January 29, 2007

Madrona!

There’s no other way to say it except, from the moment we got there, Madrona opened up a big ol’ can of...perfect. The extent of our highly sophisticated, highly tactical plan was to get ourselves from Seattle to Tacoma...and then let the winds of fate have their way. Fortunately, the winds were feeling benevolent. We ran into all the people we were hoping to run into, the usual mischievous troublemakers, including various and sundry Feralites; lovely lurkers, readers and Dulaaners we had never met before (Hi, Cynthia! Hi, Kris and anyone else we met!); and a most charming, almost Norman-Rockwellian young couple, the affianced Erica and David. Their story:

We spent the bulk of Saturday sitting in a large area spinning and knitting with the twins and various and sundry other passersby. Erica was sucked into our group, like a moth into a flame, by her fascination with the spinning. We quickly learned that (a) their presence there was the result of an utterly spontaneous decision to make the five- or six-hour schlep over from Spokane so Erica could meet Stephanie (a trip which makes complete sense to the Stephanie-smitten, if not to poor David); (b) Erica was wearing a pair of my Dublin Bay socks (the first time I’ve met, in person, someone wearing one of my patterns. I was surprised by my over-the-top reaction, which involved goose bumps) (c) David, an engineering major and woodworking hobbyist, is making her a spinning wheel and (d) that morning, at a Seattle wood store, David had bought ebony to make her some ebony knitting needles. I think we all fell a little bit in love with those two.

The winds of fate also decreed that there would be shopping. But only by TMK. See?

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And see?

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The top photo shows a dark-brown alpaca to go with a brownish slate-gray llama TMK has already spun; an amazing caramel-colored merino-tencel blend; and a white merino-yak blend which is so soft you can’t tell you’re touching it even when you have a death-grip on it. The bottom photo shows a Rooster Rock roving from Blue Moon which, the truth be told, I bought for TMK. But I didn’t buy anything else, Scout’s honor.

Except this:

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And this:

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Oh, and these:

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And did I mention this?

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The benevolent winds of fate also decreed that we would sit at a dinner table with, again, the usual mischievous troublemakers, plus, wonderfully, her, her, her and her. Those in the know about TMK’s eating likes and dislikes were thoroughly amused when TMK handed me her plate for me to make sure the sauce on her salmon contained no mayonnaise. I tasted it and declared it cheese sauce but I don’t think she quite believed me until a loud chorus of “IT’S CHEESE SAUCE!” came from the rest of the table. (Side note: The dinner was scrumptious. A mega-thumbs up to the Sheraton. I’m not big on either salmon or carrot cake but there was nary a crumb left of either when I was done.) Our speaker for the banquet was Anita Luvera Mayer, whose talk about “Honoring Women’s Traditions” was funny, inspiring, self-effacing, honest, bold and unifying. Yep, another can a’ perfect.

And how did the heretofore antisocial TMK survive the Madrona madness? Sunday evening she carefully filed away the information about next year’s event. You do the math.

P.S. Pop on over here to see a poem local knitter Marti wrote about Madrona.

And now the question on everyone’s mind: Is “Sam,” who commented on Friday’s post, the person I was referring to who had lunch with me and then disappeared? Was I "caught?" Was I wrong? Did I misinterpret her silence? You betcha. You can imagine my surprise when I found her comments! In her defense, Sam has been busy for the last few months working very hard on an important and complicated UFO. Also in her defense, Sam hasn’t been commenting on anyone’s blog, let alone mine, and hasn't posted on her own blog for a year, and the whole thing was just a coincidence and I just need to get over my own sweet self and stop sniffing my armpits to see if maybe it was my deodorant. Hi, Sam. Declan is beautiful. You do good work.

Posted by Ryan at 11:26 AM | Comments (23)

January 26, 2007

Agoraphobia 101

(Posting will be a little bit hit-and-miss next week, Dear Readers, since I will be in and out of classes.)

The possibility that we will be meeting new blog readers at Madrona has me remembering an incident from a couple of years ago when a knitter—a regular blog reader who commented at least once a day, perhaps twice, without fail, for months—met me for what I thought was a perfectly pleasant lunch...and immediately stopped reading the blog. From that moment forward, not a peep. Yowza. Doesn’t do much for one’s ego. Or for one’s desire to have a blog. Or leave the house. Or get out of bed. Or bathe. Or complete hair-lice treatment. However, anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m hugely, almost annoyingly, extroverted (at Ferals I’ve been known to halloo across the wide and long table instead of chat ladylike with the well-mannered colleens to my left and right) and I doubt that that one hoomiliatin’ experience will affect my approach to socializing at Madrona. If you introduce yourself and I immediately vanish behind TMK, do my best imitation of a “wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,” and whisper nervously in her ear, whiskers all aquiver, trust me—all façade, all pure, Grade-A BS. If you know me, and you see me do this, feel free to haul me out from behind TMK, slap me upside the head, and say, “Quit that. Let’s go shopping.” That should do the trick.

As for the party animals who are planning on dropping by for martinis at midnight, don’t be surprised to find your names writ large with a Sharpie on the Do Not Disturb sign. Yeah, you. (Of course, now I am having visions of a PJ-and-hot-chocolate party. Somebody stop me.)

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With almost 50% of the vote, apparently an Abbdar is a hat, with “scarf” a very distant, speck-on-the-horizon second. I suspect this means that even if I had been a better pollster and had remembered to include vests, ponchos, shawls, stoles, shrugs, wrist warmers, neck warmers, afghans, pillows, placemats, potholders, tea cozies, bookmarks, washcloths, dishcloths, placemats, doilies, rugs, and felted bowls on the list of choices, "hat" would still have won. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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So, next poll, next question:

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Dulaan Business

I have promised F.I.R.E. that I will post a shout-out to let the Dulaaners know that F.I.R.E. is trying to send three containers this year instead of the usual two (which translates, I think into a shipping cost of $60,000 instead of $40,000), which means that they can use all the baksheesh they can scare up. On the one hand, in all a’y’alls defense, I’ve reminded F.I.R.E. that the knitters already contribute plenty through the cost of the yarn, the cost of mailing the items, and the intangible cost of many hours spent knitting. On the other hand, I’m not adverse to mentioning that if you happen to have $5 burning a hole in your pocket, they could certainly use it. That, and I do frequently get emails from people saying they can't or don't want to knit but do want to know where to send money, so here's the info: You can donate online here or mail a check to F.I.R.E., 107 N San Francisco Street, Suite 4, Flagstaff, Arizona 86001-5243.

'Nuff said. You all rock. Back to knitting. Don't forget the fleece blankets!

Posted by Ryan at 09:57 AM | Comments (13)

January 24, 2007

An Early Morning Matinee

Okay, Dulaaners, you asked for it. Get out two of your finest, monogrammed, Belgian lace hankies and stuff one smartly up each nostril because, thanks to Meredith of F.I.R.E. and YouTube, I can share with you some heartwarming and poignant video footage of the Mongolian kindergarteners receiving their Dulaan items in 2005. The quality’s not the finest, at least on my PC, but, trust me, it doesn’t matter. Keep an eye out for the dark brown hat with the off-white accents knit by my local knitting pal, MaryB. And the funny lookin’ dude in the robes? The Cuzz, of course. (I believe there’s sound but, being in the office, I’ve had to watch it with the speakers off. Nine Ten Eleven times, but who’s counting?)

(NOTE: If this link doesn't work, because they seem to expire rather rapidly, go to YouTube and search on "Dulaan.")

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ODiK3YdZ2o

If you recognize anything you knit, please chime up!

Meredith also sent a link to this more general, five-minute clip from “One Steppe at a Time.” Have at, if for nothing else than the music.

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TMK and I have had great giggles over the "girl crushes" because, as TMK said, “Oh, if they only knew the real me.” Par example, over here, we have the Miraculously Materializing Pear Crisp. And over here, in Reality World, we have the Poached Pear Debacle, hinted at in the last entry’s comments, wherein TMK more or less blew up her oven.

TMK had successfully made poached pears once before and the oven had, as expected, stayed right where it was, had not launched itself moonward, so she was reasonably confident about making them again. But something went horribly wrong this go-round—something having to do with that combination of flammable liquids and heat that our parents and science teachers always warned us about—and the oven made a thundering “whump!” which almost raised the roof off the house, made TMK's heart leave her chest and go for a mad scamper around the living room, made her ears ring for twenty minutes and—no exaggeration—made a neighbor who lives half a block away ask her, in the course of a later conversation, what that strange noise was that had come from her house. The oven survived quite handily—was perhaps even a little cleaner for the experience, any food bits inside it having been charred to a crisp—but the experience took a full five years off of TMK’s life. Fortunately, I was not there or I would’ve executed my Most Excellent Princess Faint right on the spot. Needless to say, poached anything has been summarily removed from her experimental-cooking list. And added to her “makes for a good story to tell at parties” list. A fair trade, I think.

But, alas, I can see this unmasking of TMK is getting me nowhere because now her admirers want to coo over her and put cold compresses on her forehead and make sure the naughty-waughty oven isn’t nasty-wasty to their snookum-wookums again. Oy. Women.

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Like most knitters, I get inspirations for design or color ideas from a lot of sources: other knitters’ work, pottery, paintings, tapestries, textiles, jewelry, wrapping paper, flowers, fall leaves, the landscape. For the first time, however, I’ve been inspired by a word. And, even more ridiculous, it’s not a real word, it’s one of those wonky, nonsensical “security” words you have to type on some blogs if you want to post a comment. Courtesy of Franklin's comment page, I present: “Abbdar.”

What a great word. It’s exotic, earthy, homey, friendly, manly with a feminine lilt, and rolls off the tongue. Which means that now I’m determined to design an item just so I can call it “The Abbdar…what?” What do you think, Dear Readers? Would an Abbdar be a sock, vest, hat, sweater, scarf? Vote:

[UPDATE: Some readers pointed out that I left off "vest" as an option on the poll, so if you think Abbdar is a vest, leave a comment. It'll count as a vote.]

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This weekend, the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat!! TMK and will be lurching in the general direction of Tacoma Saturday morning, although, alas, sans red-headed daughter. We decided it was much better for all involved if she went to "grandma and grandpa's" for the night. We'll be at Madrona through Sunday and are looking forward to meeting the usual troublemakers and perhaps a few newbies (?) and having a rollicking old time. Martinis in our room at midnight! (Just kidding. Please, God, don't show up at our door at 12:01 a.m. with a bottle of vodka in one hand, a bottle of gin in the other, and your spinning wheel slung over one arm. Four words: Clothing. Optional. Sleeping. Attire. Don't blame us if you drop the vodka, the gin, the spinning wheel and clutch at your face, screaming "My eyes! My eyes!")

(Is it just me or does "What happens in Tacoma, Stays in Tacoma" not have quite the same suggestive ring as "What Happens in Vegas...?")

Posted by Ryan at 10:43 AM | Comments (37)

January 22, 2007

Where is Darwin When You Need Him?

Not weird: A raccoon saunters across your urban yard.

Weird: The raccoon has no tail. No tail. No injury where there might have been a tail. No safety pin or Velcro where there might have been a tail if he hadn’t had a few too many at Mo and Edwina’s 25th anniversary shindig last night and left it at the coat check. Just a round, furry, sassy, tail-free, bear-like raccoon tushie, waddling down TMK's side yard.

Even weirder: Despite the astronomical odds against it, three seconds later, another raccoon without a tail ambles across the yard. Different raccoon, since, in fairness, this guy, Mr. Machismo, sported at least a stump. What the?! Either TMK’s house sits at the vortex of a genetically haywire raccoon population, or it’s something in the water. We’re stocking up on Perrier. Just in case.

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Time for your weekly dose of girl-crushing, you members of the TMK Fan Club. A few years ago, I wrote:

"I need some serious epicurean help! At this moment, in my refrigerator, I have two little plastic cups of chocolate pudding and some old Monterey Jack cheese. Period. Last night for dinner, I had a tin of mandarin oranges, which I ate with a sad little plastic fork. Sigh.

If TMK had in her refrigerator only the same pudding and cheese I have, somehow she’d manage to make a luscious stir-fry of peppers, onions and marinated barbecued chicken strips on a steaming bed of jasmine rice, and her kitchen would be immaculate when she was done. I have no idea how she does it."

Well, she did it again. Last night, at about 6 p.m. I hied myself into the bathroom for a shower. I left TMK happily ensconced in her recliner, clicking away on the remote. When I came out again at 6:15, there was a pear crisp baking in the oven and TMK was still sitting in her recliner, not having moved, as far as I could tell, one inch. I checked everywhere in the house for a conical hat with stars on it, a velvet robe and a wand, but there was nothing. So, yet again, how does she do that?

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Remember this, the sweater I was making out of TMK’s “Tropical Juice” and the Percentage Raglan Pullover Pattern?

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May it rest in peace (or RIP. How apropos.). Despite having dedicated many hours to going round and round and round and increasing and increasing and increasing, all with itty-bitty needles, I threw in the towel when I discovered I was making something with sleeves that would fit a two-month-old and a body that would fit a two-year-old. I'd seen this happen with other sweaters knit using this pattern but thought mine would be, oh, you know, different. The arrogance of me.

Great rippage ensued and I’m slowly lumbering forward again using the Diamond Baby Ensemble. This pattern is much more interesting, much more fun and, most importantly, more easily fudged when things go south. Not that it doesn't have its hinkiness, including one set of instructions that are physically impossible given the limitations of the known universe, and sleeves with no diamonds on them, despite the promise of diamonds in the picture.

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Ferals tonight! Perhaps the secret to the Olympic Squirrel neck steek will be revealed. Stay tuned.

(P.S. If your comment has disappeared, it's not subtle editorializing on my part, just some sloppy spam cleanup I did this afternoon. My bad.)

Posted by Ryan at 01:45 PM | Comments (17)

January 19, 2007

The Weather, and Ryan, Get Back on Track

(Picture-heavy post, Dear Readers.)

See, this is why I have the premiere readers and commenters around. I post some loonie-toons, albeit true, story about rescuing a frickin’ grub and, rather than click rapidly away to some other blog and declare loudly, while shielding their faces from the paparazzi, that they only landed on my blog by mistake, my commenters say things like, “When you get your next grub...” Ah, but validation is a marvelous thing. Of course, MaryB thinks I'm two fries short of a Happy Meal but, her ‘n’ me, we have an understanding. Thank you, everyone, for humoring me and for slogging through one of my odder postings. Today, I promise something supremely more cosmologically significant—the latest Dulaan/Mongolia pictures, taken by our Fearless F.I.R.E. Liaison, Meredith. No lengthy explanations from her this year, just short captions, but I’ll give you what I have. I will warn you that one or two of the photos may be a little disturbing, but this is the day-to-day reality of the people that we are trying to help.

Picture 1: Male prisoners waiting for the F.I.R.E. distribution at the prison to begin. (Ed. Note: You may remember similar photos shared with us by Cuzzin Tom.)

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Picture 2:: A boy at the Choibalson distribution point.

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Picture 3: Grandmother, mother, baby daughter at Choibalson.

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Picture 4: Distribution at a home at Choibalson.

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Picture 5: Family at a distribution center in the Gobi Desert.

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Picture 6: The mother of a Gobi Desert family that received distributed items.

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Picture 7:: Meredith and a child they picked up and gave knitted items to.

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Picture 8: The caption Meredith provided for this says "A child's first doll." I can't quite suss out the "doll" part of this item but there's no question it was lovingly crocheted and the child is very happy to have it!

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Picture 9: Nap time at a kindergarten we donated toys and blankets to. [Ed. Note: My favorite picture!)

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Happy weekend, everyone! Keep those needles flying!

Posted by Ryan at 01:19 PM | Comments (12)

January 17, 2007

My New Pet!

Note to self: The next time you try to arm wrestle The Universe, don’t demand snow. Demand chocolate, demand dinero, demand haute couture clothing, demand les bijoux, but snow, no. Snow you got. In spades.

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...Which means yesterday was Snow Day No. 2 since Ryan’s Unexpectedly Effective Day of “Want More Cheese With Your Whine?” which, no thanks to Item #3 on my list of Eight Weird Things About Me, and because I was somewhat trapped in the house and desperate for entertainment and company, I spent nursing a green grub I found lying ramrod straight, motionless, and, I presume, frozen, on the snow. I named it “Floki” (I couldn’t resist, Cuzz), put it in a container, brought it in the warm house, chucked into the container a piece of leaf from every plant in my yard, and visited my new charge on and off to see how it was surviving. It thawed, warmed up, flexed its tiny grub muscles and moved around (yay!) but ate nothing (boo!). Do I know how to show myself a good time or whut?

Now, before you plan an emergency intervention for your blog mistress, who has clearly gone completely mental, I have already come to my senses and put Floki back in the yard—but off the snow and safely hidden under a shrub. I so need to get out more. Or think about getting a real pet.

On the knitting front, wasn’t the challenge of Stephanie’s Knitting Olympics to start the project at the beginning of the 2006 Winter Olympics and finish it by the end of the 2010 Winter Olympics? Oh, thank goodness, because that means I’m right on track.

After some heads-down work this weekend while watching “Lady in the Water” (an as-always haunting M. Night Shyamalan movie), here's the body of the Olympic Squirrel sweater almost finished. (I assure you the sweater is quite three-dimensional and circular but, alas, I had to plaster it to the pillow with pins to get even a mildly decent photo):

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A close-up of the neck (love the contrast of the curlicue with the geometric look of the squirrel/snowflake/tree section):

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Here is the neck steek which Janine promises me will, with some knitting sleight-of-hand, become a working neck with an i-cord border. (The pattern actually calls for an anaemic-looking boat neck, to which I say, "Euw.")

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Stay tuned for some new Dulaan/Mongolia photos!

Posted by Ryan at 01:52 PM | Comments (20)

January 12, 2007

Oh No. Sno.

Was it something I said?

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(No posting Monday, Dear Readers.)

Posted by Ryan at 12:54 PM | Comments (11)

January 10, 2007

No Sno

The only thing better than a snow day is a snow day that you know is coming, a snow day the media has, in a frenzy of panicked, end-of-days, meteorological reporting, promised you, a day you can predict with great certainty you will spend huddled under the down comforter for extra hours in the morning, only getting up when it’s time for some hot tea and buttered toast with apricot jam.

And there’s nothing worse than a snow day that completely and utterly craps out on you. Deceives you. Betrays you. Leaves you high and dry. It was a balmy 39 when I woke up this morning, and we had had a pathetically light dusting of the weird, hard, round snow nodules we get around here sometimes, but other than that—bupkus. The worst part? Last night I went to the store and stocked up for the coming of the “blizzard days.” And ate everything. So now I’m grumpy, bloated, and consumed with guilt at my lack of willpower and my inability to plan for emergencies. Well, no, I planned well…it’s just…you know…everything’s gone.

Since all I’m knitting right now is the second one of my Trekking socks, I’ll wrap this short entry up with two more photos of some of TMK’s spinning and, since it’s been a while, some Kooky Krafts.

This is superwash merino, dyed by Dicentra Designs, purchased from Crown Mountain Farms:

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The Kooky Krafts:

Pencil art (picture heavy; loaded slowly this morning)

Carved-watermelon art (picture heavy)

Courtesy of my sister, my Kooky Kraft Ko-Konspirator, five more ways than are necessary for making a purse out of a bra:

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Plus one being sold on eBay.

I’m working on a pattern for how to make a big-ass tote out of one of mine. All I need is an unbroken block of time like, oh, I don't know, a snow day.

Posted by Ryan at 11:56 AM | Comments (24)

January 08, 2007

The End of Reality As We Know It

(Picture-heavy post, Dear Readers.)

Did you feel it? The great Disturbance in the Force? On Saturday? When TMK went to an all-day social fiber event and I stayed home and cooked and cleaned? You read that right. TMK: All-day fiber event. Me: Getting up close and personal with a scrub brush and the loo.

What could possibly have caused such a gigantic tear in the fabric of the universe? Our local St. Distaff’s Day spin-in is what, plus, in the evening, the arrival of Blogless Elaine and Leslie to watch the football playoffs; nosh on pizza, salad, and brownies; and play three rousing games of Cranium. (The highlight of the games: TMK and Elaine were partners. Elaine molded one small, amorphous, vaguely rectangular shape out of the clay, plonked it firmly (the firmness of the plonking was apparently the big giveaway) on the table and TMK immediately shouted “Stonehenge!” A shapeless blob of clay, some firm plonking, and two seconds. That’s all it took. Leslie and I never recovered.)

On Sunday, on Erika’s recommendation, TMK and I tried our darndest to celebrate the holiest of all holy days, International Pajama Day. Only I didn’t have any pajamas. And we couldn’t have a cozy fire because yet another windstorm (#4 by my count) blew through. And by 4 p.m. I had been KO’d by some kind of bug and was doing my best melodramatic interpretation of a feverish patient thrashing around on a bed in endless tropical heat. I’m up and about and at work today but I think the bug and I are at a stalemate, each waiting for the other to blink.

Despite everything, we did have a pretty good IPD, thanks to the leftover pizza and brownies, the spinning, the knitting, and endless hours of watching "Talladega Nights", "Little Miss Sunshine," and "Independence Day" from the middle to the end and from the beginning to the middle because that's how we caught it on the TV. However, I hear that February 4 is Super International Pajama Day so we’ll have another chance to get it exactly right. (Who knew lounging around all day could take so much planning? Usually I do it with no effort at all, but once it's a scheduled event, it requires much discussing, planning and shopping. Huh.)

In the meantime, some pictures from TMK’s Big Adventure which was held at a school a little north of us:

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A very few of the spinning wheels at the get-together.

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A better idea of how many spinners were at the spin-in, although TMK tells me that this still shows only a third of the participants.

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Melinda's Betty Roberts wheel hard at work. Since the wheel is revolving, you can't tell from the picture but the red of the wheel is actually a hardened resin (?) with dried flowers set into it.

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Per TMK, an "artsy" photo of Melinda's flyer. I've seen Melinda spin, and I'm surprised her wheels aren't reduced to a smoking pile of ash by the end of the day.

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Some beautiful brown llama fiber TMK bought. (She can deny it all she wants to but she has a stash now. Neener, neener.)

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Some of the llama spun up. (The previous picture shows the color more accurately.)

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Breathtakingly beautiful jewel-toned roving TMK bought, plus a close-up. She has promised whatever she spins out of this will come straight to me. Of course, I maaaaaay have been holding Frankie hostage at the time.

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1 oz of tussah silk TMK won. I repeat: She has a stash.

Posted by Ryan at 11:35 AM | Comments (19)

January 05, 2007

Don't Say I Didn't Ever Give You Anything

1. Cuzzin, Franklin, Phyllis: Buddah, not Buddha. Buddah. Like “bruddah” only no “r.” Y’all crack me up.

2. Franklin, no.

That being said, I need to send an excited shout-out and tail wag to my peep “Lisa in Oregon” who has been MIA and just popped up in Monday’s comments like a whack-a-mole, er, mole. So good to “e-see” you, Lisa! Hope all is well (raised, questioning eyebrow?). Any minute now the bloodhounds should be hauling in Stalker Angie. Any minute now. Aaaany minute now. Any. Minute. Now.

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Now, two Christmas presents for all of you.

Christmas Present #1, a new knitting tool:

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Looks like a regular, small Post-It yellow pad with a sticky surface on one edge, manufactured by a company whose name is the number that falls between 2 and 4 followed by the letter that falls between L and N, doesn’t it? Well, it ain’t, homies. Look:

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Yes, it’s the Sticky Note That Ate New York, perfect for marking your place in knitting patterns, especially Fair Isle, lace or cable. I bought this at a local big-box office supply store (I’m all about not getting sued for copyright infringement today. I’ll get over it.). Even better, it’s the super-sticky kind which granted, will suck every last vestige of ink off your pattern, rendering it illegible and unusable but, hey, at least you won't lose your place.

Christmas Present #2, my recently discovered secret to housekeeping, especially the managing of the delight and bane of my existence, the mountain of books:

Read romance novels to the exclusion of all else.

I know, I know, a flash of pure genius, no?

Here's my thinking: A couple of years ago, a bookcase was put in our break room at work so employees could bring in books to share, trade, give away. What a great solution to my piles of books!, I thought; I’ll bring in the books I’ve finished, people will take them, and then I’ll bring in more. Three years later, however, my copies of Tristan and Isolde, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Brother’s Karamazov, The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Dante’s Inferno are still moldering on the shelves—and the piles of books continue to topple noisily over in my home, endangering all and sundry—while a plethora of romance novels have come and gone, some within minutes, some, in fact, never even having reached the shelves, thanks to some shady hallway dealings. So romance novels it is from here on out.

Any minute now Better Homes & Gardens should be calling me to set up an appointment to photograph my sparkling clean, book-free house. Any minute now. Aaaany minute now. Any. Minute. Now.

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Lastly, proof that I broke out of the “condom hat” rut, my latest sock, knit with Trekking XXL, color 110. I am seriously in lust with the colors of this sock which range from a rich gold through a neon-carrot (which works, oddly) to a merlot to a kelly green, all stippled and tweedy. Yummers.

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Posted by Ryan at 11:29 AM | Comments (15)

January 03, 2007

A Wiser Woman

What I learned during the holidays:

1. My ability to cook is directly related to my ability to acquire bananas. Cooking and I—ever ships in the night. But somehow during the last three weeks I’ve made two banana cream pies and one loaf of banana bread, all consumed by others with a minimum of digestive discomfort and even a modicum of delight. On New Year’s Eve there was even, I believe, a small bloodless spat over the last slice of banana bread. My heart runneth over.

My trick for good banana bread: Use buddah and, please God, leave out the nuts. The loaf will be heavy enough to sink a ship but will be uber bananalicious. If the bread is cold, nuke it just enough to melt, need I say it?, more buddah.

2. Still on the subject of cooking and, indeed, bread-like products, there is no better way to start the new year than with a slice of home-made bread, courtesy of TMK and her KitchenAid mixer:

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Drooling much?

3. Dulaan hats make good Christmas tree ornaments. The proof, thanks to knitter Jo. However...

4. Eight hats stacked on top of each other, rather than looking fetchingly decorative, look like the world’s largest, outlandishly striped, knit and, one would assume, woefully itchy condom, especially when the hat on top is finished with an i-cord rosette.

stackohats.jpg

That, and I desperately need an intervention because that is, indeed, eight Dulaan Avalanche Hats, one knit pretty much right after the other because I Could Not Stop. So that my brain didn’t explode with the sameness of it, I made them all a wee bit different, including one which, sadly, came out looking like a shower cap. (Hmmmm. I knit things that look like condoms and shower caps. Perhaps it’s time for me to retire from this particular craft before I do irreperable damage to the Mongolian psyche.) I used seed stitch (the original stitch called for), double seed stitch, triple seed stitch, miscellaneous purl rows thrown in to break up the pattern, a purl crown instead a stockinette one, stacked triangles—oh, I went completely whackadoo, yes, indeed.

5. Under the right circumstances, I will flip-flop on even my most sacred of beliefs. Watch.

The Sacred, Unshakeable Belief: I hate bobbles. Loathe bobbles. Consider them the creamed spinach of the knitting world, the nails-on-a-chalkboard of the knitting world, the smell-of-half-a-ton-of-dead-fish-rotting-in-the-afternoon-sun of the knitting world. Would gladly sell my soul to Beelzebub before ever putting a bobble on a knitted item.

Then I came across this picture.

The Flip-Flop: Perhaps there’s a place in this world for bobbles after all. Badda-bing, badda-boom; I’m a soulless, spineless wonder.

Either that or I want to have a baby. Everybody panic.

Posted by Ryan at 10:40 AM | Comments (31)