March 30, 2005

Why It's Important to Stay on My Good Side

Dear Mr. Commuter, You Sweet, Darling Man, You: If you’re using one hand to hold your cell phone, and the other hand to flip me off for a really, really...really...long time, who or what, exactly, is controlling the steering wheel of your car on this busy, busy, narrow bridge in the middle of the mad afternoon commute? My only consolation is knowing that this flurry of expressive hand signals is merely your Pavlovian response to my horn, which scared the crap out of you after the second time you pulled out in front of me with less than an inch to spare. Think of it as my doing you a favor. You are now actually awake behind the wheel of your car. Try it; you might like it.

Sigh. Mongolia and it’s double-humped camels are starting to sound pretty good right now.

On the home front, no thanks to Mr. MaryB and his Magical Music Salon, The Mysterious K is now the proud owner of this new toy:


She crosses her heart and hopes to die that if she plugs the headphone in, I won’t hear a note, but I am not convinced. I'm also praying I won't be subjected to those horrendous, rubbery, extreme rockin' out facial expressions, you know, the ones that guys make when they're playing air guitar? This has all, however, given me a new mantra: "At least it's not an accordion. At least it's not an accordion. At least it's not an accordion."

Also, TMK offers this photo to those of you who were frustrated with the almost fanatical cleanliness of her desk in Monday's photos. I present Her True Reality in the form of her other desk, the one you couldn’t see in Monday's pictures:


My hand to God, this pile of folders, printouts, paper clips, CDs, notes, Post-its, envelopes, pens and pencils is the norm. But I still say it’s not bad for someone who juggles as many clients and projects as she does on any given day.

Enough about her, let’s talk about me. (Did I say that out loud?) Here are the finished Slicker-Yellow Mittens. I'm not big on how the cables just sort of peter out all flat-like at the end but, other than that (which I know how to fix next time around), these mittens were a pant-load of fun to knit.


MomMittens.JPGOn a side note, the Slicker-Yellow Mittens have much personal significance for me. Long-time readers may remember these mittens knit for me by my mother which represented for me my knitting Holy Grail. I never imagined being able to knit a pair of mittens like these, let alone a set of left- and right-handed ones, let alone a cabled pair, let alone a cabled pair coupled with seed stitch! And, now, ta-dah!

And here is my current project, a kids’ vest, based on this pattern. I'm using the same lime green Cascade 220 I used for the Dulaan Coronet. I truly loathe all-garter-stitch fabric—it has bad chi and makes me all twitchy, unlike seed stitch which has good chi and makes me relax just looking at it—but this is an easy pattern which allows for a lot of personal creative touches and which can be churned out easily, assembly-line style.


Oh, and health-wise, my wonderful, caring Dear Readers, feh. Same old, same old only now my dry hacks and coughs are starting to annoy my co-workers. Cough drops and packets of herbal remedies keep mysteriously appearing on my desk.

Posted by Ryan at 11:32 AM | Comments (16)

March 28, 2005

Oxygen Is Highly Overrated

(Tuesday update re doctor's visit below, Dear Readers.)

I used to think my blog was adequately entertaining, at least to knitters, until Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa came along. Now I shake my fist impotently toward the heavens and ask, How can I hope to compete with divinely and karmically predestined hook-ups with Ministers of Defense, linguistic scholars, poets, lamas, artists, ex-ambassadors, and descendants of Genghis Khan? I take some comfort, however, in knowing that, unlike Der Cuzz, I am warm. Hah, Cuzz! And neener, neener. And a loud Bronx cheer to you from the boring but Genghis-Khan-free suburbs of Seattle.

Had both an awful and a wonderful weekend.

Awful because I learned the hard way that a lack of oxygen can put a crimp in your day. Don’t know whazzup; the cold and all of its attendant symptoms are long gone but the lungs just seem to have quietly gone on strike, never to be heard from again. Perhaps it’s time to cut back on the stogies...

Wonderful because Saturday night, The Mysterious K decided she had had enough of my pitiful, wan, oxygen-challenged self lying alone in my bed at home so, despite my protestations, she did the knight(ess) in shining armor thing—drove over to my house, bundled me up, took me back to her house, put me on the couch under a soft blanket and with my head on a down pillow, catapulted the dog onto my stomach, and shoved a hot cup of honey lemon tea into my hands—and there I, the dog, and the magically endless cup of tea stayed for pretty much the next 36 hours. How do I tell you, dear friends, what a gift it was to be able to just let go, to hunker down under my blanket, and trust implicitly that my partner would take care of me? In a relationship, moments like that are priceless—even if she did hand me things with a pair of cooking tongs and wash her hands with an antiseptic product every time I so much as twitched.

(Unfortunately, however, honey lemon tea is not quite the panacea we had hoped for and I have no more oxygen now than I had three days ago. A trip to the doctor seems to be in order. Do you think the doc will cover me with a blanket, put a dog on my lap, and serve me tea?)

(Tuesday Update: Apparently oxygen is indeed overrated. Doc says my lungs, heart and throat are fine and that I do not have the asthmaplagueamoniaitis diagnosed by my Dear Readers. I may have some kinda virus, but he advises that I wait it out--which I don't really get but whatevuh. More honey lemon tea, anyone?

BTW, if you want to read something funny by a person who has had a real problem (gory details: she severed two tendons in her hand with the help of a wall, a wine glass and a nasty fall), see Lorette's funny entry about what it's like to live life with only one functioning hand.)

In the meantime, some Dulaan photos to share with you, Dear Readers. First, these offerings from Brigade member Sheri Roy:


Secondly, hard-hearted Frankie continues to refuse to be a Dulaan model, so we resorted again to her stand-in, the bear. Here, Bear models a pair of Kool-Aid-dyed mittens knit by my friend June, and the coral-colored Cascade 220 hat I knit from a pattern in my new “Hats On!” book. (A gold star to anyone who can suss out from the subtle signs what kind of computer TMK uses.)



Lastly, a close-up of the kid-sized and therefore way-too-small-for-me cabled hat perched on my head a few seconds before it sproinked off like a rubberband:


Posted by Ryan at 12:06 PM | Comments (24)

March 25, 2005

Sittin' and Knittin', Part II

Honk! Hack! Snarf! Snork! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Snurf. Oy.

Lovely, no? But that’s what I sound like on Day Three of The Cold From Hell. But I’m well enough to be back at work, and well enough to post, which is all that matters. Although, the truth be told, I am a little peeved. Cuzzin Tom moves to frigid Mongolia and I get a cold. How does that work, exactly?

While my goal today is to continue my narration about last weekend's Knit-In, first I have to say, only my Dear Readers could make my mentioning of The Mysterious K and an accordion in the same sentence sound like something titillating, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. So, let’s just get right to it and answer the question, What did TMK do during the Knit-In and how did an accordion fit into the picture?

Before she even set foot in Mary’s house, The Mysterious K had been saddled with three jobs: Taker of Photographs, Provider of Music, and Provider of Tofu Chocolate Pie, all of which she did to completion and with enthusiasm. On the tour of the house that Mary gave us, however, TMK discovered that not only is Mary’s husband as gaga about music as she is, he has his very own Music Salon full of music-y gadgets: electric guitars, keyboards, African drums, an accordion, and software for composing and overlaying musical tracks—TMK’s idea of heaven. And, yep, that would be about where I lost her. For the first hour or so, while the knitters and I sat downstairs, a strange cacophony of hooting and tooting and honking and pounding and drumming and squawking trickled down from upstairs. Think the Whoville music from "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." Then the music ceased and TMK came down the stairs looking slightly cross-eyed and giddy. She now has plans to buy an electric guitar to join her Martin guitar and her keyboard. Which is a problem because she stores all of these items in the guest room where I sleep when she is snoring too much her back is acting up and I have visions of my doing a skull-cracking header some night when I'm innocently heading to the bathroom for a 2am pee.

On to the knitting part of the day...

Below, two pictures showing your blogmistress modeling two Half-Assed Hats knit by Mary—and no, I had consumed no alcohol, although perhaps I was a little buzzed from the brownies. The first hat was knit in a rich, color-saturated terra cotta yarn with colored flecks and the second in a similar but dark blue version. In the photos with me are Karen and Rebecca...and the Dulaan t-shirt!



MaryB knitting, at last count, item number 16!:


Below are my two favorite photos showing everything that Mary and I have knit or collected—including everything from my onesy-twosy box—and everything that people brought to the Knit-In to the contribute. To put things in perspective, this is a—well, there’s no polite way to say this—big-ass table and every inch of it was covered, sometimes two items deep. I didn’t do an actual count, but I think we’re talking maybe 60 items all told. And, since the time these photos were taken, I have added the Slicker-Yellow Mittens, a cabled hat (thanks to two days in bed), another pair of Kool-Aid dyed mittens from Feralite June, and three more scarves from a co-worker. (In photo #2, the person admiring our handiwork is Feralite, Guilder and Dulaaner Diana.)



TMK and I both agree that this photo of the coffee table depicts the essence of the “busyness” and "hominess" that pervaded the party: yarn, patterns, a teapot, sodas, plates, mugs, grapes, apples...


And lastly, a funny photo of Shy Ellen, pretending to be horrified at having her picture taken, but really showing us the mini-crisis she, well, pardon the pun, had on her hands. She was using some yarn she had dyed—in truth, by her own admission, overly dyed, using the “if a little is good, then more must be better” philosophy of dyeing—and the more she knit the more screamingly magenta her hands became. She promised all of us—and the unknown child in Mongolia who will be the proud owner of her hat—that she will double and even triple-wash the hat before she mails it.


On Monday, I said my drive home seemed to symbolize the essence of the party, but I was wrong. The true essence of the party came late in the afternoon when June came up behind me, gave me a big, warm shoulder squeeze and a firm smooch on the check, and said, from the heart, “Thank you for starting this project.” A project that benefits both the people working on it and the people who will receive the objects created...gee, do ya’ think that’s what Cuzzin Tom had in mind?

May the compassion of White Tara infuse your knitting, everyone!

Posted by Ryan at 11:31 AM | Comments (8)

March 21, 2005

Sittin' and Knittin'

First, and most importantly, if you are a member of the Cuzzin Tom How-Weird-Is-It-To-Actually-Know-A-Buddhist-Monk Fan Club, be sure to go to his blog, see that he has arrived (and, boy, are his arms tired...), read about his first impressions of Mon-frickin'-golia, and see the first photo of Dear Reader Patti's bear, Bhaavgai, in his new home. Does or does not The Cuzz look right at home in front of that temple—even if the many layers of sweaters do make him look a little like the Michelin Man? Good stuff, that.

On to the Knit-In...

What I remember most about the Knit-In was the drive home. It seemed symbolic of the whole day, the kind of drive where your car is running smoothly, strongly and silently, the temperature in the car is warm and soothing, you feel protected from the moody and stormy weather outside, every light turns green just before you reach it, and you roll into your driveway calm, happy, and satisfied. It was, Dear Readers, a great ending to a great day.

Mary’s house with its open spaces and its bright, light chiffon-yellow walls was the perfect and perfectly cheerful place for the party. Knitters arrived en masse around 1:30 and then in dribs and drabs throughout the afternoon, but all excited to be there and all focused on churning out FOs for Dulaan.

My favorite moment was unveiling and handing out the White Tara postcards sent from Cuzzin Tom himself in honor of the party. Karen posted a great picture of hers on her blog. As her blog says, White Tara is "the female Buddhist deity of mercy, compassion, and altruistic activities” and that day we were all about the altruistic activity, baybee! (Don't miss the other photos on Karen's site of people at the party, including one of me looking equally like the Michelin Man, in fact, a drunk Michelin Man, only without the many-layers-of-sweaters excuse. Also, if I forgot to give anyone a White Tara postcard, and you want one, I think I have a couple left. Just let me know.)

Here, going clockwise from Yours Truly (in my white Dulaan t-shirt made by The Mysterious K herself) in the corner: me, Mary, June, Diana, Devorah, Patti, Melinda and Karen:


From left to right: June, Diana, Devorah, Patti and Melinda:


From left to right: Devorah, Charlotte the Cat (who didn't get much knitting done, I'm afraid), Patti and MaryB:


Clock wise from the left, April, Melinda, Susie and Flora:


This picture below is, obviously, all about the food, including double-dee-licious brownies made by Karen's sister, rich egg 'n' cheese 'n' green chili muffins brought by Diana, toffee-chip scones, cookies, chips, crackers, tea, soda, coffee... Hungry yet?


More details and more photos on Wednesday, including the answer to the all-consuming question, how did The Mysterious K keep herself occupied during this all knitting, all the time party? Suffice it to say it involved an accordion.

Posted by Ryan at 10:20 AM | Comments (11)

March 18, 2005

Christmas in March!

If any picture is worth the thousand proverbial words, surely this one, sent to me by Big Sister, is:


These are some girls from a Girl Scout troop in San Diego, reeled into the Dulaan project by Big Sister, who have made 14 (!!) blankies. Is this not the best picture ever? The joy, the smiles, the beautiful young faces, the good hearts, the sunshine, the bright colors! This also means that between The Mysterious K, me, Little Niece, Little Nephew, Big Sister and the Girl Scout troop, we have made 18 blankets. I am so proud!

Oh, Dear Readers and Brigaders, I tried, oh, how I tried to make a stirring and inspiring announcement—something Churchill-ish, something Patrick Henry-ish—about Dulaan at Guild. Like last time, I practiced my little heart out, even while brushing my teeth, sounding something like, “Hi, by nameb isb Ryan. Ptooie. Ib bwantedb tob followb upb (ptooie) onb bthe articble babout bthe (ptooie) Dulaan (ptooie) Broject (ptooie). Gargle, gargle, spit.” But the karmic hand that has so graced the project in its online form seems equally determined to trip it up at Guild.

Last time, as you’ll recall, there was no time for announcements. This time, there was time but my announcement and I ended up being the only thing standing between 90 rabid women and their version of Christmas in March, the Guild Fiber Frenzy. On Fiber Frenzy night, Guild members bring yarn, knitting books and knitting-related items to sell. For the first half-hour, everyone wanders around perusing the wares but can’t yet buy, then announcements are made, then the buying begins. Read that carefully: Looking, announcements, buying, in that order. By announcement time, the women are worked up into a buying lather. Think horses behind the gate at the Kentucky Derby; think the annual bridal sale at Filene’s; think Gremlins that have been sprinkled with water, think...well, think a bunch of women at an LYS that is going out of business and selling fine yarns at 50% off. They tried, oh, how they tried to be good, to be quiet, to be attentive, but much of what I said was still drowned out by many busy little hands rooting around in piles and piles of crinkly bags. Ultimately, not a single flyer was tucked into a single knitting bag. Sigh. (Lest I sound bitchily judgmental and “me versus them,” trust me, I was one of “them.” As soon as I was done with my announcement, I was all over those tables of yarn. I bought some beautiful pink Muench Tessin and a skein of WoolPak in a warm, earth-tone variegated colorway called “Cabin Fever.”)

Please send good e-thoughts to The Mysterious K today, albeit for a supremely silly reason, so your B-grade warm thoughts will do. Our Frankie is getting a teeth-cleaning at the vet, and TMK comes all over lonely and melancholy when her little bundle of joy is not in the house. She thought that this, placed in “Frankie’s” corner of the office, would make a good substitute...


...but it didn’t. She says the ball hasn't been moved an inch, and she can't figure out why.

One last note before Knit-In Day, LindaK says she is bringing a pile of fleece (fleece fabric, not fleece from der sheep, which is what I first thought) to the Knit-In, so if you don’t feel like knitting, or want to bring a non-knitter, you can make blankets and be one with the Girl Scouts girls! Last chance before tomorrow to let MaryB know you’re coming! If you want to join, please email her at (P.S. We've heard whispers about folks who don't want to come because they're too shy, but to those shy folks I say, truly, don't let that stop you. All we'll do is sit and chat and eat and knit. I know in-person almost everyone who is going to be there and they are the loveliest bunch of women. Besides, at least in my world, there is no greater joy than a knitting get-together! Come make it a part of your life! At least come for a piece of TMK's delicious Chocolate Tofu Pie which sounds awful but is really bliss on Earth. MaryB will testify to this fact.)

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

March 16, 2005

Neener, Neener!

Just when I think I’ve reached the day I’ve been dreading for almost two years—the day I can’t think of a single thing to write about no matter how hard I bang my head against my desk; the day I discover I have no photos to post, no matter how many times I wistfully check Mr. Camera; the day I thought I’d be reduced to entertaining you with a tediously dull blow-by-blow description of our sitting at home last night, eating chicken strips (TMK), pork chops (me), buttered noodles and salad (us) and watching “The Incredibles,” the dog squished between us, panting loud and hard (the dog, that is) because she’s too stupid to move to a cooler spot—things happen...

First, for MaryB and all the Dulaaners, a picture that is worth 500, or maybe 2,000, words:


Who is this man, you ask, and what is he doing, and why is he shrugging his shoulders, and why does he look rueful? Well, that, my Dear Readers, is our “Doubting Dave” conceding that maybe, just maybe, he underestimated us knitters. While I don't have an updated count from the 249 of last week, I think it's a foregone conclusion that Dave is sooooo losing the bet—and now we know he knows it, too.

Before I pick on Dave too much, however, I should ‘llow as how, besides being a man who knows when to cry "uncle," and besides being one of the co-founders of F.I.R.E., he is also David Edwards, a talented, award-winning photojournalist (in fact, the photo was taken by Cuzzin Tom when he went to see a slideshow presented by Dave). Still, he don’t know nuthin’ 'bout the collective, get-it-done energy of the knitting community so lets send him a big, fat, loud Bronx cheer, shall we, knitting brothers and sisters? No, really, do it. Sit there, at your desk, and blow a raspberry (but not at your monitor, because then it gets all speckled and ooky. Don't ask me how I know.). That ought to confuse your co-workers, friends or family.

Of course, if Dave had seen this message I received this morning, he would have been long gone, tail tucked between his legs. Behold, Dulaaners, behold!

"Charitable Crafter volunteers are sending 90 items tomorrow to Arizona for the Dulaan project.
Tina Shaddox"

You read that right: Ninety! 90!! N-I-N-E-T-Y! Those Charitable Crafters are some amazing folks. Thank you, Tina, and all the contributors!

Lastly, I send this Irish saying out to “our” Cuzzin Tom, who heads out on Friday.

"May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door."

From the heart, Cuzz, from the heart. We'll try our best to keep the Dulaan fires burning until we hear from you next!

Off to Guild tonight to drum up more support!

Posted by Ryan at 11:30 AM | Comments (13)

March 14, 2005

Maybe We Need Professional Help...

If you had been flies on the wall, knitters, (which would make for quite the swarm, now that I think about it. Euuuw.), you would have had a good belly laugh Saturday night.

I had almost finished my second Slicker-Yellow Mitten—in fact, I was starting the decrease for the tips of the fingers—when I realized I had left two entire columns of moss stitch out, one to the left and one to the right of the cable. (In my defense, the pattern is written très funky. You have to look in up to four places on two different pages to get all the information for one row! I’m not surprised I left the columns out. In fact, I’m surprised I got the first mitten right.) Faced with such an obvious boo-boo, without a second thought, I started to rip the mitten out. All of a sudden, with one of those long, loud, slo-mo cries of “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!,” The Mysterious K launched herself out of her recliner and landed squarely in my lap (may I say, “oof?”), one hand firmly wrapped around the mitten and needles and the other firmly wrapped around the ball of yarn. TMK hates it when I frog—it goes against her efficient, task-oriented, move-ahead-in-a-straight-line, never-look-back sensibilities—but watching me frog a mitten that was a few rows away from completion was apparently more than she could stand. We had quite the tussle, with me half trying to get the mitten and yarn back and half trying to prevent either one of us from getting poked in the eye with one of the five then-active dpns, and her desperately trying to convince me to stopstopstop!!, finish the mitten, and then knit a third mitten that matched the first, correct one and a fourth mitten that matched the second, incorrect one (thereby doubling my work, thanks very much). Finally, I was able to whisper the right soothing words to her, to convince her it had to be done, that the mitten was feeling no pain, that it wouldn’t take me long to knit the mitten again (which turned out to be a big, fat lie since I’ve had to frog it again since then, but let’s not go there) and that, really, it was all just part of the knitting process, and I was okay with it even if she wasn't...and finally she let go, climbed up out of my lap and returned to her recliner with the look of a slightly demented but sad puppy dog on her face.

Her heart is in the right place, I know, but I hope this doesn’t turn into a habit, or one of us is going to accidentally end up with a needle through the thigh. And some poor child in Mongolia is going to end up with only one mitten.

The second mitten remains on the needles but here is a picture of the first one:


With regard to the Dulaan Box Inventory form, a few changes, thanks in part to suggestions from Dear Readers. I have added the F.I.R.E. shipping address to the bottom, added my email address, added a "total" line at the bottom, and left the form in Word format so you can fill it in online if you want.

Speaking of F.I.R.E. and Dulaan 'n' all, please start sending warm, positive thoughts to Cuzzin Tom as he prepares to leave for Mongolia at the end of this week! I seriously cannot wrap my head around this thought. He promises me that he will stay in touch with us and that there is an Internet cafe near where he will initially be living. And if you can't trust a promise made by a Buddhist monk...

And, don’t forget, Seattle-area Dulaan Knit-In at MaryB’s house, Saturday, 3/19, 1pm-6pm. If you’re interested in attending, email Mary at

Lastly, a big hello to Dear Reader Vicki Bush whose comments on the last entry and whose determination to knit for the project despite various obstacles, including having to rely on donated yarn, inspired me tremendously!!

Posted by Ryan at 10:30 AM | Comments (14)

March 11, 2005

Update from F.I.R.E.!

(Only in Seattle would you need to drive to work with both your sunglasses and your fog lights on... Freaky, man!)

Drum roll, please!! F.I.R.E reports that the number of items contributed so far by the Dulaan Brigade is...wait for it...249!!! 251 items to go to reach our “Dave the Doubter’s” goal of 500; 1,751 to go to reach “MaryB the Inspirer’s” goal of 2,000, with approximately three months to go until the middle of June, when all contributions should be on their way to F.I.R.E. to meet the July 1 deadline. I know that my onesy-twosy box, which I will ship soon, contains at least 30 items, and that a lot of other knitters are waiting to fill up their boxes before they ship, so there are a lot of things waiting in the wings. But, while the numbers are helpful (ah, who’m I kidding; I live for the numbers), more importantly, they’re only tangible expressions of the wonderful commitment and enthusiasm I have seen expressed all over the Web toward this project. Why, heck, even Sheila—who is not knitting for charity, remember—is almost finished with her Baby Surprise Sweater. (The question is, since this sweater officially doesn’t exist, can we count it toward the goal?)

(Sidenote: For some reason, I imagine all the boxes winging their way to the Dulaan headquarters just the way the owls arrive at Hogwart's. You?)

Work is stilling taking up 7 hours and 59 minutes of my 8-hour work day, as it should, I suppose, so today I will just leave you with this picture of my niece (who, remember, also had the hot chocolate stand for the tsunami victims!) and some fleece blankets and a scarf made by her and Big Sister for Der Project. (Important Update! Big Sister informs me that, in fact, Little Nephew (!!) did a lot of the work on the red blanket. Hugs to you, Little Nephew!)


Posted by Ryan at 09:58 AM | Comments (22)

March 09, 2005

Do the Dulaan!

Did you feel it? Did you feel the great shift in the universe? There must a’ been one, otherwise I can’t explain why my normally slow, lame-o state job has turned freakishly busy. Of course, maybe it was just Mount St. Helen’s erupting again, or perhaps I just ate too many beans. Either way, a short entry today, Dear Readers, just enough to let you know I’m alive and thinking ‘bout alla’ youze.

I finished my first Dulaan Cascade 220 Slicker-Yellow Moss Stitch Cabled But Not Beaded Mitten and am seriously tickled with the results. In fact, these mittens may actually make up for the Psychedelic Pscarf which still makes me make sounds like a cat barfing up a hairball. Other than the seven row v. eight row issue which just turned out to be me being too anal, I highly recommend this mitten pattern. It’s worth the $6. Photo soon.

I see the Pinwheel Butthole Hat, “Ken’s Hat” and variations thereof are starting to make their way around the Net. Janine has posted a Norma-sanctioned, modified, version of the PBH which provides a way to attach the inner layer of the hat to the outer before you start your decreases.

Here’s a picture of some earflap hats knit by my new pal Ann (Hi, Ann!) in Vancouver, B.C. I love the fact that she included the flyer in the photo; it makes everything feel all karmic and circular-like.


And here are some more recent Dulaan postings: (a blanket, woo-hoo!)

Also, don’t miss Sheila’s posting on the Peer Pressure Project! As she explained to me at Ferals, she, like many people (in fact, like me before Dulaan came along), isn’t into the charity knitting thing. For her, charity knitting, particularly when you don't actually finish the item, is just a straight shot to Guiltville, the kind of guilt, in fact, that finds you bellied up to the confessional a few days later. So, Sheila declares that the Surprise Sweater she is knitting is not charity knitting, is not for the Dulaan project, and is not for some Mongolian child. It will just accidentally end up in a box with F.I.R.E.’s address on the outside and just as mysteriously end up on the other side of the counter at the post office, in F.I.R.E’s shipping container, in Mongolia, and wrapped around some poor, cold child. But it is not charity knitting.

Lastly, to help with the shipping process, I’ve posted over in the Dulaan area a Box Inventory Form (in pdf format) to help you list for F.I.R.E. what you’ve put in your box.

Dulaan Knit-In: MaryB’s house, Saturday, 3/19, 1pm-6pm. If you’re interested in attending, email Mary at

Posted by Ryan at 11:24 AM | Comments (14)

March 07, 2005

Swan Dive!

(Why, why, why, since I know the special faucet in the break room is designed to produce scalding-hot water, do I always stick my finger in the water to see what the temperature is? Why?!)

Before I do anything else, I must bow down low, way low, now-I-have-dust bunnies-stuck-in-my-hair low, in admiration of Stephanie’s comment count for this entry: 576 577 578 579 580 at last check. Of course, my first thought was that the poor dear had been the victim of a particularly virulent spam attack but, nope, all legit. All of ‘em. Wow. True, it’s a quasi-artificially-induced number since the commenters are simply answering The Harlot’s questions about where they live and what their favorite LYS’s are, but still, what it says about how many knitters are online, and how many knitters read blogs boggles my mind (or would that be bloggles my mind)?

Then, for those of you who may need a little late-morning pick-me-up, I offer one of the funniest blog entries I’ve seen in a long time. Read. Enjoy. Take a gander at the pictures. Have a tissue at the ready for wiping coffee off your monitor and keyboard, and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Here you go.

Had a weekend of knitting fun, then knitting frustration, then knitting fun again.

The fun part:



Need I say I fell off the stashbusting bandwagon this weekend? In fact, I did a half-gainer and a triple-somersault on my way down and ended with a spectacular, spectator-drenching belly flop. Yes, that would be five beautiful, luscious skeins of Cascade 220 in eggplant, light purple, chartreuse, coral and a rich, saffron gold. I tried to stashbust as part of my Dulaaning, really I did, Dear Readers, but I continually found myself with either the right needles and the wrong weight of yarn or the wrong needles and the right weight of yarn. I’ve also learned that there is acceptable acrylic, bad acrylic and lethally bad acrylic, the kind that causes cancer in laboratory animals—and guess what I have a lot of in my stash? So, long story short, blahblah, LYS, blahblah, Wall O’ Cascade, blahblah, full wallet, blahblah, empty wallet, blah.

The frustration and the more-fun came from this, which I also bought at the LYS. A beautiful pattern but with a teeny-weeny but annoying boo-boo in it: The designer paired an 8-row moss-stitch pattern with a 7-row cable pattern. You do the math. An inconsequential problem for most folks, I know, but when you’re a nose-to-the-page pattern-follower like I am, and when the designer carefully spells out every row and yet leaves you hanging weirdly cattywampus at the end of the pattern repeat, it’s just irksome, especially for an unusually expensive pattern.

Back to the fun: Had my cow over the pattern, complained loudly to the ever-patient TMK about it while flapping the pattern around in front of her face, got over myself and knit on in, again, Cascade 220 in a cheerful rain-slicker yellow. I am having a blast, and am really enjoying the pattern. I decided to leave out the beads, at least for this go-round, but the mitten still looks great.

Reminder to local Dear Readers: Dulaan Knit-In at MaryB’s house, Saturday, 3/19, 1pm-6pm. If you’re interested in attending, email Mary at For full details, see this entry.

Tonight, Ferals and my favorite barbecued pulled-pork sandwich from the food court! Ha-cha-cha!

Posted by Ryan at 11:18 AM | Comments (10)

March 04, 2005

Mongolian 101

“Wow, it’s khüiten today. I’m totally daarch.”

Greek—or Mongolian—to you? Then click on over to Cuzzin Tom’s blog to start beefing up your Mongolian vocabulary. (Is it just me or, despite its Mongolian overtones, does the sentence cry out to be spoken in classic Surfer Dude?)

More importantly, go to Tom's blog for a satisfying and gratifying description of the F.I.R.E folks ooing and cooing over our Dulaan contributions! Which, if we read between the lines, means that they haven’t been able to resist opening the boxes, thereby breaking their own frickin’ rules. Ah, the power of knitting! Total world domination is indeed within our reach!!! (Maniacal laughter. Evil sneer. Twirling of mustache. Swirling of cape. )

Also on the Dulaan front, Dulaan-specific patterns are starting to pop up around the Net, which warms me cockles. So far there are two: Norma’s “Pinwheel Butthole Hat” (don’t look at me; let her explain it.) and Stephanie’s “Ken’s Hat.” The concept behind the “Ken’s Hat”—knitting something but contributing it to Dulaan under someone else’s name—opens all sorts of possibilities. Hell, if we all adopt this questionable approach to the project, why, I could double or triple the Brigade list! Only half of the people on the list would actually be knitting, but what the fu’. (I propose, by the way, that if anyone knits a Ken’s hat, that they contribute it under—or at least name it with—someone else’s name. I could knit the Stalker Angie Hat, Norma could knit the Lisa in Oregon Hat, Lisa in Oregon could knit the Bron’s Hat, Rachael could knit the Janine Hat, ad nauseum. Unless, of course, Stephanie, who has the final say, insists that they all be Ken's Hats, in which case he will instantly become the most prolific Brigade member of all time—without lifting a single dpn. Now, how does that work, exactly?)

Teasing aside, Norma, Stephanie, thank you for these great patterns. I will do my darndest to make one of each—once I get myself out of this awful hole I'm in now, where I have one project on the needles but have lost the pattern, another project on the needles but have realized I'm using the wrong needles and don't own the right ones, and one project where I have the right size of needles but don't have the right yarn and don't want to buy new yarn because I am trying to stashbust. My head is spinning.

crutches.gifThis week we have also been astonished to learn that, despite its philanthropic and humanitarian goals, the Dulaan Project is, in fact, bad for your health. As you may recall, a couple of weeks ago, I made a fleece blanket. On a whim, and to occupy herself while she was watching the boob tube, The Mysterious K took the long strips of discarded selvage, folded them in half, and tied the two halves together over and over until she had a chunky, dense, worm-looking dog toy—which, as is the nature of dog toys, disappeared from and reappeared in a million different places in the house. Which is why she tripped over it yesterday and sprained her ankle. You know, that awful 90° sideways roll, complete with popping and crunching sounds? Yep, one of those. We I had a good laugh over this because, on the best of days, TMK is not the most graceful or sylph-like of creatures, which is why every night, when I’m at her house, I walk around and kick all the dog toys under things, under the couch, under the telephone table, under the kitchen table, under the recliner, so TMK won’t trip over them. I leave for one day...

Lastly, a note on comments: In my zeal to delete some spam, I may have deleted a legit comment from the last entry, so if you find your comment is missing, I’m vewy sowwy. Blame those dad-blasted spammers!

Knit on, Dulaaners!! Knit on!! And, not to leave out the folks who are making fleece blankets—Tie on, Dulaaners!! Tie on!

Posted by Ryan at 11:13 AM | Comments (20)

March 02, 2005

Dulaan Knit-In #2!

All along, Cuzzin Tom has been saying that both his move to Mon-frickin’-golia and the Dulaan project seem to be eerily blessed, that something or someone seems to be oiling the metaphysical rails of both projects. Even to the jaundiced eye of this nonbeliever, things have gone suspiciously smoothly. And here, yet another example. Just when The Mysterious K and I were scratching our heads over how to host a Knit-In since neither one of our houses is conducive to the casual, relaxed coming-together of a bunch o' knitters, and just when we had come to the realization that we needed a Feralite or a Guilder with a nice house and highly developed ESP to intuit that we wanted to have a knit-in—badda bing, badda boom—an email from MaryB, she of 2000 Items or Bust, announcing she was planning a to host a knit-in at her home, and did I want to participate, co-hostess-like? Hooboy, you betcha, baybee!

So I am pleased to announce the Bon Voyage to Cuzzin Tom Seattle Dulaan Knit-In and Open House. Here are the details:

What: A casual, open house-type gathering of knitters who want to knit for Dulaan, drink, eat and chat!

yarn.gifDate: Saturday, March 19, 2005 (which, extremely coincidentally, unless it has changed, is the day Tom flies to Mon-frickin’-golia, hence the “Bon Voyage”)

Time 1pm-6pm. Again, this party will be held open-house style, so feel free to come and go as your schedule allows.

Where: At MaryB's house in conveniently and centrally located Madrona.

How Many: Mary says her house can accommodate about 12 people at a time.

How to RSVP: Contact Mary at She will email you her address and directions.

partyfavors.gifWhat To Bring: The party will be a "snack luck" so bring snack food to share, plus your beverage of choice (Mary will provide coffee, tea, sparkling water, and wine); a pillow to sit on, if that's your lounging style; yarn and patterns to share with others; and, of course, any Dulaan projects you want to work on.

Note to Folks with Allergies: Mary does have two kitties, so if cat dander, cat fur, and you do not get along, you may want to take that into consideration when deciding whether to participate. Her house has hardwood floors and no drapes and she says in the past she’s had guests with cat allergies over with no ill effects, but she recognizes that some people may be more sensitive than others.

And to keep you inspired between now and then, a cornucopia of beautiful knitted objects, including some thrummed mittens, knit by Norma for Dulaan!


Posted by Ryan at 10:16 AM | Comments (12)