Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

We went to Christmas Eve service of Nine Lessons and Carols last night. The highlight of the service came after the ninth lesson. They dimmed the lights, and put a soft spotlight on a young boy who sang "Stille Nacht" accompanied by a single guitar. The pastors took their candles and walked down the aisle, lighting the candle of each person at the end of the pew. The candlelight fanned out until every candle was lit, and then we all sang Silent Night. At the end of the verse, "Sleep in heavenly peace", we slowly raised the candles high overhead. "Sleep in heavenly peace", and we lowered them again. It's simple and beautiful.

And now, for our treat to you:

We clean up pretty good, don't we?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A weekend alone

Terry's work schedule moves around, so some times he is home on the weekend, and some times he is not. For one reason or another, he has not had to work any weekend days for more than a month now. That's fine for him, but, introvert that I am, I get a little owly if I don't have alone time now and then. Finally, his schedule has shifted back to working Saturday, and I get a whole day to hang around by myself.

Among other things, I tidied up my stash (my yarn and pattern stash, you understand) yesterday. While rooting around in the closet, I found the bag of stuff left over from spinning class, including the purple fleece Amy gave me.

When I tried spinning it before, I could never get it attached well to the leader, and the weight of the spindle pulled the yarn apart. This morning, I decided I was going to get that sucker started, even if I had to go back to my rough-hewn spindle from class.

I pulled off the fleece that had been pre-wound on the top-whorl spindle, and found that the leader was just plain package string. That didn't seem very promising, but I decided to give it a try anyway. I pulled out a fattish piece of roving to start, and... It worked! I don't know how, but it wrapped itself around the string and started twisting.

The spindle took some getting used to. It seemed a little wobbly (that could just be my technique, though) and it would unwind almost as fast as it wound. I had to catch it on my lap or between my feet as soon as it showed signs of slowing down.

Finally, I got two handsful of roving spun. It's not completely even in thickeness, but overall it is better than what I could do with the wool I prepared by hand, and the lumps are not as lumpy.

I still have a long way to go before I have enough for a scarf, but at least I have started.

It's been cold here this weekend, but sunny. Katie the Contortionist found the sunlit spot in the living room to be the perfect spot for her bathing routine.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bear necessities

I have a bunch of wonderful knitter pals, and we like to gather at bookstore coffee shops for knitting and solving the problems of the world and each other. One reason we like these locations is that it allows us to peruse the latest knitting magazines, usually critically and humorously.

Knit.1 is always a good target for us, since most of us are well beyond the 18-to-35 target market. The current issue is no exception, but our collective attention was captured by the cutie pie centerfold:

Down at the other end of the table, the Nice Girls looked at the picture and then started thumbing through the magazine looking for the pattern for the knitted bear rug. "I can't find the pattern for the bear," Margie announced in frustration.

Up at the Mouthy Girls end of the table, Paula and I looked at each other. "There was a bear?"

I have good news for Margie. It turns out there is a bear (Knit.1 helpfully pointed it out on the picture above), and you can get the pattern here.

In totally non-related time-wasting activities: - Free Glitter Graphics - Free Glitter Graphics

I dunno - I suppose there might be some reasonable need for this technology, but I can't imagine what it would be.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Winter knitting

I haven't bored you with any photos of my knitting progress for awhile, so here goes.

This is the second winter I have been working on the sage green sweater. (Once again, the photo does not do justice to the color.) I really want to finish it while it is still cold enough to wear it. I am working on the armhole/sleeve area.

Now that the sweater has become Job One, the cashmere scarf is getting less attention. I still add a six-row repeat every now and then, though. I'm getting better with the lace pattern (knock wood) and don't have to refer to the pattern so obsessively.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the new yarn shop in town, The Village Knit Wit, and was seduced by the Baby Alpaca Grande, which is wonderfully soft and pettable. It was snowing. I needed a scarf. Right? Right???

Naturally, Katie has to get in on the action, especially since the photo shoot is taking place on her chair. I never could get her to move. You'll have to believe me when I tell you I am using a brioche stitch, and the scarf is currently about twice as long as what can be seen in the picture.

Despite what you may think from these pictures, I am not totally obsessed with blue. Katie, however, is totally obsessed with dangly string.

"But Mom, you tempt me!"

In other news, I haven't been sleeping worth a damn and I haven't done any spinning. I hope to do some of both this weekend.

[PS: What is it with the Weather Pixie? Even when it was -5 F, she was not wearing a hat or gloves. Seriously, girl, put on some mittens.]

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My second minute of fame

Alex just pointed out that the Practically Creative Quarterly selected my Backyard Astronomy articles from the Piker Press as a Preferable. I haven't added new articles in ages (as Alex so frequently reminds me), but it is an honor to be selected.

If the link doesn't take you to the exact page, sorry. I could only get it to work about half the time, myself. But look around the PCQ. It's a fun site.

[After some further research, it appears that my columns were listed in the July-September 2005 issue, with the theme of "Space." In the next issue, the Preferable was Chris Baty and NaNoWriMo. Pretty heady company, that.]

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cover girl

I just looked at the new issue of the Piker Press, and was surprised to see my poem Eggnog Season on the cover.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am the poetry editor for the Piker Press, so getting one of my poems published is pretty easy. I don't have any control over placement, though, and making the cover is cool.

Photo du jour

This is an old one, from last month. Terry saw someone from the zoo in front of Barnes and Noble, with this:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Moon and Venus

Did you look to the southwest at dusk? The crescent moon and Venus were just a couple of degrees apart. While I cooked supper, Terry went out with the camera.

Not a great picture of the moon, but you can see the snow we got yesterday.

Better. Notice the earthshine in the moon.

Through the trees in front of our house.

Up close, so you can see the earthshine even better.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Barbie says, "Math is hard!"

Thanks the Holly Jessie Raffybelle for this one. I have to make Terry take it now so I can see which one I missed.

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!

And, for extra fun:
You Are Pecan Pie Soda

Sweet, but totally nuts

So true. My mother was from Oklahoma, and pecan pie was her specialty. I would definitely try this one.