Sunday, December 31, 2006

Here comes 2007

My tradition is to make resolutions but not call them resolutions. Let's just say I agree in principle with the first four ideas, but I am not going to obsess about them.

1. 2007 - Year of Creativity
I mentioned to Sand a few weeks ago how I wanted to incorporate more kinds of art into my life. Specifically, I had been reading about sketchbooks and illustrated journals. I love them.

Anyway, Sand pounced on the idea and declared 2007 the Year of Creativity. This sounds much nicer than last year's declaration of "The Year of Crappy Doodles." The idea is to do something creative every day. Write, draw, paint, knit - heck, arrange flowers as long as you do it with a creative spirit.

This is the perfect opportunity to use up some of those Moleskines that are so enticing.

2. Knit From the Stash
Wendy got the knitbloggers all fired up with her plans not to buy yarn for several months, and only knit with yarn she already has.

I know myself well enough to recognize that I would chafe under such restrictions. I have quite enough nice yarn to see me through the year, though, so I had better have a darned good reason for buying any more yarn for awhile.

3. Sock Marathon
The esteemed Lime & Violet are sponsoring a three-month challenge to knit with sock yarn. The rules are pretty flexible, just the way I like them.

I have gobs of sock yarn. I need to knit some of it. Now. Two of the three projects on the needles are past the halfway point. My first new project will be knitting two socks on two circs. I have never tried this technique, so it also qualifies as...

4. Try Something Different
My corollary to the first three items is to try some things I haven't done before. Painting, yoga, fair isle knitting, salsa dancing - whatever. Revisiting things I have tried but sort of forgotten, like spinning or playing the guitar, is also acceptable.

The goal is to try one new thing each month. I was late ordering my Fever Dreams calendar this year, but as soon as I get it, I will use it to record the cool things I try.

The Knitwits have agreed to join me as needed if I say, "Hey, let's go to the pottery-painting place!"

5. Run a 5K
This is the "Holy crap, what was I thinking, and I wasn't even drunk" item. The Knitwits went out for dinner tonight. One minute we were discussing what yarn we liked, and the next minute we were shaking hands on a solemn agreement to do Race For The Cure in October.

No, I'm not a runner. None of us are. But we said we will do it, and I think we will.

At least it will qualify for the "Try something different" category.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Nice Knitting

I couldn't wait to try out the Malabrigo, so Thursday morning, I wound one skein into a ball and cast on.

The colorway is Water Garden, which Margie and Kim picked out for me. I would never have picked mint green - in fact, I don't even remember seeing it on the rack. But why not? I have a green coat, so it will probably look okay with that.

I'm using the Yarn Harlot's One-row Handspun Scarf pattern, which is magnificently simple, but more entertaining than plain ribbing.

The needles are Lantern Moon rosewood and ebony, which I purchased at a deep discount from a yarn shop that is closing. I started out on metal needles, but they were too slippery for the yarn. I would have bought Brittanys, but they didn't have the size I needed. Sad, isn't it, that I once again was forced into buying the jaw-droppingly beautiful Lantern Moons?

Katie gives the scarf her seal of approval - briefly, until I rescue it. She also loves watching the long straight needles flap around as I knit.

Coming tomorrow: my non-resolutions for the new year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


A few days ago, I got a postcard announcing that Personal Threads in Omaha had a sale beginning December 27. In a remarkable coincidence, several of the Knitwits were off work on the 27th. So we all piled into Amy's van early this morning and headed west.

Once there, we ran into the world-famous Miss Violet of Lime & Violet podcast fame and her friend Alcariel. Storytelling and yarn enabling ensued. Much Malabrigo left the store. Four of the skeins were mine, plus a skein of Schaeffer Andrea silk laceweight.

After finishing our shopping, we went for coffee and visited a while longer, and laughed and laughed. Thanks, ladies for showing us a good time in your fair city.

I've been knitting on the two socks I don't hate. Today on the trip, I picked up the heel flap stitches on the Opal Zebra sock and the Cherry Tree Hill Fish Scales sock. When I get to that point, the end is in sight.

While I have not completely subscribed to the "Knit From Your Stash" rules that are swirling about the blogosphere, I certainly agree that I have plenty of lovely yarn on hand to keep me busy for a good long while. However, I told myself I could not start any more socks until these two were done. I have Socks That Rock in my stash, people. I have Artyarns and Schaeffer Anne and Mountain Colors, and I can't even remember what else. I need to get these socks finished so I can try out some of the other yummies.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Case in point

I decided I wanted to make a pecan pie for Christmas. Specifically, I wanted to make my mom's pecan pie, which was much admired.

I looked in her recipe box. No pecan pie.

I looked in my recipe box. No pecan pie.

Mom was not the type to keep her special recipes secret, and I knew she would never let me grow to adulthood without telling me how to make her pecan pie.

Then, I saw this sitting on the shelf.

Her Betty Crocker cookbook from 1961, so well used that it is held together with duct tape. In desperation, I turned to the pie section. Et voila!

Pecan pie! And more importantly, it had an X penciled next to it.

Mom loved collecting recipes, and I suggested one time that she should mark the important ones, the ones the family considered the "real" version. Over the next few years, she did just that, so I knew I had found the king of the pecan pie recipes.

Incidentally, the secret is to use light corn syrup, not dark, and try to forget for a few days that you even used the now-vilified corn syrup in anything. Also, the pie crust must be in one piece, without any patches or tears. The filling will seep right through a patch, and then you have an unholy mess.

Terry just called Starbucks and found out that they are open until 4:00 PM. I guess we are headed out for a holiday Frapuccino.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Making stuff

I've been an orphan for three years now.

Three years ago today, after having ominous reports from the nursing home and hospice, T and I moved up our vacation and made the eight-hour drive to Kansas. We went straight to the nursing home, where the nurse told me, "She's been waiting for you." Mom had been unconscious all day, but we held her hand, talked to her, and said a prayer. We left to go get a sandwich and check into the motel. Less than an hour later, Mom died.

Almost immediately upon hearing the news, I realized that there was now a huge gap in my life. She was the one who remembered all of the stories about the past, her past and my own. She would remember stories I had told her about my life long after I had forgotten them.

She did leave me with a legacy, though. She taught me how to make stuff. She was a homemaker. She liked doing all of those homemaker things, and she taught me as many of them as I could bear to learn. Thus, I can cook and sew, knit and crochet, quilt and embroider. I don't do them all now, at least not regularly, but if I have to, I can do them all.

Today, I knit.

I am determined to get these socks finished so I can knit something else for awhile. I just started the heel flap on the first one. I am a few rows away from the heel flap on the second one. The third one - oh, dear. I just have a horrible time feeling the love for this sock. I don't know why. I will be SO glad when it is finished... in 2008, at this rate.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I'm a cat

You Are: 20% Dog, 80% Cat

You are are almost exactly like a cat.
You're intelligent, independent, and set on getting your way.
And there's no way you're going to fetch a paper for anyone!

Katie, I'm sure, will be insulted to know this. Maybe I should wake her up to tell her?

Monday, December 11, 2006

One click for healthy chicks

You've seen the things where you click on a link and provide funding for some project or the other? This one funds free mammograms for women who can't afford them. Just click the pretty pink button to go to the site.

Getting a mammogram is just an annual inconvenience for some of us. For others, it can be a fiscal nightmare to get a lump checked out. Here's one way you can give them a hand.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my cold added the disconcerting elements of fever and chest pain over the weekend, so I ended up at the walk-in clinic Sunday. Bronchitis, said the doc. I'm now enjoying a whole new set of meds - but feeling better. My voice is still a mess. You should have heard me singing the Hallelujah Chorus along with the radio tonight. Then again, maybe not.

I felt well enough to knit tonight, and put a couple of rows on the neglected 3xChic sweater. I assume we will get true winter weather someday (not this week, they tell me), and I need to be ready.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The crud

Since last week, I have had some combination of headache, sore throat, cough, and congestion. At work, everyone downstairs tells me, "Oh, you have that thing that's been going around down here." You know the one - more than a cold, less than the flu, and nothing you can do but wait it out, sometimes for weeks.

What really ticks me off is that most of the multi-symptom cold medicines, like Tylenol Cold and Dayquil, have replaced pseudoephedrine with phenylephrine. Phenylephrine, to be blunt, Does Not Work for me. Fine, if they want to keep all of the Sudafed behind the pharmacy counter. Just sell me something that will take care of all of my symptoms so I don't have to tote four different medicines everywhere I go and mix my own. Sheesh.

I'll write again when I feel better - I hope.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Duh, what?

You scored as Judge. You are a Judge Empath, one who is a "truthsayer". You can tell truth from lies, good from evil. You do not tolerate wrong doing. You are a defender of the good and the innocent. You are kind and merciful but do not play foolish games. (from "The Book of Storms" by Jad Alexander.)





Fallen Angel












What Kind of Empath Are You?
created with

I'm not sure what the heck a "Judge Empath" would be, but the description sounds about right, especially with a heaping serving of Artist on the side. No idea what the Fallen Angel is all about. Thanks to Lydia for sharing this, albeit ages ago.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I did it!

With a day to spare, no less. Gloating to follow. Right now, I'm off to celebrate.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Double dose of me

I'm in the Piker Press twice this week. Once with a poem, and once with my debut as a cartoonist. Sand has mucked up her wrist, and was going to rerun old Fever Dreams cartoons, but I offered to send her one. Actually, I sent two, so I may be there again in a week or two.

We've been having weird weather here. It's been in the 50s and 60s for several days. I noticed this weekend that my lilacs have some buds, and the rose has some new leaves. It's supposed to snow in a couple of days, though, so the plants are going to be in for a rude surprise.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The last ten percent

I passed the 45K mark today. Monday and Tuesday are not good word count days because of other obligations (real life - phooey!), but I am off Wednesday and hope to finish then, a day early. That would be a huge accomplishment for me.

Over at the NaNoWriMo forums, a user called Migratory has created some icons here and here. This one was spoke to me because it is true:

That's right. 45,114 words in, and I still don't have a title.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Google Spreadsheets - just playing around

Allegedly, when you click here, you will be able to see my personal NaNoWriMo chart as stored in Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

The good - heck, amazing - news is that I have ended every day ahead of where I should be for that day.

Time to give thanks

Today is Thanksgiving. T and I had a potluck with a couple of the KnitWits, which was nice and easygoing. I'm from a small family, and we didn't live near our extended families, so four people for dinner seems just about right to me.

As always, I am thankful that I have everything I need, and a few of the things I want, and good people to share my life with. This year, I am also thankful for the doctors of Iowa Health System, who told me several times during the year, "This should fix you right up." So far, they have been correct. *knock wood*

My wish for you is that you will also find reasons to be thankful, today and every day.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have 1667 words to write.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A bunch of cat photos and not much content

You've been warned.

Katie secures the perimeter from ladybugs and spiders--

Katie patrols the printers--

See down in the corner? I really have been writing.

Katie the newshound--

Today is mid-point of the NaNoWriMo month, and I should have at least 25,000 words to be on schedule. I am on vacation today, so I should be able to get to 25K before lunch. Then I can use the rest of the day, and tonight's write in, to build up my cushion again. And shop. After trying to write in a noisy coffee shop Monday night, I really want some noise-dampening headphones.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Cast your bread upon the waters

Last month, I surprised my friend Sand with a hat and wrist warmers.

Today she surprised me with a cartoon - the Knitting Kninjas. She drew this even though she is nursing a bum wrist and doing NaNoWriMo and wrangling the Piker Press.

Thanks, my friend.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 11

What I predicted would happen yesterday? Happened yesterday. I completely squandered my word count cushion. But I got to visit with some regular people (in other words, non-Wrimos) and do some knitting.

Today, though, I was invited to a jet-pack write-in, where the goal is to write hard for a long time. and build up your word count. Hello - I left the coffeeshop with more than 3300 words, and my total word count just inched past 20,000.

The coffeeshop was next door to a yarn shop. My deal with myself was that I would write until I hit 2000, and then I could go look at yarn. It didn't work. I kept writing right past their closing time.

20K is huge for me. I've always been a slow starter in NaNoWriMo. Prior to today, the earliest I ever hit 20K was 11/18. Two of the four years, I didn't even get to 16K.

The most important things I have been doing this year are:
1. Writing every day. EVERY day. The chart above says that I didn't write last Tuesday, but I did. I just got busy watching the election returns and didn't post my word count until after midnight.
2. Whenever possible, exceed the minimum words (1667 words x 30 days = 50010) needed. There have been just two days where I fell short, but I stayed ahead on total word count because of the cushion I had from previous days.
3. Write with people. It's easier to stay BIC HOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) when others are doing the same.
4. The Fetching Gloves of Noveling Doom rock.

There is another jet-pack tomorrow. Some of the writers are hoping to have 25,000 before Monday. That seems a little unlikely for me. but anything over 2,000 will be fine with me.

I have a really short excerpt of my story here. On the right side of the page, click Turn to see the next page. Then, on the right side, Click To Load.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Snow and Stars

I've been busy with NaNoWriMo, and not much else. The writing is going well. Thanks to our fabulous local group and many write-ins, I have been staying ahead of schedule. It's probably going to blow my cushion, but tonight I plan to knit first, write later. After all, if I don't stay in touch with humanity, what am I going to write about?

We had snow today! It was the best kind - fluffy and pretty in the air, and melted immediately from the streets.

Last weekend, Terry finally received his Messier Club certificate and pin, which he earned last spring. He had to observe the 110 items on the Messier list of deep sky objects, and could not use computer guidance on the telescope to find them.

Katie's new favorite hobby is killing the phone book.

I found this picture from a few months ago while I was looking for the snow picture on the pda.

Doesn't everyone deserve a personal watermelon?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The battery is recharged...

...and I now have pictures of the Lucky Fetching Gloves of Noveling Doom.

(ETA that instead of the picot bind off, I did an i-cord bind off. I know Amy hates attached i-cord, but I thought it was easy and made a nice finish at the top.)

I wore them to the write-in tonight, and I am now at 2168 words. I'm also hopped up on iced tea, so I may still write a bit more before I go to bed.

I still don't hate the story, and I don't think this heroine is going to be wimpy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

One finished, one started...

...and technology is my enemy.

I finished my own pair of Fetching gloves today. I took two pictures, and the camera battery died before I could upload the photos. So you'll have to wait for that.

NaNoWriMo started today, and I have hit the ground, not exactly running, but at least sauntering steadily. Because the site is overwhelmed and horribly slow, the word count widgets are balky as well. At this posting, I am at 1060 words, and on my way to a write-in, so I should easily make my word count today. So far, I don't hate any of my characters. I'm still struggling with including enough stuff to make a scene last long enough, though.

Monday, October 30, 2006

October wrapup

Socktoberfest was a big non-event for me. I did hardly any sock knitting this month.

I'm about three-fourths of the way finished with wristwarmers for myself. I hope to have them done by November 1 for...

That's one of the new word-count widgets. As I update my progress, you can follow along and see how I am doing, if that is of interest to you.

We had our regional kick-off party Sunday. There had almost 40 people there, and took up almost half of the seats at Panera. There were all ages, teens to grandparents, and all levels of experience. I don't usually go to writer's groups or meetings, so this was easily the largest group of writers I have ever seen in one place. I wrote a poem for our goodie bags, which also appears this week in the Piker Press.

The weather was beautiful this weekend, but this afternoon and cold front blew in. "Cold" and "Blew" are the operative words, with the temperature plummeting and the wind picking up. Sure wish I had some new socks to wear.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wildlife in the 'hood

There's still no knitting to report on. As I said before, I am a bad joiner.

However, this weekend, I managed to sneak up on Chuckie outside, and got some good pictures of him.

He ran for home when he heard me coming, but he stopped at the entrance to assess the danger.

When he heard more noises, he would scoot backwards into his hole.

The more noise he heard, the farther in he scooted.

Did you see the brownish markings on his chest in the second picture? Who does that remind you of?

Katie, of course! After I came in from taking pictures of Chuckie, she was on a tear. When that happens, it's time to get out the feather toy and run off some of that energy.

Today, she got a new "toy".

We've have merchandise at work that comes tied with satiny fabric selvedges. I saved a few of them once, curious to see what they would look like if I knitted them up on a couple of pencils. Then I started rolling them into a ball. The ball is one of Katie's favorite toys. It's soft and easy to bat around, and if she gets lucky, she finds the end and unravels it.

I accumulated a big bunch of ribbons today, and tied them all together in a big knot for transport. She was a little freaked by this at first. Apparently she thought it was a giant centipede or something. But after it had been lying still for awhile, she made her peace with it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Socktoberfest Stash Flash

Over at the Lime & Violet message board, Stareil reports that she performed an inventory, and learned she has 17 miles of sock yarn.

Since I covet every new skein of sock yarn anyone writes about in any internet venue, I thought perhaps I should refamiliarize myself with my own sock stash.

There it is - 45 pairs of socks waiting to be knit. That, plus four pairs I have on the needles, comes out to about 12 miles of yarn.

This exercise really talked me off the edge. I actually don't need more sock yarn right now. I do need to get knitting, though.

The secret project has been delivered, and can now be revealed.

It's a hat (Ann Norling's London Beanie pattern) and wrist warmers (Fetching, from Knitty), both made from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. They are now in the possession of my friend and fellow Piker, Sand.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I read this somewhere

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Meanwhile, in real life: It is cold. 27 degrees this morning (a bit below 0 for my Celsius-speaking readers). I may have to bypass the light jacket and go straight to the wooly coat. I don't know if there were flurries during the night. It was beautifully clear this morning - "good astronomy", as I tell Terry while shuffling him out the door on his way to work.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's official - I CAN see

I went to the retina specialist today for the six-week follow-up after my Visudyne treatment.

First stop: Nurse Linda has me read the eye chart.

Big letters first
then smaller
and smaller
and smaller

until she exclaimed, "Wow! You just read a letter at 20-15!"

The doctor was also pleased with how the eye looked. He said that histoplasmosis cases like mine often respond favorably after just one treatment, whereas macular degeneration often requires multiple treatments. It's possible that that this will be all they need to do. I go back in six weeks for another follow-up.

Thank you to everyone who offered prayers, good wishes, and kindnesses.

That Saint Lucy - she's a peach.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Katie in a box

It's cold and rainy. Tomorrow night is supposed to be below freezing. I turned the heat on about an hour ago.

KnightStar and I are still sifting through the photos from our weekend visit to the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.

There may be knitting photos later, but not today.

All I have to offer is a kitty in a box.

Monday, October 02, 2006

NaNoWriMo signups begin

Why the button? Why here? Because this is the easiest way I know to get it into my links.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Waiting patiently

It's October 1, and I am waiting patiently for NaNoWriMo to open the doors for the 2006 novel writing season. This year, they did not specify a time when the forums would re-open, no doubt an attempt to avoid the annual Crashing of the Server.

My NaNo experience last year was horrible. My writing sucked like a Hoover, and life (and death) interupted a couple of times, causing me to lose momentum and fall far short of my goal. I swore to the Pikers that I had NaNoed my last.

My local group has continued to meet a couple of times a month, and I have continued to go to their meetings. A few weeks ago, the leader started talking about our kick-off party. Fun! Except I can't very well go to the kick-off if I am not participating. So maybe I will participate, just so I can keep hanging around the Cool Writers' Club.

I'm not the only only on the slippery slope. Over at the Piker Press forums, some other "I'm never doing this again" is giving way to, "I bought a new notebook and have some good ideas."

In knitting news, the baby has her sweater and looks adorable in it. I also made her a turquoise beret, which is probably too big yet. I finished a secret project, and started another secret project. There has been no sock progress today. See why I don't do knitalongs?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Don't tell Mom yet

Back in the spring, I mentioned that I was working on a secret knitting project. The knitting has been done for ages, but tonight I finally finished all of the detail work. I won't be delivering it until tomorrow, but I don't think the recepient reads my blog as a rule, so - Ta da!

It's a fuchsia sweater for a friend's baby girl. Look at those buttons. Aren't they the cutest?

The pattern is the Baby Garter Trim Sweater (aka Baby Yoke Sweater) from City Sheep at Creative Fibers in Minneapolis. The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca sport weight. (Warning: The pattern says it takes two skeins. The pattern lied. I went well into the third skein.)

I have long missed the "new baby" deadline, but the little miss cooperated with me by being early and tiny. I think she may be able to wear this now, or on into autumn.

Now, back to socks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ready for Socktoberfest

As a rule, I don't do knitalongs, those things where a bunch of bloggers all agree to knit in something in some specified period of time. I knit to unwind, and to make the things I want, and I don't feel the need to go along with the crowd or threaten myself with a deadline.

But when I heard about Socktoberfest, I knew I had to join in.

There are no restrictions about what you make, or how long it takes you. It is simply a time to celebrate handknitted socks.

Do we celebrate them? Why, yes we do. Observe, from my bag o' active knitting:

Three, count 'em, three socks in progress. They are all second socks, mates to these three:

I need to get these babies off the needles so I can a) wear the socks, and b) free up the needles to make some different stuff. So that is my Socktoberfest goal - finish some second socks, kitchener those toes, and start wearing them.

Progress continues on the Stashbuster Sweater. I finished the back:

And started on the front:

I sort of regret that I decided to make it with The Yarn That Dare Not Speak Its Name, because I would like to see it in nice yarn, but I am not turning back at this point.

At least the pattern is easy. It makes perfect TV knitting. And what am I watching on TV? KnightStar and I used some discounts to procure seasons 1 and 2 of Star Trek, The Original Series. (The store did not have season 3 in stock, so for the moment, we are spared from having to watch "Spock's Brain".)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back home from Winfield

I got back from Winfield, Kansas and the Walnut Valley Festival yesterday.

It was touch and go whether I would even be able to attend. My brother had to bail out, and with my eye all wonky, there was no guarantee I would be able to drive. Eventually, I talked Terry into going with me.

Terry has been there once before, and doesn't really like it - too loud and too crowded for his taste. I assured him that our current campsite was relatively quiet and off the beaten path. He spent most of his time hanging out at camp, and by Saturday afternoon confessed that he had achieved stresslessness.

My brother always says, "When I go to Winfield, it's summer, and when I come home, it's autumn." That was true this year, and I even know the exact moment the change happened.

It had been in the 90s all weekend, but on Saturday we heard rumors that a cold front was on the way. Sunday morning at 3:00 AM, a huge gust of wind roared in from the north. Within 10 minutes, I heard the first drops of rain. Once we had secured the windows, I went back to sleep to the sound of rain on the tent.

We awoke on Sunday to cool breezes and mud. Our mates are prepared for any situation, though, and we were able to get out of the muck with no trouble.

Back home, it is still cool, and in the last 23 hours, I have already seen signs of the leaves turning.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I can see?

I won't have official confirmation for a few more weeks, but anecdotal evidence says that my eyesight has been improving since I had the space-age laser treatment last week. I would rate it as "about where it was when I first started complaining that it was getting worse" - not back to normal yet, but considerably improved.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Vampire no more

As of this morning, I am free to move about in the daylight. To celebrate, I went to Sunday afternoon knitting at The Village Knit Wit. I worked on the Zebra sock, and am almost to the toe decrease. For being a boring pattern in a boring yarn, I am enjoying the knitting immensely, and I think they will be cute socks to wear.

In the brochure they gave me at the doctor's office, it said to avoid sunlight for five days, but different people on different days told me three days. I sincerely hope they are right and I didn't just cook all of my blood vessels.

I rather enjoyed my forced leisure these past few days. The weather has been temperate enough that I could keep the air off most of the time. I've watched DVDs people have lent me, read books that I was dragging my feet about finishing, and knit. It's the perfect vacation.

Friday, September 01, 2006


I haven’t told anyone, but I’m knitting a sweater.

A few weeks ago, I aired out the yarn stash, and I decided to gather up the pre-yarn-snob yarns and put them in one place. I saw that I had a sweater’s worth of one of the yarns, purchased when it was on sale at Hobby Lobby.

This yarn is much maligned by serious knitters, and with good reason. It is hard to work with, splitting and unraveling at every turn. It has the illusion of softness, but if you have ever touched baby alpaca, this feels like fiberglass. But I have it, and at 100% acrylic, it is never going to go away. I can’t even throw it to the moths as a sacrifice. The moths would throw it back.

At almost the same time, I was bouncing around the internet and rediscovered Bonne Marie Burns’s 3timesChic sweater pattern on Knitty. I always liked that pattern and could imagine myself making and wearing it.

And what do you know? It can be made with The Yarn That Dare Not Speak Its Name.

I made a swatch, and got the gauge the first time. At least I think I did – stitch definition is not one of the selling points of this yarn. So I cast on. I put it on the Denise needles, so I have had to make no additional investment in the project other than time. It’s all stuff I already had.

So my dirty little secret is out. When I’m not making wool socks on itty bitty birch needles, I’m knitting an acrylic sweater on plastic.

Even Katie, who is a bit of a yarn snob herself, seems to understand.

I’ve survived my first day of daylight restrictions, in the company of my faithful cohorts.

KnightStar took me out for dinner after dark, and then we went bookstoring. He thought I was a little bit down, so he surprised me with a Godiva Dark Chocolate with Raspberry bar. You know what? It totally worked.

It cooled down nicely last night. I turned off the AC and opened the windows, and had the best night’s sleep I have had in weeks. I’m now refreshed and ready to face another day as a recluse.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Garbo stays home

My eye troubles, which have been dormant for a dozen years or so, flared up recently. Essentially, I have macular degeneration, but I got it from a cause other than old age. If you really care about the details, follow the links.

What I have - CNMV
What caused it - POH

Anyway, I had a treatment today that I have not had before. In a nutshell, they shot me up with drugs and then shined a soft laser (cold laser, they call it sometimes) in the eye to activate the drug. Again if you want to know more, click through.

What Visudyne does
How Visudyne works

The main side effect of the drug is photosensitivity. I must avoid the sun for three days. They were very specific about making sure I had long sleeves, long pants ,and a wide-brimmed hat. They gave me the stylish shades and the cloth to cover my face and hands while I was in the car. I felt like a reclusive movie star.

I'm ready for my close up, Mr DeMille.

Until Sunday, I am restricted to indoors during daylight hours. Long days of naps and knitting and DVDs - the sacrifices I make for my health.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Still here

I'm still around. No, I haven't posted for awhile. Without getting into details, let's just say that going to the dentist to have a filling replaced is NOT the worst part of my week.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

KnitWits Gone Wild!!!

It's possible that ours was the only group of knitters to commemorate their trip to Stitches Midwest in this way:

Yes, those are real, permanent tattoos, procured during our Thursday visit to Wisconsin. No, none of those legs are mine. Not getting a tattoo was one of my birthday presents to my dearly beloved.

Stash flash

I went to Stitches and only bought enough yarn to fill a small bag. (Foot included for scale.)

Here is the bag unpacked.

Seven skeins of sock yarn, two skeins of silk-ish stuff, and a scarf's worth of cashmere. This isn't even all from Stitches. The first three skeins on the top row came from a yarn shop in Wisconsin that we visited a couple of days ago.

Of course, I had to bring projects to work on as well. First, the Fish Scale socks.

I finished the first sock last week, but still need to graft the toe. I have not yet had a period of quiet contemplation suitable for that project, so I just slid the stitches onto spare needles and cast on the second sock.

I've turned the heel on the Zebra sock. For me, one of the great thrills in knitting is turning the heel on a sock. I always think I have performed magic.

The colors are pooling rather dramatically in the decrease area, but c'est la vie.

KnightStar arrived in town yesterday, and we took him to a Greek restaurant for his birthday dinner. Today, he is playing in the blitz tournament at the US Open Chess Tournament.

Meanwhile, the KnitWits are headed downtown today to see the sights.

Friday, August 11, 2006

News flash from Stitches Midwest

The foofy garter stitch scarf is over.

And there was much rejoicing.

The new trend, unfortunately, is wearing a ginormous backpack while you are shopping. Someone smacked one of my companions in the face with her backpack, and then had the b***s to say, "You're in my way."

I don't think rudeness is a trend though. For the most part, people were pleasant. When I got separated from my enablers, total strangers stepped in to fill the gap, as I did for others. Belisa Cashmere should give me a kickback.

I bought some sock yarn, a small ball of cashmere, and a set of needles. Everything I've bought so far, including yesterday's foray into Wisconsin, fits into a 9 inch bag.

But we're going back this afternoon.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

On the road

Amy pointed out to me that I have not updated my blog for awhile. Oh, yeah. Guess not.

Several KnitWits and Amy's friend Dianne are in Chicago, waiting for Friday so we can go to Stitches Midwest. We came early so we could sightsee. Today we are going to Milwaukee, where Amy has been working recently.

I'm knitting on the zebra sock (just turned the heel) and the fish scale sock (a couple of inches into the second sock) while we travel.

Stay tuned. In the next day or two, I should have yarn porn photos, and possibly a tattoo crawl to report on.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Last day for the home girls

KnightStar is on his way home, and Katie and I are enjoying our last few hours of leisure. (Leisure, my ***. I've been cleaning.) (OK, so I've also been watching Mythbusters.)

Last night, I started the heel flap on the zebra sock.

When it's hot out, Miss Katie does what she does best.