August 31, 2005

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter!

(No posts on Friday or Monday, Dear Readers, due to the Labor Day holiday and a couple of extra vacation days I’ve shoe-horned in there for absolutely no reason. )

Not much to write about today since the only thing of interest that has happened in our personal lives recently—TMK’s getting a Fudgesicle stuck ferociously and completely to her lips and being reduced to mumbling, slightly desperately and wild-eyed, “Helb me! Helb me!”—she forbade me to blog about. Oops.*

On the Dulaan front, however, things are much more exciting. Remember how the mice in Disney's Cinderella twitter and chirp and squeek at a glass-shattering, C-above-high-C pitch? I suspect that’s what TMK and I sound like as we burn up the wires with minute-by-minute updates on the CafePress activity. Things are selling! People are buying! Twitter, twitter, twitter! Chirp, chirp, chirp! Squeek, squeek, squeek! At last glance, a few tote bags, a couple of t-shirts, a mug and a button have found new homes. On F.I.R.E.’s behalf, thank you everyone for making these purchases!

The Dulaan Brigade is now up to 91 members! Which means we only need to knit or make 49.648351648351648351648351648352 items each ( or 4.964835164835164835164835164835 per person, per month) to reach our goal. Pfffffft; no prob.

New patterns are being suggested or offered for the project. Big Sister suggests making fleece hats and sent me these links:

http://www.mormonchic.com/crafty/fabulous-fleece.asp#hat ("Mormon Chic" immediately made wonder, would it work for any other religion/denomination? Somehow "Episcopalian Chic," "Wiccan Chic" and "Zoroastrian Chic" just don't have the same ring.)

http://www.p2designs.com/ShipSkiCap.htm

http://helpinghearts0.tripod.com/id8.html

Tina Shaddox of Charitable Crafters-big contributors to Dulaan last year-generously sent her own “40-Below Hat” pattern to add to the list, which I’ll do next week. And Julia FC made her easy-on mitten pattern easier to access (you had to scroll down to see it before). Again, I'll add the new link next week.

Plans are in the works for our first Dulaan Knit-In of the year! We’re thinking Saturday, October 22, in the pm, but it’s not definite yet. Local yokels, think about reserving that date!

And our friend LindaK, who is a talented bead wrangler and a big fan and supporter of Dulaan, made and gave me and TMK these two unexpected and very customized and personalized fobs:

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Are they not boo’ful?! Does not the Dulaan one look very MongoLEEan? Thank you, Linda. I think you would laugh at how many times, over the course of the weekend, we had "just one more look" at these pretty things!

Lastly, a big hello to Libby who did That Thing That Floats My Boat-she went back and read each and every Mossy Cottage entry and, from what I can tell, could probably ace a pop quiz on my blog-life. Kewl!

*Before you start thinking I’m a heartless beast, we have an inviolable agreement that gives TMK full and complete veto over what I blog about where it concerns her. True, initially she was too mortified to have me blog about “Fudgesicle Meet Lip; Lip Meet Fudgesicle”…but the next day, when we relived the moment and laughed so hard we cried, she did a complete 180. So, no, I did not sell my soul to Beelzebub and endanger my relationship just to have something to write about in the blog. It hasn’t gotten that bad. Yet.

Posted by Ryan at 12:06 PM | Comments (23)

August 29, 2005

Is It Possible To Disinfect Your Own Brain?

The Moment When You Realize You Are Dipping a Toe in the Loser Pond: When you and your partner find yourselves at home at 8pm on a Sunday night watching “Attack of the Killer Shrews.”

In our defense, we were actually watching a documentary about shrews, and scenes from the movie were cut in with the documentary footage in an artistic effort to compare the Myth of the Shrew with the Truth About Shrews, but we cannot deny that about 75% of the movie was actually shown, that we know who lived and who died, that we know how Our Hero and his Buxom Swedish Blonde Love Interest escaped the Mysterious and Remote Island (duck walking under metal barrels. They even used the phrase “duck walk,” as in, “Quick! Get under the barrel! We can duck walk off the island before the shrews know we are gone!”), and that the “giant killer shrews” were actually dogs in shrew costumes, which, in black and white, actually looked more like small saber tooth tigers wearing coats made out of linguini.

Also in our defense, we had spent the earlier part of the evening watching an episode of “Going Tribal” in which Fearless White Adventure Guy immerses himself deeply and completely in the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle, so we had actually added information to our brains before it all got sucked out again in a flurry of B-grade acting, huge, fake shrew fangs, and weirdly animate piles of pasta.

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CafePress for Dulaan is open for business!!

As I mentioned when I first floated the CafePress idea, all of the profits from the sale of the mugs, t-shirts, buttons and insanely adorable Dulaan Bear will go to F.I.R.E. to help offset the $40,000 it takes each year to ship and distribute the clothing and supplies and to provide medical and humanitarian services.

Just so’s you know, the way CafePress works is they charge a base price for the items we sell and then we charge a little bit more on top of that to make a profit. We have increased the cost of our items by $2, $3 or, at most, $4 but every cent will make a difference to F.I.R.E.

Go! Visit! Shop! Own something with TMK’s unique Dulaan 2006 logo on it, proudly identify yourself as a member of the Brigade, and help us get the word out about the project by waving that logo around. Personally, I’m jonesin’ after the tote bag and, again, that snookum-wookums bear. Time to check my credit card balance.

In the meantime, I started on my first Dulaan Project, one of these. After a couple of hours of steady work, all I can say is, what’s wrong with this picture? (Note: This sweater is knit in one piece from side to side, so you are actually looking at it face on with the neckline up where it should be, and the armhole shaping...um...well.)

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Posted by Ryan at 10:48 AM | Comments (16)

August 26, 2005

Blast Off!!

See my fingers wiggling? See my hand barely sticking up out of the avalanche of responses we got for Dulaan after the Monday/Wednesday posting? Amazing! And the 75 comments don’t even take into account the emails that also came popping into my mailbox! A big hug—the type TMK’s family gives, not a namby-pamby Princeton hug—to everyone!

Although it may be premature for me to start my obsessive-compulsive counting, let's just say that, according to the comments, there're already 32 Dulaan items ready to go. Bodes well for the long term, eh wot?

Mostly right now I need everybody to get the word out. After all, if we stagnate at the 63 people currently on the Brigade list, we’d each have to knit 71.714285714285714285714285714286 items to reach our goal of 4,518. Spread the love, people, spread the love! I want the people in the International Space Station to look down and see that overnight the world has become blanketed in Dulaan flyers. That oughta keep the scientists busy.

A few questions came up, some Dulaan-specific, some really not:

1. Wool? Acrylic?

I don’t presume to be able to answer this never-ending debate here but I have to take my cue from F.I.R.E. seeing as how they’ve actually been to MongoLEEa and they say anything goes. Personally, I sent a mix of wool items and acrylic items last year, knitting with whatever I had handy and whatever fit the yarn weight required by the pattern, although, the truth be told, I gravitated more and more toward wool as time progressed.

noclothes.JPGSome people argue in favor of acrylic because they are concerned about what might happen to wool items when they are washed (pilling, felting, shrinking) which compels me to make clear that, especially in the case of the children living on the streets and in the heating ducts, the clothes will never be washed. We are talking desperate circumstances here, where the children may not have anything at all to wear. Remember the child in the photograph to the right? The photo was taken when the temperature was 20 degrees. Twenty. Twelve degrees below freezing. We cropped this photo for modesty’s sake but, trust me, this child is wearing nothing other than that light jacket. In short, these people do not lie awake nights worrying about which scent of Bounce to buy.

And some people argue in favor of wool because it is warmer and will last longer.

And then there is the cost issue. Wool can be spendy while you can frequently get acrylic for next to nothing.

While all of these arguments are valid, I just encourage people to think in terms of thickness, bulkiness, warmth, as in thrummed mittens, thrummed socks, double-knit hats, items knit out of doubled yarn, items knit out of bulky or chunky yarn… Which reminds me of Norma’s blog entry about the properties of cold. Have a read, if you haven’t already.

2. Elizabeth D asked if she could send me a pattern to add to the Dulaan list.

Absolutely, Elizabeth! The fact that, last go-round, people designed items specifically for Dulaan was the biggest and best surprise of the project. And the patterns just kept on coming! All told, including the Zud Hat, we added nine Dulaan-specific patterns to the list and, this year, I would love to see more. MORE, I tell you!

3. Nathania asked, if CommuKnitty has a special Dulaan event, will TMK and I take the train down for a visit in the spring?

For you, Nathania, we’d even fly.

4. Laura asked how to blog, although I suspect it was a little tongue in cheek…

Two pieces of advice Laura: Don’t have Your Son the Web Programmer reinvent the wheel. Instead, just get blogging software like MovableType or Typepad or Blogspot. And may I humbly suggest you read this Mossy Cottage entry which details what I had learned about the trials, tribulations and rewards of blogging up to that point?

5. Patti asked what “woot” meant.

Ever the person to jump at the chance to do some research, and having had this question percolating around in my brain myself although I didn’t realize it until Patti brought it up, I got on the Net and discovered it means three very different things. It is:


  • A Scottish exclamation of surprise, shock or joy (this is the version of “woot” I’m familiar with).
  • According to LangMaker.com, “When hackers had achieved "root access" on a target, they would shout "root!" Eventually, as mistyping and slang took over, this became "woot". This evolved into a yell of accomplishment.”
  • Also according to LangMaker.com, “An acronym in team-based gameplay, meaning: We Owned Other Team.”

Who knew?

And Susanna, I considered your suggestion seriously and looked long and hard at the Dulaan flyer and listened to what TMK said, but I think it works as is. It’s designed to be mostly informational and not to promote one project participant over the other. We did add the Mossy Cottage URL in one more place so it would be more prominent and visible, but that’s about it. Thank you, though, for your thoughts about the role that Mossy Cottage, Cuzzin Tom and I have played in the project! And an extra big thank you for taking flyers to Stitches East yet again!

Lastly, TMK and I are working on the Dulaan items for CafePress. We'll be sure to let you know when it all goes live.

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Before I jump on the Dulaan bandwagon myself, I wanted to get the pattern for the Catalina sock done. Here is the finished Oompa Loompa Sock I used to get my measurements and calculations all figgered out. See the ugly pink? See the funny shape? See the 1"-long foot? But this still turned out to be the perfect way to get my finished measurements and row and increase and decrease counts all figgered out, without having to knit an entire 'nuther sock.

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The pattern is posted under Free Patterns to the left. Knit! Enjoy! Report errors!

Posted by Ryan at 01:14 PM | Comments (16)

August 22, 2005

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water...

(Wednesday Note: Leaving this entry up for another day so we can tempt in as many people in as possible, but already—such commitment, such energy! Wonderful! And for anyone who has asked if they can send something they made last year in this year, a big resounding yes. Last time I checked knitted items do not have a "use by" date. Wink.)

Announcing...

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Note the spiffy new logo! Thank you, TMK! Who knew it would be so helpful to have a graphic designer in the family?

And now...

1. An Overview For Newcomers to the Project
2. Information For Returning Participants
3. How Can You Contribute?
4. What Is Our New Goal Number?

1. An Overview for Newcomers to the Project

stairwellchildren2.JPGDulaan is a community crafting project initiated by my cousin Konchog Norbu (affectionately called “Cuzzin Tom”) who is a Buddhist monk now living in Mongolia. Dulaan (which is Mongolian for “warm”) is dedicated to helping the struggling and impoverished children and adults of Mongolia. Due to economic and political upheaval, extreme alcoholism due to the introduction of vodka, unusual and disastrous weather conditions which have devastated the Mongolian nomads’ livestock herds, and “normal” weather conditions which frequently reach -40 degrees in the winter, there are many children who live in heating ducts below the capital city of Ulaan Bataar, and adults who scavenge through garbage heaps to survive. (For more pictures of the extreme living conditions in Mongolia, go see these three earlier blog postings—Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3.)

To help the Mongolians, the Dulaan Project encourages crafters to make and provide two kinds of items: double-thick fringed fleece blankets like this, or knitted or crocheted items. The knitted or crocheted items can be made out of any yarn: Wool, acrylic or blends. You can make anything: Scarves, hats, blankets, mittens, socks, neckwarmers… And you can use any color.

Finished items need to be shipped to the charity organization Flagstaff International Relief Effort (F.I.R.E.) by July 1, 2006, so they can be shipped to Mongolia in time for the winter. See this detailed flyer (in pdf format) for address information and specifics about how to box your items up. Feel free to use this Box Inventory Form to list the contents of your box.

See "How Can You Contribute?” for all of the options and possible activities related to this project. As you can see, if knitting clothing or making fleece blankets are not your cup of tea, you can help us by simply getting the word out.

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2. Information for Returning Participants

All of you, the crafters, knitters and crocheters who participated in the 2005 incarnation of this project deserve 100% of the credit for its continuation for another year. I have had so many people ask me about doing Dulaan for another year, and I have seen so many bloggers write, even recently, “Finished this hat/scarf/sock/etc.. Putting it in the Dulaan box for next year!” that I knew we had to continue.

The deadline for this year is July 1, 2006. See "How Can You Contribute?” for a reminder of all the different ways you can help with the project.

TMK and I have created a newer, more up-to-date pattern list which includes all of the patterns designed last year for the project. (Thank you, Stephanie, Norma, Robbyn, Janine, Julia, Cassie, Lu and Kozmic!)

I have reposted the Dulaan button for you to steal, and the Dulaan Box Inventory Form for you to use for your boxes.

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3. How Can You Contribute?

1. Make blankets and send them to F.I.R.E. I’ve included two blanket patterns on this list of patterns. Just click on “Blankets.”
2. Knit or crochet items and send them to F.I.R.E. I’ve listed quite a few suggested patterns on this list, but you can knit whatever you want.
3. Help us spread the word. Feel free to print and distribute this color flyer or this black & white version (both in pdf format). Give it to your friends, your guild members, family members, or local scout troops; post it at your LYS; post it at your place of worship; link to it from your blog. Talk the project up; put it in your guild newsletter. Be creative!
4. “Steal” the button in the upper-right-hand corner of this page and use it on your blog.
5. Design patterns for Dulaan. One of the highlights of last year was all the patterns the participants created. These patterns have all been added to the suggested pattern list.
6. Have me add your name to the Dulaan Brigade list!
7. Visit this blog for updates!

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4. What Is Our New Goal Number?

Because there are many factors that figure into our “goal number,” such as how much time we have to make items (more this year than last), and how much or how little Guideposts and the other charity knitting organizations will contribute this year (maybe more, maybe less, maybe none), based on last year’s final number of 4,517, we decided that our new goal for this year will be:

4,518!

Perhaps we’ll do more, perhaps we’ll do less, but this number, suggested by MaryB, is the only number that really resonated with me. To quote Goldilocks, it’s “not to big, not too small, just right.”

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Welcome, everyone, to another year of Dulaan! Don't forget: If you participate in the project in any way, send me your name so I can add you to the Dulaan Brigade list!

Posted by Ryan at 02:59 PM | Comments (82)

August 19, 2005

Is There A Botanist in the House?

Monday Update: I will be posting today, just a little later than normal like, oh, around Tuesday. (Just kidding. Stay tuned!).

A moment of silence, please, for one of the lemon blossoms.

(Silence.)

Although, as I declared before, our lifestyle is sadly lacking in sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, we do, at least once or twice a year, engage in wild and uninhibited Tomato Sex and, now, this year, wild and uninhibited Lemon Sex. Which, sadly, isn’t at all as raunchy or bodice-rippy as it sounds. Tomato sex involves twiddling your fingers in one tomato blossom and then twiddling your fingers in another to encourage pollination, which we do with great gusto during the years when we grow tomatoes. And this year, upon the discovery of the lemon blossoms, TMK decided that the lemon blossoms also required twiddling...and one of the blossoms met its untimely demise during the process. Perhaps it’s time to introduce TMK to the phrase “the birds and the bees” in its most literal sense and help her realize that we do not, in fact, have to twiddle at all because, unless I’m mistaken, God has that part of nature’s needs all wrapped up.

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catalinadone.jpg Anyone remember these socks, the Catalina socks? Well, I’m busy writing up the pattern and hope to have it ready to post next week. Since I did not, however, see the point in knitting An Actual Sock in order to hash out the minute details of stitch count and heel turn and toe length, I’ve created an extremely abbreviated sock with a half-inch cuff; full-length heel, heel turn and gusset; one-inch foot; and full length toe. TMK says it looks like something an Oompa Loompa might wear. A female Oompa Loompa. A female Oompa Loompa with extremely bad taste because I'm using some extraordinarily ugly pink Fixation.

In the meantime, although I am not a big fan of knitted animals and dolls, even I can’t resist this creation. Perhaps it’s because I'm uncomfortably aware that that's exactly how I would look if I squeezed myself into a tight pink tutu, colored my hair red, piled it on top of my head, slapped on a flower, and stood on a doily.

Also, for those who missed it, Melissa’s out-of-this-world fish blanket.

And, lastly, yesterday I went back to visit “Innocent Abroad,” the blog of Vaire, one of my first-ever Dear Readers, and discovered her amazing mittens.

Enjoy, and have a happy weekend, everyone!

Posted by Ryan at 11:36 AM | Comments (14)

August 17, 2005

Lemon Treeeeeee, Very Pretty, La La La La Something Something La La Sweet

For those of you who labor under the misconception that the gay lifestyle is full of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and other generally nasty behavior, have I got some bad news for you. This was the exciting "high" point (pun intended) of the weekend for us homebodies:

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Yes, we have lemonlets! Actually, not even lemonlets yet, just two wittle pink and white blossoms, but we are very excited, especially TMK who has wanted her own lemon tree since she left California as a yout’.

I won’t even tell you how many times a day we go out to check on our little charges. It’s almost pathological. Long term we are envisioning perhaps a tiny shotglassful of lemonade, or the world’s smallest lemon meringue. And, yo, you people who live in California and Florida and other such citrus-friendly states? Don’t even think about laughing or we’ll open a major can a' whoop-ass on you. We have to get our gardening pleasures when and where we can in this Place of Rain.

On a complete different subject, heads up to any freepatternophiles out there: Access to this great list of patterns will be turned off on September 1 so hie yourselves over there and get those printers humming or your mouses copying and pasting. I have knit the Bright Stripe Sweater from this list and it was a fun, easy project, so scoop that up at the very least.

And on yet another completely different subject, a quick copy and paste of some important info from my blog hostess's site:

“Over the next few days I will be moving the nwkniterati sites [which includes Mossy Cottage] to a different hosting provider....The move should be seamless to you, but should anything odd occur with your ability to see the blogs, blame it on the move! The most awful thing that could occur is that comments you might leave on the present hosting site might not make it onto the new hosting site if I had already done the data export and you are not yet pointed to the new host. The addresses of all the blogs will remain the same.”

While I trust Sheila's technical abilities, please keep your fingers crossed that Mossy Cottage isn't blasted into 404 oblivion.

Guild tonight! Who'all is going to be there?

Posted by Ryan at 11:25 AM | Comments (23)

August 15, 2005

The Painful Truth...

Seriously, people, what is up with Typepad? So many of my daily fixes reads use this service, but I can’t get the full-size photos to load from the thumbnails anymore. All I get is a nice, tantalizing window, full of hope, full of potential, full of promise, and yet...also full of this caca:

¬? m?͎đ ?ϩS,暦S?@Z�� Ǵ???? ٛ? �� .?g???ⴣـIM ɫ?6C|[Ĉ봍?Ö澀/d?? 7?lⱒ?]!v]緋_? ӧ<:̜?L? ? ¬R?M?l?.G¬?:SEȤꝞ/e&?-??Ԥ9?Ť-?j tjeȈ sk?ѳ l ;-NShݠ˝^???R+ ? ?ӆH��?J ߙ?/?>(??ˠ ?߮ ?dW ϝ?˚J? ?? ?Ƀ?>???Ńʳ??6է h??On d5?lX? F ہ;⺼?H4?y?

This problem started right after Typepad's last downupgrade so I’m thinkin’ it’s not me...not I...whatever.

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What I Learned This Weekend:

Don’t take photographs of your knitting near a flowerbed that has just been freshly mulched.

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What Else I Learned This Weekend:

We will do anything, and I mean a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, for our blogs.

The earlier photo? Here's the soul-baring truth about it:

It is true that the ball of yarn rolled over into the mulch.

It is true that the ball of yarn became completely begrimed with nasty, sharp little pieces of red mulch.

However, it is also true that I picked it up, brushed it off, and carefully picked out every piece of mulch...and then realized, hey, mulch-covered yarn would've made for a pretty funny photo. A gold star to anyone who can guess what I did next. Two gold stars to anyone who confesses they've done something similar.

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Bemulched ball of yarn aside, I still managed to get a better photograph of the Baby Aran Cardigan in progress:

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This photo is extremely washed out because my camera insists on using the flash no matter what the lighting conditions. On this day, it was 90 degrees out and the sun she was a’blazin but still…FLASH! The yarn is actually a deep dark, British racing green color, very rich, very yummy.

And a close-up, similarly washed-out. (I think my camera manual and I have a date tonight.)

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What TMK Learned This Weekend:

It is physically impossible for a 5’3’ woman to prune an 8’ bush, especially when the ground is too soft to use a ladder:

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Yep. That's it—the final product. How TMK plans on leaving the bush. Unless she can get the 6’ tall Amazon woman who lives across the street to help her out. News at 10.

Posted by Ryan at 10:53 AM | Comments (21)

August 12, 2005

Freddie Robbins

Things are very quiet around here as TMK and I get our creaking, old-fart bodies back into shape. Plus, I’m in mourning for the fact that, in remarkable whiplash-causing, bungee-cord-rebound fashion, Janine is winging herself right back to Berkeley after surgery on her ankle. I know, I know; it’s the right thing for her, but do I have to be adult about it? In fact, I feel very much like pulling an Edith Ann right now.

So, since I’m in a Mood and have bupkus to write about, this is the perfect opportunity to trot out my latest Kooky Krafts find, Freddie Robbins (female, by the way, says, pointedly, a Sympathetic Someone Who Has Dealt With Having a Man’s Name All Her Life).

Freddie…well, let’s just say that it’s a good thing she decided to use her powers for good because she’s a twisted, creative and funny knitting perv. I first stumbled across her work when I was looking for glove patterns and found this, her "severed thumb" pattern. Intrigued by the introductory paragraph which said, “Freddie Robbins's subversive knitting includes a series of gloves where pairs join, single gloves have ten fingers or each finger sprouts a new glove,” I surfed until I found this.

Then I found her “Road Rage” gloves, one of which says “Faster, faster” and the other “Kill, kill.” (You’ll need to scroll down to see the picture.)

Now, this page I love because it forced me smack into a state of major consciousness-raising. These are sweaters Freddie custom-knit for disabled people, one set a sweater and and a pair of four-fingered gloves for a man who has short arms and unusual hands due to a birth defect, the other a sweater and single glove for a woman who has only one arm. Be sure to read the “Artist’s Statement” and the “Description” for more information.

And I know knitters everywhere will fall in love with these and these.

Some more gloves (and you weavers might want to take a peek at the beautiful piece by Sarah Taylor just below Freddie’s).

On this page is information about a display in which Freddie knit cute and cuddly tea cozies that are, in fact, replicas of the homes of female murderers or the places where they committed their crimes. On this page, if you click on the thumbnail you can see a bigger picture of the display.

Freddie Robbins, a knitter to be admired.

(Note to Janine: Okay, okay, I'll put on my big-girl underpants just long enough to wish you a million, trillion tons of good luck with your surgery and the move back to Berkeley. Let us know how everything goes!

And, for the folks who wanted to know what yarn I was using for the Saffron Socks, it's Wool Pak 14-ply but I'm afraid I can't tell you the name or the code number for the colorway because the skeins didn't have labels. Update: I can't find the colorway online either. It's almost as if that unique color was custom-spun for my LYS.)

Posted by Ryan at 11:37 AM | Comments (10)

August 10, 2005

My New Career

I do believe I have a future career as a mental-health specialist. The Mysterious K has officially gone from muttering, “I don’t wanna eat” to letting all the cold out of the refrigerator while she farts around in front of it with the door open, trying to find something to satisfy the never-ending munchies. That, and she’s wondering where we’re going to ride our mountain mutinous bikes this weekend. Hmmmm. Perhaps it’s time to sign up for an Acme Correspondence Course so I can get my fake-o Ryan Morrissey, Ph.D., certificate from Larvard University in a cheap-o plastic frame for my wall, and hang my shingle.

Add to that the fact that I made it through a week without leaking—which is extra important because, unlike my cat who leaked filtered water, I would’ve leaked Coca-Cola and what a sticky, sugary, syrupy mess that would’ve made—and that I’ve gotten a clean bill of health and my stitches are coming out today, and things look pretty rosy on the home front.

(Side note: Thank you ever so much to Patti and Melinda for offering to help while TMK was on the Disabled List. Your offers meant a lot to us! Given TMK's history, I'm inclined not to decline fully but to take a rain-check instead...)

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to settle back into my regular knitting after all the excitement of Stitch & Pitch and Stephanie’s visit. The Saffron Socks are coming along:

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In Big Foot’s defense, although the finished sock may look hugely long, the top of the foot is ribbed so it really stretches and shortens when you put it on.

I can’t tell you how much I love the color of this yarn. It’s saffron coloring comes from a wonderful blend of a saturated light-to-medium oranges and light-to-medium yellows which makes for the most cheerful, rich, slightly variegated color. Just taking the sock and the yarn out of my bag brightens my spirit.

(While knitting the Saffron Socks, I invented a new word, "finking," which describes a process that is half-way between frogging and tinking. It applies to those times when you half frog and half tink, or to those times when you tink back many, many rows because it's preferable to trying to fit the needles back into the loops after frogging. In fact, I am in the process of finking part of the second Saffron Sock as we speak.)

I’ve also started on the aran cardigan for my co-worker in the Score, Dude! dark-green Encore.

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Last night I realized that there is a special moment when you are knitting something new when it stops being short, stiff and cardboard-y and starts to droop and drape and behave like real fabric. That is where I am with this cardigan now; what a great feeling!

Posted by Ryan at 01:47 PM | Comments (13)

August 08, 2005

Déjŕ Vu All Over Again

(Afternoon Update: : I'm hearing rumors that when anyone tries to post a comment on the blog, they just get an error message. Problem has been fixed. It was me, all me, so let's just not talk about it, hokay?)

I thought we had had a bad weekend until I read Janine’s post. Jeez—we certainly never imagined that the Californians would send her back to us in pieces. Nathania, Rachael, what did you do to her? Please, Dear Readers, go leave some well wishes for Janine’s ankle! (Although I know there’s at least one of you out there thinking, could be worse, could be her hand, could be she couldn’t knit. You know who you are.)

Still, there’s no denying our weekend was iffy. Long time readers may remember this entry from March 2004:

“Two years ago December (December 8th to be exact; how can we forget?), TMK ruptured two discs in her spine. Was she skydiving? Was she riding a raging bull in the rodeo ring? Was she bungee jumping from a towering cliff? Was she performing a death-defying trapeze maneuver? Was she dancing a pas de deux or executing a grand jeté? Not even close—she bent over to pick up a Christmas ribbon from the floor. What a plebeian way to have your life change so instantly and completely for a year.

The pain TMK was in was the kind that makes you break out in drenching sweat and feel waves of nausea and despair at the most infinitesimal movement. It was heart-wrenching to watch what she went through, but there was nothing we could do but take care of the day-to-day basics of life as best we could.”

Guess what happened this weekend? To use one of my favorite phrases, “Déjŕ vu all over again.”

spine.GIFThe way she injured herself this time was just as inane as the way she did it last time. Last time she picked up a Christmas ribbon; this time she stepped off her bike. Just stepped off. Didn’t fall off, didn’t somersault over the handlebars (which she's done before, to the extreme detriment of her elbow. Think Janine’s ankle.), didn’t go racing down a suicidally dangerous mountain biking trail, didn’t pull a Jackass. Just stepped off. You know: On. Then off. On. Off. On (back is fine). Off (discs have packed their bags and relocated to a new neighborhood).

Saturday morning, sure she was facing another year of excruciating pain and slow-as-molasses recovery, she was understandably a Very Miserable Mysterious K. She bawled, muttered a few heartfelt and angry “NORmas," retreated to her bed, and refused to eat.

I kept offering her food (because, let’s not forget that, just for grins, she also has diabetes) but nuthin' doin'. So I sat on her bed and did the only thing I'm really good at—I talked. We discussed why she never has any damn Kleenex in the house, we expressed our frustration at having spent so much $%^!@#! money on the $%^!@#! mutinous bikes, we relived the worst parts of her original injury, we planned how to deal with the new injury, we discussed how she had dealt with the problem before (one word: swimming)—and we kept talking. And talking. And talking.

Eventually, there was a pause in our conversatin’—and then I heard a little voice say:

“I’m hungry.”

The battle was won.

Things are looking very much uphill now—in fact, Sunday we went to a local park to watch the Blue Angels (note to Stephanie, this is what closed down the highway while you were here and, yes, they really are blue), we went shopping at the mall, we tried a new sub sandwich shop, and by Sunday afternoon, the twinkle was back in TMK's eye—but it still amuses me to no end to know I can pinpoint the exact moment when she turned the corner. And the spiteful part of me is making her relive it over and over again.

In between bouts of screwing with my partner’s mental well-being, I bought this pattern to knit a sweater for the newly adopted baby of our Tech Support Manager. The baby had her debut at the office last week so I know first-hand that she has the most remarkable coloring: fair, almost translucent skin; blue eyes; and bright, glowing, terra-cotta-red curls, so I’m knitting the sweater in a dark, forest green Plymouth Encore.

Which reminds me of the yarn-buying coup I enjoyed while on the hunt for the yarn. I must've spent a good half-hour staring at the Wall o' Encore at my LYS only to realize that what I wanted was the Plymouth Encore worsted weight yarn in a Plymouth Encore chunky weight color, this yarn in that color. (We've all been there...) So, frustrated, I started to leave the store, only to stumble across a 50%-off box and, peeking out at me from the bottom of the box, underneath a camouflage of 15 skeins of nauseating seafoam green, were the exact number of skeins of the Encore worsted in the Encore chunky color I needed. And just because it needs to be said again, at 50% off. Score, dude! (You know you are a true knitting freak if you actually found that story interesting...)

Which officially gives me four projects on the needles simultaneously, a record for me. Okay, six, if you count the Janine pillow and the Baby Norgi, neither one of which I ever sewed up, but let's not and say we did.

Posted by Ryan at 11:41 AM | Comments (16)

August 05, 2005

Is There a Plumber in the House?

I am a Dork. A Super Dork. A dorkus maximus. In fact, a delegation is arriving soon to crown me Queen of Dorkopolis.

Met Stephanie yesterday.

And what did I do? I cried.

Not a big cry, not what Oprah would call “the ugly cry” where your face crumples up and you flush bright red and make a really unattractive grimace and the whole thing involves a lot of snot, but there was definitely a lump in the throat, some misting up of the eyes, some spontaneous leakage in the ocular area, the kind of crying that makes you flap your hands in front of your face—which I’ve never understood because all it does is waft a breeze right into your eyes which makes them water even more.

I have no idea why the leakage happened, especially since I am rarely, if ever, celebrity- or star-struck. Perhaps it was because Stephanie is the first out-of-state knit-blog e-friend I’ve met, and represented all the other knitting e-friends that have brightened my life so intensely and wonderfully over the last couple of years. Maybe it was a one-degree of separation thing because just the day before she had been with Rachael, an e-friend whom I also have not met, so I was very aware that Stephanie had "Rachael dust" on her. Maybe it was just the excitement of meeting “the real thing” after years of the one-dimensionality of photos. Maybe I was overwhelmed by meeting someone who had single-handedly done so much for Dulaan. Maybe I was impressed by meeting someone whose arrival was so important that the Blue Angels flew in to celebrate it. Maybe it was the thrill of meeting someone from Toronto. I don’t know. But, be warned, if you are a non-Washington knit-blog e-friend and we meet, be prepared for some ocular leakage. Apparently I have no control over this.

Leakage aside, the whole thing was lovely. Not just because I met The Stephanie, but also because many of my knitting homies were there, like Dear Readers Perclexed, Diana, Patti and her son Noah, and other people from Guild, Ferals, and the online groups I belong to. And we met Lorette, The Knitting Doctor, and her scar...although I’m surprised Lorette would even speak to us after both TMK and I pointed at her so directly and rudely from across the floor after Patti mentioned who she was. But, wot th' hell and good manners be damned. We met and that’s all that matters. Hi, Lorette! Hi, scar!

After the obligatory photo wherein I show off my big chin and how my bangs like to split annoyingly in the middle even though, not an hour before, I had plastered them in place with enough hairspray to float the Queen Mary...

MossyMeetsHarlot.jpg

...and as a direct result of Rachael’s antics, Stephanie pulled out the socksocksock, laid it casually and nonchalantly on the desk in front of TMK and moi, and said, essentially, “I don’t know how that sock got there. I don’t see it. I have no idea what’s going to happen to it in the next five minutes,” and turned away, giving us, of course, carte blanche to scamper off with it. Our creativity doesn't hold a candle to Rachael’s, but all we had to work with was a bookstore and a parking lot so, here, the socksocksock hijacks my car in an effort to head back to Toronto the long way:

SockDrive1.JPG

And, here, you-know-who examines the workmanship of the socksocksock vewy, vewy closely:

TMKMeetsSock.jpg

And, here, after we wrenched it off the steering wheel and desucked it from TMK's face, the socksocksock proudly watches Mommy sign books:

SockWatchesMommy.jpg

It was all over way too soon but, afterwards, we consoled ourselves with a quiet loll with Frankie on the mattress in the Safari Room. What a truly nice day.

Posted by Ryan at 11:02 AM | Comments (26)

August 03, 2005

Fun : Not Fun

You know what’s fun? Eating peaches.

You know what else is fun? Bicycling.

You know what else is fun? Knitting.

You know what’s not fun? Having the numbing stuff wear off three $%^!%!@*@! times while the doctor and her scalpel divest you of various and sundry small parts of your skin. And having it wear off one more time for grins while she sews you back up with what I’m convinced was an extra-dull, extra-twisted Chibi. I couldn’t see the needle because all this activity was going on behind my back but still, a Chibi. Extra dull. Extra-twisted. I’m sure of it.

Ow.

Many years ago, before my beloved cat Courtenay died, we had to give him subcutaneous intravenous water twice a day for about a month. After about a week of this, we discovered that he was starting to leak. Literally. We’d add water under the skin of his right shoulder, and the water would leak out of yesterday’s hole in his left shoulder. Now that I have, at last count, 32 holes in me, TMK and I are now waiting curiously to see what happens the next time I drink a glass of water. We're thinking the result will be much like that episode of Will & Grace in which Grace wears fake boobies filled with water and one of the fake boobies springs a ferocious and far-reaching leak.

You know what else is not fun? Almost finishing, again, the first sleeve of the Jigsaw Puzzle Sweater and realizing the sleeve is just thatmuch too small around at the wrist. At the wrist. Way down there. At the beginning of the sleeve, give or take 2.5 inches of cuff. Into the frog pond it goes uh-gain. The good news is the pattern is looking really handsome and, in the long run, it will all be worth it. June? Andrea? Got time for some new calculations?

(P.S. Cuzzin Tom was granted his residency permit so he can stay in MongoLEEa for another year! Head on over to Danzan Ravjaa and give him a thumbs up!)

Posted by Ryan at 09:13 AM | Comments (18)

August 01, 2005

Survival of the Hottest

What a week it has been for this blog that The Mysterious K and I think of as a teeny-weeny, eensy-weensy, itty-bitty fish in a teeny-weeny, eensy-weensy, itty-bitty pond. I mean, fer Cripe’s sake, it’s a knitting blog, not this or this, but apparently word is leaking out all the same. First, Mossy Cottage was mentioned in the Seattle Times Stitch & Pitch article, which was outrageously cool; now rumor has it that Mossy Cottage and the Dulaan Project have a small mention in the current Vogue Knitting (anyone know if this is true?); and, lastly, this weekend we were “recognized!” Oooooooooooo.

On Sunday, The Mysterious K and I went to our new favorite supermarket (who'm I kidding; we love any large building that's full of food). I had completely forgotten that I was wearing my Stitch & Pitch t-shirt so I was startled when two women behind the deli counter squealed and pointed at my chest. Come to find out they were not terrified of my bazoombas, they were just excited to meet someone who had gone to The Knitting Event of the Season, and frustrated that they hadn’t been able to go themselves. We talked knitting a little bit and then one of them whispered confidentially, “You know, I hear one of the really famous knitting bloggers lives right around here.” TMK exchanged glances and telegraphed to each other (something you can do after 18 years), feh, what the hell. We blog, we live around here, we’re certainly not famous—in fact, the blog is a teeny-weeny, eensy-weensy, itty-bitty fish in a teeny-weeny, eensy-weensy, itty-bitty pond—but let’s give it a shot. “Uh…I write Mossy Cottage,” I offered, tentatively. And to our complete astonishment, she said, “That’s it, that’s the famous blog! And that would make you,” she said excitedly pointing at you-know-who, “TMK!!” So a big hello goes out to the lovely deli-counter lady who made our day and, way more importantly, rustled us up two delicious calzones. She says she is a friend of Dear Reader Melinda, so a big hello goes out to Melinda, too!

And now, Three Ways to Survive a Hot Seattle Day (Which Was Not, However, As Hot as What Other Parts of the Country Are Enduring But Still Hot Enough to Melt Our Pectin, A Reference Which Botanists, Orchardists and People Who Make Fruit Preserves Will Understand):

Method #1: Take a cool dip.

frankiepool.jpg

There is nothing Ms. Frankie likes more than playing in her kiddy pool. (Yes, her kiddy pool. No comment.) When I brought it out from its storage place behind the green house, she went completely apesh*t, and spent the next hour jumping in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out…

Method #2: Make Like Cleopatra

On a whim, we took our new inflatable camping bed and set it up outdoors in what we refer to as the “Safari Room” and spent the entire afternoon lolling, reading, drinking icy drinks, napping, and giggling at the sheer hedonism of it all. As you can tell, we had some company.

frankiesafari.jpg

In our defense, we had gotten up early in the morning and ridden our bikes. What was that? How far? Uh. Well. Okay. Well. Um. Three miles. But that was enough to make my body say, “What the hell do you think you’re doing, woman?! You’re old. You’re fat. Your joints creek when you move. Stop! Go home! You’re killin’ me here!”

(Side note from TMK: I rode six miles. Neener neener.)

Method #3: Eat Cool Foods

The ultimate hot-weather food and one of the few dishes I make well because it only involves slicing and dicing and not the use of fire, which I tend to use either too much or too little of: Ryan’s Ultimate Chef Salad.

chefsalad.jpg

Dinner, anyone?

Posted by Ryan at 11:03 AM | Comments (30)