June 29, 2005

Housekeeping...

Blog housekeeping
No entries Friday or Monday, Dear Readers, due to the holiday. Our menu for the 4th of July? Sirloin steak with herb butter made with parsley, sage and rosemary straight from the garden. Mmmmmm. Oh, and something vegetable-like thrown in, but who cares? (And, yes, I do hear the Simon & Garfunkel song in my head, thanks for asking. Bet you do now, too.)

Stitch & Pitch housekeeping
MaryB and I are meeting this Friday to discuss how best to distribute the tickets. Or at least that's our excuse for getting together with Mr. MaryB and The Mysterious K for a leisurely dinner at an Italian restaurant. Sure...it's all about the tickets. Uh-huh.

One person needs a ride to the game from the Ravenna area. If anyone will be going to the game from there or near there and can offer her a ride, please email me and I will put you in touch with her.

Knitting…and not doing any housekeeping
First, a big nod to the folks who are overnighting their items to F.I.R.E. If that isn’t a case of putting your money where your mouth is, I don’t know what is. Thank you, all, for digging deep into your wallets to ensure that your blankets and knitted items get to the MongoLEEans who so desperately need them. Speaking of which, be sure to visit StalkerAngie’s blog to see some of the great Dulaan items she is mailing as we speak.

In the non-Dulaan world, I’m working on a pair of socks for a friend who is going on a Lakota vision quest. You may recall that, last year, I made her partner a red pair for the same purpose. This new pair will be the same pattern (Evelyn Clark’s Railroad Track socks) and in the same yarn (Cascade 220) but in blue—so I find myself dreaming of a world where copy/paste works in real life. Just imagine: Put the original sock on a flat surface, select, copy, paste, change the color, shrink the size since Blue Sock Woman’s feet are smaller than Red Sock Woman’s, save, print on the Sockomatic Printer 1000, done. And then, of course, run the wash, block and dry program. And then email them to the recipient.

Here is a close-up of the wonderful ribby, stretchy yet tailored stitches that make me such a fan of this particular pattern.

bluesock.jpg

I also find myself on an aran-y/gansey-y/cable-y binge. There’s the Jigsaw Puzzle sweater, of course, but, also, after I finished my last Dulaan hat I made a beeline for the Heartland aran sweater I started at the retreat last year. I’m making great progress and am enjoying this rich terra cotta color and the pattern as much as I remembered.

terracottasweater.jpg

And, lastly, TMK continues her quest for the perfect hummingbird photo!

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Posted by Ryan at 12:00 PM | Comments (6)

June 27, 2005

3,777!!!!

First, Le Stuff Important: As of last Friday, the Dulaan count is 3,777!!!! The Hogwart’s owls are still winging their way in with a few boxes so there’s a chance that we’ll make it to 4,000 but, either way and whot the hey, since we’ve already gotten in 3,277 more items than Dave Edwards expected (and, secretly, 3,776 than I expected), I am a happy, happy camper. Happy. Delirious.

Also, be sure to read Cuzzin Tom’s homage to the project and all of you knitters. I’m counting on The Cuzz to take mountains, Himalayenesque mountains of photographs of the Dulaan items being distributed in October. Hear me, Cuzz? Never mind that the spiritual future of an entire country is in your hands, I want photos, damn it, photos! Good ones. Clear ones. Preferably with camels standing in the background. And some desert. And a ger. And a bowl of mutton. And a cup of fermented mare's milk. And a marmot. Staging is everything.

My weekend was spent launching another, more personal project, an attempt to design and knit an aran-type sweater for my fluffy, spherical, short-waisted self. Although it may be premature to name the project since it could easily succumb to an attack of bad juju in the next thirty seconds, I have, at least temporarily, named it the Jigsaw Puzzle Sweater because the information for knitting the sweater is being cobbled together from a mind-bogglingly extreme variety of sources. My initial inspiration and the measurements for the sweater come from here. More inspiration came from here. Some instructions and measurements came from here. The twisted rib information came from here. Gauge information which, strangely, is not printed on the label of the yarn I’m using, came from here. The aran patterns I ultimately decided to use came from here. And encouragement and support came from here, as always.

You may ask, why don’t I just knit the large size of the Welcome Back sweater and be done with it? Well, it’s a gauge thing, see. Two Fridays ago, my LYS had a sale and I ran completely and undeniably amok. At the sale, one of my too-many-to-enumerated purchases was 10 skeins of beautiful pine green/dark sage 14-ply Wool Pak—which knits at 3.5 stitches per inch, while the Welcome Back sweater calls for 5.5 stitches per inch, so everything had to be recalculated for the new gauge. And then I thought, while I’m recalculating, why not change the cable pattern, add ribbing, change the length, pick a different collar style...well, you know how that goes.

I have, however, discovered the awful truth about designing arans. Once, you’ve spent a measurable percentage of your lifespan gathering all the gauge, yarn and design information—and have even done a full 4” square, washed and blocked swatch—you are still at Square One. More specifically, a whole pantload of figgerin’ and calculatin’ and patternin’ still lies ahead. Which is why, this weekend, I spent an inordinate number of hours creating this:

calculations.JPG

Which resulted in this, a bit o’ cuff and 10 rows of cabled sleeve. Not very impressive for 15 hours of frettin’ and sweatin’.

cuff_calcs.jpg

My biggest fear? I have no frickin’ idea how to calculate the increase in the sleeves. I think I should be increasing one stitch on both sides every 4th row but I'm not sure. I am convinced that in the end the sleeve will fit the leg of either one of these or one of these.

It doesn’t help that when I measure the middle (the double-moss-stitch diamond pattern) of what I’ve knit so far, I get 6 vertical rows to the inch. When I measure the sides (plain old moss-stitch), I get 5 vertical rows to the inch. Maybe it's the ruler.

More on Wednesday, unless I suddenly decide to make creative use of gasoline, a burn barrel and some matches.

Posted by Ryan at 01:27 PM | Comments (17)

June 24, 2005

Phew!

(Note to self: Next time? Don’t read Yarn Harlot’s new entry before writing yours. Her brand of inimitable humor will make you question yourself, question why you blog, make you want to delete all 2+ years of Mossy Cottage, quit knitting, sell your house, and become a hermit. I think this is the adult equivalent of saying, “You’ll see. You’ll see. I’ll...I’ll run away from home and then I’ll die, and then you’ll have to come to my funeral, and then you’ll be sorry!”)

What a wacky two days its has been juggling all the requests for tickets! By 2pm yesterday, I felt like the many-armed boiler room attendant in the movie “Spirited Away,” watching dials, pushing buttons, pulling cords, pulling levers, adding coal—but all 52 tickets have now officially been assigned to good homes, thanks to mountains of help from MaryBee and her last-minute ordering of 10 more tickets. For a list of names and the number of tickets reserved for each person, see the end of the last blog entry. MaryBee and I will be contacting the recipients with information about how to pay and how to get their tickets once we have it all figured out.

In the meantime, if you didn’t get a ticket, dunna’ fret: Anyone who wants to get a ticket in the Stitch & Pitch seating area can do so directly through the Mariners. According to the flyer they gave us, what you need to do is, quote:

1. E-mail the Mariners at StitchGroup@seattlemariners.com.
2. Within two business days, you will receive an e-mail invitation to the special Stitch ’n Pitch discounted game.
3. Via your e-mail invitation, you will be able to select your seat location, make the payment, and print your tickets from your computer.

…unquote.

Rumor has it that 900 seats have already been sold. 900 knitters and their friends, spouses, SO’s and kiddos. Who woulda thunk?! Assuming that 75% of the attendees will be actual knitters, that translates into 675 projects, 675 circular needles, or 1,350 straight needles, or 2,700 dpns, or 3,375 dpns, if you use all five. Oh, and one crochet hook.

Okay, coming back in from the outfield...

Some great photos of Dulaan items are still trickling in. Here, from Cathy, two hooded scarves, eleven hats and seven scarves. Not in the picture, the six fleece blankets she also made!

catdulaan.jpg

And from Jane and her friend Sandy who knit the green hat, this pile of wooly goodness:

janedulaan.jpg

This is a Zud Hat from MaryLee, she of the child who says MongoLEEa. And, no, the bag isn't a social statement, just her latest container for all her knitting bits and pieces.

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Here is an eye-searingly awful photo of one of the last items I made for Dulaan, a vest. I pray to God that somewhere, somewhere in Mongolia there is one homeless, orphaned and yet overfed, obese and short-waisted child because this vest came out cute but short and very, very wide. Dear TMK tried to console me by saying, “They could wear it over something else and be extra warm,” but, no, this vest is very, very wide. Very.

redvest.jpg

But at least the buttons are cute:

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And, lastly, apropos of nothing, a photo for Norma:

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Posted by Ryan at 11:19 AM | Comments (4)

June 22, 2005

Take Me (and My Yarn and My Needles and My Pattern and My Friends) Out to the Ballgame

Update 6/24/05: All of the tickets have been reserved! See the the bottom of this blog entry for a list of the people who have tickets reserved for them.

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

baseball3a.jpgOkay, local knitters—think quick! (Sharp, rapid and annoying fingers-snaps in your face.) What are you doing the night of Thursday, July 28? If the answer is “nothing” or even “dunno,” then join, me, The Mysterious K, MaryB and Mr. MaryB at Safeco Field for “Stitch ‘N Pitch” night—a night dedicated to baseball and knitting!

The Background, or Whuh????:
This is the real deal, dreamed up and sponsored by the Mariners themselves, thanks to two female executives in the front office who knit, and the folks in the Mariners' marketing department who, at first, teased the crap out of the women and then had a “lightbulb moment” and realized that a knitting night might be just the ticket for getting some butts in some seats. Thus was born “The First Annual Mariners Stitch ‘N Pitch Night!”

The Details:

Date: Thursday, July 28, 2005.

Time: Game starts at 7:05 but the Mariners are encouraging us to come early (the gates open at 5:05) because there will be yarn and craft vendors there for us to schmooze with. In fact, Pacific Fabrics has signed on to be the main sponsor of the evening.

Who: MaryB and I have reserved a block of 40 tickets and are offering the seats to knitters (duh) and their knitting or non-knitting friends, spouses and SO’s, anyone who wants to come and join us for a fun, unique night.

Cost: Thanks to the Mariners, the tickets, which are normally $17, are discounted to $10.00 each.

baseball4.jpgThe Kicker: Because we reserved a block of 40 tickets, we will be able to have our collective group name (The Dulaan Knitters, or some such) up on The Big Screen! Don’t worry if you couldn’t care less about the Dulaan project. Join us anyway, and be part of the adventure!

What You Should Do:
If you want to join us, please email me your name and how many tickets you want to buy. We’ll work out the final details, such as how to get your payments to us and the tickets to you and where/when we should all meet, over time. And remember, non-knitting spouses, SO’s, and friends are invited! If more than 40 people are interested, the tickets will, of course, be sold first come, first served.

Come see our new, sizzlin’ hot Mariner rookies kick some Cleveland Indian bootay!! Or, way more importantly, just come knit with a bunch o' wacky people...

Current official list:

TMK and Ryan 2
MaryB and Mr. MaryB 2
April Lindner & Michael 2
Sandy Hill 4
Flora Hicks 1
Susan Rowlee 1
Deana Getz 1
Lisbeth Coller 1
Bev 1
Diana Gates 2
Patti S. 1
Norah Willett 1
Rebecca Long 2
Susan Warren 1
Mara Fiksdal 2
Rebecca Burgess 3
Lynn Munson 2
Robin 3
Barbara Williams 1
Gina Woolbright 5
Joanne 3
Katherine Geis 2
Laura Adams 2
Andrea Eyre 3
Sam Richardson 1
Carol Goldman 1
Heather Malcolm 2

TOTAL TICKETS SPOKEN FOR: 52
TOTAL TICKETS LEFT: 0! (There are actually 52 tickets total.)

Posted by Ryan at 10:00 AM | Comments (30)

June 20, 2005

WE DID IT...With Time to Spare!!!!

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2514 ITEMS!!!

 

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But wait...there's more, oh, so much more.

Guideposts Knit for Kids has promised to send 900 more sweaters. Yes, that's 900.

And I mailed these boxes this weekend, containing 93 items contributed by local knitters:

dulaanboxes.jpg

The boxes include these, the latest contributions from Feralites and Guilders (the Pseudo-Adopted Cat felt compelled to help with the photography session):

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...and these, my latest Zud Hats, a pink and yellow one which, go ahead, say it--looks like an alienesque boobie, and a green one, my last Dulaan item, a fact which left me feeling a little flaky and disconnected and moody all weekend.

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So, let's do the math, shall we? If we include the items already received by F.I.R.E., the 900 items promised by Knitting for Kids, and the 93 items I mailed--let's see, that's seven, zero, carry the one, five, carry the one, so that's...

 

3,507 ITEMS!!!

 

But there's still time to spare, knitters and blanketeers, plenty of time to get your items finished, packed and shipped. I sense we, and hopefully F.I.R.E., will be astounded by our final number.

(Remember how, way back when, Dave Edwards, the co-founder of F.I.R.E. said he would give Meredith a bottle of wine if we reached even 500 items? Meredith, we promise to send you cards in detox.)


Posted by Ryan at 11:08 AM | Comments (23)

June 17, 2005

Fat Hat

While I'm waiting for the most current number from the great folks at F.I.R.E., and just in case there’s still one hat-shaped hole taunting you from your Dulaan box, you’re breaking out in “gotta knit now” hives, and you have a couple of hours to kill, I slapped together a pattern for the MegaUltraBulkyChunky hat, renaming the hat along the way (see below).

The Usual Disclaimers: I have no idea if a pattern like this exists on the Net, in a book, in a pamphlet, or otherwise, but if it does, I’ve never clapped eyes on it. And while, as I said, my first hat started out as an attempt to knit a Ken Hat, the Variation on the Ken Hat, a Butthole hat, or a Half-Assed Hat, I lost all control over the project and it metamorphosed into something completely different.

The hat is now officially called the Zud Hat. In Cuzzin Tom’s interview with Arizona National Public Radio, he mentioned a Mongolian word, "zud" (pronounced "zood"), which is defined as “winter weather that's atrocious even by Mongolian standards.” (Imagine!) CT further mentioned that zud conditions occurred two years in a row in Mongolia...which led to the death of millions of livestock...which led thousands of nomads to move into the city...which led Ulan Bataar to overflow with impoverished migrants...which led to orphaned and homeless children and people killing each other over the right to pick through a garbage pile ...which led to Dulaan...which led to this hat.

The Zud Hat

Materials


  • 1 skein of Cascade Magnum or any other superbulky yarn. Two skeins of the Magnum will make three of these hats, if, for the third hat, you combine what’s left from the first two hats. (Note: If you live in the Seattle area, I bought my Magnum at the Fiber Gallery in Greenwood.)
  • 1 16”, size 13 circular needle
  • 1 set size 13 dpns for the decreases
  • Embroidery needle

Gauge
yellowfluffyhat.jpgFeh, not really sure since I didn’t do a swatch, just leapt right in. The Magnum yarn band says 1.5” per inch on size 15s. With the 13s, I think I’m getting about 2 stitches to the inch in rib but I’m the Queen of the UpTight Knitters.

Size
Since this hat is ribbed from top to bottom, it fits a variety of heads but, in general, I’d say adult medium to large.

Cast On
Loosely cast on 48 stitches. I use long-tail cast on.

Put a stitch marker on your right-hand needle. (Even if you don’t normally use stitch markers, I recommend doing this since later on in the pattern I’m going to do a switcheroo on you and this stitch marker will help you find the beginning of the round.)

Fold-Up Brim
Join, being careful not to twist the stitches, and k1, p1 around.
Continue k1, p1 until the brim is 2.75” long.

Optional Fold Row
Knit around. This optional row creates a crisp edge for turning up the brim of the hat. I like how this looks and works but it does have the drawback of not allowing you to adjust the brim lower or higher.

The Crown and the Switcheroo
Continue to knit in rib but now using p1, k1. When you turn up the brim, this will allow the knit ridges of the crown to fit into the purled depressions of the brim, and vice versa. This makes for a nice, neat, head-hugging fit.

Knit until the measurement from the cast-on edge is approximately 9.5” or 9.75”.

Decrease
Round 1: *P1, k1, k2tog. Repeat from * around. You will now have 36 stitches.
Round 2:* P1, k2. Repeat from * around. (Here is where I switch to the dpns, putting 12 stitches on each.)
Round 3: *P1, k2tog. Repeat from * around. You will now have 24 stitches.
Round 4: *P1, k1. Repeat from * around.
Round 5: K2tog around. You will now have 12 stitches.
Round 6: K2tog around. You will now have 6 stitches.

Finishing
Break off your yarn, leaving a tail long enough to run through the remaining stitches and to weave in.

Using the embroidery needle, run the yarn through the six stitches, removing the dpns as you go. Pull gently on the yarn to tighten and neaten the stitches at the top of the hat. Run the embroidery needle down through the middle of the top of the hat. Snug everything up, and weave in the end of the yarn.

Weave in your cast-on end, turn up the brim, and do the Happy Dance.

pinkhat.jpg

Posted by Ryan at 10:52 AM | Comments (9)

June 15, 2005

Caught Between a Rock...and a Rock

When you promised Dear-But-Slightly-Scary-Reader MaryB that you would go back to posting on your regular M/W/F schedule...and then life suddenly and uncooperatively—and slightly conspiratorially, methinks—turns very quiet...and you discover you even forgot to take pictures of your knitting over the weekend...and you realize that, even if you had taken pictures, they would just have been of yet another MegaUltraBulkyChunky Hat...and your partner hasn't called to tell you the latest things she discovered she can do with her toes...you resort to your fallback position, Kooky Krafts and pictures of cute dogs, preferably with over-large ears.

First, the dawgs. We dawg-sat Rico, Frankie’s puppy pal and morning-walk companion, for half a day about a week ago. These two get along like a house on fire so there was no vicious flashing of canines or even overly youthful highjinks to report but I do have this photo, taken when they were both resting on the couch after having subdued a particularly vicious plastic ball. Do they not look like brave defenders of hearth and home? Just don’t tell them that they are each less than a foot tall. They don’t know.

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Now, on to the Kooky Krafts. The theme today is animal clothes, with three links even knitting-related!

Goats' coats. Are the goats kyute or whut?

Chicken couture. The chicken, not so kyute.

More chicken couture, but of a slightly different variety. This chicken, slightly more kyute.

And, here, not animal couture but knitting with an animal theme so I say I get to include it.

On the Dulaan front, no current new number yet, although I am on pins and needles (or nins and peedles, as my mother used to say). However, I will be at Guild tonight, if anyone wants to bring any last-minute items that they want me to ship for them. Bring it oooooon, ladies and gents!!

How about a last minute cheer to spur you on?

cheerleader.gifGive me a D!

D!!!

Give me a U!

U!!!

Give me an L!

L!!!

Give me a A!

A!!!

Give me a A!

A!!!

Give me an N!

N!!!

What does it spell?!

Dulaan, Dulaan, Dulaan!!!

Phew.

Posted by Ryan at 10:21 AM | Comments (25)

June 13, 2005

Late and Lame

This should tell you all you need to know about why today's entry is so short, Dear Readers:

The most exciting thing that has happened in the last three days is that The Mysterious K called me this morning to tell me she had figured out how to turn her printer on with her toes.

Other than that late-breaking news, I'm waiting for the latest word from F.I.R.E. As soon as I hear anything, you'll will be the first to know. In the meantime, I'm trying desperately to churn out one more vest. Who knew seed stitch could make you feel as if you were knitting with your hands in a vat of molasses?

Posted by Ryan at 11:49 AM | Comments (13)

June 10, 2005

So Close and Yet...

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1989 ITEMS!!!

   

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This information comes from Marcus at F.I.R.E. who is subbing for Meredith while she is on vacation. My new best friend Marcus also tells us:

  • They are receiving 2-6 Dulaan boxes every day
  • The boxes have come from Australia, England, Scotland, New Zealand, all over Canada, and from 27 of the 50 states
  • The largest number of mailings—although not necessarily the largest number of items—have come from New York

There is no question in my mind that we will reach 2,000 items on Monday, with a couple of weeks still to go before the deadline. I am just in awe, I tell you, in awe.


Posted by Ryan at 12:04 PM | Comments (17)

June 08, 2005

National Geographic: Part II

What? Oh. Hi. Sorry. Didn’t see you standing there. I'm still distracted by Norma’s story about how she watered her dead mole and it disappeared. First I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the fact something I experienced here in Seattle has someone 3,000 miles away sprinkling water on dead rodents. And, secondly, I’m starting to suspect that we just imagined the crow taking the mole. Apparently what really happens is that when moles come in contact with water, they dissolve. We have scientific proof.

(Side note: Because Rebecca seemed particularly girly-girl squeamish about the mole in the birdbath story, The Mysterious K had a devilish plan to go to a craft store, buy a scrap of dark fake fur and put it in the birdbath for Rebecca to…er…enjoy when she came to the Garden Party. I managed to persuade TMK that this was not how one is nominated for Hostess of the Year although, secretly, hell, I woulda done it—but I was too busy cutting rind off half of the brie.)


One of the things about TMK is that she Is Not Patient. A classic example: If she asks me to get her something from the other side of her overly-wide desk, in the nanosecond it takes me to even find the object in question, she has already grabbed it and is using it. Similarly, if she asks me to feed the dog, by the time I reach the kitchen, Frankie is licking the last scrap of food out of her bowl. TMK also sucks big-time at sitting still and being quiet—traits required for any kind of bird-watching. Ditto for bird photography. Double-ditto for photographing hummingbirds.

So how do you explain this?

hummingbird.jpg

Yes, this photo, which I just lerv, was taken by our very own TMK last weekend, but in a uniquely TMK way. Now, TMK is a thoroughly self-aware; she knows fully that she sucks big-time at sitting still, being patient, yaddayadda. Yet she was determined to take a photograph of the hummingbird that visits her honeysuckle vine on a regular basis...without having to sit and wait for it like a true birder. Her solution: She positioned herself in her recliner (yes, inside, in the living room) in such a way that she could see the honeysuckle vine; got her industrial-strength digital camera and telephoto lens all calibrated and ready; hung the camera around her neck...and turned on the baseball game. Problem solved.

You scoff...yet the proof is in the pudding.


In Dulaan World, I’m getting more and more reports of people mailing their boxes to Arizona. In fact, my aunt (Cuzzin Tom's maw) reports that she recently mailed, in her own words, “five huge boxes of knitted goods” knit by her and her friends in Vermont. Local knitter Paula reports that she and Lori, Linda, Meg, Maurene, Laurel of the group "The Plied Pipers of Renton" recently mailed in 42 items. I received about eight more items at Ferals on Monday (thank you June, Andrea, Diana, and Anonymous from the Eastside Knitters Guild); I should receive about ten more at Guild next Wednesday (thank you, Susanna!); and recently received this photo from Wren of items she has sent to Arizona:

wren2.jpg

You guys are all uh-mazing!!

Time to check in with Meredith to get the latest stats...

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

June 06, 2005

More Fun Than Should Be Legal...

(Lots o' photos, Dear Readers. May be slow to load.)

Whoa.

I cannot believe the Garden Party has already come and gone. Why, not ten minutes ago, The Mysterious K and I were fussing over where to put the snacks; whether or not to put little bouquets of flowers out; which tablecloth to put on which table; whether the cooler should go here, or here, or here; what the weather was going to be like...and—blam!—the party was two days ago!

(Side note to God: Thanks for the weather, Dude. I’ll knit ya’ something.)

The final guest list consisted of MaryB, June, Rebecca, Patti, Karen, Kit, Beth, and three ladies I met for the first time at the party but who all get an enthusiastic and unequivocal thumbs-up from me: Kim, Cheryl (who came to us via TMK's swimming group) and, most exciting of all, for me at least, Perclexed, who has been a long, long, long time reader of the blog and who claims to be too shy to go to knitting parties, but who was, in fact, funny, warm, fun and a real addition to the partay. In other words, she brought the brewskies and the slices of lime.

TMK and I added what we hoped was some variety to the party by playing (thanks to TMK’s iPod) the Arizona NPR interview of Cuzzin Tom and Meredith of F.I.R.E. in which they talked about Dulaan, Mossy Cottage and alla' youze knitters out there; playing (thanks to TMK’s DVD player) a slideshow that F.I.R.E. sent us containing soulful pictures of the many faces of Mongolia set to beautiful, achingly haunting music; and, segueing from the sublime to the ridiculous, handing out party favors! See?

sparklies.jpg

Yep, more beaded stitch markers than anyone would ever need, anytime, anywhere. TMK and I spent a couple of hours last weekend churning these puppies out and while we thought that was the fun part, come to find out it didn’t hold a candle to the thrill of watching people pick out and claim their favorites. You woulda' thought we had handed them actual treasures, not just pieces of glass strung on silver wire.

(For those of you who are surprised that TMK would allow herself to be caught dead making such sissy things, in her world, it wasn't about the sparkly beads and the pretty, girly things, it was about using the tools. Grunt.)

Some photos:

Photograph 1: The grub. Folks brought amazing nosh including three-bean salad, a homemade chocolate hazelnut cake; oatmeal, caramel, chocolate chip bars; antipasti; strawberries; and mango and ginger stilton. TMK and I contributed a round of brie, cut in half, one half with rind, one half without. All I'll say is that both halves were gone by the end of the party. Hah.

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Photograph 2: MaryB, June and Karen, all cozy in TMK’s and my new wrought-iron, canvas and mosquito-netting tent/awning thingy which ended up being perfect for the party.

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Photograph 3: Kim (hidden), Karen, Rebecca, Cheryl, June, Patti, Perclexed and Frankie’s butt under Tent #2 which we rented to hedge our bets against the weather.

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Photograph 4: MaryB working on—get this—Dulaan Item #46. I bow down to you, Mary. In fact, I proclaim, “We’re not woooorthy! We’re not woooorthy!”

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Photograph 5: June working on a beautiful dark green, light orange, dark orange and buttercream Fair Isle sweater for the project. She calls this sweater “Teaching an Old Broad New Tricks” since, while she is an uber talented and experienced Fair Isle knitter, she is using this sweater to teach herself a new method of holding the two strands of yarn.

juneknitting.jpg

Photograph 6: Confession time: Although technically the party ended at 6pm, a few of us knit, gabbed and ate until well into the evening, in fact, late enough for TMK to fire up the BBQ and produce a platterful of barbecued zucchini and sweet orange pepper strips to help fool our bodies into thinking we hadn't just spent the last seven or eight hours eating cakes and pastries. This picture shows the evening winding down and is a little dark because...well...sunset was at about 9:00pm. You do the math. And why are Perclexed and I hiding our faces in blankets? Who knows. We were most likely teasing Kit who didn't want to be in the picture. Sigh. You would never know I’m 45 years old.

thelasthurrah.jpg

Okay, that wraps up the “people portion” of the show. Now for the important part, the Dulaan Haul:

Here, a picture of a pile so tall you can’t even see the box it’s in!

boxtop.jpg

Here, the box from the side:

boxpile.jpg

Here the entire stash, including three fleece blankets made by Perclexed, laid out for your viewing pleasure.

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And, again, the stash, minus the blankets but plus Frankie. No, she will not be mailed to MongoLEEa.

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Lastly, a photo for MaryB and Rebecca who are convinced I never knit anything, ever, at any of the knitting get-togethers. This pink MegaUltraBulkyChunky Hat was half-done by the end of the evening and finished the next day. Neener, neener.

pinkhat.jpg

Posted by Ryan at 11:28 AM | Comments (15)

June 01, 2005

No Good Deed...

(This will be the only posting this week, Dear Readers, since I will be bizzy Friday getting ready for the Garden Party!)


The Mysterious K and I are recovering from one of our stranger weekends, one that can only be described as National Geographic on crack. And it all revolves around something as simple and innocent as a bird bath.

My most faithful and longest-time readers will remember this blue glass birdbath which we purchased and installed two years ago when both the natural dye garden and the blog were in their infancy:

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Long story short, the blue glass bowl soon went to the Great Glass Factory in the Sky and, over time, I realized that I missed watching the sweet and simple things the local birds did in the birdbath: bathe, drink, and dunk the occasional piece of stolen bread. So this weekend I set out to find a replacement for the glass bowl. Finding something pretty, artsy, and inexpensive that fit exactly into the curve of the existing birdbath stand proved impossible so I went dirt cheap instead, shelling out $5 for a plastic terra cotta planter.

We stacked some rocks in the birdbath for ambience and stability, filled it with water, put it in the birdbath stand like so:

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..and looked forward to endless summer days of pleasant birdie entertainment, something reminiscent of this.

What we did not expect was this (not for Big Sister the squeamish!):

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The kicker? This was Dead, Sodden Mole Number Two, now known as The Afternoon Mole. The first one, The Morning Mole, was twice as large, twice as fat, and equally as dead, sodden, gross, and startling.

When it comes to Certain Things, such as removing small animal corpses, I am way more butch than TMK so, once we discovered The Morning Mole, I girded my loins for the unpleasant task of disposing of the mini-corpse. TMK wisely suggested, however, that we wait half an hour to see if Mr. Mole disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared. And sher ‘nuff. Half-an-hour later, when I went to check the birdbath, it was empty. The Morning Mole had disappeared, leaving us baffled and seriously questioning our sanity, especially since we were positive we had kept a careful enough eye on the birdbath that no magical mole levitation could have occurred without our knowledge. We shrugged our shoulders, pinky-swore never to speak of our hallucination to anyone, and I proceeded to rinse out the birdbath, rinse the rocks, put the rocks back in, and fill the bath up with fresh water. Cross my heart and hope ta’ die, there was, at that point, no mole in the bath.

Which is why we were flabbergasted when we glanced in the birdbath later that day and found The Afternoon Mole. You can be day-um sure that this time we took a picture.

We also planted ourselves firmly in the garden and kept an unwavering, pardon the pun, eagle eye on the bird bath. And this time we saw it all: A large crow, one of a nesting pair (perhaps even Barclay’s parents back for another go at child-rearing), landed on the edge of the birdbath, poked the mole a few times to see if it was “done” (no lie), grabbed it in his beak and hauled it off to his nest and his lucky and soon-to-be-bursting-at-the-seams nestlings. Mystery solved, although this whole experience has left us both feeling a little twitchy and giving the birdbath a somewhat wider berth than usual. Oh, and making bad jokes about "mole sauce," (pronounced, of course, for the purposes of this game, mohl and not mol-ay), and our new favorite condiment, guaca“mole.” I dare you; in light of your new knowledge of the-mole-as-food, go back to this page and scan the listed products without laughing. After all, they offer mole in a can, powdered mole, even tiny dishes to serve your mole in.


Despite all of the hoopla, I did manage to get quite a bit of knitting in. Here is the latest Dulaan vest, now with buttons attached. I gave up on trying to crochet the armholes; it just looked stupid and clunky.

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And now I will impose on you a closeup photo of the excruciatingly ordinary buttons. I was playing with the “close up” feature on my camera. What can I say?

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And I also knit this MegaUltraBulkyChunky Hat out of some megaultrabulkychunky unspun Cascade Yarn, maybe Magnum? I’m embarrassed to admit that this was originally supposed to be a Ken’s Dulaan Hat, and then it was supposed to be the 48-stitch version of the Ken Hat, and then it metamorphosed into something that (a) had nothing to do with either pattern and (b) was adult-sized when it was meant to be kid-sized. Wait; aren't I supposed to have more control over my knitting than that?

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Posted by Ryan at 10:11 AM | Comments (27)