December 30, 2007

Hello? Knock, Knock? Anyone Out There?

Mea culpa for the lack of postings, Dear Readers, but a combination of continuing drawma and the holidays led to 13 days of radio silence. In truth, things in the relationship department got a whole heckuva lot nastier and darker before they got…

(dare I say it? dare I?)

better!

Unfortunately for those of you who, like me, devour blogs as much for the personal gossip as for the knitting, lest I jinx our progress by becoming prematurely and overly hopeful, no satisfyingly juicy details will be forthcoming, but TMK and I did spend Christmas together which, two weeks ago, would’ve been an impossibility. Because, you know, couples who’ve broken up don’t do that sort of thing. Yep, you read that right—splitsville. Twice. Which tells you how unstable and erratic and fragmented this whole painful journey has been, especially for a relationship that's been pretty rock solid until now. So, please keep your fingers crossed for us that all the hard work we’ve been putting into this continues to pay off.

My one piece of hard-won wisdom: If you are a friend, family member or online “e-friend” of someone who is going through similar heartbreak, and you are supporting them in any way you can, large or small, yet you don’t think you are making a difference, you are. You are.

On to Very Important yet Very Unfinished business: The Baby Harris Project. Despite the radio silence, I can assure you that this has been very much on my mind. First, and most importantly, “our” baby, Lovie Lee Harris, joined the world on Sunday, December 23! Here is a nice article and photo.

NancyO, your beautiful crocheted sweater arrived but only just recently, a victim of the Christmas mailing crush. However—yay!—I haven’t delivered the Baby Harris items yet—partly because of the holidays, partly because I want to pretty up the cardboard boxes I’ll be delivering them in, and partly because some coordination will be required with my friend at work (the stepfather)—so your sweater is very much a part of the Mount Everestian pile of things I received. The handoff should occur later this week!

In the meantime, I've managed to churn out, well, this...

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...an inert, limp, pointless, structureless tube. HOO-ah!

Not very impressive, is it? It's actually my response to the fact that a new ventilation system was installed at work this year, the net result being that the office is 10-20 degrees colder than it was last winter. So, inert, limp, pointless, structureless tube? No, my friends; fingerless, thumbless mitts!!!

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These were made using some leftovers of TMK's Chocolate Sauce llama and baby-alpaca yarn (scroll down to see the yarn), and were based (very loosely) on this pattern. The main change, which I think I would do again, is I used size 2s for the wrist/cuff and size 3s for the hand, with no increase in the number of stitches. That, combined with the k2p2 rib, makes for a fingerless mitt that hugs the hand very cozily. Freezing office—you are no match for the awesome power of the inert, limp, pointless, structureless tube!

Posted by Ryan at 07:18 PM | Comments (33)

December 17, 2007

No Baby Yet, But Soon!

Update: KmKat and Minnie, your contributions arrived yesterday! Photos when I can.

Although the “official” deadline for the Baby Harris Project has come and gone, I sense a few more very welcome items will dribble in through the mail today and tomorrow, and I know of at least three things that I’ll be picking up tonight at Ferals. In the meantime, lookee here!

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Have you ever seen such a pile of loving and scrumptious kindness? It’s mind-bending to feel as if I’ve had the best Christmas e-ver…and yet know not a single thing in the pile is for me. Huh. What has been over-the-top extra, extra spiffy has been the notes included with the items, notes to me, notes to the mom-to-be, notes to the baby. Even though this is so Last Year, I just have to say, “Squeeeeeeeee!”

You knew I’d have photos, didn’t you? Grab some coffee, sit back, relax, enjoy. Lots of photos below.

Adorable, self-striping socks from Donna in Virginia:

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Yummy pink and purple self-striping socks and a complete surprise—a music CD, from Kelli Ann in Quebec (wow!):

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A verra, verra handsome purple and black hat made by local knitter Rebecca and being modeled by my Dulaan teddy bear (is it just me or does the bear manage to look both cute and furious at the same time, like first it would snuggle up under your chin...and then rip out your jugular?):

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A cotton ecru t-shirt/sweater from local knitter Lori. There isn’t a stitch out of place on this gorgeous, silky thing. And I mean silky; it just about slid straight out of the bag it came in! I'm thinkin' I want her to knit me one. (What d'ya mean that's not part of this project?)

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Black and white socks and, serving as a beautiful and handy backdrop in this and other photos, a dark turquoise, incredibly soft crocheted baby blanket from Julie in Ohio:

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An adorable mint, lacy, cabled sweater from Gretchen in California…

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…which was accompanied by these adorable, mint, lacy cabled booties!

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A tiny, tailored, perfect Baby Surprise Jacket, dyed and knit by Lori from Maine:

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A pastel yellow hat knit by local knitter Diana. Another item where there isn’t a single stitch out of place. Thoroughly soft and cute (and yet, still, the bear schemes):

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A beyond-cheerful cotton bib and baby cloth provided by Cynthia from New Jersey:

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A hat and book from Sue of North Carolina. The little “extras” like this book are the things that have really gotten to me!

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Pastel socks and an earthy, jewel-toned hat from Rose in Arizona. I have to admit I fell particularly in love with these socks. They’re not too bright, not too pastel, just gorgeous.

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Self-striping hat and socks from local knitter Cathy (Cathy, sorry! I photographed the back of the hat! I’d better keep my day job.). Love these colors, love the wacky fraternal-ness of the socks. That's how I knit my socks, I tell you whut.

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An astounding pastel quilt made by local knitter Melinda. What you can’t see are all the little leaf outlines that are formed by the stitching. You can see them better in this entry on her blog.

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A bold and beautiful black and red quilt made by Daisy of Virginia. This one really stunned me. When I took it out of the box, all I could see was the plainer back, then I unfolded it, turned it around and...oh, my goodness.

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Beth in St. Paul—I got your beautiful brown hat and white socks but haven’t had a chance to take a photo yet. Will do so as part of the next go-round!

Again, thank you everyone for giving me, in an indirect way, such a fantastic Christmas. Now, do I really have to give all these things away, or can I just pull another Dulaan scam? (A link to an old entry for new readers who may not understand the "scam" reference, which has been a long-running joke.)

Posted by Ryan at 11:39 AM | Comments (9)

December 14, 2007

Silent Auction for Local Sheep-Milk Cheese Co. Ruined by Floods

Posting wasn't on the agenda today but then I read about this, a silent auction that is being held to support the Black Sheep Creamery, a local sheep-milk cheese producer who, per the auction site, "lost 80% of their ewes, all of their rams, all winter feed and hay, sustained extensive damage to the house, barn, fences, pastures, cheese storage and equipment."

Passing it along since this seems like a win-win deal; you may win something you want, and you will definitely help the Creamery.

Speaking of win-win, items for Baby Harris keep pouring in, more socks, hats, bibs, washcloths, and two books! Will take photos this weekend and provide details on Monday!

Posted by Ryan at 11:06 AM | Comments (3)

December 12, 2007

In Which I Get to Use the Phrase "Squirrel Armor"

Really missing the blog and the regular writing terribly so I’ll try to squeeze out a little sumpin’ for me, if not for you.

First, lesson learned: If you’re a terrible cook, which I am, when planning for your company’s Christmas potluck, avoid any recipe which says, clearly and concisely, in the recipe itself, that it takes three days to make. Not a good recipe for someone who gets completely lost and flustered halfway through the five minutes it takes to boil a hotdog. Fortunately, I saw this before my brain glommed on to the recipe and declared, “There it is! That’s the recipe I want to make!” Instead, I picked a Mediterranean saffron, apricot, currant, clove, and almond pilaf for which I had to take out a 15-year bank loan in order to acquire the ingredients. (Never understood why some mega-supermarkets have bank branches in them...until now.) Even more ironically, I'm rapidly being felled by a winter bug, so the chances of my actually making the saffron, apricot, currant, clove, and almond pilaf for which I had to take out a 15-year bank loan in order to acquire the ingredients is practically...nil.

I will also share with you this most remarkable find—and I can’t believe I’m even going to write this—squirrel armor. Yes, squirrel armor. Tiny armor for squirrels. Fighting armor, complete with plates and hinges and all the bits and pieces and a shield and a sword, and a frozen-forever-in-time squirrel model. Here it be.

And here, since the theme for the day seems to be "tiny animals and how to clothe them," instructions for how to turn an argyle sock into a sweater and hat for a Yorkie. Good God, but I love stumbling across this stuff.

It also occurred to me this morning that the reason I couldn’t find the barn-or-commando sweater pattern on the Oat Couture site was because, well...er...(you can see this coming, can't you?) it’s not from Oat Couture. It’s actually the Woodlands Tunic from Cabin Fever. A handsome, tailored beaut it is, no?

Don’t have pictures yet but seven new items have come in for as-yet-unborn Baby Harris: three pairs of socks, matching mint-green sweater and booties, a beautiful Prussian-blue crocheted blankie, and Melinda’s quilt (scroll down a wee bit). I’m getting more excited by the minute about giving these items to my co-worker! What a fantabulous box I’m going to be able to put together!

Posted by Ryan at 11:50 AM | Comments (14)

December 10, 2007

Still Alive, Still Blogging, Despite Appearances

Howdy, long-suffering and patient Dear Readers. The blogging continues to come and go, come and go as relationship issues come and go, come and go. Women! Bah, humbug.

In the Knitting Current Events front, the Four-Acre Sweater which looked like this…

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…and which, if you’ll remember, sported humongous, sinkhole-sized armholes which had me completely cowed, has been reincarnated as a sweater based on an apparently-no-longer-available Oat Couture pattern with a broken-rib motif which starts small at the bottom and turns into a shoulder-to-shoulder yoke at the top. Very autumnal, very barn-sweater-like, if, perhaps, lacking a barn. (It also reminds me of a military commando sweater, but since the chances of my owning a barn are astronomically higher than the chances of my joining the commandos, I think I’ll stick with the barn theme.)

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Much like the Four-Acre Sweater, this one is large enough to fit around an elephant. You think I exaggerate? I have proof!

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Speaking of elephants, as a reminder, the deadline for sending items for the Baby Harris Project is this Saturday, 12/15. Rumor has it that the baby is due this week, so that deadline should be just hunkydory.

Precious wittle things are starting to trickle in, and each package is more exciting and intriguing and heartwarming than the last. First arrived these adorable and beautifully utilitarian socks from local knitter and fave blogger Erika. For me, these immediately brought to mind the image of a baby in an old-fashioned stroller where all you can see are two chubby legs and sock-clad feet waving happily around in the air. There may also be a coo and a gurgle or two involved.

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Then came these from Maeve in Virginia, modeled by a holiday Christmas bear who has been taking diva lessons from Franklin’s Dolores and who insists the socks bring out the blue in his eyes and who was predictably reluctant, therefore, to give them back:

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The socks were followed by this amazing mint and yellow cotton sweater from Kristen in Pennsylvania. Swear ta’ God, when I pulled this out of the mailing envelope, the whole room grew a little brighter and warmer. Look at those perfect stitches! And you just want to smooch the adorable buttons. I may actually have smooched them, but you’ll never know.

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Lastly, Bonney of New Hampshire contributed three cuddly-wuddly blankets and a plump little bunny (who looks a little too scarily intelligent to be, in fact, a stuffed animal, but there you are). Is the edging on the purple blanket not gorgeous?

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Incidentally, there were a lot of questions about the little red elephant that Marti made which was apparently knit using Ysolde Teague’s Elijah pattern, for sale here. If you want to see more "Elijahs," check out Ysolda's December 8th blog entry.

Thank you everyone for these remarkable contributions! I truly look forward to what this week holds including, I hear, a burp cloth and baby bib are on their way from Cynthia. Looking forward to those!

Posted by Ryan at 11:53 AM | Comments (12)

December 03, 2007

Two Down, Hopefully Many To Go!

Just a mini-entry today to say I'm so excited: The first two Baby Harris items have landed! The first is an it’s-so-adorable-I’ll-have-trouble-giving-it-away-even-for-a-good-cause red elephant made and donated by Marti, and the second is a pair of aquamarine socks, made using one of Cat Bordhi’s new patterns, donated by…

Donated by...

Donated by...

Drat and double-drat! I don’t remember who gave them to me, and I know in the back of my addled and slightly vertiginous brain that it’s someone I know well! If it’s you, please chime in. <Update! They were donated by Sarah! Which, in a way, makes this all extra embarrassing because guess who I sat with that night at Guild?)

Not only that but all I could squeeze out this morning was a truly atrocious photograph so my apologies (but doesn’t the cuteness of the elephant just slice right through all the blur?):

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Fortunately, Marti has a truly adorable photo of the elephant here.

I will be at Ferals tonight if there are any Feralites who have things they want to hand off. Don't count on this. Apparently Bothell is having major flooding problems, thanks to today's lovely record-breaking weather (in fact, per the news, the Governor just declared a state-wide emergency). However, I will try go get up there. Perhaps you can stand at the Third Place Books door and toss knitted items at me as my car goes floating by?

And two hellos! One to Debra, a regular reader who introduced herself to me at Guild, and another to a woman whose name I don’t remember (are you seeing a pattern here?) but whom I met at the yarn store in Cashmere and who, rumor has it, has become a regular reader. Hello to you both, and sorry the blogging has been so unreliable lately. I hope sometime soon to get back to my regular posting!

Posted by Ryan at 12:16 PM | Comments (13)