February 27, 2004

It's a Big Orange Swirly Thing!*

First, what for The Mysterious K and me is A Very Important Question and which might be An Opportunity for Some of Us to Grow Even a Little Closer: Are there any other Red Dwarf fans out there? This screwball science fiction spoof is our all-time, no holds barred, hands-down favorite British comedy, if not our all-time, no holds barred, hands-down favorite TV series. In fact, we’ve watched it so many times—especially now that the seasons are being released on DVD—that we can recite, complete with laughably bad British accents, an inordinately large number of lines along with the characters, a la “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Say it with me, TMK!

“Time to get BIG!” (Said by a character who is descended from cats the way humans are descended from apes, and who arches his back and tiptoes sideways whenever he’s startled or afraid. The first time we saw this, we were goners, we were hooked.)

“Gaz…pa…cho…soup.” (The last words said by a dying crewmember who is convinced that he never rose in the ranks because the one time he ate with high-ranking officers, he angrily and peremptorily sent his gazpacho soup back to the kitchen to be heated up, not realizing it was supposed to be cold.)

“Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast.” (The catch-phrase said by the superhero-like alter-ego of one of the Red Dwarf crewmembers (in fact, the Gazpacho Soup Guy) every time he leaves the ship on a dangerous mission.)

"Stoke me a clipper, I'll be back for Christmas!" ( The same catch-phrase as said by Mr. Gazpacho Soup in a failed attempt to emulate his alter-ego.)

“That’s mine, and that’s mine, and that’s mine…” (Said by the Cat, as he walks around the spaceship spraying things with a bottle of, well, male cat spray.)

“Would you like some toast?” (Said by Talkie Toaster, a sentient toaster who spends much of his time feeling undervalued and unappreciated)

"Mr. Flibble is very cross." ("Said" by a penguin handpuppet being operated by a holographic crewmember (in fact, again, Mr. Gazpacho Soup) who has contracted a holo-virus and has gone completely insane. This one is worth
a picture.)

Trust me, these are all knee-slappers if you know the series, but even if you don’t, I really am going somewhere with this…

The Red Dwarf spaceship has the ability to support one hologrammatic manifestation of one crewmember so, when a crewmember dies in the first episode, his funeral is immediately followed by a “welcome home” ceremony for his fully cognitive and sentient hologrammatic self. I always thought this was an amusing but farfetched construct until I discovered an amazing real-world parallel at my state job: Employees who “retire” (and who are often seen off with a grand fiesta) almost immediately reappear in the form of “consultants.”

As we speak, a staff member who has worked here for 30 years is getting ready to “retire” so the hostess with the mostest of the department (you know who I’m talking about; there’s one in every office) is making the usual retirement hullabaloo: Planning a party, sending cards around to be signed, collecting money, ordering flowers, arranging a potluck, etc. Remarkably, everybody has climbed on the farewell bandwagon and is behaving as if this is the last time we’ll ever see the dude, when we all know da-yum well he’ll boomerang his way right back into the office in a week or two as a “consultant” (albeit not in hologrammatic form, which would at least make it scientifically and sociologically interesting, and which would require him to wear a sparkly “H” on his forehead, as they do in Red Dwarf, which would amuse me to no end). Which all makes the card-signing and money-donating and gift-giving and smarmy testimonials, not to mention the grand fiesta, beyond ridiculous.

I do, indeed, work in a strange place.

*How the Cat identifies an anomaly space, and a catch-phrase for all true Red Dwarf fans.

Knitting Knews
The chemo cap project is starting to have some interesting twists size-wise because I don't have a clue how big to knit it. When the co-worker for whom I am knitting the cap, said yes, indeed, she did want a cap, thank you very much, she hinted at having a rather large head. However, short of walking up to her and slapping a measuring tape around her head (which, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I don't want to remind her that she may lose her hair, I don't want to do), I have no idea what "large" means. In fact, I've gone so far as to convince myself that she actually has a normal-sized head but that she has spent her entire life surrounded by small-headed people and doesn't know any better.

One curious side effect of this issue: I started to knit what I considered to be a larger version of the cap but frogged it after a couple of inches. However, before I frogged it, I slapped it on my own head to get a general idea of its size. It fit so well and with such lovely, grippy, massage-y, skull-encircling pressure that I immediately started drifting off to sleep, sitting bolt upright on the couch, wearing a 1.5" blue tube around my head.

Last night I started the cap again, only one needle-size larger. This should ensure that (a) it fits her and (b) I don't skewer myself on a metal needle as I, yet again, fall asleep with a 1.5" blue tube around my head.

Posted by Ryan at 09:34 AM | Comments (18)

February 25, 2004

Proof that the Internet Can Mess With Your Mind

First, and most importantly, there is a movement started by Wendy to keep Rachael from frittering away time reading knitting blogs since she is supposed to be moving and, by her own admission, is having a darn hard time completing the process. So, Rachael, if you’re fartin’ around on here—stop, back away from the computer, get back to packing, and finish moving! The knit-blogging community is keeping its eye on you!

And now that I’ve had the truly weird experience of bossing around someone I've never even really met, on to a completely different topic.

When you surf the web as much as I do to feed an insatiable need for information, you frequently find yourself at unusual sites, as was the case yesterday when I ended up on a site about conjoined twins. And since, Lord knows why but I’ve always had an interest in rare and unusual human diseases and conditions, I spent considerable time on the site learning about the different kinds of conjoined twins, the history of such twins, and the surgical advances that have been made in separating them. Eventually, I left the site with my head fairly swimming with facts about and pictures of conjoined twins, and went to check my Yahoo mail. The first message I opened contained this link. As you can imagine, this sent my brain into a complete tailspin. Had I really gone to a page about a new craft or product, or had I, in fact, never left the conjoined twins site at all and, instead, found a photo of some twins joined at the hand? Ack!

Knitting Knews
Not much knitting to report. I’m daunted by the prospect of seaming the pieces of the Aran sweater together so I’ve just been carrying it around in my knitting bag and poking at it occasionally. At this rate, the baby will surely be too big for it when I'm done!

I’ve started the second Catalina sock. What can I say except it looks very much like the first sock.

On the New Projects front, I started a chemo cap for a co-worker but was feeling too poopy last night to take even one measly photo. Besides, all you would have seen at this point would have been 1" of navy blue stockinette on three dpns. Yawn.

Had a lovely time with the Feral knitters (which was not unexpected but I have tried to join a couple of other mini-knitting-groups and found the attendees to be a little, well, odd). The knitters in this group, which included Dear Readers Sheila, Janine and Kit and some other Guild members, were funny, vivacious and ultra-talented. A couple of the founding attendees did make the interesting admission, though, that the worst way to get any Fair Isle knitting done is to get together as a group! And I can certainly see why. While the goal of the group was to spend focused, communal time on the delicate process of knitting complex designs using multiple colors, we were, instead, happily distracted with food from the food court (for me, a strawberry scone and a glass of milk), show and tell, projects that had nothing to do with Fair Isle, and discussions about books, patterns, yarn, Guild, the recent Gig Harbor retreat, and upcoming Soirees. And, knitting-wise, the bad lighting didn’t help matters any although, in response, one attendee actually whipped out and slapped on a mini-halogen-headlamp!

Thanks, Sheila, Janine and Kit (and Dear Reader Karen, in absentia) for a great time!

Posted by Ryan at 10:24 AM | Comments (12)

February 23, 2004

Kooky Krafts Return!

An email from Dear Reader Melinda about a kooky “sport” reminded me that I haven’t posted any Kooky Krafts lately so today I offer this. Looking at this picture, I can't help but imagine some well-meaning hostess placing a very hot, too-large casserole or tureen in the center, and then lifting it up to find the swans' heads steaming gently and squashed flat onto the doily. And that makes me snort my morning hot chocolate out of my nose. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except it’s the kind with the tiny marshmallows in it. Ow.

In fairness to the site, I do recommend you explore it a bit because they sell beautiful aran sweaters (but, alas, none with three-dimensional swans protruding from them).

Knitting Knews
Here, a photo of Nametag #2, the one I actually wore to Guild.

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This closeup isn’t particularly flattering because you can see the untidy stitches the stiff gold thread makes (and the hair Frankie so lovingly left in the lower right-hand corner) but, hey, it's certainly legible. Curiously enough, due to the difference in gauge between the all-wool back and the wool-and-thread front, I had to make the back four stitches smaller than the front but they both blocked out parfaitement.

For more discussion of the Guild nametag project, see Dear Reader and Guild Newsletter Editor Karen's current blog entry.

Tonight I’m sitting in with a new local knitting group, the Feral knitters. Fair Isle, Feral…get it? I’m not surprised these ladies came up with a unique moniker for themselves since they are a particularly bright and funny bunch which includes Dear Reader Janine and Sheila of FiberRavenSoiree. Since I am not Feral (well, perhaps in the sense of being a wild and crazy gal, yes, but not in the Fair Isle/Feral sense), I don’t know how comfortable I'll feel in the group, but if they don't mind my panting and fawning over their projects and asking for the occasional autograph, we should get along just fine.

Posted by Ryan at 10:06 AM | Comments (1)

February 20, 2004

Gift-Giving 101

Despite how I pick on The Mysterious K, let me tell you, the girl knows gift-giving! A couple of years ago she decided, all on her lonesome, to design me my own coat of arms as a birthday gift. She says it was "just" my birthday card, but I say it was a complete and entire gift!

The coat of arms:

coatofarms.jpg

First, I suppose I should explain the “Pookessa” banner. Over my lifetime, I’ve had quite a few nicknames, some flattering, some not so much, but the one that stuck and the one immediate family members called me was “Pookie” (on account a’ how I was so small when I was born, thanks to Rh disease ). “Pookessa” is a variation on this given to me by my brother and is a combination of "Pookie", princess, and princesa, Spanish for princess and a reference to the fact that we siblings were all born in Peru. Lest you think it sweet that I was called a "princess," this is actually one of the less-flattering nicknames being, I believe, a nod to the fact that I was considered spoiled. True, Big Sister Wonka? (Speaking of nicknames, anyone want an explanation of that one?) At any rate, "Pookie" and "Pookessa" have stuck with me throughout my adult life, on into my relationships, hence the name atop Le Coat of Arms.

Next, TMK chose graphics to represent my family history and my interests: a globe to represent my childhood spent traveling Da Woild; a cat and a borzoi (my favorite breed of dog) to represent my passion for animals; a book to represent my passion for reading; and some yarn and needles to represent, well, you know, that. To make the coat of arms even more legit and old-worldly, she added a Latin word for each graphic: peragro, creatura, liber, and textor, respectively. TMK ‘llows as how the Latin terms aren’t exact since (a) despite her Catholic upbringing, she doesn't know word one in Latin and (b) even after extensive research, she could find only approximations. For example, textor actually means weaving, not knitting, but, hey, we are talking a dead language here, after all (with apologies to any Latin-speaking readers).

Lastly, she fancied it all up with my favorite color combination, yellow and blue with a little green thrown in for good measure, and added the numbers 2 and 6 to the banner to represent my birthday.

But, wait, there’s more! This birthday I received this, an Official Dyeing Apron with the coat of arms printed on it.

apron2.jpg

A close-up of the coat of arms on the apron:

CoAonapron.jpg

I barely want to wear the thing since it's so pretty and already has molto sentimental value, but TMK insists that, by the end of this dyeing season, it be covered with dye stains. (Between you and me, I think she's still recovering from the demise of her favorite shirt of mine during last year's dyeing season.)

Knitting Knews
Lovely Guild meeting, really lovely. I left feeling all charged up and full of positive energy, partly from spending time with my new knitting friends and mischievous and fun Dear Reader Mary, partly from the beautiful things everyone showed at “show and tell” (including the most extraordinary lace shawl knit out of a dark reddish-purpleish berry-colored yarn), and partly from Vivian Hoxbro’s interesting and funny stories, including how she fainted from excitement and anxiety when she led a group of her Danish guild members on a visit to Horst Schultz’s home.

To be honest, domino knitting, Vivian’s specialty, doesn’t much appeal to me. The squares just strike me as being the bastard children of granny squares, so I’ve never understood what all the fuss is about. But as part of her presentation, Vivian donned a domino-knit poncho that was quite dramatic. It was knit entirely in black dominos but the last five rows or so of each domino was knit in a bright, contrasting color, which made for a field of smoky black accented with small, bold neon squares. Really lovely, and a lesson learned for me! (Hey, I just found a picture of the poncho. And, in fact, the top picture shows Vivian herself wearing it! Gotta love that Net...)

star.gifI was disappointed that only four or five other Guildettes had made name tags but I think that’s primarily a function of the fact that the newsletter arrived closer than normal to the time of this month's meeting. But Dear Reader Kit had hers (you go, girl!), and Dear Reader Mary had made one, which sounds charming since it's shaped like a sock, but forgot to bring it, but she still gets a Mossy Cottage gold star for her efforts!

Posted by Ryan at 09:24 AM | Comments (9)

February 18, 2004

Has Anyone Seen My Ostrich?

Big Sister and I have a silly birthday tradition of mailing back and forth a birthday tiara, the tackier and the more tattered the better. The aim is to see how many years we can mail the same tiara to each other without one of us forgetting. If you do forget, there are no particular consequences except you are subjected to major—and I mean major—ribbing from the other sibling. Don't ask how I know...

We started the tradition using a tiara that sported the words "Happy Birthday" laser-cut out of metallic pink cardboard, decorated with silver sparkles and mounted on a silver, slightly accordioned, aluminum-like headband that was remarkably painful to wear. Eventually, even by our supremely low standards, the first tiara became too ratty—think more scotch tape than pink cardboard or sparkle. Not one to let a tradition die, my sister then mailed me this, which looks as if somebody killed and plucked a Rockette to make it. And, yes, that is me, my head, my birthday, this year.

headdress.jpg

Knitting Knews
Below, the baby sweater, 95% done, minus seed-stitch shoulder bands, blocking, seaming, and buttons. This is the project that, as a neophyte, I Thought I Would Never Be Able To Knit, so I am very proud of every nauseatingly red inch!

aidanfront3.jpg

Interesting project going on at the Guild—we've been asked to knit our own nametags. I'm tickled about the nametag idea in general because I s-u-c-k at remembering names, but knitting them—quelle bonne idée! It gives us a short, creative project to do and saves the Guild from having to purchase boxes and boxes of sticky labels that we all know just curl up and drop off anyway (or don't, and you forget to take it off, and you end up going somewhere very public with "Hi, My Name Is ____" displayed firmly on your chest.)

Since Guild is tonight (and the newsletter announcing the project only arrived a couple of days ago), I've been doing heads-down knitting on the nametag. I decided legibility, not creativity, was the number one priority so I chose gold thread, doubled, for the letters, and a cobalt blue sock-weight wool yarn for the background.

My first attempt turned out trèscrappy so I've moved on to version deux. Here, a picture of the prototype. The plan is to also knit a back, sew the two pieces together around a piece of cardboard and whack on a safety pin.

nametag.JPG

Our speaker tonight is Vivian Hoxbro of domino knitting fame. And the guests-who-are-now-members who made last Guild night so scrumpdillyishious have promised to return for more knitting fun. Hallelujah!

Oh, and not to forget The Mysterious K, tonight she has her next woodworking class, something mysterious called "Joinery III."

DyeGarden Dyegest
The natural dyeing forum on Yahoo has started two threads that I'm having trouble stomaching: dyeing with ladybugs and dyeing with grasshoppers.

Long-time readers of the blog may remember that I am absolutely animal- and nature-crazy and, in fact, almost relate better to animals than I do to humans. I have no trouble with insects at all and, in fact, will eagerly pick up and examine anything creepy-crawly, to TMK's dismay (especially when I poke sleeping bumblebees in the behind because, for some reason, I can't abide a sleeping bumblebee. It goes against the laws of nature. They are supposed to bumble, not sleep.). So the Yahoo postings about catching the ladybugs and grasshoppers, killing them, and smooshing them up for dye just leave me feeling, well, first, nauseous, and secondly, bad for the insects. One dyer mentioned how she already has a few ladybugs already saved up in a jar, and my heart just goes out to the poor bewildered insects left without food or water, or the ability to fly or escape, just so we can color some yarn. Say, I think I'll be avoiding the natural dyeing forum for a while until those entries have run their course.

With all the trauma I go through whenever I hear about animals or insects being abused or trapped, you'd think I'd be a vegetarian, wouldn'tcha? Nope! Tried it, but when you're not big on cheese, legumes, or vegetables either, that leaves you with...buttered noodles. Oh, and if you're vegan, you can't even have the butter, so you're left with...noodles. Stayed vegetarian until my body was completely worn out from eating nothing but crap, had a big slab o' meat, and felt better instantly. A lesson learned.

Posted by Ryan at 10:31 AM | Comments (9)

February 12, 2004

The Art of Aging Gracefully

Update, Friday afternoon: Due to President's day, my next posting won't be until Wednesday, 2/18. In the meantime, Frankie, TMK and I wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day and an enjoyable President's Day!


You know it's time to stop counting the years when this is the candle your partner picks for your birthday cake:

birthdaycake.jpg

Knitting Knews
Almost finished with the baby sweater but I'm getting lost in a jumble of balls of yarn: One for the right shoulder, one for the left shoulder, one for the neck, one for the sleeves—and yet I only have one original skein of yarn, so I'm manufacturing mini-balls by scrabbling desperately for free ends and using some ball-rolling sleight-of-hand. And I don't have yarn bras for any of the balls, so they are constantly leaping off the couch and making a faster-than-the-speed-of-light beeline for the other side of the living room. Ack!

Thinking back over the last year, I'm starting to feel like a bit of a doof. Remember how I didn't participate in the Highly Secret Project because I didn't know how to do cables or aran-type knitting? Now that the aran pillow and the baby sweater have proven to be insanely easy, well, hindsight, 20-20, blahblahblah. Now I understand why the other participants were rolling their eyes—albeit nicely—at my bellyachin'!

Dye Garden Dyegest
The Mysterious K and I are overwhelmed with little green seedlings. In fact, we're having trouble keeping up with our Germination Station jungle! I planted some blue sweetpea vine seeds (not for the dye garden; just 'cuz) which sprouted almost immediately and have grown so fast they're pushing up against the seedtray cover and have circled three times around on themselves. It pains us to see them so tortured but we haven't had time to rescue them, and we don't even know if we can since they are still too delicate to survive being transplanted. Oy, the trials and tribulations of being parents. Maybe if we just hadn't experimented with those fertility pills...

Debra, have you planted any seeds yet? We were talking about you the other day and were wondering how it was going.

Posted by Ryan at 11:04 AM

February 10, 2004

Churchmouse!

(Warning: Looong entry; lots of photos!)

First, apropos of nothing: Anyone else watching Westminster? We'll be glued to the TV for the second three hours tonight. (And, on pain of death, no one tell me who won, or I will hunt you down.)

Next, on to birthday and Churchmouse!

The Magic Birthday Numbers: 44, 75, 137, 62, 12 and 8.

44: My age, post-birthday (no, not the 30 a Dear Reader mischievously hinted at in her comment)

75: The total of gift certificates I had to spend at Churchmouse. How did the $50 gift certificate magically turn into a $75 gift certificate? Details below!

137: The amount I actually spent at Churchmouse—a truly outrageous amount for me.

62: The piddly out-of-pocket amount I personally had to shell out for my big bag of yarny goodness.

12: The even smaller out-of-pocket amount I personally had to shell out for my big bag of yarny goodness—if I dedicate the $50 my aunt sent me for Christmas toward this purchase and not some other.

+8: The amount I MADE by going to Churchmouse—if I dedicate the $20 the same aunt sent me for my birthday toward this purchase and not some other. Hmmmm—Apparently with a little creative financing I can manufacture money out of thin air while, at the same time, adding to my stash! Somebody pinch me!

A Mini-Travelogue and The Story of My Big Surprise
First a mini-photo-essay of our trip to and from Churchmouse.

A photo taken while The Mysterious K and I were waiting for the car ferry Tacoma to whisk us to Bainbridge Island, the location of Churchmouse. The sticky-up thing in the middle of the picture is the top of the ferry. Yes, it looks gray and dreary but it was actually quite cozy in the car for me ‘n’ my honey (except for when she decided to open up the driver-side door and swing it back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, letting cold air in. I have no idea what that was all about. I hadn’t even farted.)

waitingforferry.JPG

The ferry Wenatchee passing us on its way from Bainbridge to Seattle:

ferry.jpg

Port of Seattle cranes used to load and unload containerships:

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The Seattle skyline on our way home. Note: The teeny white building on the right used to be the tallest building on the West coast! And, no, the photo hasn't been retouched; that is actual sunshine.

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An artsy photo of the Space Needle, again, on the way home.

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The mini-travelogue done, let’s talk Churchmouse!

As some of my Dear Readers may remember, I was all het up to go to Churchmouse because I had won a $50 gift certificate at my guild’s Christmas party. Little did I know that one of my very special Dear Readers had connived to add to what I thought was already a substantial amount.

The night before the trip, TMK started hinting mysteriously about a birthday “surprise” having something to do with Churchmouse, so I was all atwitter. Before we went into the yarn store, we stopped at a bakery (Blackbird Bakery, for those of you who know it). After I ate my chocolate croissant (a warm, slightly melted chocolate bar inside a croissant—heaven on earth, I tell you), I decided to hit the loo, and TMK said she would wait for me outside. When I came outside, with a twinkle in her eye, TMK handed me an envelope and a printout of an email. Apparently, as the email explained, DearDearDear Reader Lisa had called Churchmouse and had made arrangements for me to receive yet another $25 gift certificate!

(Lisa, since you couldn't be there, for you, the details of how this all "went down." Apparently TMK was fretting about how she was going to get her mitts on the gift certificate without my knowing and she saw her opportunity when I went to the bathroom. She raced around the corner to CM, picked up the gift certificate, raced back around the corner, screeched to a stop and assumed a nonchalant pose just before I came out of the bakery. When she handed me the envelope and the email, I spent many minutes staring at both, just amazed by your generosity and the surprise of it all. And the fact that I spent “many minutes” staring at it says a lot, since TMK and I were sitting on an ice-cold cement bench and our derrieres were turning blue!)

So, armed with an unexpected $75 worth of Churchmouse scrip, I started my adventure. True to her promise to allow me to just enjoy myself and to remove Non-Knitting Bored Partner from the picture, TMK left and occupied herself in the local galleries, bookstores, hardware stores and woodworking stores. And, yes, Dear Readers, when all was said and done, I spent almost three (3!) hours in Churchmouse!

Here is my bag of yarny goodness:

bag.jpg

And its contents, waiting to be revealed:

bagcontents.jpg

Two skeins of a periwinkle blue Inca Alpaca yarn. So soft! Such a beautiful light-purple-blue, actually much lighter than this picture shows, more like the color in the picture above.

bluealpaca.jpg

Two skeins of Lorna’s Laces sock yarn in the Childsplay colorway. This is something I have been on the verge of ordering online many, many times and was tickled to come across in the store.

sherbetyarn.jpg

Three skeins of Tahki Shannon (one is already in use, hence just the two in the photo). This yarn is a light liver brown (that’s really the best way to describe it) with beautiful, bright strands of red, blue, purple and orange added.

slipperyarn.jpg

TMK fell in love with the Tahki and insisted I swatch it right away so:

slipperyarn.jpg

Three skeins of Cascade 220, two in a beautiful dark teal/midnight blue color, and one in a dark emerald green. These will be used to make the FiberTrends felted clogs (the pattern for which I also purchased). In my mind, these are the things I bought with Lisa’s gift certificate because it will be nice to think I’m wearing warm slippers made possible through someone else’s kindhearted generosity.

slipperyarn.jpg

Two Harmony Guide books:

bookcovers.jpg

Two packages of copper-colored beads and two of earth-tone beads:

beads.jpg

What a fabulous birthday! Thank you everyone for their birthday wishes, and a big hug and smooch go out to Lisa!

Posted by Ryan at 02:05 PM | Comments (14)

February 08, 2004

Your Patience is Requested!

I will be teaching a class most of Monday so the blog has to sit on the back burner until late Monday, early Tuesday--which is tremendously frustrating since I'm itchin' to talk aaaaallll about Churchmouse and to send out a Very Special Thank You.

Later, dudes!

Posted by Ryan at 04:37 PM | Comments (5)

February 06, 2004

Just Hitch Me Up to the Wagon...

A quick mention of the results of the visit to the cardiologist and then let’s move on to much more entertaining things, shall we?

The Anticlimactic Bottom Line—I’m as healthy as a frickin’ horse. Think Budweiser Clydesdale. In fact, think the two Budweiser Clydesdales that are hitched closest to the wagon because they’re the biggest and the strongest and the fattest and can pull the most weight. C’est moi! So ol’ doc and I decided just to wait it out and see if my “episodes” start to form any kind of a pattern, or are triggered by anything (like, oh, say the *ahem* chocolate chips cookies I ate just before the last time I was—hand to forehead as if to swoon—overcome). So, feh—I’m good with this. Thank you again to everyone for their support and kind, kind thoughts! And a special thanks goes out to Robbyn who sat on my shoulder and caused me to be more assertive than I might otherwise have been.

Now that that’s out of the way, Churchmouse tomorrow!! The Mysterious K has been very solicitously getting ferry schedules, finding out how to get to Churchmouse, nagging me, in a nice way, to remember the gift certificate and, in general, planning My Big Day. And she has promised to bring a book, or find a woodworking or hobby store close by, so I won’t be distracted by Bored Husband Karma while I wallow in the yarn, which, as we all know, can take hours.

Knitting Knews
A photo of the finished Catalina sock. I know it looks weirdly long and stretched but that’s a function of the elastic in the Fixation and the fact that it's knit using only 48 stitches. When you put it on, it actually stretches and conforms to your foot quite acceptably.

catalinafinished.jpg

Dyer’s Dyegest
On Wednesday—a mere three days after we planted the seeds in the Germination Station—TMK and I became parents! I haven’t seen the seedlings yet, but TMK reports that teen-weeny green heads are popping up everywhere. Photos on Monday, if our wee green tots will sit still long enough.

Posted by Ryan at 10:15 AM

February 04, 2004

The Sky is Falling!! The Sky is Falling!!...Oh.

I am not the best housekeeper in the world, and certainly not the most organized, but even I was surprised when, yesterday, I stepped outside, opened my umbrella, and a bottle of hand lotion fell on my head. Oy.

Knitting Knews
A phuzzy photo of the back and one sleeve of the baby Aran sweater, artfully smooshed together to make them look like a real sweater:

sweaterbacksleeve.JPG

I continue to pick and choose different size elements from the pattern to compensate for casting on enough stitches for an 18-month sweater but ending up with only the 9-month width. Everything still looks in proportion (based on my limited notion of how a baby's head, arms and torso all relate to one another), so I have my fingers crossed.

I was feeling rather smug about using (and even, maverick that I am, enjoying using) the $2.50 crapyarn for this sweater until I made the mistake of searching out photos of the same sweater on other blogs, like this or this or this or this (from our own Dear Reader Robbyn). These sweaters, none of which were knit in crapyarn, I don't think, all look just thatmuch spiffier than mine. Pooh. Still, I stand by my theory that industrial-strength yarn is the best choice for an industrial-strength baby. (Curiously enough, I did find one comment on another blog in which the reader said her version of the sweater, much like mine, had knitted up 1.75" smaller than the pattern said it would. Hmmmm. Gives one pause or, as Frankie would say, "Gives one paws.")

Posted by Ryan at 10:31 AM

February 02, 2004

The Best Vest!

Thank you to all my Dear Readers for their kind thoughts about The Great Heart Monitor Adventure. Wait, that doesn’t sound emphatic enough. Really—thankyouthankyouthankyou.

I debated long and hard about whether to even mention my health issues because I don't believe people read blogs, well, knitting blogs anyway, for large doses of doom and gloom. But the whole heart monitor thing got to be so funny after a while—and we know how I feel about funny—that it begged to be written up. The monitor is all gone, no more “pocketa-queep pocketa-queep pocketa-queep.” More news Wednesday when I see the cardiologist but, in the meantime, I truly feel fine. And to answer Perclexed’s question as to whether my job is causing the problems—as in, the instant you got promoted, did you develop debilitating heart disease?—no, the job is fine. It's not causing to me writhe around on the floor in a state of emotional and physical collapse. In fact, I'm rather enjoying the little bit of extra pressure and responsibility.

On a lighter note, I present this, another drawing by my 5-year-old nephew of Best Aunt fame:

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Okay, just how spiffy is that vest? Does anyone else besides me see it knit up in a nice worsted weight wool, green yarn and perhaps some tailored cabling on one side, blue yarn and matching cabling on the other, a fancy melding of the colors down the middle of the back of the vest, and red buttons? Proof that you never know where your knitting inspiration will come from...

(I also see that Nephew is a Detail Guy: He makes sure to dot his "i's" and cross his "t's," nevermind that it's on the same letter.)

Knitting Knews
As promised, I sewed the i-cord on the Aran pillow this weekend. It took a long time—about 3 hours of TMK Video Game Playing Time, my new unit of time measurement—and the i-cord ended up squiggling all around the edges of the pillow like an epileptic worm. But TMK says the pillow has good karma—and isn't that what matters? Not to mention that this was my first cable project ever, and I started it when I made the surprise visit to San Diego for my sister's birthday, so it has more than its share of good memories knitted in.

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Dye Garden Dyegest
TMK and I are definitely being bitten by the Springtime Planting Bug. We spent a considerable part of the weekend planting seeds and cobbling together a germination station (and singing "Gonna make a germination station," to the tune of "Gonna take a sentimental journey.")

First, a picture of my second batch of indigo seeds, the ones from Elizabeth Merrill. You can see the snippet of indigo-dyed yarn she included with the seed packet:

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Here, a picture of 24 of 72 Jiffy Pot pellets getting all fat and juicy after soaking up much warm water:

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And here, a picture of me planting the itsy-bitsy indigo seeds in another flat filled with just plain old seed starting mix:

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And here, the Germination Station itself!

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Posted by Ryan at 12:49 PM | Comments (14)