I was tip-toeing around the idea of trying my hand at some aran knitting. I had been invited to participate in the HSP but declined since I am a sloooooww knitter (even before you take into account the Sisyphus Effect) and because I had no experience knitting anything even faintly aranical. Then, coincidentally, I stumbled across a free pattern for an aran pillow and decided it was ďa sign.Ē

Here a picture of the beginning of the pillow, knitted in sage Cascade 220:

pillow2.jpg

And lest you think the Aran pillow is actually my way of avoiding the Sisyphus Scarf, the SS is almost done. I need to knit about 2 more inches, sew on some beautiful silver celtic knot buttons I purchased last week, and I should be able to post a photo!

Dye Garden Dyegest
Before I left on my trip, I dyed with the hollyhock flowers. Here, to pique your curiosity, a picture of the flowers soaking in a one-gallon bag. As always, I used three cups of plant matter to three cups of water. The opaque-ishness of the bag is due to the steam from the very hot water that I had yust poured in. On Wednesday, Iíll post pictures of the dyed yarn.

hollyhockbag.jpg


Posted by Ryan at 12:00 PM | Comments (9)