February 28, 2005

The Bear-Naked Model

The new Mossy Cottage philosophy: If the dog won’t cooperate, use the bear.

Here, three photos of some Dulaan F’d and semi-F’d Os*. First, the finished ecru hat, which is still begging for an adornment, but I’m likin’ Karlie’s idea of a thick, braided topknot.

I notice now that the hat is all twisted on the bear's head, but that's because he refused to sit still. He said the ground was cold and a daffodil leaf was getting fresh with him.

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Secondly, 3/4 of the green Coronet, unF’d for lack of a pair of size 8 dpns. Should be finished tonight after a swing by the LYS.

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Lastly, and my fave foto, a head and neck warmer knit by a neighbor lady who has been knitting for, by my calculations, 60+ years:

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TMK and I spent Friday night feeling quite bloo, wishing we were down in Berkeley with all of Janine's Knit-Iners. By all accounts, it was a noisy, fun, standing-room-only affair, chock full of positive Dulaan karma. To everyone who attended, Cuzzin Tom and I raise our glasses back atcha'!

Now, at the risk of going all officious and Mother Superior on you, a gentle reminder to Brigade members: Mail all items to The Dulaan Project, F.I.R.E., 107 N. San Francisco St., Studio 4, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, not to Cuzzin Tom or me.

*Translation, for non-knitters: Based on FO, which stands for Finished Object, as compared to a UFO, which is...nah, that one I'll leave up to you to figger out.

Posted by Ryan at 09:15 AM | Comments (5)

February 25, 2005

Just Call Me Frankenstein

Lately I seem to have become adept at creating monsters. The latest creation? The Cuzzin Tom Monster who, after the launch of his blog, sent me this email today: “Got more comments than yoooou do! Including two from Mongoooolia! Neener neener neeeeener!” Yes, we are just cousins, but he’s starting to sound faintly like a bratty younger brother, no? Besides, I’m sensing a distinct lack of Buddhist compassion in this email. Something about the words “neener, neener, neener.”

And then there’s the MaryB Monster, the one-woman cheerleading force and juggernaut who is convinced we can knit 2,000 items for Dulaan. While I have no doubt we can do it, dear Mary, I am now having nightmares about the number 1,999. Perhaps a fresh look at the math will help. It will require:

2000 people knitting 1 item each
1000 people knitting 2
500 people knitting 4
250 people knitting 8
1 person knitting 2000

But ultimately I say, numbers, schnumbers! One hat can make a difference in the life of one child; one fleece blanket can make a difference in the life of one struggling livestock herder. Knit on, Brigade! Knit on!

Of course, I suppose now I should confess that, carried along by the enthusiasm of people like MaryB, I’m on my own sixth Dulaan item. Last week, I finished the Irish Hiking scarf, knit in green and blue Red Heart TLC, graciously modeled here by none other than my TMK (note the light cotton shirt; yep, more o’ that freaky Seattle winter weather):

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And here is the beginning of a hat, knit using this pattern and plain ol’ Red Heart, but in a soothingly rustic flecked ecru. This picture was taken last week and the hat is actually finished now. Finished, and yet… The top is screaming out for some type of adornment, but I don’t know what. I loathe pom-poms and those stunted little umbilical-cord-like i-cord topknots. Any other ideas, Dear Readers? A button, perhaps? Sew that stitch marker right onto the hat? Get over myself and put a pom-pom on anyway?

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Item #6 is a Coronet knit in a bright, lime-green Cascade 220. Knitting this pattern—one of my favorites—in this color is an utter blast.

Lastly, a shout goes out to the folks attending Janine’s Dulaan Knit-In tonight. I suppose now we can let our secret out: We almost, and I mean almost, came to the knit-in ourselves. Much research and huddling and whispering was done with regard to flights and hotel rooms and logistics. But, this time around, it was not to be. And we are sorely disappointed. In fact, TMK and I just finished a phone conversation in which many of the sentences started with "I wish..."

Thank you to everyone who is going to the knit-in. Cuzzin Tom, the folks at F.I.R.E., TMK and I will be with you in spirit. And so will this little girl:

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Posted by Ryan at 10:53 AM | Comments (24)

February 23, 2005

Mother Nature's in a Mood

snowflake.gifOur weather here in the Northwest has come completely unglued. In the morning, you trudge outside all bundled up in a sweater, heavy socks, goose-down coat, scarf, mittens, and chullo hat, breath misting heavily in the air, eyes blinking and squinting against the cold, to scrape stubborn, rock-hard rime from the car windows. By early afternoon, you’re out in the yard in a t-shirt, weeding, a hot sun warming your back, thoughts of a tall, cold glass of ice tea just starting to percolate in your brain. The next day, ditto. And the next. This has been going on for weeks! sun2.gifThe city is positively infected with grumpy and unpleasant wanna-be skiers bemoaning the lack of snow in the mountains, and gardeners who are equally crotchety since the cherry trees around the city are already in bloom, the daffodils and tulips are blooming equally prematurely—which does not bode well for the Tulip Festival—and the gardeners know they are in for a horrendous summer drought. I can hear them now, waving their arms around in gestures of overly melodramatic surrender, saying petulant things like, “Oh, I should just plant cactus and be done with it. Gardening is overrated anyway. Whatever.” My only consolation is knowing that the gods have seen fit to send our normally ultra-rainy weather down to annoy my sister in San Diego. Kid sisters rule!

On the bright side, this weekend the unusually warm and sunny weather did send us out on a long, dog-walking amble and, as a bonus, we discovered a jewel of a local park, St. Edward State Park. Two days later, we are still scratching our heads and asking ourselves, how did we not know that this park existed ten frickin’-frackin’ minutes away from where we live? Look, just look at the building in the photos at the top of this site! That gorgeous hunk a’ masonry, which used to be a seminary, sits smack in the middle of the park and is—in the true, not the Valley Girl, sense of the word—awesome. Awe. Some. I still have a slight crick in my neck from staring up, up, up and more up. The park also has miles of hiking trails. True, some of them could lead to your abrupt and untimely death when you are mowed down by a speeding mountain biker, but some are verboten to the bikers. And there is even a grotto or two. A really lovely park. If you haven’t been, go. Take the kiddies! It has a huge new jungle-jim-playground kind of thingy that would entertain them for hours.

So, in short, the weekend was spent freezing, sweating, scraping, gardening, walking and, yes, knitting which, as always, leads us to:

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First, Dear Readers, and, specifically, the slightly freaky members of the Cuzzin Tom Fan Club (you know who you are), I am pleased to announce that CT has started his Mongolia blog, Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa. Go. Visit. Have some coffee. Leave a comment. Let him know we’ll be thinking about him as he travels to Mon-frickin’-golia.

As I mentioned last time, I have been receiving some Dulaan items on a onesy-twosy basis from some local Guilders and Feralites and I wanted to share them with you. Need I say the weather cooperated this weekend?

Here, da' loot in its entirety, er, minus the five (!) scarves someone at work gave me today:

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A mess o' hats:

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Socks and a pair of Kool-Aid dyed mittens:

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An adorable purple-and-multi ruffled set which, unfortunately, came out very blue in the photo:

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And lastly, a photo sent to me by Marianne of a completely separate box of Dulaan goodies. Don't miss the beautiful red Coronet on top.

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Off to add yet more names to the Brigade list!

Posted by Ryan at 10:32 AM | Comments (18)

February 18, 2005

Mr. DeMille, I'm Ready for my Close-up

(No posting on Monday, Dear Readers! Instead, we'll be having a President's Day Loll-on-the-Couch-and-Watch-Movies day, churning out fleece blankets.)

If you’re looking for the Mysterious K, today you’ll find her in her ivory tower, resting on her velvet-covered divan, and eating bon-bons. divan.gif This happens once every few years, the day after she “has” to do a day-long photoshoot with a famous baseball star. (He played for the Mariners, retired in 2004, and his initials are EM. Mariners fans, I’ll let you do the math.) Top that off with the fact that she’s been asked to be a judge at a high school art competition and she’s become just too-too for woids. As she said, “Wax a girl’s eyebrows, slap a pair of red sneakers on her feet, and look out, world!” So, while I remind TMK that she is still the same woman who, while attempting to blow a bubble, only succeeded in launching her entire wad of gum into a high arc that landed it splat in the middle of the poker table, let’s move right on to Dulaan. Or would that be aan to Dulaan?

Wednesday night was the monthly Guild meeting and was slated to be the night of The Grand Dulaan Announcement. I was practically salivating at the thought of handing out flyers to a captive audience of 80 or 90 knitting devotees. But, alas, the Universe decreed otherwise. For the first time since I’ve been attending Guild meetings, we had no announcements. When I discovered this, my mood shot straight to the big red bulb at the top of the CrankyMeter. I believe the phrase “crap weasel” even escaped my lips a time or two. But Dear Reader and Fellow Guilder MaryB took me aside and soothed my jangled nerves, reassuring me that Dulaan was already a happenin’ project and that I musn’t fret. (Sheesh, but that woman has a remarkable ability to calm me down and make me laugh at myself!) Besides, the reason we had no time for announcements is we were treated to not one, but two, mega-star speakers: Carol Rhodes, the technical editor of Spin-Off magazine, and designer Maggie Jackson who recently published “Maggie’s Ireland.”

Carol presented a slide show about the different sheep breeds and various types of knitting in Scandinavian countries, and Maggie, with her wonderful, rich Irish brogue and self-deprecating sense of humor, talked about her experiences as a knitter and businesswoman and had some of the Guild members model some of the show-and-tell items she had brought. One item in particular was fascinating. It had a very organic and abstract design and could be worn as a skirt, strapless dress, halter-top dress, and wrap. Not my cuppa tea the whole organo-abstract thing, but I had to admire the free-thinking creative energy behind it, something I was not blessed with. Give me a detailed pattern, a large, detailed picture of the finished results, a chart to fall back on in case I don't understand the written instructions, perfect gauge, the exact same yarn used in the pattern, the exact same needles used in the pattern, an online forum where 20 other people are knitting exactly the same thing, and Bob's yer uncle.

While the jury is still out on whether we’ll be able to have a genyoowine Dulaan Gallery, today I have the pleasure of posting two pictures from Brigade members. The first is the contents of the ever-to-be-revered First Box:

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Thank you, Kathleen, for this photo! It really made the whole project come alive for me.

And the second photo is from Nathania who has, as you can see, 11 hats sitting on the Dulaan runway. (Time for some premature mathematical musings. 11 from 491 is...borrow the one, subtract one from one, one from eight, zero from three...480 items to go! Although, if we include the two fleece blankets, that’s 478. And if you include the onesy-twosy items I have been collecting from co-workers and Feral Knitters, that’s about 463. And if you include the four items I've knit, that's 459. We're whittlin' away, dear friends, whittlin' away!)

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Posted by Ryan at 10:28 AM | Comments (16)

February 16, 2005

Time to Get a Royal Food Taster

Sigh. My new favorite phrase, “Don’t be a moron, Clyde,” died a very swift death. The first time I tried it on The Mysterious K, I got The Look. Maybe this had something to do with the fact that she wasn’t being a moron. In fact, she was making dinner, our dinner, my dinner. But I refuse to give up, so straight on to Plan B: Keep it on the lowdown for, oh, six, seven, eight months and then suddenly spring it on her again. Betcha she laughs uproariously. Betcha she clutches her sides, breathless with amusement. Betcha she has to wipe tears of laughter from her eyes (which, cumulatively, will require four arms but, hey, aliens with limb-generating ray guns may have conquered Earth by then. You never know.).

Thank you to everyone for their contributions to “curious family sayings.” Of course, I was biased toward the Red Dwarf ones, but they all made me snort! Note to Melanie: We use “rat-bastard” quite frequently, too, but we add a little Mafioso touch to it which makes it comes out something like “rat-bast'd.” And how could I forget “crapweasel” from “Friends?” When you hear “crapweasel,” you can be sure that somebody has seriously pissed one of us off. Problem is, the minute you say it, you laugh and your anger disappears, no matter how desperately and self-righteously you were clinging to it.


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So much important and exciting information to share, I barely know where to start.

A Message from Cuzzin Tom to the Dear Readers
"I want to thank all of Ryan's Dear Readers who responded to my call for interview subjects when I had the intention to write an article about the phenomenon of knitting's upsurge and the role of virtual communities such as this. I'm still fascinated by it, but as you can imagine, the sudden looming of Moving to Mongolia has derailed all my other plans. So, someone else will have to write this worthy story. In the meantime, I hope those who responded will take the hour or two we would have used to chat to knit something warm for The Dulaan Project. Love to you all!"
-Cuzzin Tom

First Box Successfully Received at F.I.R.E.!
Join me in letting out a huge, collective “WOO-HOO!” at the news that F.I.R.E. has received its first box of Dulaan items! It was sent by Kathleen in Santa Ynez, California, and contained nine items. So that leaves us, let’s see—carry the one, carry it again, ten minus nine, nine minus zero, four minus zero—491 items to go! Or 991, if you live in Ambitious Knitter’s Land, population Nathania and Stephanie.

Kathleen, you get a gold star for, in F.I.R.E.’s words, “labeling everything perfectly.” And a platinum star for being the first to send something. And a diamond star for sending nine items!!!

New Instructions from F.I.R.E.
Still on the subject of labeling, here’s a new, minor request from the F.I.R.E. folks: When you write out your inventory of knitted items contained in the box, if possible, they’d also like you to include the approximate size of the items (child, 3 years; child, 10 years; woman, medium; man, large; that sort of thing).

Encouragement to Crocheters!
I keep forgetting to mention that any and all crocheted items are welcome, too! There's zero room for that strange, Hatfield-and-McCoy feud between knitters and crocheters in this project. We need all the hats, socks, scarves and sweaters we can get so, crocheters, bring it on!

Spreading the Word!
Susanna, who was kind enough to take some flyers to Stitches West for us, reports that about 50 of the 100 she took were distributed! She and Feral Knitter Andrea will next be distributing flyers at the Gig Harbor Winter Retreat. I will also be mailing flyers to some local yarn shops this week. If you live near Acorn Street, Fiber Gallery or Village Yarns, they already have some if you want to pick one up.

Questions from Dear Readers and Participants:

When is Cuzzin Tom moving to Mongolia?
Last I heard, mid-March.

Are there any colors or imagery that are culturally inappropriate for Mongolian children that wouldn't be obvious to a Westerner?
Cuzzin Tom responded to this in detail in a comment but I will reiterate: F.I.R.E. said anything goes.

Will there be a gallery?
The challenge here is that neither F.I.R.E. nor I will actually see the knitted items. If you, Dear Readers and Brigade Members, send me photos, I will see what I can do. I do have in my possession a few items that I have received from co-workers and Feral Knitters and I will definitely be posting pictures of them.

New Members of the Brigade:
The condo neighbors of my Aunt Josephine (Maw to our own dear Cuzzin Tom); Emily; Tchem; Kathleen; Melissa’s daughter, Sabrina; Jillz; KimC; Chris; Barbara; AndreaP; Marianne. New Grand Total: 105+!

Fleece Blanket #2, and a Westminster Spoiler
Here is my fleece blanket which I completed last night while watching the most amazing Pointer win Westminster. I wonder what the Mongolian children will make of the polar bear with a scuba mask and flippers on...

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Posted by Ryan at 10:41 AM | Comments (9)

February 14, 2005

Don't Be a Moron, Clyde!

The title of today's entry is the subject line of one of the spam messages that weaseled its way into my email this morning. I fell instantly in love with the complete inanity of it so, be warned: From this point forward, no matter what your real name, if you’re behaving like a dork and I’m in the immediate vicinity, you can pretty much count on me to trot this phrase out.

Which reminds me of a couple of the phrases that The Mysterious K and I use that I'm sure confuse the crap out of people... One of our favorite movies is “Babe” and one of our favorite lines from the movie is, of course, “That’ll do, pig.” For years now, that phrase has been part of our everyday conversatin’, and we use it for a variety of reasons in a variety of locales, public and otherwise. If, say, I’m pouring tea for her, when I’ve poured enough, she’ll say, “That’ll do, pig.” Or if we’re out shopping, and she brings things over for me to look at and I’ve made my selection, I’ll say “That’ll do, pig.” We forget that, out of context, this phrase must sound horrendous and, sure enough, we've been on the receiving end of many an aghast stare. Out of respect for those within earshot, occasionally we try to leave the “pig” part off...but we just can’t; it’s torturous. In the end, our attempts go something like this: “That’ll do (pause, one, two, three), pig. Drat.”

Our other phrase is from the movie "Hook" and is “There you are, Peter!” This phrase comes in very handy after a long bout of phone tag or when one of us arrives somewhere a skosh late—but you can be sure it greatly befuddles friends, family and strangers alike.

Do you have any favorite phrases you use with your honey?

And speaking of honeys, how could I forget?

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The Dulaan Knitting Brigade has grown to 95, including the six kids (at least) that I know are participating. I love hearing about the children who are getting involved!! Today I added Susie, Patti’s son Noah, Childe, Donna, Sharon, Bron, Bliss, Stephanie, Barb, Beth, Atropos, Margot, Big Sister, and Little Niece! Welcome, welcome, all you generous and kindhearted people! Lives will be changed next winter because of you.

After the announcement of the “500 Challenge,” I heard a lot of very unladylike, gruff, if-pitbulls-could-talk choruses of “Bring. It. ON!” And I keep getting reports of people who already have three, four, five, six, seven or more pieces that are either ready to go or (before I give anyone a complex) were already in a finished-object stash and were just waiting for a good home. In that vein, I’m donating my Coronet cap. It’s wonderfully warm since it was knit with double-stranded Jamieson’s-type wool, and it's a lovely blue-ish, purple-ish periwinkle that I'm sure someone will love, but it's a little too shallow from crown to brim to fit my head very well.

For us, this weekend was All Dulaan, All The Time. I spent a good portion of it knitting the half-blue, half-green Irish Hiking Scarf but much more importantly, TMK and I worked on our fleece blankets.

(For local knitters and crafters: If you’re thinking about making a fleece blanket, JoAnn Fabrics (at least the one on Aurora Avenue in Shoreline where we went) is selling fleece blanket kits, consisting of two coordinating pieces of fleece fabric, at about half price—$8/$9 dollars.

Picking through our fabric choices was actually a rather fascinating socio-cultural experience because we realized that native Mongolians had probably never seen half of the items depicted. Polar bears? No. Polar bears on ski lifts? Definitely not. Horses? Yes. Horses galloping through ocean waves? Um, no. (Mongolia, landlocked last time I checked.) Whales? No. Zebras? No. We settled on an abstract African pattern, polar bears, and the horse 'n' wave. It was the best we could do.)

Here is our Tower of Fleece or, as TMK refers to it, "stack o' binkies:"

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TMK working on her binkie:

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The finished binkie:

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Posted by Ryan at 12:42 PM | Comments (32)

February 11, 2005

Musical Notes

Time to answer the music questions that are making the rounds on the blogs and that were sent to me by Sara. However, before I do, a disclaimer. I like music as much as the next bloke but it’s note.gifnot something I desperately need. Compare that to The Mysterious K who, if you were to cut her, would bleed musical notes. I mean, her iPod has so many songs crammed into it its sides fairly bulge out! She listens to her iPod in her office, in the workshop, in the garden, while she’s cleaning. If she’s not listening to her Ipod, her stereo is on. If she’s not listening to her Ipod or her stereo, she’s playing her guitar or singing (usually the same two lines over and over and over and over again. You should have heard her on Llamallamaduck Day. Oy.) Me, I listen to music in the car but mostly to drown out my tinnitus. How unimpassioned is that?

The Questions:
1. Total amount of music files on your computer?
None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Bupkus. In fact, if my speakers are on and I visit a site that happens to play music, I jump out of my seat in astonishment. In my defense, see the disclaimer.

2. The CD you last bought is?
The CD I last bought is a two-CD Billy Joel’s best-of compilation. The last CD I received was Josh Groban’s latest because TMK is a very giving gal, even though Josh's music fairly makes her want to upchuck.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl.” In the car, commute, tinnitus, yadda, yadda, yadda.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
Despite my disclaimer, I couldn’t possibly limit this list to five. I also notice that in reviewing this list I don’t have very sophisticated taste. I mean, the Four Seasons?! Puhleeze.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
The Trout Quintet
Water Music
Barber’s Adagio for Strings
The Pachelbel Canon
Pretty much anything from the Baroque era
Pretty much anything played by Itzhak Perlman
Any version of Ave Maria (I’m not Catholic but I heart that song)
Many Josh Groban songs
Many Elton John songs
Many Garth Brooks songs
Pretty much anything sung by Anthony Kearns of the Irish Tenors
Beyond the Blue Horizon, a silly, inane song that I just adore
We Are the Champions (the one song I turn up really loud in the car. No, really loud.)
Riverdance
Les Miz
Cirque de Soleil’s “Saltimbanco” soundtrack
Oh, so many others...

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?
No one, I'm afraid. It was fun being tagged (thank you, Sara!) but I’m not big on the passing-it-on, chain-letter-ish paradigm. I know, I know, I'm a poophead. But I'm in good company. Stephanie is a poophead, too.

Althooooouuugh, I did just have an interesting idea. Shall I see if TMK wants to answer these questions, Dear Readers?


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Brigade count: 76!! Yesterday and today, I added Nancy and her five- and ten-year-old daughters (how cute is that?!), Lolly, Robbyn, Rebecca, Annie, Melissa, Amy, Tanya, Daisy, AnnMarie, Maggi, and Jim. Welcome all! I am especially excited to have Jim join the project since he comes to us as a direct result of hearing Cuzzin Tom and F.I.R.E.’s interview on the radio.

The "500 Challenge!"
To make sure everyone is up to date on the latest Dulaan gossip, apparently Dave Edwards, one of the co-founders of F.I.R.E., has sorely underestimated the compassion, energy and productivity of the knitting and crafting community. "Doubting Dave" does not believe that F.I.R.E. will receive even 500 knitted items or fleece blankets. He made the mistake of voicing this doubt to Meredith, the Executive Director of F.I.R.E., who immediately double-dog-dared him back, and so the 500 Challenge was born: Knit or make 500 knitted items or fleece blankets and have them to F.I.R.E. on or before July 1, 2005. (Meredith will be keeping count for us and will let us know when we surpass 500, which is so going to happen. Which reminds me to remind you, Dear Readers: As it says on the flyer, when you are packing your items, make sure to write on a piece of paper your name and address and the number of and types of items in the box. Put the paper into an envelope and tape the envelope securely to the box you are shipping in. That way Meredith can send you a tax receipt and track how many items they have received without having to unpack the box.)

In the meantime, here is another pattern for a neck warmer that I think could go a long way toward protecting Mongolian skin from -40° weather.


Knitting Knews Other Than Dulaan

A picture of the finished socks for our friend's new adopted baby:

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Posted by Ryan at 11:25 AM | Comments (19)

February 09, 2005

Cooking for Dummies

Why I don’t cook much:

Last night I hoisted up my ooey, gooey, buttery, crispy, hot grilled ham and cheese sandwich on a spatula to make sure the bottom was done—and immediately dropped the entire thing between my stove and my portable dishwasher, a dark and terrifying place where, trust me, the 1-, 3-, or 5-second rule could never, ever possibly apply. Think Mordor.

I braved the hellish place between the appliances, sure my hand would come out with some fingers missing or dripping with whatever causes bubonic plague, but I successfully retrieved the sandwich, my hand surprisingly intact and clean, and threw it in the garbage can, perhaps a mite violently. Got out the bread. Again. Got out the ham. Again. Got out the cheese. Again. Got out the butter. Again. Swore that that was the last time I would cook. Ever.


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The Brigade list is now an amazing 64 members strong but, from what I can deduce from comments and correspondence, that number is deceiving; is, in fact, the microscopic tip of an awesomely huge iceberg. I’ve received e-mails from many warm-hearted folks telling me about entire groups that are knitting for the project. Hallelujah, and Баярлалаа everyone (which, according to a quick search of the Net, means “thank you” in Cyrillic Mongolian. Or it may mean “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries,” to quote a Monty Python classic, but I will never know).

Today I had an e-mail from the Executive Director (Directress?) of F.I.R.E. telling me how excited they are by the knitting community’s response. She also said the interview with NPR went well. I look forward to hearing more about it! And, yes, that would be your cue, Cuzzin Tom.

To recover emotionally and mentally from the horror of the Psychedelic Pscarf, I have now moved on to a very sedate version of one of my favorite free online patterns, the Irish Hiking Scarf. This project is a genyoowine stash-buster since I knit with some wonderful forest green Red Heart until I ran out—which is a wonderfully freeing away to approach a project—and then switched to some navy blue of the same ilk for the second half. My fourth stash-busting project in a row! I am on a roll, dude! (And if anybody is uncouth enough to mention the birthday additions to the stash, I’ll just put my hands over my ears and sing, “La, la, la, la, la.” And then there’s the surprise Elann gift certificate I received on Monday but, again, and a little more loudly, “La, la, la, la, la!”)


Knitting Knews Other Than Dulaan
I am proud to present a slightly belated picture of the finished Faina! It blocked beautifully, and was worth every surprise repeat I had to add.

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Posted by Ryan at 10:37 AM | Comments (31)

February 07, 2005

Time to Start Counting Backwards

A sure sign that you're getting old: If, by the time the last candles on your birthday cake have been lit, the first few candles have melted down to the icing. Next year, I vote for a flame thrower. It’s the only way to get it done.

Yes, I turned the big four-five this weekend, but The Mysterious K did an excellent job of making it painless with birthday breakfast oatmeal, complete with a lit candle stuck smack in the middle of the oatmeal goo; a surprise trip to a new LYS that serves high tea and sells yarn—bliss!; dinner out; fudge brownies (yes, they of the candle fiasco); and an obscenely mountainous pile o’ presents, contributed to by Big Sister, my “mother-in-law,” and Cuzzin Tom.

We spent hours at the LYS. We first had a scrumpdillyishous high tea with hot tea, delicate scoops of lemon and raspberry sorbet, scones, fruit, finger sandwiches, croissants, herbed cheeses, raspberry jam, clotted cream, and lemon curd. The ever-prepared TMK then whipped out a book and buried herself in the trials and tribulations of a fifty-ish divorcée rediscovering her Southern roots while I figured out how best to spend my $25 gift certificate. Thanks to the certificate and a skosh of padding from my own wallet, I am now the proud owner of:

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And

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The book I currently have borrowed from our Guild library but it’s turned out to be a must-have (it's the kind of book that keeps you honest, the kind that doesn't allow you to say anymore, "I can't do it because I don't know how") so I am thrilled to own it. The yarn is an Opal self-striping sock yarn with a delicious pine green in it that I fell in love with. This is the first time I’ve bought self-striping yarn without knowing what it’s going to look like when knit up, so quel mystère!

The blue Cascade 220 is for the vision quest socks I need to knit by this summer; the yellow and green are most likely for Dulaan projects.

Dulaan Update
Latest activities:


  • The Dulaan Knitting Brigade list has ballooned to fifty names! If you want your name added to the list, just let me know. Anyone who is supporting the project, be it through spreading the word, making a fleece blanket, or making something knitted, qualifies to be a member of the Brigade!
  • I delivered some Dulaan flyers to my LYS Acorn Street and to Village Yarns.

  • 100 flyers went to Susanna to take down to Stitches West. Susanna, bless her heart, decided on her own to hand them out at the classes she is teaching, and to perhaps paste a flyer on an easel and make a display area to highlight the project! Thank you, Susanna!

  • Tonight, at Ferals, I’ll be delivering 150 flyers to Andrea to take to the Gig Harbor Winter Retreat.

  • Dear Reader, fellow blogger and Guild newsletter editor Karen is publishing an article about Dulaan in the monthly newsletter.
  • In reading the comments on this blog and others, I see that our “helpers” are working very hard at getting the word out. Also, Janine has scheduled a Dulaan Knit-In on February 25 (see her blog for details), and Cuzzin Tom has an interview tomorrow with his local NPR station about the project.

In between birthday festivities and running around to deliver flyers, I have been knitting some items for Dulaan.

First, the Psychedelic Pscarf, which taught me two important lessons: (1) Just because you can knit something, doesn’t mean you should. (2) Just because you want to reduce your stash, doesn't mean you're entitled to commit crimes against humanity.

This excrescence was knit with turquoise, red and purple acrylic which I received for free aeons ago and have wanted to get out of my stash ever since. A big kudo goes out to TMK who pointed out to design-challenged moi that, no, the stripes don't all have to be the same width, which allowed me to reduce the amount of screamingly bright red. Which I then turned around and used for the fringe, but whatevuh.

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On the positive side, as a result of this project, I’ve really become a fan of the lengthwise method of knitting scarves. There are no, or minimal, rolled edges, the shape is a perfect rectangle, and the sideways stitches give it more of a woven than a knit look.

And, here, our aborted attempts at getting Frankie to model a Dulaan hat for us:

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And the picture we took when we gave up:

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Posted by Ryan at 11:19 AM | Comments (19)