October 29, 2004

Evil is Afoot...

bat.bmpIn rereading yesterday’s entry, I was struck again, as I frequently am, by how subtle and complex, and occasionally traitorous, the English language can be, and how one wrong word can send your sentence skyrocketing off in a direction you never foresaw. Take this sentence, for example: “…an article about an artist who makes fabric sculptures of road kill.” It occurred to me, to my horror, that that sentence could easily be interpreted as, “an article about an artist who makes fabric sculptures out of road kill,” and my mind was immediately flooded with disturbing images of flattened animal carcasses, asphalt, shovels, scraping, disemboweling, washing, tanning, cutting, stretching, drying and sewing. Euuwww. Euuwww again. And euuwww one more time, for good measure. My apologies to anyone whose mind was similarly flooded. You will now see that the sentence says “…an article about an artist who makes fabric sculptures depicting road kill.” That’s a whole different deal. Still weird, but a whole different deal.

Knitting Knews
ghost.bmpBecause I try to take the high road whenever the situation calls for it, I will now confess to Janine and Laurie—both of whom predicted dire consequences for me when I declared boldly, with regard to my Crapyarn Sweater, “This is so easy! I couldn’t make a mistake if I tried!”—that, yes, dire consequences have abounded. In fact, one even occurred before my grand online declaration but that’s because I had been thinking that same blasphemous thought for days before I was foolish enough to put it in my blog—and the universe knew.

bat.bmpI bought an extra skein of crapyarn for the project. I noticed after I got home that a little bit of the skein, three, maybe four strands, were glued to the yarn label. No problem, I thought, a slight tug, a gentle patting down of the fibers, and Bob’s your uncle. Wrong. I don’t know what kind of glue they use at Lion Brand but, holy adhesion, Batman! In order to separate fiber from glue from label, I started with a gentle, fiber-respecting pull…which thirty seconds later had devolved into an all-out war. I yanked. I pulled. I grunted. I growled like a testosterone-laden wrestler. I pulled at the yarn with such intensity and desperation and with my arms oriented in such a way that if the yarn had, in fact, come unglued, I would have socked myself squarely in the eye, but by that point I didn’t care. Finally, I stood on the label and pulled the yarn up with both hands. My face turned red with the effort, veins stood out on my forehead, my elbows cracked, and various ligaments and tendons started giving away. But nothing budged. The yarn didn’t come away. The individual fibers didn’t separate and come unglued one by one. The paper didn’t rip. The glue didn’t budge. Hats off to the quality assurance guy at Lion Brand who, by being asleep at the wheel when this particular skein floated by on the conveyor belt, single-handedly made possible the existence of the strongest, most unbreakable bond in the known universe.

ghost.bmpHeaven’s Revenge, Chapter II: Because I was mad at the extra skein and the scientific impossibilities that it had so laughingly thrown in my face, I decided to use it next, just to get it out of the way—and perhaps on some level to punish it. (Now, now, all you knitters out there, I know you’ve punished yarn on occasion. Admit it.) I unwound what felt like miles of yarn to find a place where yarn wasn’t glued to label, cut the glue and the label away, and sent half to NASA and half to the Smithsonian for detailed analysis, with the stipulation that whatever new element they discovered had to be named after me (Ryanium. Has a nice ring to it...). Then, back to the sweater. I had already knit a good 1/3 of the back of the sweater out of a well-behaved skein, and proceeded to knit the next 1/3 out of the Spawn of Satan skein—which is when I discovered they were completely different colors. Same manufacturer. Same yarn. Same dye lots. Same color name. Different colors. There is a definite and distinctive line squarely across the back of the sweater where I switched from Skein 1 to Skein 2, with dark yarn below and light yarn above.

bat.bmpWhich is where this all rests now. Are you happy, Janine and Laurie? Huh? Are you?!

To all of my Dear Readers:

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Posted by Ryan at 09:16 AM | Comments (17)

October 27, 2004

A Humdrum Wednesday...

First and most importantly, welcome back, Stalker Angie! The Mossy Cottage posse is whole again! Now, understandably, some local Dear Readers have asked me, one eyebrow sharply raised, “ ‘Stalker Angie?’ What’s that all about?” Not to fret, Dear Readers. I haven’t found a horse head in my bed, I haven't been flooded with psychotic love notes composed out of newspaper type (especially since Angie's 6'6" husband would have something to say about that), I don’t get breather phone calls every hour on the hour in the wee hours of the morning, and I don’t see someone vanish out of my line of vision every time I turn my head. She is just A Very Faithful Reader—the kind that went back and read all 100+ entries when she found my blog—so I send her a virtual wink, a nose tweak, and a "Hidey-ho!"

The most exciting things that have happened so far this week is that the ventilation fan in The Mysterious K's bathroom stopped working, and I had a broken window fixed. Bored? So'm I. You have no idea. Since I can't even hope to manufacture an interesting story out of such a mundane week, instead let's trot out some Kooky Krafts—including two very unsettling ones—shall we?

Whimsical art made from drinking straws. The site is in Portuguese but the pictures say all they need to say. Look for the little critter whose wings are made of pistachio shells. (Odd. All of a sudden, I have an overwhelming desire to race home and watch "A Bug's Life." TMK, guess what we're doing this weekend?)

Some truly troubling hats that look more like intestines than headware.

And speaking of intestines, from Dear Reader Anne, an article about an artist who makes fabric sculptures depicting road kill, squishedness, guts, blood, and all, I kid you not.

Oh, and TMK, one last thing. The final vote: 13 in favor of the blue nail polish, 5 against. I would feel more vindicated and would let out a huge whoop and a holler, if my vote weren't one of the 5 against...

Posted by Ryan at 01:32 PM | Comments (12)

October 25, 2004

We're All Entitled To Make a Few Mistakes...

I take a certain spine-tingling thrill in presenting The Scariest Thing You Will See This Halloween.

Not only does this make me look like a hooker, it makes me look like an ancient, claw-fingered, and slightly demented hooker who should be off the streets enjoying her remaining days in a rocking chair in front of a fire.

And the truly scary part? No alcohol was involved. I went to the store. I bought the polish. I put it on my nails. All without the consumption of fermented grain or fruit liquids. Oh, but you should have seen the look on The Mysterious K’s face when I showed up at her house on Saturday with this crap on my nails. With an expression of total horror—partly because she thought the nails were coyote ugly, and partly because she didn't yet know how I felt about them and was more afraid of my wrath if she insulted me than she was of the nails—she said, hestitantly, "You...aren't... going...to..wear...that...to...work...are...you?" Poor dear. The things I do to her...

And what’s in it for all of you? A once in a lifetime, carte blanche opportunity to post insulting comments on a blog, secure in the knowledge that you can’t possibly hurt the blogger's feelings. Er, if the comments are about my nails, that is.

Knitting Knews
Smokescreen Scarf: Frogged. I felt the world becoming prettier and prettier as I unraveled each row. That was truly a scarf that only a mother could love.

Crapyarn Sweater: One sleeve done. Right front done. A third of the way through the back. Truly mindless knitting, my favorite kind. I couldn't make a mistake if I tried. Hallelujah!

Faina Scarf: Row 70 of the second of the three main repeats done. Still a super-fun pattern. Everyone! Run out! Buy it! Knit it! (What do you mean I don't have that kind of mind control over my readers?)

And as evidence of some real progress on a project, the finished and almost-finished sleeve of the Baby Norgi. Yup, you are seeing about 100 stitches to the inch. Told you I'm a tight knitter...

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Posted by Ryan at 10:01 AM | Comments (22)

October 22, 2004

Feeling Can-tankerous!

This is probably the most personal thing I will ever write in this blog, but here goes: I’m sitting in my office, at my desk, with a can of cold Coke stuffed inside my pants. Now, now; minds out of the gutter everyone (although I’m not really sure what’s so titillating about bare skin and freezing cold aluminum). The mundane truth is that I wrenched my lower back muscles and The Mysterious K—who is The Reluctant Queen of Bad Backs—has admonished me to keep icing it. I had every intention of doing so last night but somehow I never managed to get me, my back, a comfortable place to sit, and an ice pack all in the same place at the same time. Today, however, I crept and lurched and groaned my way down to the break room, got a very cold can of Coke out of the vending machine…and had a eureka moment as I crept and lurched and groaned my way back to my office. I wonder, I sez to myself, if stuffing this can of Coke in the back waistband of my pants will have the same effect as using a cold pack? So, here I sit, can in my pants, smug in the knowledge that I am following the spirit of TMK’s Bad Back Law, if not the letter. Which forces me to say to TMK Norma’s favorite phrase, Neener, neener.

(A late-in-the-afternoon update: I just realized that my stiff back is making me walk like a duck. That can't be pretty.)

Speaking of smugness, remember how in my last entry I e-wagged my e-finger at Dear Reader Kit, she of the Eighth Wonder of the World, and said she had to bring her garden hat to Guild for the Felted Fashion/Art show? Well, I’m feeling rather pleased with myself since her hat was voted Most Beautiful! Like a total doof, I forgot to take my camera, but let me see if I can describe this creation to you. The hat itself is a simple felted rolled-brim concoction out of a dusty purple (like dusty pink, only not) yarn. The magic comes from what Kit added to the simple felted rolled-brim concoction. From some very odd yarn she found at a yard sale—a sort of rubbery looking amalgamation of brown and green fibers which looks more like something you would use to skid-proof a floor mat than yarn—she knit a wide "moss" hatband. Then she knitted and sewed on a profusion of brightly colored, three-dimensional flora: Flowers, daffodils, narcissi, pansies, leaves and I don’t remember what’all. She topped it off with a knitted stick and an orange knitted snake, complete with stripes, eyes, and a little red forked tongue. I think there’s even a store-bought bird in there somewhere. A great hat! High five to you on the win, Kit!

The other awards were Funkiest, Funniest and Most Favorite. Funkiest went to a pair of Felted Clogs that were embellished to look like ladybugs, complete with spots and waving antennae. Funniest was awarded to some adorable, tiny, cream-colored “mouse slippers” with eyes, ears, a nose and a tiny felted tail. Favorite went to a stunning forest green, cream and terra cotta domino-knit basket. If anyone is looking for ideas for an event at your Guild, I think this went over really well.

Speaking of garden hats, flowers and pretty things, here’s a photo of TMK’s camellia, which is not supposed to flower for another three or four months, but we won’t go there. In a growing season when your fall flowers bloomed in early June, your winter plants bloomed in October, and your mid-summer plants bloomed in mid-fall, we've learned not to question these things.

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Posted by Ryan at 10:14 AM | Comments (14)

October 20, 2004

Ryanbeck, Part II!

Something very strange is going on. The Mysterious K has gotten it into her head that we are going to Rhinebeck next year. You heard right, not my idea—hers.

Here’s what has happened so far in the unfolding of this great mystery: After TMK saw Anj’s and Norma’s comments about meeting each other at Rhinebeck, she called me and asked—I kneweth not why—“Where’s Rhinebeck?” I said, unhelpfully, “I dunno. Somewhere in New York. Or not.” End of call...but my Spidey sense was tingling; I knew Something Was Up. Sure enough—five minutes later, phone call #2 in which she announced that she had located Rhinebeck on a map and, yes, it is in New York, and, oh, by the way (said in a suspiciously insouciant and lackadaisical way), it's only “half an inch,” in map distance, from the home of the couple that we met at the beach. Aha! My Spidey senses had been right, and now TMK's underlying motive had been revealed. You see, ever since we met those two, she has been mooning over our new pals and making sad puppy-dog eyes in a general Easterly direction. And me? I was saying, "Nice girls, but whatever. Not flying to New York to see 'em." But now, you see, now she figures she has found the perfect carrot on a stick.

But wait; there’s more! Yesterday morning, phone call #3. This time TMK announced that she had visited all the blogs she could think of, including Anj’s and Norma’s for the second time, to read up on Rhinebeck. Visited the blogs? Read up on Rhinebeck?! Now, while TMK appreciates the art of blogging as much as the next girl, she doesn’t read many blogs besides mine. And yet, here she was, assiduously mining various blogs for details about a frickin' fiber fair! So, it seems she’s determined to be at Rhinebeck, nose pressed up against the entry gate (if there is such a thing), in 2005.

Of course, there is the small detail that we both are terrified of flying (in fact, I tried to take half of a Valium once while I was flying but my hands were shaking so badly I only succeeded in flinging it across the aisle). Oh, and the fact that she is self-employed and rarely, if ever, takes any time off. Oh, and the small matter of the dog. Oh, and the fact that I could go to a local fiber fair just as easily…

Update in 365 days…

In the meantime, more on The Beautiful Box. The beadboard and molding has been added, as you can see:

trunk.jpg

Knitting Knews
frog.gifThank you Anj, Beth and Janine, for the helpful suggestions on the Smokescreen Scarf, but the more I looked at the photographs, the uglier I realized the scarf was. Adding a crocheted or lace border to it would be like putting chocolate sauce on spinach—it would still be ugly and tasteless underneath. Final verdict? To the frog pond! I may try it again with even larger needles, no border, and no slipped stitches

norgibody2.jpgThe good news is I’m back working on the Norgi Sweater, the world's longest Fair Isle experiment. Only three-quarters of a sleeve to go and then the dreaded armhole steeks and assembly! I feel another raucous Ferals steek-cutting meeting coming on.

Guild tonight! The main event, a Felted Fashion Show. Kit, you know I expect to see your wild and wacky hat there... Pleeeeeeeeze?


Posted by Ryan at 12:37 PM | Comments (18)

October 18, 2004

Maybe They Should Rename It Ryanbeck...

Really, guys. The comments this time? Left me flapping at misted-up eyes. I’m not exaggerating, not one bit. So sweet, so supportive, all a’ youze. The Mysterious K and I are very lucky.

And Norma and Anj? You did it; you made me jealous. I’m not much of a one for going to knitting conferences or shows (I’ve been to two in the three years I’ve been knitting) but for some reason this year I was jonesin' to go to Rhinebeck, and the report of the two of you sharing a Ryan hug at Rhinebeck was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Or the icing on the cake. Not sure which. And I imagined, of course, a Princeton hug, complete with air kisses and total lack of body contact.

And how was the 18th anniversary?

Well, as I posted in one of my comments, this late in the game, your idea of excitement is realizing you have a two-fer coupon for the restaurant where you want to eat.

But I lie. No anniversary is ordinary when it involves every woman’s favorite thing, a Little Black Velvet Box:

littleblackbox.jpg

Inside the box was this, a reminder of our trip to the shore in August. Of course, we didn't see any starfish but a gold rendering of a broken crab shell with one leg still attached to it wouldn't have had the same effect. Beautiful, no? Wore it all weekend.

starfish.jpg

And The Mysterious K, was, I believe, happy with her new woodworking book and a bar of That Chocolate. Leastwise, her nose was buried in the book for the rest of the weekend and she made thoroughly obscene snurffly, snarffly noises the next day when she ate her chocolate. Okay, half of the chocolate because the second half qualified as a Second Brownie.

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Knitting Knews
Here are a couple of pictures of the Smokescreen Scarf being used for what it was born to do—entertain you while I plod along on all my other projects.

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I’m iffy about this scarf. Like the openweave pattern; don’t like the horsy border I gave it. And, because the Oak Leaf Scarf and Faina scarf both had me slip the first stitch of every row, I’m slipping the first stitch of this scarf but the combination of the biggish size 10.5 needles and laceweight-ish yarn is giving me big, ugly, overly open, irregular loopies along the side that don't block out; I've tried. Opinions? Keep knitting? Frog and reknit without the slipped stitches? Frog and reknit without the border and without the slipped stitches? Do something completely different?

(Note to Faina-Along partner, Lisa: I finished the second repeat on Faina, but because I’m using thinner yarn and smaller needles, so far the scarf looks suspiciously short. Looks like I’m going to have do an extra repeat of the 78-row motif. Ack!)

Posted by Ryan at 10:08 AM | Comments (17)

October 15, 2004

Eighteen and Counting!

First, and most importantly:

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and

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say

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to

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

While reading a posting to one of the Yahoo knitting groups I belong to, I came across an acronym I didn’t recognize, HTH. Determined to cram even more into a brain that is already full to bursting with useless dreck, I immediately raced off and found this site and spent the next twenty minutes wallowing in email and IM acronyms. Most of them I knew but this one—ROTFLMAOWPIMP—made me laugh out loud, which is ironic, as you’ll see.

Any guesses what it means, Dear Readers? The more acronym-savvy among you will recognize ROTF as Rolling On The Floor, but this lengthy variation stands for Rolling On The Floor, Laughing My Ass Off, While Peeing In My Pants. Now that’s larfing! And because I’m a full-service Internet researcher and acronym analyst, for the French-speaking among you, the French translation, from another site: “En train de rire à s'en rouler par terre, cul par dessus tête et à en pisser dans son pantalon.” I'll bet even the non-French-speakers among you have a pretty good idea what "pisser dans son pantalon" means (juvenile titter).

Coincidentally, soon after stumbling across the acronym, I found an entry in this blog that left me ROTFLMAOWPIMP. Reflecting on the coming winter cold, the blogger wrote:

I always drag my heels in [turning on the heat] because I never want to admit that Old Man Winter is coming back to try and kill us again. The only ray of sunshine in all of this is that soon it will be time to put the insulating plastic in the windows. Once it’s up, we sit back and watch the cats bounce off it when they try to jump onto the windowsills. Amazingly, this never gets old. The 100th time I see it is as delightful as my very first. Sometimes life tosses you a bone.

Admit it: No matter how much you love your pet, there always comes a time when you want to do something slightly abusive to it a la Stitchy McYarnpants. For us, it comes every Christmas when we attempt to put costume antlers on Frankie. We have yet to succeed, although the brief nanosecond for which they have stayed on has been enough to tell us that she would look exactly like the Grinch’s dog. No, I mean exactly like the Grinch's dog. Except with sticky-up ears.

Oh, and the long-forgotten acronym that started this whole strange journey, HTH? It means “hope this helps.” But I’ll bet everybody except me already knew that.

Knitting Knews
The Smokescreen scarf is about 18” long now and is turning into a fun project. In fact, it is a great starter project for anyone who wants to try lace knitting. In the original version of the pattern, you cast on only 23 stitches, you can use large needles if you want (in fact, I still believe the size 8s the pattern calls for are way too small), and the pattern is the same on both sides. Easy peasy.

I must admit that this is the first time I have been so aware of yarn metamorphosing from inert fiber to the perfect blend of form and function. I suppose that's because I know the entire history of this yarn. I know it comes from a white alpaca named Freddie, I know what farm it comes from, I met the owners of the farm, I dyed the yarn myself, TMK and I even grew the flowers I dyed the yarn with, and now I am knitting it into a scarf.

Ooooooooh, now I know why my spinning friends always say, we'll get you spinning, my pretty, hee, hee, hee. Sorry, my spinning dears, I still say nuh-uh.

Posted by Ryan at 09:56 AM | Comments (16)

October 13, 2004

Mass Hysteria!!

All a' youze in the other 49 states—I highly recommend staying away from Washington for now since every one of its fine upstanding citizens is caught in the clutches of a weird state-wide manic depression. Manic because the Storm won the NBA last night; depressed because Mount St. Helens went “ffffffffft,” after weeks of having the media scream at us, “She’s gonna blow! She’s gonna blow!. She’s gonna blow! SHE'S GONNA BLOW!!!" Yesterday, rather than flinging rocks, ash, ice and steam miles in the air with a thunderous and dramatic roar, she just oozed some really unlovely magma onto the surface, the equivalent of lava diarrhea. (For my part, I must confess I find slowly oozing lava immeasurably more interesting than any form of basketball.)

Knitting Knews
I finished the first sleeve of the Crapyarn Sweater, and am part of the way through the right front. No, it’s not your imagination. To make sure I stay interested, I’m doing the sweater in the most fragmented and disorganized way possible: First one sleeve, then the right front, maaaaaaaaybe then the back, maaaaaaaaybe then the other sleeve, maaaaaaaaybe then the left front—or maybe I’ll do it in some other order completely. Oh, what a wild and daring woman I am!

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I found it very interesting that, at Ferals on Monday, everyone wanted to see and touch the Crapyarn Sweater. I think, for knitters, it’s the equivalent of reading someone else’s National Inquirer; it really can’t be held against you and you’re really not reading it if you didn’t buy it.

In today’s blog entry, Dear Reader Robbyn wrote “The problem with sticking to a few projects is that I worry that the blog gets boring. On the other hand, it means I actually finish things, so I hope you can deal with a little tedium.” I must confess I share some of the same fears but, unlike Robbyn, I have completely sold out. I am currently knitting what can only be called the Smokescreen Scarf because it’s only reason for existence is to give me something to photograph and talk about to distract you while I’m working on all the long-term stuff like Faina, the Crapyarn Sweater and the back of the Janine Pillow. Somehow this vaguely reminds me of families who have a child only so they can harvest marrow for their other child, who is sick. I don’t have any idea how my mind made that leap, but there you are.

freddiedyed.jpg For the scarf, I’m using the terra cotta coreopsis-dyed alpaca (the one on the right in the picture) and a variation of this pattern. I added a top, bottom and side seed-stitch border and am using size 10.5 needles instead of the recommended size 8. I am liking the results, except for the existence of an oversized yarnover about 1/4 of the way into the existing 8” of the scarf that I am forcing myself to ignore—but it’s screaming very loudly at me. (TMK, I beg you! Stop me from frogging the scarf!!)

Picture Friday or Monday.

Posted by Ryan at 09:33 AM | Comments (18)

October 11, 2004

Wherein I Consider a Lobotomy...

Thanks to my ever-vigilant blog hostess, the problem with the comments seems to be fixed. Hats off to ye, Sheila! (Oh, and don't miss today's entry on her blog. Get a load a' that beautiful sweater!)

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Do you know what it feels like to be afraid of your own brain? Until this weekend, I never realized how much useless claptrap I had rattling around up there. (Warning: mega Da Vinci Code spoilers up ahead.) On Friday, I started reading this book, which is touted as the ultimate fictional mystery wrapped up in obscure religious symbolism. For your part, you, the reader, are supposed to be clueless about said obscure religious symbolism so the author can astonish you with his carefully timed and placed revelations—but his efforts were thoroughly wasted on me. Knew from the get-go the dead guy was posed as Vetruvian man, that the code numbers were in the Fibonacci sequence (thanks to knitting, oddly enough; see? ), that the code word was going to be “Sofia,” knew all about the Templars and Rosicrucians and the rose as an ancient religious symbol, blahblahblahblah. And why is this a problem? Because all that fluff isn’t balanced with anything practical. Can’t test the oil level in my own car; can't change a tire; can’t reset a blown fuse; can’t set the time on my VCR; am intimidated by the thought of changing a light bulb; can’t cook...but, by golly, I know all about enigmatic and cabalistic secret religious societies! Maybe my next book should be more along these lines. Or maybe this. Now those would be mysteries worth reading!

While I was busy questioning the usefulness of my personal knowledge base, the Mysterious K was up to her magic tricks again. With a wave of her magic wand (otherwise known as her circular saw, table saw, router, palm sander, compound miter saw, and nail gun), she converted this:

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Into this:

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Pretty, no? Imagine beadboard inset into the square areas, forest green paint for the box part, and a honey-colored stain for the yet-to-be-constructed lid. Can’t wait to see it finished! In the meantime, I feel oddly compelled to knit something to store in the box.

Knitting Knews
On Sunday, at the knitting get-together at the Fiber Gallery, we had a Guest of Honor: Confirmed Bachelor Brian! What fun it was to have someone of the male persuasion join us! He was crocheting edges around afghan squares knit by an elderly friend of his for Project Linus. But hanging on the chair behind him was proof of his true abilities, an aran sweater which is what he chose to knit as his first knitting project. None of this garter swatch, stockinette swatch, dishcloth, scarf, shawl, then sweater growth process for him, no, sirree! And he modeled for us an eye-searingly bright-red felted Sherlock Holmesian hat knit and felted for him by his mother. And, because he is a confirmed bachelor and can't help himself, the red of the hat matched the red of his glasses and his sneakers.

Next meeting, Sunday, November 14, 2-4pm. And, tonight, Ferals!

Here, a photo of the Faina scarf, second repeat almost completed:

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Posted by Ryan at 11:04 AM | Comments (14)

October 08, 2004

Welcome to my Second Childhood

Last weekend I had the knitter’s equivalent of a temper tantrum, of holding my breath until my face turned blue, of lying down and pounding my heels on the floor, of flinging my plastic dish and Tommy Tippy Cup defiantly from my highchair. I decided I was tired of all the fiddly work I had been doing. Tired of size 0, 1, and 2 needles. Tired of stranded knitting. Tired of fingering-weight yarn, steeks, and patterns with 423 frickin’ rows and a million fussy yarnovers. When I had regained my breath, cleaned the scuff marks off the floor, and removed the spaghetti sauce and grape Kool-Aid stains off the wall, I decided to insert into my knitting queue something easy and excruciatingly pedestrian. And I say you can’t get any more pedestrian than a plain cardigan knit on size 10 needles using Lion Brand Homespun. Yep, I'm using cheap-o crapyarn again. I’m using a yarn that, for lack of a better description, is “emerald blue,” a deep but bright blue with some bright teal woven in. The Mysterious K has developed a liking for the color and the yarn, and has, in fact, already started fondling the sleeve I’m working on and saying things like, “Oooooo.” And, “I hope the sweater stretches so you have to give it to me.” That’s the thing about crapyarn. You yank your children away so they don’t brush up against it, you make a “hey, who farted?” face as you walk by it, you want to start a special school for its kind, but the fact is, the stuff is dayum soft and fun to knit with. And ironically, The Innocents, The Babes, the Naïfs, those non-knitters for whom we knit and whose brains haven’t been tainted and twisted by yarn snobbery—they like it better than the expensive, high-end stuff. I know I’ll end up with something shapeless and saggy with sleeves that end 6” beyond my fingertips, but I’m having a liberating time knitting it, secure in the knowledge that there isn't a yarnover anywhere in the blasted thing. Well, maybe a few for the buttonholes but I should be thoroughly over my conniption by then.

(Can I still be a member of the Commune, even though I threw a big-ass fit? Maybe I’ll just have to be sent to the Tantrumarium for a while. Which, by the way, is wholly different from the Tantricarium.)

Faina, on row 100 of the second pattern repeat. Still lovin’ it and lovin' it more now that I have the blue sweater to balance me mentally. (Note to anyone who is knitting Faina: Lisa and I have both noticed that it tends towards the weirdly lumpy and wavy when you start out, especially where you transition from the pointy end to the straight edge but do not despair—it all settles out during blocking.) Two more looooong pattern repeats to go and then the reverse pointy end. Oh, and the fringe. Musn't forget the fringe.

Oak Leaf Scarf for Pseudo-Mother-in-Law, done. Again.

Janine Pillow, can’t find the right backing. I wanted to use a matching Prussian blue velvet for the back but can’t find such a creature. Maybe I’ll need to knit the back. Urk. Although I am having some intriguing ideas about doing the back all in the Prussian Blue Jamieson's but adding a subtle but large glyph-like Celtic swirl by purling the swirl (or would that be swurl?) and knitting the background.

This Sunday, October 10, from 2-4 is the next Gay People and Straight People Who Don't Want to Stone Them knitting get-together at The Fiber Gallery, 7000 Greenwood Avenue North (206-706-4197). I will be there. Melinda? LindaK? Rebecca? Jessica? Cuzzin Tom?

Posted by Ryan at 09:37 AM | Comments (18)

October 06, 2004

A Hare Too Short

Note to Dear Readers: My thoroughly modern blog hostess has installed a new version of MovableType. For the most part, things are going well, but the comment count is not updating reliably when new comments are added. Dunno why. Anyhoo, in the meantime, you'll need go directly to the comments page to see if any of my crazy and wonderful readers have left anything new and interesting and witty for us to mull over.

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A very short entry today since apparently the fate of the free world—or at least the future of this great state of Washington (which I thought was in the hands of Mount St. Helens, but never mind)—apparently rests on my editing, by the end of the day, a ginormous document about databases, queries and filters. Yawn. And, that aside, in an effort to recover from what, for us, were two wild and crazy weekends in short order, we’re living life a little more placidly for the nonce. Or at least that’s how we're explaining away the five straight hours we spent playing Pitfall this weekend. Yup, started at 7pm, stopped at midnight. But by God, we whacked the crap out of a lot of porcupines, apes, crocodiles, piranhas, electric eels, noxious-gas-emitting plants, giant snowball-dropping bumblebees, and dynamite-lobbing bad guys!

I will, however, share this with you--a posting on The Woolen Rabbit containing a photo of a shaved bunny which makes me snort Coke out of my nose every time I look at it. How humiliating for Mr. Bunny, don’t you think? And do you suppose the top half of him feels drafty? Do you think he’s wishing he had a sweater out of, oh, I don’t know, angora?

Bunnies that live an alternative, fleece-optional life aside, don't miss the other photo in the same entry of the beautiful dyed wools drying in the sun. (Thank you, Kim, for posting such great photos.)

P.S. Note to Devin , the, ahem, confirmed bachelor: Devin, if you’re out there, tried to send you an email to say welcome to the Mossy Cottage family but couldn’t find an email address for you. Tried to leave a comment on your blog but didn’t wanna get a Blogger account to have to do it. Anyway, since apparently I have an insatiable need for approbation and validation, I just wanted to let you know I tried.

Posted by Ryan at 09:39 AM | Comments (14)

October 04, 2004

Gittin' DOWN!

Oh, what photo ops I squandered this weekend at the Knorthend Knitters Mossy Cottage Fiber Commune Second-Brownie Knitting Jubilee! If I had been on my toes, I would now be proudly posting photographs of: The Eighth Wonder of the World, Kit’s PVC pipe spinning wheel; the amazing, ultra-fine laceweight purple yarn Kit was so nonchalantly spinning on the Eighth Wonder of the World ; Rebecca’s astoundingly beautiful light-coral Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk yarn (Think about it. Alpaca. And Silk. Ooooooooo!); Melinda’s bright magenta dropped-stitch stole; the socks Mary was knitting from this just-published book, written by, yet again, one of our talented Guild members; the piled-high-to-toppling plate of Second Brownies; TMK wearing her “tmk” t-shirt; Frankie contentedly lying among everyone’s legs, exhausted from playing the role of minor celebrity. But, true to form, I spent 120% of my time talking and eating and thoroughly enjoying myself. True, I occasionally took a knitting project out and waved it around as if I were actually knitting, but I don’t think I fooled anyone. And I certainly never picked up my camera.

Fortunately, TMK was more on her toes than I was and an email chock full o' photos arrived this morning.

Here, da group. Clockwise from the lower left: Kit, me, Rebecca, Melinda and MaryB.

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Da group, again:

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Still Life of Food and Sunscreen, Pre-Second-Brownie:

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Kit combing the roving from, according to TMK, a purple sheep (get a load a' the shine in that stuff!) and, well, I'll be—a picture of the Eighth Wonder of the World:

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And the photo that I cannot believe I'm actually going to post. This is what happens when you try on someone else's poncho and, when you try to take it off, discover that the neckhole is too small and the poncho gets caught on your ears. The distressed looks comes from the fact that I was not yet convinced that I would, indeed, disentangle myself from said poncho—and the thought had just occurred to me that I might have to live like that for the rest of my life.

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What a perfect mix of sunny weather, finger foods and knitting talent. I am far from the "hostess with the mostess," so I kept this get-together small and experimental but maybe next time—a really BIG shindig with even MORE guests and, more importantly, MORE brownies!

Update: My favorite moment of the day actually came after the party, when TMK turned to me and marvelled, "Huh. We waved food in front of their faces but they just Kept. Right. On. Knitting!" I think she is starting to understand the depth of this obsession. Knitting above all else.

Posted by Ryan at 10:17 AM | Comments (19)

October 01, 2004

This, That and the Other

Just a short and weirdly fragmented entry today since (a) I haven’t been doing much knitting and (b) it’s been an excruciatingly ordinary week so I don’t even have an uninteresting story that I could twist and overly exaggerate into an interesting story.

Most importantly, The Claw has crawled back to the primordial slime under the rock from whence it came. However, despite the fact that I haven't knit since last Sunday and am close to breaking out in hives as a result, I’m going to behave myself for one more day since a smattering of Knorthend Knitters are coming over tomorrow for an impromptu get-together and I want to be able to unleash the full fury of my knitting hand. (Although people who know me know I will most likely just talk a blue streak, stuff my face on miniature quiches and meatballs in barbecue sauce, and not get any knitting done at’all. Incidentally, in honor of my September 27 entry, everyone will be required to eat a second brownie, even The Mysterious K. Just don't tell her I'm going to cut them really, really small.)

On the steeking front, Mentor Janine and Fellow Blogger Karen have reminded me of something very important. Before I become responsible for an army of plastic-knife-wielding, steek-cutting maniacs, the only reason I got away with cutting my pillow without sewing it is because of the very “grippy” and “clutchy” yarn I knit it from, Jamieson’s Shetland. As Karen said in her blog, unless you want to spend the rest of your life in a rubber room with your special friend Mr. Valium, know that, unlike the Shetland yarn, cotton and superwash wool do not take well to steeking and cutting.

For my Gratuitous Picture of the Day, here is a picture of The Mighty Hunter sitting proudly among the remains of two paper bags she has just disemboweled. She would like you to think she's surrounded by piles of bones and entrails so let's just play along, shall we? Altogether now, "Wow, Frankie! What a big pile of bones and entrails!"

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Lastly, I will leave you with this, the funniest link I’ve seen in a long time, sent to me by none other than our Cuzzin Tom. As I wrote to him, I noticed the link said that these stuffed toys are useful for parents. But what parent, in their ever-lovin’ right mind, would give a child an (admittedly fake, cute, bright-eyed and stuffed) black death, flesh-eating, HIV, hepatitis or ebola microbe? I mean, what do you tell the kid as you hand it over that doesn't send him screaming from the room? (By the way, don't miss the knife and fork embroidered on the flesh-eating microbe. Too funny. And I just noticed the red ribbon embroidered on the HIV microbe. As the sister of a brother who died of AIDS, I say hats off to the obviously sensitive soul who designed that little dude.)

Posted by Ryan at 09:20 AM | Comments (9)