Friday, March 30, 2007

Mating season

T was right. There are two of 'em. And from the way they were squealing and waving their tails around a few moments before this picture was taken, I'm guessing one male and one female, and some courtship ritual going on.

The finches have also been chatty and posturing along the back fence, and snuggling up along the rain gutters. That's better than in the house, which seems to still be bird-free.

Katie is watching all this action intently, but she has already proven that she is a big sissy when faced with actual prey.

The aftermath

After they booted me out of the library, I drove home. The front door was wide open, and I could see T skulking around the living room with a flashlight, peering behind the curtains and under furniture.

He came out and told me, "I think it may be gone."

I came in, carry just my keys. No way was I going leave a wild bird in the house with my purse if it turned out he was wrong.

We found Katie. The fearsome huntress of shadows was hiding out in the basement. Fat lot of good SHE is in a crisis.

We cleaned up the plant that had been knocked over.

We went out for a sandwich. We came back. Still quiet.

We went to bed. Still quiet, although I don't mind telling you I slept with one eye open.

We got up. Still quiet.

T left for work. Every little noise I hear makes me jump.

Maybe I'll go to work early.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Live from the Public Library!

So it turns out I possess the latent Tippi Hedren gene.

As regular readers know, we have some finches that like to billet in the awning over the back door. Standard procedure is that when we open the door, they will fly over to the house next door and wait for us to stop disturbing the peace.

Today, instead of turning right, one of them turned left, and flew into the house. At 6:30 AM.

And I freaked the hell out.

T made a brief effort to direct the bird out. It flew near the ceiling fan, then dived toward the floor.

It was quiet. Too quiet.

And T had to go to work.

I slipped from room to room, closing doors behind me, hoping that if it wasn't gone, at least I could keep it away from me while I showered and dressed.

By the time I was ready, Katie crawled out from under the bed. She seemed calm enough, so I thought perhaps the bird actually had escaped.

When I got home from work, I didn't even have the key in the lock before I heard a thump on the kitchen window. And then another.

The bird was still there.

I went to Walmart, bought a fishing net, and delivered it to T at work. "Call me when you have it out of there," I said.

Now I'm waiting at the library up the street, and they are about to run me out. T's been home for 40 minutes. This can't be good.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

One less excuse

Knightstar doesn't always keep up with my blog posts. (He's a tech geek, but doesn't even use RSS feeds. Go figure.)

Anyway, he just finally saw my little two-inch painting from a few posts back, and said, "I have primary colors."

"What do you mean, you have primary colors?"

"Out in the garage, in my mom's stuff. I'm pretty sure there are some acrylics."

So we went out to the garage, and what do you know?

10 little tubes, lightly used, and 14 big tubes, never used. It's an embarrassment of riches for someone who has been thinking, "It would be silly to invest a lot of money in paint when I may not like painting, or may not be any good." This is enough to play with, and experiment with, and not worry that I am wasting anything.

Your answers to the question, "I have the paint - NOW what do I do?" are eagerly sought.

(The non-obvious lesson here is "Take care of your niggling little health problems." His ma decided she could manage her blood pressure just fine without meds. It turned out she was wrong, but it took a few mini-strokes to prove it. Instead of spending her retirement traveling and painting, she spent it descending into dementia in a nursing home. So take your meds, and make your art, while you can.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Signs of spring, part two

Chuckie is back!
Knightstar alerted me to the fact early this morning, while I was getting ready for work. He reports that Chuckie was out later in the day with a comrade. Bride of Chuckie? Chuckie, Jr.? We'll have to wait and see.

Also of note: a distinct green tint to the grass.

We drive through a flood plain on the way to our hiking trail. Parts of it are swampy right now, but there is one spot that has blossomed into a full-fledge pond, complete with geese.

I'm taking a few days off from knitting to see if I can get this knot worked out of my shoulder. In the meantime, I understand that there is this thing called "books" that some people enjoy. I thought I might take a look at one of those.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Early Saturday morning, we had a brief, but dramatic, thunderstorm which left our finches homeless.

They are still hanging around, so I hope they intend to rebuild in the neighborhood. Maybe I should see about getting a FEMA grant for them.

The daylilies are starting to come up.

And the lilacs are budding.

I ripped out the sock from the previous post. My official excuse is that it was too small. But seriously? The brownish purple spot on the front looked just like the pictures you get if you do a Google Image search on "necrosis".

To replace it, I cast on the Rockin' Socks Club February project. The yarn color is Monsoon, although I still say it looks more like camouflage. The pattern is Inside Out, because the finished socks are reversible.
The foot is knit at a tight gauge for a snug fit. I had to go down to size 00 needles to get gauge. I usually knit socks on size 1, which is the diameter of a toothpick. Double oughts are about 25% smaller that that. Plus, these needles are about two inches longer than what I typically use for socks.

So the whole array is rather lethal, with sharp metal points sticking out every which way. It's also hard on the hands, knitting that tight, so these may be a slow process. At least I still have the Tofutsies for easy knitting. The pooling on those is starting to zigzag, which is sort of cute.

Katie is totally in favor of spring, and the open windows it brings.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

You call that pooling?

This is pooling.

The pattern is Monkey, from Knitty. The yarn is hand dyed from the Lime & Violet Etsy shop. The needles are US 1/2.25 mm.

Here is the front.

And here is the back.
I could maybe excuse it if the pooling were moving around, but it is just sitting there. Also, it seems like it might be a wee bit on the small side. I haven't frogged it yet, but it seems likely. Maybe a different pattern and/or a different gauge would give more pleasing result than the gangrenous shin look, above.

Any knitters who stop by? Feel free to leave an opinion in the comments.

Gratuitous Katie cheesecake photo:

"White socks are always in fashion."

Monday, March 19, 2007


I went to the yarn shop a couple of Saturdays ago, and could not resist the siren call of SWTC's Tofutsies sock yarn. It is a blend of wool, cotton, soysilk, and chitin (a seaweed shrimp and crab shell product.) I cast on last weekend.

The yarn has a really nice feel when knitted up - sort of soft and cottony, but with wool's sproinginess. I'm not crazy about how is is pooling, though. I like either side of it by itself, but as a big gash wrapping around my shin? Not so much.

One of my occasional blog readers asked me what Katie has been up to.

Not very darned much. Here, she is keeping Knightstar's chair warm while he is out with the telescope.

Friday, March 16, 2007

An Easter Egg Miracle

The Easter Egg Socks Are Finished!!!

I have been working on these socks for at least three springs, maybe longer. Earlier this year I ripped out one completed sock because it was ugly and ill-fitting. But today, at last, we have success - two, complete, almost-matching socks.

I would like to thank Trekking XXL for yarn (color 802) that, when I was much younger, caused me to say, "Oh, how cute." I would like to thank Wendy for publishing her pattern for Feather and Fan toe-up socks, which it turns out is what this yarn longed to become. And I would like to thank the Lime & Violet Sock Marathon 2007 for inspiring me, at long last, to get the darned things off the needles.

It feels so good to be done, I may read tonight instead of knitting.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

First hint of Spring

It was 76 degrees when I got off work. 76, people! At 10:00 PM, it is still 60. The window is staying open tonight.

We went for a walk again today, on the same trail where we walked Sunday. I wore capri pants, which are a surer sign of impending spring than robins. All of the slush is gone from the trail, although we did see a couple of ice floes moving down the river.

It's not going to last, not yet, but I'm glad I got to enjoy it today.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Creativity in small bites

A few weeks ago, I found some tiny two- and three-inch canvases at The Art Store. They were only a buck, so I bought a few. A couple of weeks ago, after I finished the still-veiled art project for the Press, I pulled out one of the little canvases and started painting on it.

Considering I was using paints from a paint-by-number set, and considering all of the darker paints had dried out (the figure in the foreground was drawn in with a PITT artist pen), and considering it is my first time painting with acrylics ever, I thought it was not too shabby. I'm especially proud of how I screwed up one of the stars, and managed to turn it into a nebula.

Who knows what might happen if I get my hands on some primary colors?

In other news:

The Piker Press
has been saved. We found a new web host (don't forget, Infinology sucks), and Josh spent the week moving everything over. There may be some glitches yet in the archives, but there is an old issue up now and another one on the way Monday.

Early this morning, I finished one of the Pastel Easter Egg socks of Doom. It's cute. I have about four pattern repeats left on the second sock. The end is near... and I already have two new projects waiting to step up to the plate.

It warmed up to 60 today. Knightstar and I went for a walk along the river this afternoon, without coats. We still had to tromp through patches of icy leftover snow. Ah, spring. He just put a lot of pictures on his blog, some of the aftermath of our recent snowstorms, and others of the local wildlife.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Now in our third year!

Yesterday was the two year anniversary of this blog. Break out the bubbly. Make mine a double.

Yesterday was also my brother's birthday (which is why I can remember my blogiversary, or whatever they call it.) Happy birthday, bubba.

The past few days have been full of petty annoyances, most of which are not worth recounting in detail. Suffice it to say that today was better. Things are working better, and there was time for fun, too.

We just got word tonight that they have found a new webhost for the Piker Press, which has been MIA for a week and a half now. It's still down, but we are getting new error messages as Josh moves everything over to the new host. Maybe in another day or two, we will be back in business.

Let me say a few words about our previous host, Infinology (aka Inf'nology or InfinHellogy). Their service sucks, in that they do not provide any customer support whatsoever. They do not answer the phone. They do not answer e-mails. For all we can tell, they just have some computers sitting in a room, whirring away mindlessly, like the unattended ham radio by the window in "On The Beach", which incidentally, is the most depressing book I ever read. Good, but depressing.

I'd wrap this up more wittily, but it's late and I'm tired. Some weeks are like that.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sometimes I surprise myself

Remember how I've been kvetching forever about how I hate knitting the stupid pastel socks? Hated them so much that I made knitting on them a Lenten discipline this year?

They are now my favorite project! I always thought the leg should be lacy, but didn't like the other lace pattern I had tried. Then Wendy published her instructions for Toe-Up Feather and Fan socks. Yes! It's cute, it's easy, and it doesn't hide the striping of the yarn. The identical-twin stripes got out of sync about mid-foot when there was a knot in the yarn, but that's life. Or fate, or kismet. Anyway, it's gonna stay that way. If anyone is that concerned about my ankles, let them knit me some socks.

Sad news:

The Jaywalker has gone paws up. It was way, way too big. The leg was just a smidge spacious, but the foot was shaping up to be enormous. It was never going to work. So...

Here is a sock laid to rest, awaiting it's next incarnation. This is the second time I frogged a sock just this year. I'm amazed that I can do it so calmly.

One of the reasons, I think, is that I am now comfortable enough with sock knitting that none of it requires steely concentration and total solitude. I've been turning heels and kitchenering in public, which pretty much makes me think I can take on the world.

Since I can never have just one sock on the needles, I started this.

The pattern is Monkey, and the yarn is Violet's Lemon Cake. Everyone says it is a really quick knit. I can't imagine how, with an eleven-row pattern repeat, but okay.