Yes, I have been knitting, and this is still a knitting blog, but lately I’ve been easily distracted by other things which end up squeezing their way uninvited onto these pages, things like, oh, I don’t know….say, eggs?
These cackleberries come from local knitter Ginger’s hens, and were brought to the Saturday knit-in at Village Yarn and Tea to be passed on to one of the other knitters. There was just something about these beautiful, fresh eggs, especially the speckled one. And if you want to see something that will make you slam your legs together and wince in pain, ladies, take a gander (there’s a domestic-fowl pun in there somewhere) at the pictures on Ginger’s Flickr account of the monstrosities that her hens have been laying lately and of the amazing “one-egg omelet.”
TMK has been making noises lately (well, maybe not “lately” but for the last year or so, ever since she saw a picture about how commercial laying hens are really treated and had an immediate, swift, and probably painfully extreme, consciousness-raising) about wanting to get chickens. Which is all well and fine, except she is terrified of birds. You see where I’m going with this. That, and I would immediately decide they were pets and would name them and pet them and carry one everywhere with me and bring them in the house. And probably dress them up. And this would not help with The Troubles.
Speaking of eggs and the things that come out of them, I stumbled across a wonderful FalconCam today. I say “wonderful” because I’m a big fan of “animalcams” but most of them are not “cams” at all but images that are refreshed every few minutes, or are a rerun of something that happened two years ago, or the animal actually left the location and no one bothered to notice, or the cam doesn’t actually work at all. So, also being a big fan of falcons, this site makes me a very happy “cam”per. The truth be told, mostly this is for Cuzzin “Birdman” Tom.*
So, the knitting. Right now I’m working on a bulky sweater for a three-year-old who is tall and big. It’s made from outrageously bright blue, yellow and red yarns but both the child and the mom love them some outrageously bright, so I’m good with it, even though I wince a bit every time I haul it out of the bag, and other knitters say "That's pretty.," although you know and they know they don't mean it. And a ball of Trekking in a grayish-greenish-purplish colorway (with no splotches, thank you) accidentally fell into my possession on Saturday, and I accidentally traded some dollar bills for it, and it accidentally got cast on, and accidentally is turning into a pair of socks.
*The third chick hatched today. While I was at lunch. The universe hates me.
If you’re like me, a knitting blog that metamorphoses into an exercise-and-gym blog makes me roll my eyes with utter ennui, so I promise to keep mention of the gym to a minimum (except for when I do yet another spectacular pratfall off of some piece of equipment. Then you’ll hear all about it, promise. In fact, check back tonight. Who knows?). However, I do have four words for Women of a Certain Age:
No. More. Swollen. Ankles.
I noticed this phenomenon just this weekend. Maybe there is something to this exercise business after all.
Thank you to everyone who sent me an email reminding me of your participation in the Baby Harris Project. Your email addresses have been passed on to (step)dad and mother-of-Lovie. (Getting the emails compelled me to go back and visit the Baby Harris Project pages of the blog and indulge in a bit of a sentimental journey. Such beautiful things! I know it was quite a while ago, but thank you again for all your generosity.)
The Cotton Club Project is going along fah-bulously. We now have 50 beautiful dishcloths from all over the country! Again, the deadline is Friday, May 23, so you have plenty of time to get involved (if you swing that way). If we get “too many”—and I use the term very loosely—we’ll just bundle two washcloths, instead of one, with the soap. Or if we end up with even more than that, I see a beautiful, multi-colored, ribbon-themed cotton afghan shimmering deliciously in the future. We can’t lose, so bring ‘em on! (Have I missed sending anyone my address? If so, let me know.)
The Side of the Pile, a picture which I just love for its color and slight amorphousness:
While we were at the Yarn Harlot event, I took only one picture and not of anything even faintly Harlot-ish.
I was sitting next to Janine, who was working on a complicated sweater (see the sweater in her entry here) and was trying to keep the pattern on her thigh but it stubbornly insisted on shifting, sliding, or falling off altogether. So, in a move of what I think is pure genius—but then maybe I just need to get out more—she pinned the pattern to her jeans. Sometimes it’s the simple things that are the most remarkable.
Janine also entertained me this weekend while TMK was in Eastern Washington, and, as part of the evening's entertainment, introduced me to Mystery Science Theater 3000, specifically, "The Horrors of Spider Island” and “Attack of the Killer Shrews.” And I mention this only because, quite embarrassingly, “Attack of the Killer Shrews” has appeared on this very blog before. That's got to be some kind of a record for a knitting blog where shrews, as a rule, are not a general topic of conversation.
And Tina Newton of Blue Moon Fiber Arts (you can't see her, but trust me, she's there)
And The Sock.
On TMK’s couch.
It’s more than my brain can handle.
Cue the spinning-vortex image from “Vertigo.”
Yarn Harlot here tonight! Third Place Books on Bothell Way, 7 p.m. We’ll be there early-early (five-ish), so come on down and squat with us, local homies!
Now that I’m an old squinty-eyed, wart-riddled, blog hag—five years today, thank you very much—it’s been a kick watching the younger generation, i.e., TMK, get all giggly over the blog experience. Any guesses how many times she checked for new comments this weekend? A whole frickin’ lot. So thank you to everyone who dropped by and made her feel welcome to the world of blogging. I think she has some important things to share.
I must say her blog makes me extra appreciate the inanity of mine. I mean, her blog is serious, about serious stuff: Quality of life, diet, metabolism, physiology, weight training, cardio, lifespan, heart health! Oh, the responsibility! Mine is about yarn, patterns, idiotic happenings while knitting, idiotic happenings at the gym, and my ongoing struggles with haute couture, as pictured here.
Started here in the world of no matchy-matchy:
One step forward:
One step back:
Yes, the Splocks are finally done. TMK was particularly intrigued by the splotches on the bottom of the socks, which is how and why we ended up taking this ridiculous photo, which, for those of you who are serious fans of the Narnia books, makes me feel like a Dufflepod:
While on the subject of ridiculous photos:
The good news: I didn’t knit this. The even good-er news: My mother, who could be severely emotionally distant, did, so the sweater is very special to me indeed. The good-est news: Even though it’s huge, and even though it seems to grow every time I wear it, and even though the neck is big enough to fit over a cow, and even though it’s made of acrylic, and even though the acrylic is curiously scratchy, this is my favorite sweater to wear. I don’t wear it often because…well…look at it, but in a year like this one when it snows in late April:
(An azalea that is both blooming and covered in snow. That's just not right.)
…you need something both emotionally and physically cozy, so I whipped out this sweater and schlumped around in it, feeling warm and dandy indeed.
Whenever I get too caught up in my own yarn elitism and the myth of the Must Fit, I remember this ratty, old, and outrageously ill-fitting garment, knit by someone long gone, and how much it means to me. Do you have something like this?
As many of our local knitting homies know, in order to combat her diabetes, over the last seven or so months, TMK has been focusing obsessively on losing weight and gaining muscle. (If you notice a chronological relationship between this obsession and “The Troubles,” you’re not wrong. But there’s more to it than that. Wuh-aaaay more.) At the latest count, she is down an astounding 72 pounds from her heaviest ever. So, what does one do when one is undergoing a life-changing experience? Why, you blog about it!
Yes, indeed, TMK has started a blog, “Diary of a Reformed Diabetic.” I’m sure she would love if it you went over and paid a visit. But I’ll warn you ahead of time—there is a distinct lack of knitting content. And don’t get too attached. I sense she’s feeling a bit like a scared rabbit over entering the blogosphere, and might panic at any moment, yank the whole thing, and retreat to her rabbit hole, nose aquiver. Perhaps if you approach her quietly, in a crouched position, with your hand out, and whispering gentle words…
Speaking of TMK, remember how she snapped my size 1 dpn in half at Ferals? Well, she completely redeemed herself. Without even being around at the time, which is a pretty neat trick.
Yesterday, during lunch, I was plowing steadily along on my Splock when another one of my size 1 dpns gave up the ghost. Needless to say… Oh, my God. “Needless!” How cool of a pun is that? I love me a good, accidental pun.
Okay, back to my story: Needless to say, I was annoyed and frustrated because I was really jonesin’ to knit. My first admittedly irrational thought was, “If only I had another set of size 1, bamboo dpns in my knapsack." But, really, who’s lucky enough to be carrying around an extra set of the exact type of needle they need, when they need it, especially when their Large Bag of All Things Knitterly is sitting on the floor, at home, 12 miles away? And then the light dawned. Could it be? Could the impossible actually have happened? When TMK bought me a set of size 1s to replace the one she broke, I had just popped them in my knapsack, without giving it a further thought. So I peeked in, and sure enough, there at the bottom, glowing ever so slightly like the little miracle it was, was another set of needles. So I reached in, grabbed them, and resumed my knitting, with a “cat who ate the canary, “the world is my oyster”, and “take that, you evil bastard Fates” smirk on my face. Life is good sometimes.
I realize I haven’t had any Frankie pictures on the blog in a long while, so, for those of you who’re suffering from Frankie withdrawal, here’re a couple.
First, a picture of her at full Cheese-Hound Attention (Veterinarian Mel, she still weighs 29.5 pounds, despite the cheese. That’s mostly round Corgi butt, awkward sitting position, and winter coat you’re seeing there. Promise.):
Secondly, she is trained to lie down on a towel to get her feet and her low-rider tummy wiped on rainy days. Then, she may accidentally, just accidentally, get a little extra spoiling.
Since some of you asked so nicely, and since the bride and groom were generous enough to let me use the photo, and since TMK seems oddly undisturbed by the fact that I’ve lost my heart to someone else, here he is, the officiant at the Maui wedding, otherwise known as The Man I’m Going to Marry. Hubba hubba, n'est-ce pas, girls? Er, and boys? Now, if I only knew his name, the stalking could commence.
The other Man in My Life is the mysterious Ken-Bob who has cropped up in the comments lately and who, during my deepest, darkest, most desperate hours, suggested that the answer to all my woes was the use of more ketchup. Whut the...?
Ken-Bob, otherwise known as SuperKenGuy, otherwise just known as Ken, is my bud, my peep, my pal, from waaaaaay back, the guy who, in a severely alternative universe, might probably-possibly-maybe have been my SO if it weren’t for the fact that (a) he’s very married and (b) I likes me the wimmins (c) I loves me some TMK and (d) there is no such thing as an alternative universe. Ken-Bob is the kind of man every woman wants for a friend: Straight (not that there’s anything wrong with that); sensitive; spiritual, but not too; family-oriented; funny; a good listener; and willing to talk about anything even…can it be?...girlie-man emotions. Now, if he only knew how to knit...
Ken is a regular reader but worries sometimes about commenting because he’s not a knitter and he’s a dood, but let’s give him a big knitterly welcome, shall, we knit-sisters and brothers? Here’s to ya’, Ken-Bob!
Not much to say on the knitting front. Still just jumping like a startled rabbit (or a startled panda) whenever one of the white spots comes along on Splock II so I’ll just end with Ryan’s Stupid Gym Thought of the Week (or Why Ryan Should Have Her Gym Membership Revoked).
Monday: Get on the treadmill and select the Random option, so it makes a random higgledy-piggledy ass-kicking hill for you to walk.
Tuesday: Get on the treadmill. Pick Random again. Wonder why Tuesday’s hill “pattern” looks different from Monday’s.
I repeat: Random.
Granted, I work for the state, and money is tight, and getting tighter all the time. We even have to dig deep to pay for our own coffee, creamer, sugar, and birthday cakes. But sometimes…
This week we received notice that some of the carpeting was going to be glued down. I assumed, as you would, that this meant that rips and curled corners would be pasted into place, perhaps that even really bad spots would be cut out and replaced. But after seven years here, I should’ve known better. Under each desk in my department, the old, thin, gray carpet has become stretched and horrendously rumpled from the movement of the office chairs. They glued the rumples in place. Seriously. Didn’t stretch it and glue it. They just glued the rumples, as is, all up and down and sideways, all the little hills and valleys, into place, into permanent—and now plastic-hard, and hard to roll over—rumples. Between the Darth Vader-esque vending machines (which are now—deliberately, I suspect—dispensing sodas with long-past pull dates) and permanently glued carpet rumples, I do wonder about this place sometimes.
Went with TMK to her monthly spin-in at Village Yarn & Tea last night. I took the finished Splock with me and showed it to the knitters there. It was hysterical to watch them pass it gingerly around as if it were a particularly ugly baby, and with slightly pitying looks that said, You want to say something nice, but you just can’t. It won’t grow out like a bad haircut, it won’t grow into its huge schnozz, it’s not an ugly duckling with a fairy-tale future—it just is what it is: a Splock. But it’s fast growing on me. Soon, I think it will be my favorite sock. In fact, I think I will change my will and leave everything to it.
For the record, I am now the owner of a new set of bamboo size-1 knitting needles, thanks to muscle-bound needle-torturer TMK. I teased her that they were a little long (8”) but that that was okay, because I’d just break 1” off one end. She gave me The Look, and for a brief moment, I was glad I was not a bamboo needle. And for all you wiseacres, specifically my mischievous Cuzzin, I actually had a good reason for not carrying TMK’s wheel for her: She came to Ferals from home, I came to Ferals from work, and never the twain shall meet. Hah.
This week I officially met Lovie Harris, the recipient of all the beautiful things sent for the Baby Harris project, and who is now an adorable, happy, curious three months old. I also met Lori Harris, Lovie’s mother, who wants to let everyone know how much she appreciated the knitted items and quilts that were sent to her. She would like to send a personal email to everyone who participated, and since I’ve long lost my list, if you sent something for the Baby Harris project, would you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know? Then I’ll send the email addresses on to Lori.
The dishcloths for the Cotton Club keep coming in! We’re up to 29 beautiful squares and a I know there are a lot more floating around out there in the ozone. A couple of you have asked for my address, which I promise to send out soon. So exciting!! Thank you, everyone!
Even though my ongoing depression still has me feeling peculiarly withdrawn, I did manage to drag my sorry-ass self to Ferals Monday night. TMK went, too, but didn’t bring her wheel because she’s recovering from a back injury and didn’t want to haul it around. Which meant that she wasn’t doing anything with her hands. Which meant that her hands were free to fiddle. Which meant that they reached for one of my comfortably bent-with-age-and-use size-1 bamboo needles. And tried to straighten it out. And snapped it in half. In front of all the knitters. Like a total muggle.
It’s been 48 hours, and I still don’t think she’s recovered from the embarrassment. Me, heck, I’ve moved on. I trotted home after the fact, hauled out another size 1 bamboo needle from The Needle Stash That Ate New York and cast on for the second Trekking Splock. Her, I think if she knew where to buy a hair shirt and a cat o’ nine tails, she’d be putting them both to good use. It’s not so much that she broke it; it’s that she broke it in front of all the knitters. Egad!
I did manage to explain to her that a bent needle doesn’t need to be fixed. It’s a bad thing that’s good. Like laugh wrinkles. Or accidentally pouring too many chocolate chips into the cookie dough. It’s something that’s been well-seasoned like…like a car with 5,000 miles on it. Or an iron skillet that’s been oiled and used just enough to make it perfect. Or a recliner that has shaped itself perfectly to your back and tooshie. She gets it, but is still desperately wishing she had the power to turn back time. It didn’t help when other Feralites hauled out their size 1 needles, even the metal ones, and showed her that theirs were bent, too.
Bottom line, I think occasionally TMK forgets that she’s been lifting weights. That being said, snapping a teeny-weeny and defenseless bamboo needle in half is not the way to make your girlfriend swoon.
Still going to the gym, much to my astonishment. To keep it up, however, I've borrowed a page from my mother's book of parenting. When I was a child and had a dentist appointment, my mother wouldn’t let on. She would just pick me up from school and then—surprise! We’re at the dentist instead of home! How did that happen? That’s how I get to the gym. Climb in the car, head for home, and then—surprise!—you’re at the gym instead of home! How did that happen? It’s hard to ambush your own self, but I’m managing to do it.
My self-created schedule is two or three days on, one day off, even though my workout by anyone else’s standards is pretty lame: 20 minutes on a bike, 20 minutes on a treadmill, and a strict avoidance of new equipment ever since the “Charlie on the MTA” debacle. I have learned, however, how to do crossword puzzles and bike at the same time, the net result being, though, that my head is getting smaller. I’ve also recently discovered something about Ogling Syndrome. If you (you, mind you) are wearing sunglasses, the ogler will stare at you brazenly and unendingly because since you are wearing dark shades, you can’t see him. Huh.
Got a little creative with the dishcloths last night and twirled them up in a little tower of delight. Don’t you just love the mix of colors?
I can’t wait for more! I’m tempted to move the deadline up just to make the knitters send their cloths sooner for me, me, me...but I think they would catch on.
Kept slogging along on the Splotch Sock (Splocks?) and was unexpectedly happy with the heel, which I did in the Eye of Partridge pattern to break up the goofy coloring. The rest of the foot started splotching right up again when I got to it, and now I’m on the toe, at splotch central. What were they thinking? Still, love the overall colors, will finish ‘em, will wear ‘em. ‘Nuff said.
Oh, you poor, patient dears! I'm afraid I’ve stumbled across three more Maui photos, giving me an excuse to streeeeeeetch the travelogue out a little more. Surely your life wouldn’t be complete without seeing amateurish images of Maui lava fields, would it?
Eyes forward, class.
In the middle of the lava fields, everything as far as the eye can see looks like this (dunno what the hose/pipe thingy is). This stuff, straight from the ninth circle of hell, makes very short work of flip flops, which actually explains why I had to be rescued from the shallow surf by the park ranger. What was tripping me up was my flippers, but I couldn’t take them off because this was what was under your feet in, granted, slightly rounded, eroded form but still toothy. (I just noticed that, in the picture of me being rescued by the park ranger, I am actually carrying my flippers, which meant I was indeed walking on this stuff. Yowzah.)
I was enchanted by this bright green and ever-so-brave little plant determined to grow in such a devastated, desolate area. Growth, life, evolution, and survival of the fittest in a nutshell.
Give me a P! Give me an L! Give me an A! Give me an N! Give me a T! What does it spell? PLANT! PLANT! PLANT! Gooooooo, PLANT!
And here we have the culprit, the lava dome that the lava came from. It was actually quite small as lava domes go, more like a geological pimple than a beefy, oversteroided, beach bully of a volcano, but you can definitely see that the lava splorked right out of the middle of it. And splorked and splorked and splorked until it had covered many miles with black lava.
There is hope for me yet.
After these, I immediately threw some more Trekking on the needles and discovered a new world: Self-splotching yarn:
I have no idea what the design concept is behind this yarn. I think they’re trying to go for a Southwestern motif, but it’s just lost on TMK, who calls them the “Oops, I Spilled The Bleach” socks. God only knows what’s going to happen when I get into the back and forth of the heel and decreases for the gusset where the color scheme, on a good day, goes haywire. Color 159, for the curious.
What I call my “treasures,” the dishcloths from the Cotton Club, are starting to come in, and I love every single one. I’ve received solids, variegateds, muted colors, bright colors, just a happy bouquet of remarkable offerings. Here, are a couple of photos of the way my employee plans to bundle the soap and cloths for sale:
This is just the best project. I couldn't be enjoying it more.