October 30, 2006

Weekend Hijinks

Since I’m sure all of you have been lying awake nights wondering, worrying and fretting about the goings-on in the life of someone you’ve never even frickin’ met, yupper, I did finish The Socks That Kicked My Kaboose. I calmly slid into home plate on said kaboose [sic] Friday night, waving my Chibi gleefully in the air, and snipping errant yarn ends as I went (which, technically, I know, requires three hands; you hush up). TMK pronounces them quite the success. I am happy. Who knows? 365 days from now she may even get another pair. Ooooooooo.

What I love most about giving TMK socks is the Post-Sock-Completion Debriefing. This debriefing, which she initiates and which she takes very seriously, delves deeply into all aspects of the care and feeding of the new socks, and includes such questions as, What yarn did you use to knit them? Is it superwash? Will the socks shrink? Do I need to hand-wash them? Can I wash them in the washing machine? How do I dry them? Should I roll them up in a towel? Can I put them in the dryer? Should I hang them in the closet to dry? If they’re a little bit big, can I felt them? If the toe wears out, will you be able to replace it? Ladies and gents, if your handknit socks have ever, to your soul-searing horror, been dissed and abused by a family member, and if you ever want to knit socks for someone who will appreciate them with a surpassing appreciation, knit TMK a pair. I can assure you the socks will be treated as carefully and tenderly as Frankie is. I believe some of them are even scheduled for their rabies shots next week, and one or two of her favorite pairs have been micro-chipped.

Except for a one small hiccup, what a wonderful, very autumnal weekend we had, starting with the lovely Dulaan knit-in at MaryB’s house, attended by about 15 people at its busiest. Not many photos*, I’m afraid, but at the very least you can take a gander at this amazing display. Everything on this table was knit by “Steppe Sweater” Irina. Everything.

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Here, the busy hands of Elaine and her wifely unit Leslie churn out hats. Charmingly, Leslie’s hat was technically an “Avalanche Cloud Hat” since it combined some Avalanche yarn with a strand of mohair, a la Cloud Hat pattern.

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And here, this pile of black, well-loved shoes, which had just grown quietly by itself on MaryB’s porch out of respect for Mary’s beautiful hardwood floors, amused me greatly.

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TMK attended the party as our honorary Dulaaner, of course, and spent the time trying out a new—more correctly, new used—Schacht wheel she’s considering buying. “Trying out” is perhaps an understatement since, by the time we went to bed that night, she had spun for 7.5 hours. Here, the fruits of her labors, the groovilicious merino roving now in its single-ply form:

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And the hiccup? Well, that came when I lost Rabbitch—who was following my car from MaryB’s to TMK’s house so we could continue our international, cross-border merriment—in a morass of post-collegiate-football roadblocks, detours, flashing police-car lights, and police officers waving bright orange batons in nonsensical fashion. I came a leetle bit unglued since, although I had considered the possibility that Rabbitch's and my vehicles might part ways, it never occurred to me that it would be in the middle of such a nightmarish, metropolis-gone-awry mess. I was convinced that I had lost “our” Canadian forever, that something horrible was going to happen to her or that, at the very least, she’d be lost in the bowels of Seattle for hours and would never completely recover from the hideousness of the experience. This caused me to behave, when I arrived at TMK’s house, in a Not Nice fashion. Elaine and Leslie, who were there, can attest to this.

Guess who appeared at the door a mere five minutes after me, and made me feel like an arse, although in a good way?

Oh, how I had underestimated the self-sufficiency of one Ms. Rabbitch. She had been fazed not one bit by the lights, the police, the college-football fans wandering indiscriminately across the avenues, the unfamiliar roads, and the absence of me. I gave her a Big Squeeze—no lame-ass, milquetoast Princeton hug this time—and proceeded to apologize all around for being Not Nice.

Then it was pizza all around, more knitting, and more spinning. Lovely.

*Although *I* didn’t take very many pictures, as luck would have it, pal-o’-mine Supergirl Knits did take some more, so see her blog entry here and her Flickr page here.

Posted by Ryan at 01:35 PM | Comments (21)

October 25, 2006

Reality

If you are at all infected by the Dulaan bug, you must go see Cuzzin Tom’s entry for today which contains pictures of Mongolian prisoners receiving items, including Dulaan hats, from F.I.R.E. Cuzzin Tom reports that the prisoners live in unheated barracks; they have to depend on their visiting families for clothing and food; their heads are shaved so they don’t even have hair to keep their heads warm in the winter; and the only footwear one prisoner had was plastic sandals. Ever since reading his entry—and, although I keep reminding myself that this is a prison, which, by its very definition, is designed to be unpleasant and uncomfortable—I’ve vacillated between feeling saddened and agitated by the unnecessarily cruel conditions the prisoners live in, and overjoyed at seeing our items making a difference. If you could capture my mood swings scientifically, it would look something like this:

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Who’m I kidding; I started this frickin' charity just to give myself an excuse to knit more. But now, because of Meredith’s and Tom’s pictures, Dulaan has stopped being merely an entertaining lark; we really are making a difference. Please, keep knitting, Dulaaners! Let’s help F.I.R.E. keep up the good work.

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Part Deux of Dyeing Day
After the weird experience with the color-shifting red roving, Mad Scientist TMK segued on to Lab Experiment #2, her merino, which, shown here post-soaking and laid out for dyeing, looks like bleached intestines...

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…and, here, post-dyeing, looks like piñata roadkill or a neon tapeworm. (Lest you think I’m being insulting, I can assure you, she would agree.)

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Like the red roving, the merino was duly wrapped into snail form…

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…steamed…

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…washed, rinsed and spun dry in the washer. This photo makes the groovilicious finished roving look brighter than it is…but not by much. Haight Ashbury, Summer of Love, and Flower Power—here we come! (Personally, I love this color combo and can’t wait to see what happens when TMK spins it. In the meantime, she reports that the red and black roving is spinning up quite nicely, and the color is staying put.)

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Thank you, Janine, for a fun day!

What have I been doing? Mostly I'm stabbing frantically away at the Sock That Kicked My Kaboose (cuff done, heel done, heel turn done, gusset stitches picked up, gusset knit, and one-third of the foot is finished, but the toe still seems awfully far away and somehow I don’t think it will look anything like Stepanie’s shawl when I’m done). I'm also working on the preemie sweater which is turning out to be more like origami than knitting. Here it is unfolded…

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..and here it is folded with the one finished sleeve lamely rolled up. Curiouser and curiouser.

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The next big event, the Knit-In at MaryB’s, complete with chocolate tofu pie. If you still need directions or any information, please let her know.

October 23, 2006

We Lure TMK Further In To the World of Fiber

Remember the Sock That Kicked My Caboose? Sure, I finished Sock No. 1 but, ever since, Sock No. 2 and I have been circling each other warily like tom cats, arching our backs, showing our yellowish, pointy fangs, and making that awful yowling noise, meaning that, as of yesterday, I’d gotten all of 3.5" inches of the 7" cuff done. Which is when TMK said, “So, do you think you could have those socks done by the knit-in? I would love to have some new socks to wear to the knit-in. Yes, indeedy; I sure would. Knit-in, new socks. That would be just dandy.” 72 stitches on size 1 needles in yarn that has a personal vendetta against me, and she wants them done by Saturday. A definite knee-slapper. However, as of today, all 7” of the cuff are done, as is the heel flap. There is hope, despite the fact that this is the exact point where things went in the terlet with Sock No. 1. News at 11.

Some F.I.R.E. news: I received an email from Meredith today saying it is snowing in Ulan Bataar, so our knitted goods arrived just in time, Brigadiers! On a lark, I checked the weather report for Ulan Bataar and the high and low temperatures for this week (which is still just October, mind) are 41 ° Fahrenheit (5° C) and 8 ° Fahrenheit (-13° C). And it will only go down from there. Brrrrrr.

The Cuzz also has a new entry about helping Meredith and the F.I.R.E. folks distribute some items to elderly Mongolians. It’s well worth a read if only to understand the complicated emotions he went through as the distribution progressed. He makes a point of noting that this distribution did not include Dulaan items. That will come later when F.I.R.E. focuses more on the orphanages, kindergartens and the street children, when the items distributed and the recipients are a better match. Go look, too, at his pictures of the mountains of items in the F.I.RE. warehouse. Remarkable. To anyone who made a financial donation, know that those are pictures of your money at work!

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As I mentioned, TMK and I spent Sunday with Janine to give TMK a chance to dabble in the mysterious world of fiber dyeing. Here, some pictures of our grand adventure.

Below, Janine’s buckets o’ dye. These buckets contained the only-slightly diluted dye mixtures that were then combined, diluted further or, what the hell—let’s get jiggy wid' it—combined and diluted. (To everyone’s astonishment and great consternation, Janine’s sweet pup, Shadow, attempted a drive-by lick of the indigo blue but only succeeded in dyeing his heretofore-sandy mustache and heretofore-brown nose a bright blue before he was caught. He suffered no ill effects.)

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The dyes were diluted or combined in these smaller cups...

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...while the yarn and the roving soaked in water:

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Janine starts applying color to her yarn:

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A not-very-good photo of the very pretty results, designed to go with some medium-salmon yarn Janine already has, and all destined for Dulaan:

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Then it was TMK’s turn:

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After the application of the dye, and before the roving was steamed, it was rolled up in plastic wrap...

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...which is about when we started to notice something really odd. First, the roving never absorbed any of the water, even though it had soaked for at least half-an-hour, and then it never absorbed any of the dye. In fact, when TMK turned this roving “snail” over, all the dye leeched out of the top and ran to the bottom like the world’s oddest hourglass. We did it again and, sher ‘nuff, the top, which had been black, turned back to red, and the bottom, which had been red, turned black. Whuh? We know this is pure romney wool, sheared, processed and dyed by the woman who owns the romney sheep so, what gives? (Not only that, but, seriously, this roving "snail" looked every bit like blood sausage, especially when it became shiny and plump and hot after the steaming. Not pretty.) Eventually, after steaming, the dye did set and TMK now has roving that is half red and half-black (not her intention, necessarily, but by that point we were grateful for anything.)

Wednesday, TMK dyes merino! Have your sunglasses on standby.

Posted by Ryan at 01:46 PM | Comments (11)

October 20, 2006

Friday Splapdash Mish-Mash

11.5 days to go in October...and we have a 305 people signed up for “Dulaan 10,000 or Bust.” Pooh. But I console myself by remembering that this list is this year’s “Dulaan Brigade” and we’ve NEVER had 305 people signed up for the Brigade before, so this is good. Very good.

Funny thing, though. I keep getting emails, or seeing emails on the Dulaan Yahoo site, in which people say, “So glad I signed up!” or “I finished my five items. Mark me 'Done!'” and yet, um, they’ve never signed up. I have discovered a few emails lurking in my spam folder which I’ve duly lassoed, corralled and branded, but as for the rest… I’ll post the list at the end of next week and if your name isn’t on it, and you think it should be, lemme know.

I hauled a trunkful of the Avalanche yarn to Guild and was able to dig myself out from under distribute some of it but I’m not really sure how much of it will end up in MongoLEEa. Some people who’d never heard of the project didn’t get any details before they scampered off, squirrel-cheeks stuffed full of yarn, and my dialogue with one person went something like this:

Knitter: This is really thick! Can I use it to knit a hat?

Me: Sure, I’ve knit a hat using this.

Knitter: Okay, cool. (Pause.) How do you knit a hat?

Me: Oy.

(Yes, this was very much the knitting counterpart to the old “will I be able to play the piano?” joke.)

About 20 people—the few that are not flying, walking, crawling, jump-roping or pogo-sticking to Franklin’s gloriously big bash—are signed up to come to the Seattle Dulaan Knit-In on the 28th, including Irina who made the stunning Steppe Sweater. (Question: If a Mongolian man with children marries a Mongolian woman with children, do they become steppe-parents and steppe-brothers and steppe-sisters? And if the woman turns out to be the suspiciously perfect mate, is she a steppe-ford wife? And if the man needs to fix something on the roof, does he use a steppe-ladder?) But I digress. Back to Irina. I’ve never met her before—I just leave bags of yarn inside my gate and they mysteriously disappear while I am elsewhere, speaking of people who scamper away with their squirrel-cheeks stuffed full—so this should be fun. And, of course, TMK will be bringing the amazing Chocolate Tofu Pie—but no Angry Pie, unless I manage to royally piss her off between now and then. I’ll see what I can do. Perhaps I’ll just put the floofy pink Harlequin collar on the dog and stand back.

Speaking of TMK, this weekend, thanks to Janine and her kitchen, she will be trying her hand at dyeing for the first time! And not using the Kool-Aid pseudo-dyeing crap that I use; she’ll be using the real thing. Since she’s a professional designer and a color-freak, I think she'll have a blast. I hope she knows that she will have to sacrifice at least one t-shirt for her art, though.

I’ve added the Avalanche Vest pattern (pdf), with its clarificata, to the Free Patterns list on the left of this page, under the title “Almost-Seamless Avalanche Vest.” I am a leeeeetle freaked out about the pattern and its imperfections right now, though, because lace-pattern-goddess extraordinaire Evelyn Clark, who is one of the Feralites, is knitting one of the vests as we speak. Talk about getting a pattern test-knit!

There you have it, a pile of inconsequential Friday afternoon tidbits, all designed to prevent Minnie from breaking out in hives again.

P.S. Good news or bad? Discuss.


Posted by Ryan at 01:35 PM | Comments (25)

October 18, 2006

For Minnie

This entry is dedicated to Minnie who insists she is breaking out in hives, it’s taking me so long to post. I have to laugh when I think back on how I used to post at 8:30/9:00 in the aye em—and people would email me to say that they liked to read the blog while they sipped their early-morning coffee. Then it became 10 a.m., then 11:30 a.m., just before I zipped off to lunch but still, by God, in the morning, and now it’s anyone’s guess when posting will occur. Pretty soon I’ll start getting emails from people saying that they like to read the blog while they sip their late-night martini, or the warm milk they're drinking at 2 a.m. because they can't fall asleep.

Part of the delay comes from an uptick in the busy-ness at work (yes, this can be interpreted as "my real job gets in the way of my blogging"), part of it comes from an uptick in the busy-ness of Dulaan, part of it comes from running out of things to write about after 43 months of blogging. I mean, I live an impossibly small life; how many things of passing interest can I wring out of it? But I try to take my cue from Stephanie, who can write about a frickin’ washing machine and make people care, and the Cuzzin, who can write about a cat and a dirty paper ball and make people care. Now that’s talent.

So, Dear Minnie, let’s see what I can cobble together for you. First, left over from the trip to the glass museum, here is a picture of the overpass/bridge that contains the Dale Chihuly glass I showed in my Monday entry—and, yes, the display has had rocks thrown at it and I believe it has been shot at once or twice. (Sure ‘nuff; this article (pdf) by the company that provided the protective glass mentions the fact that it has been shot at. Or "at it has been shot," for you grammarians out there.)

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Here is a small but beautiful garden you can see from the bridge/overpass. Directly below you from this vantage point is more landscaping which consists mostly of huge mounds of native grasses—minimalist but breathtaking. (This is mostly for Norma, who would care about this sort of thing. I tried to take a picture but it didn’t translate well to the camera lens and, besides, I discovered leaning way over the side of a bridge is not a good idea.)

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Knitting-wise, I’ve decided flat-out that there is no fairness in the world. I'm sure you'll agree that it takes a lot for a knitter to pull back on the reins, to admit it’s time to stash bust, to make a concerted effort to use the yarn from the mega-stash instead of making another trip to the LYS. Which is what I did. I looked at all the half-used balls of Cascade 220 I had lying around, I made a commitment to find a way to use them up, and I knit this, a length-wise-knit, striped, seed-stitch scarf…

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…and have just as many half-used balls of Cascade 220 lying around as I did before. I martyred myself for this scarf, people, I denied myself a trip to the LYS...and I didn’t use up a single ball of stash yarn, not even on a scarf that was over 200 stitches wide. I think I’ll go to my room and sulk now. (Although I suspect the sulk won’t last long because it’s Guild night! Wahoo! Tonight’s main event will be a lace “fashion show” where Guild members are invited to parade around supermodel-wise and show off their lace-knit items. I’m toying with the idea of taking my Faina scarf, my knitting pride and joy, although I’m not too sure about the parading-around part. I hear you have to weigh 70 pounds or less to really make it work.)

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I continue to work on TMK’s Koigu socks and am also working on a preemie size of one of these in this yarn called, very accurately, School Bus Yellow. All garter stitch, all mindless, all fun. And before all of you dedicated Dulaaners start cramming preemie outfits onto your needles, this...dare I confess it?...is not for Dulaan but, instead, for a local preemie-sweater drive by a local hospital. I know, I know, I’m being wretchedly unfaithful but the sweater drive gives me an excuse to try out, on a small scale, a pattern I've been dying to use. As soon I’m finished with the sweater, I’ll lose the pattern's email address, stop IM’ing it, stop calling it, stop sending it lingerie, flowers and perfume, stop having clandestine meetings with it; the affair will be over, I promise. Forgive me?

Posted by Ryan at 02:34 PM | Comments (20)

October 16, 2006

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fiar Fire

(Picture-heavy post, Dear Readers!)

The answer to last Friday's gripping and fascinating poll is 20th anniversary, so congratulations to the 52.6% of you who are up on your Mossy Cottage/Ryan/TMK quirky-relationship trivia! Some of you purists would probably argue that since we don’t live together, we should apply the relationship equivalent of dog-year mathematics to our anniversary calculations and admit that we've only spent 10 or 15 years together but that makes my head spin so, um, no.

Our Great Grand Universal Master Plan of a year ago had been to celebrate by going to Rhinebeck but—meh, and a shrug of the shoulders—that didn’t work out, and now that the TSA has made it difficult for this princess to travel with her shampoo, conditioner, detangler, defrizzer, curl enhancer, mousse, hair gel, hairspray, hair straightener, hair volumizer, bubble bath, shower gel, liquid soap, anti-bacterial hand purifier, facial scrub, moisturizer, pore minimizer, foot-massage cream, toothpaste, mouthwash, suntan lotion, deodorant, perfume, cologne, after-bath splash, eye drops, nail polish, nail-polish remover, cuticle gel, lip gloss, mosquito repellent and mustache wax, we’d made our peace with that.

So, instead, we went somewhere we’d been talking about visiting for years, the Tacoma Museum of Glass. Interesting thing. In the museum itself, other than the glass-blowing demonstration area—no glass. Seriously. We visited all three main galleries and—no glass. Okay, I lie. Out of the, say, hundred items on display, three, including two large-ish installations, were made of vitreous product. And there was one small hallway where they had one item each from past visiting glass artists. But the rest—everything but glass. It made us go, “Hm,” and cock our heads quizzically.

This was also definitely not your grandmaw’s museum. Everything was over-the-top avant-garde, some things were downright stomach-turning like, oh, I don’t know, the real but very dead peacocks suspended from the ceiling, dribbling fake blood from their beaks—and quite a few works had titles that included in-yo’-face four-letter words, and not the nice kind.

As with most museums, we weren’t able to take many photos, but here’re a few.

Proof that I lie a lot. Despite what I said, here’s something made of glass, the elevator:

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The view from the outside of the museum showing the Tacoma Dome, the beautiful 21st Street bridge, and the strictly-for-art-'s-sake cone where the glass-blowing “hot shop” is housed:

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The inside of the cone:

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Some of the glass artists doing their thang:

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Further proof that I lie a lot, more glass (look in the window). However, this was in the Court House across the highway, not in the museum, so neener.

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Yet further proof that I lie a lot, more glass. However, neener again, since none of this was in the museum, it's all part of a bridge overpass.

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Despite everything, I’m very glad we went. A girl can never get enough cultchah and, frankly, one of the glass installations was so beautiful, so intricate, detailed and astonishing, that TMK and I will be talking about it for years.

And, now, it has to be said that, although our first seventeen years were rich and full, the last three years have been made all the more wonderful by what you, Dear Readers, fiber friends, and Dulaan Brigadiers, have brought into our lives. You need to know that you have been directly and actively responsible for bringing TMK and me closer together as a couple and as a family by supporting us, our relationship, and this oddball little blog. You may not believe it—and three years ago we would not have believed it—but it’s true. From TMK and me to all of you, a big thank you. If I only had arms big enough to squeeze you all until you beg for air...

Posted by Ryan at 01:15 PM | Comments (11)

October 13, 2006

Strange Doings in the Secret Laboratory

I’ve decided that I will make my next million by inventing “yarnadone,” the yarn addict’s equivalent of methadone. Needless to say, it will be high in fiber, sort of like Metamucil only, I think, strawberry-daiquiri flavored.

I realized that such a thing needed to be invented and that I needed to be on strict, regularly scheduled doses of it when, as I was packing for our recent jaunt to Eastern Washington, I took one particular skein of yarn just to have it with me. People, I was going a measly two hours away from my stash, I was going to be gone for a pathetic two days, and I had four other projects and a pantload of yarn already in my bag! So sad. So very, very sick. So very, very addicted. In my defense, it was this beauty:

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You would have taken it with you, too. Yes, you would have. Yuh-huh. Shut up.

I’ve had a special request from a Dear Reader to mention this, a drive by the Afghans for Afghans folks which has a due date of November 3. While, of course, Dulaan is my personal priority, if a Dulaan vest or two were to accidentally get shipped to A4A, I would not rescind your Brigade membership, cut up your membership card, or ask you to turn in your gold-plated Dulaan knitting needles, nowh’tImean? (“The Battle of the Knitting Charities”—a new reality TV show? 10 knitters on a deserted island with one unclad child and the winner is the first person to finish a Kaffe Fassett sweater for him without starving to death?)

Cuzzin Tom informs me that the 2006 Dulaan items (and, oh, by the by, the other 40,000 pounds of clothing and supplies) have cleared MongoLEEan customs! If that doesn’t deserve a loud and enthusiastic “woot!,” I don’t know what does. Our liaison at F.I.R.E., Meredith, has also arrived in MongoLEEa and the distribution is scheduled to start soon. Even more exciting, Cuzzin Tom will be helping with the distribution this year and promises lots of pictures. He will come through, I know he will. He has to or I’ll tell his mommy.

274 people have now signed up for Dulaan 10,000 or Bust, 1,370 items are promised, 32 people are already done. And—oof! I can’t even begin to wrap my head around this—almost seventy people have signed up to go to Franklin’s knit-in. That is just plumb remarkable. Thumbs up to ya’, Franklin (although, should I take it personally that only 13 people have signed up for the Seattle one? Perhaps it’s my aftershave.)

Lastly, apropos of nothing, a quick vote. On Sunday, TMK and I will be celebrating an anniversary, so:

Create Free Polls
Posted by Ryan at 10:58 AM | Comments (21)

October 11, 2006

Cuisine Art and Turtle Farts

The answer to the question about how we TMK made the star-shaped pancakes (or “panqueques,” as it said in Spanish on the side of box and which we proceeded to chant in sucked-on-a-helium-balloon voices for the next 20 minutes) is she made round ones and then took a sharp knife, a paper template, a ruler and…no, I lie. The answer is, a star-shaped mold, part of a pancake-making kit TMK received from the mother unit. A pat of butter between each layer, enough syrup to dribble liberally down the sides, a saccharinely pretty plate, and Bob’s yer uncle!

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This weekend, while I was busy churning out the interminable vests, TMK was busy spinning the interminable red roving, all while we watched two mind-blowingly different movies, “The Wild,” a cutesy, fluffy Disney animation (with one priceless scene in which some turtles are being used as curling stones and one of the turtles farts its way onto the bull’s-eye), and “V for Vendetta," a dark and faintly surreal futuristic movie about a world-gone-wrong in which a man (Hero? Lunatic? You decide.) is determined to blow up the British Parliament. (See? As Chandler Bing would say, “Could these movies be any more different?”) TMK is 3 oz. in to the roving, I think, with 2 more to go before she has to make some design decisions. This stuff is lervly!

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On the "Dulaan 10,00 or Bust!" front, sign-ups have slowed down dramatically but...bugle fanfare!...we have a button!

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Feel free to steal it but the usual rules apply: Copy it to your server, don’t link to mine, and if you want to make the button link to something, please make it link to the flyer at

http://www.nwkniterati.com/movabletype/archives/MossyCottage/DulaanFlyer2007_color.pdf

Also, I see 51 people have joined the Dulaan Yahoo group. Verra cool. Way to go, Darinka!

With regard to the Avalanche yarn, here is Plan #429(a). I've been invited to bring some to Guild on the 18th, which I will do. Then I will start the process of mailing out whatever is left over...which (wincing and ducking) may not be much. Stay tuned.

P.S. Has anyone seen these before?

Posted by Ryan at 11:12 AM | Comments (12)

October 09, 2006

Down the Rabbit Hole

What two women who refuse to age gracefully eat for Saturday breakfast:

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What a woman who has no control over her knitting makes:

Vest #4, sans buttons:

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Vest #5, sans buttons:

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Both vests are made from the Avalanche yarn, although the ribbing for Vest #5 is from some purchased Brown Sheep Burley [sic] Spun, colorway Sandy Dune. Although in the photo the vest looks flat and lifeless—a little bit like knitting road-kill, actually—thanks to the liver brown of the Avalanche yarn and the bumpy, fleecy, sproingy look of the Burley Spun, in real life it looks exactly like a miniature, leather, fleece-lined jacket. I imagine the child who receives this vest rounding up brumbies in the Australian outback and knocking back bitter coffee at night while huddled over a campfire. (Despite the cuteness of the vest, I am not enamored of how the Sandy Dune shows through at the neck. Suggestions?)

Mention of the Sandy Dune reminds me that I wanted to plug two yarn stores we visited while in Eastern Washington:

(1) Elite Needlework in Wenatchee (205 North Chelan Avenue) whose owner was very supportive of the Dulaan Project and where I bought the Burley Spun and some insanely cheerful mango-colored Paton’s Décor.

Alice.JPG(2) Cashmere Cottage Yarn in Cashmere (205 South Division Street). This store is a new establishment and, although it has a fun choice of yarns (and was having, at the time, a 40% off sale on its Cascade 220 super-wash, hubba, hubba), it’s currently housed in just the foyer of a house and is hysterically small. How small? Think Alice in Wonderland after the infamous “Eat Me” cake incident. In fact, after TMK, her mother and I arrived at the store, two other customers came in—and TMK and her mother literally had to leave to make room! (No matter. After I had purchased my Cascade 220 super-wash, hubba, hubba, I found them perfectly happily sitting in the sun on the stoop outside.) The proprietress assures us that their long-term plan is to expand into other parts of the house but, even so, it’s smallness and cuteness (and selection of yarns) make it worth the visit.

The latest tally for "Dulaan 10,000 or Bust:" 245 people signed up (more than have ever been on a Brigade before), 1,225 items could potentially be knit, 26 people are done!

Ever yours,

Ryan the Boogerhead

Posted by Ryan at 01:35 PM | Comments (15)

October 06, 2006

Cutie Patootie

Courtesy of Susie Homire of Dogwood Hill Alpacary, the latest photos of “our” cria, “Dulaan.” Is not the second photo with the leaf a total hoot? And look at that beautiful, dark, silver-grey color!

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dulaancria1.JPG

The latest numbers for “Dulaan 10,000 or Bust” are: 179 participants have committed to make 895 items, and 22 contributors are already done (and are now in the running for The Grand Prize, whatever the heck it’s going to be). Now we just need another 1,828 people to commit to make the other 9,140 items. Piece a’ cake—or "kek," as TMK and I’ve said ever since watching Martin Short’s hysterical, mincing “wadding kek” monologue in “Father of the Bride.”

On other fronts, Dear Reader Darinka has started a Dulaan Yahoo group. I don’t moderate the group, obviously, since it’s Darinka’s baby, but I’ve joined to keep an eye on the emails to see if I can help with any questions. So know that if emails start popping up that say "Ryan is a boogerhead," I'm awatchin'.

Also, Dear Reader Martha suggested some kind of Dulaan Knit-Along, an idea which just really tickles my fancy. She has suggested a "thrum-along" or perhaps, with a nod to a phrase used by Stephanie today, a “trash your stash” knitalong. Any other ideas?

Reminders:

Seattle knit-in, Saturday, October 28, 1-6. Email MaryB for directions.

Chicago knit-in, Saturday, November 4, hosted by Franklin, details here.

Posted by Ryan at 02:12 PM | Comments (20)

October 04, 2006

The Tally, and Two Knit-Ins

Because of the goodness that is Excel and because of the brilliant and sainted geek out there somewhere who developed the COUNTA() function and whose poster I would have over my bed if I knew him or her, without lifting a bon-bon-smeared finger, I can tell you the following:


  • 129 people have signed up for the Dulaan 10,000 or Bust event. (I originally wrote “Bust push” but I knew a few of you wisenheimers out there would've read that all wrong and the comments would have taken on a decidedly adult flavor, and not for the first time. And, yeah, don’t laugh about the number; a girl can still dream).

  • As a result, 645 items will be knit.

  • We still need 1,878 people to sign up (you there, with the knitting needles, stop laughing) and 9390 items to be “claimed.”

The miracle that is Excel also tells me that these 17 people have already knit 5 items (or more) and some have already mailed their boxes, which I find stunning.

Catherine Braeuer
Childe
Debbie Bland
Debra Foster
Flora Hicks
Ginger Carter
Judith Rosa
Julie Ann Morgan
Kathryn Kienholz
Margot Schips
Melinda Morrow
Nancy Overland
Nancy Sullivan
Norma Miller
Sue Fuss
Tasha McGimpsey
Tish Dudevoir

Keep ‘em coming, homies! I'm especially gunnin' for the 4,000+ of you who signed up for the Knitting Olympics. I figure if Stephanie (now Goodwife Stephanie) can get all a' y'all to sign up, surely I can get a measly 2,000 of you to sign up for The Scam? (Don't make me post the picture of the crying child in the orphanage again. I'll do it. You know I will.)

In the meantime, announcements about two knit-ins, one in Chicago, courtesy of the hostess with the mostess, Franklin, and one in Seattle, courtesy of the Great Northwest contingent of “Dulaan Knitters Who Can’t Believe We’re Heading Into Year Three of This Insanity.”

Here are all the details on Franklin’s shindig (again, was going to write "hoedown" but it has the word "ho" in it and blahblahblah, wisenheimers, blahblahblah). And, yes, local knitters, if you somehow make it to Franklin’s party in Chi-frickin’-cago and don’t make it to the Seattle one, I will find out. I have my ways. They involve a tree, a table which is placed 11 feet away from the tree, chocolate which is placed on the table, and a chain which is 10 feet long.

Here are all the details on the Seattle party, hosted by the #1 Dulaan Fan, MaryB:

What: A casual, open house-type gathering of knitters who want to knit for Dulaan, drink, eat, chat, watch TMK spin and see MaryB's beautiful, newly remodeled kitchen!

confetti1.GIFDate: Saturday, October 28, 2006

Time: 1pm-6pm. Again, this party will be 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 maryberg2@mindspring.com. She will email you her address and directions.

confetti4.GIFWhat To Bring: The party will be a "snack luck" so bring snack food to share, plus your beverage of choice; 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 are mortal enemies, 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.

Posted by Ryan at 03:23 PM | Comments (14)

October 02, 2006

Culture Shock

Two words:

I win.

vanquishedsock.jpg

Yep, I kicked some major sock bootay and, thanks to the yarns, ended up with a really lovely, soft, stretchy, jewel-toned and denim-y sock. TMK has promised to have her second foot amputated so I can bypass the Second Sock Syndrome altogether. Any bets?

We’re back from our schlep over the mountains to the speck on the Washington-state map called Monitor. You think I’m exaggerating when I say “speck,” but on the official state map there’s an arrow pointing to the speck and a note which says “Actual size.” Monitor is so tiny in fact, that the U.S. Census doesn’t have any data on it. It does for the nearby town of Cashmere (pop. 2,965, thank you very much) but nothing for this tiny town whose “downtown” consists of four apple warehouses and, ironically, a postage-stamp-size post office.

But the Lilliputian nature of the speck-town also means you’re in the country in the truest sense of the word so, while at the “in-law’s,” you get to spend time in a yard that looks like this:

fallsun.jpg

And overlooks this:

river.jpg

And is reigned over majestically by this beautiful weeping willow:

willow.jpg

And contains things like this (not arranged for effect, I promise; this autumn bounty and the accompanying leaves were sitting on the outdoor table just like this):

autumnharvest.jpg

And—bonus!—you learn what it’s like to be around a dog that, unlike Frankie, cannot say “no” to a ball of yarn. That’s Bichon Frise Benjie, y’all, who has abandoned one of his favorite toys in favor a ball of Avalanche yarn, which looks as if it has been glued to the side of his face but which, I can assure you, has been well and truly skewered by his left canine.

benjieball.jpg

Okay, I’ve procrastinated long enough. Time to launch:

Dulaan 10,000 or Bust!


Goal: To get 2,007 people to commit to knit five items for Dulaan 2007. This will give us a minimum of 10,035 items towards our goal of 12,086.

The rules:

  1. To participate, sign up between between Monday, October 2, 2006, and Tuesday, October 31, 2006. For more details, see "How to Participate" below.
  2. Between October 2, 2006, and June 15, 2007, make five (or more!) items for Dulaan. All items need to be in Arizona by July 1, 2007, so the June 15 date I’ve picked should give you time to mail your items to Flagstaff. (Note, however, that, as always, you can mail your items to Arizona at any time.)
  3. If you had already knit five (or more!) items for Dulaan 2007 (not 2005 or 2006; just this year) before this contest was announced, you are also eligible to participate—and my hat’s off to ya’. Again, for more info, see "How to Participate" below.
  4. “One item” is defined as a knitted item, a crocheted item, or a fleece blanket. A pair of knitted or crocheted socks or mittens is considered one item.
  5. The size of the item does not matter. A pair of children’s mittens will count as one item; a pair of adult mittens will count as one item; a fleece blanket will count as one item.

How to participate:

  1. To participate, between Monday, October 2, 2006, and Tuesday, October 31, 2006, email me your name and a working email address. I will add your name to a list that I will maintain and post on the blog. (I will not publish the email addresses.) Note: Do not use the comments to sign up; email me!

  2. When you finish your five (or more!) items, email me again and I will mark the list to show that you have accomplished your goal. (If you have already made five (or more!) items, let me know and I will mark you as “done” at the same time as I put your name on the list.)
  3. After June 15, 2007, I will randomly draw a name from the names of the people who finished their five (or more!) items. The person chosen will receive a kwality, fibery, knitterly prize. If you are the winner, I will email you and ask you for your address at that time.
  4. All of this will be handled on the honor system. I will assume you actually finished your five items and, even though it is not an official rule, mailed the items to F.I.R.E.
  5. TMK and I will be working on a "Dulaan 10,000 or Bust!" button that bloggers can put on their blogs if they feel so inclined.
  6. The sending of “my five (or more) finished items” pictures is greatly encouraged.
  7. Questions? Post a comment or email me.


Posted by Ryan at 11:27 AM | Comments (12)