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December 2003
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February 2004

Democratic

With a small d: I've been cycling through my WIPs, giving each of them a bit of my time in a most egalitarian fashion. OK, not quite. No action on the baby blanket, the Brotherman socks, or the recycled cardie. But equal time for Zephyr, Lily, Must-Have, bad-karma scarf and Secret Project. That's a needle range from US7 to US13, and my Clover cord-maker is in on the action, too. I may even add some crocheted edging to the scarf (to ensure getting done with all that yarn. I'll hope to flip its negative energy by donating it to the Mardi Gras silent auction at my church.)

pol.JPGAnd with a big D: This run for the presidential nomination is getting interesting. I remain in the undecided camp; the Dean emails go unread since Yahoo decided they belong in the bulk bin and I didn't argue. Despite his photogenic nature and familiar accent, John Edwards, in my opinion, is not quite ready for prime time. Earlier this week I had a message on my voice-mail promoting Wes Clark, a testimonial from some vet that I didn't listen to because I am such a dove. (It took a while for the guy to mention Clark, so I kept hitting the speed-up button because that's the only way to get to the delete option.) I found the call surprising because our primary is still three weeks away, and the general is not exactly a frontrunner. I've never actually voted in a primary. I don't think I'm registered with a party affiliation (although I'm pretty clearly a Yellow Dog Democrat, having voted for the party's nominee for the White House since 1980) and I can't recall if Virginia held one in '92, the last time the field was this large. I'm interested in giving it a go on 2/10, but I need to get some research under my belt (now that's a weird aphorism -- is it about eating? I don't have time to research that right now) between now & then, get to know this Comeback Kerry . . .


Rest in Peace

ethan_baby.jpgMy kitty companion Ethan (1987-2004) died tonight. Quickly, a seizure or heart attack, so I hope he went without pain. I posted this baby picture when I joined the Knitting Kitty webring, but feel compelled to use it once more. Here's a more common pose, by the front door, hoping to step out for a few blades of grass. (And a couple of knit-related shots, which may have appeared before.) The wee on has been heard to say, Enty's my brother. We'll miss him.


The Newspaper

After complaining to Rachael this week about my unread cube of New Yorkers, I'm pleased to report that I do manage to get through the Sunday Times (and steam when, as last week, weather or personnel issues conspire against its delivery). Reading the Sunday Times is a family ritual that goes back as far as my memory; someone was always at it, Dad having trooped out as soon as the bookstore would have him, even if my early attention stayed with the local paper's colorful comics. (He gets it delivered now, too, and daily ~ and is often flummoxed when he calls midweek to tell me of an article I've already read online.) I've been known to call 1-800-NYTIMES when vacationing in the hinterlands, to ask where might be the nearest newstand carrying my weekend fix. But I digress. So, while I'm at it, one more small tale: At 24, a Sunday phone call checking in with my folks. I share with my mom the highlight of my weekend: my roommate & I had brunched with a pair o'guys at their apartment, then we'd all worked on the crossword together. Her response, bless her Victorian heart? Oh, you mustn't be too smart with boys. This from the lady who shares my smarts-oriented alma mater (as did one of the "boys"). Ah, well. C'est la guerre, as she's fond of saying . . .

So, to the point: here are a pair of links from today's edition. Get 'em while they're hot, because the archives'll cost ya. First, a garden feature that brought to mind dyein' Ryan: Summer's Blossoms Live Again as Dyes, with a link to this artist's site.
Second, speaking of artists, this little Styles item about an artist's posessions, Art and the Zen of Garden Trains. Why note this one? I'm related to this guy. Just a little tangent of family fame. I'll be checking out his show on my NYC visit next month, and plan to leave him a note, since we've nevert met as adults . . .

Knitting news? I finished the bag part of Lily, so I just have to whip out some i-cord, and I started a secret project that will also be felted. Hour nine of snowfall here. Sure hope tomorrow's a snow day, as Caroline woke from her nap at twilight, underdressed, and I steered her towards our roaring fire with promises of snow play in the morning. She'll get to play regardless, but I wanna make snow angels with her!


Uh-oh

I just started the second 56m ball of yarn for the Zephyr poncho -- on the seventh row. Of course, at this point the 218 stitches have only been decreased down to 210, but I'm wondering if I erred in my first round of number crunching for yardage estimate. I have 17 balls; this poncho may have to go fringeless, if I can make it all the way with what's in hand. Cross your fingers.

As per my note to self and Alison's reminder, I tried to photograph our door, but the laminated decorations are taped to the glass and it just made for too many reflections. As a consolation, the decorated wee one, in celebration mode:

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Gung Ho Fat Choy!

vert_cny.JPGHappy New Year (again)! This time it's the Lunar Year of the Monkey. We've got lucky couplets on the front door, clementines in the house, and a party to go to on Saturday, complete with Lion Dance. Today I'm sporting a turquoise silk vest (it's warm; there's an unquilted layer of fiber between two pieces of fabric) that I bought in SF Chinatown 15 years ago. On Saturday I'll wear the green silk blouse I bought in Guangzhou, as it's already risked two such celebrations (and has the stains to show for it, alas) and I'll count on the crowd and the food to keep me toasty.

happy.JPGHere's another new year's tradition I didn't know about prior to recent surfing, although I've certainly seen such images. Get the scoop here. And more interesting stuff's here.

If I'd managed to post yesterday, I was going to entitle it Lily in the Chair, or Knitticaine, as I went to the dentist for a cleaning and a filling, and worked on my to-be-felted bag-in-progress throughout both procedures. I was relieved when Dr. N said I didn't need Novocaine since the filling was pretty superficial; I hate those big shots the most. I wouldn't try to knit something that wasn't going to have its stitch definition lost to the water, but this was fun and easy to do by feel, and kept me from clenching all my appendages.

untitled.JPGLet's take a look at that WIP list, shall we? As if five* wasn't a sufficient handful (it works for digits!), I cast on for another new project last night, after my Elann order arrived yesterday with the yarn for Nicolee's poncho, a Christmas/birthday combo that's already overdue. It's Zephyr from the Rowan Plaid Collection booklet that dear Tim couriered from London in November. Nic's wool-allergic. so we're doing something in a cotton blend that will ease into spring. I had to crunch some numbers for the yarn's different gauge, and I had to cast on 218 (!) stitches. Good thing you can connect those Denise cables to each other. The cast-on and first two rows took me the entire second half of the Duke-Maryland game -- but of course I had to look up at the TV frequently. I look forward to this garment's ongoing decreases!

*Actually, there are two other accessories that aren't even on the list: a stalled ribbed watchcap and a scarf from the bad-karma yarn . . .


Must Have Started

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This is enough, I think, to add it to my WIP list. I'm slowly getting the hang of the pattern on this first sleeve, and I'm rather glad that the "halo" of the Indulgence may forgive some beginner's sins. (Of course, this shot's not quite in focus, and the color's appearing darker than in real life.) I'm still pretty daunted by this project, but it's good to be challenged.

As to the other projects, I added this photo of the MDDS to the gallery -- and was glad to wear it on some chilly days this week, especially yesterday when we ventured to the country for a bonfire, hayride and potluck at some friends' farm.
(A cry interjects from the next room: Captain Feathersword! My unspoken reply: Take a nap already!)
I love driving on small roads away from the populus, especially this time of year when the trees are bare. I saw so many winged wonders during the half of that hour's drive that was beyond the 'burbs. First (while still in the peopled parts, so I could really stare stright up when I stopped at a light), a flock of geese, in two clumps and then some stragglers; not quite V-ing, but almost. Then, a red-tailed hawk alighting on a branch. I consider myself Hawkeye in terms of my ability to spot these raptors, eyeing a handful to a dozen on any rural drive, but usually they are already perched and peering. Extra special to see one in flight. Next, several wild turkeys browsing someone's field, and then the piece de resistance, right before we arrived at Winter Light Farm: an owl atop a fencepost -- we were practically face to face. I just wish I'd been moving more slowly, so I could say to what species this fine specimen belonged.


What's Your Score?

Bit o' fun from Carolyn via Alison:




What is your score? Get it here.

My blog's Scrabble score is 22. My full name scores 36; Caroline's, 28; our menfolk, 32; my mama, 30. She can get 41 with all four names (prime number!), but is that fair? (Of course, as the site notes, no proper noun is a valid Scrabble word ~ but we don't want to think ourselves zeroes.)

I love Scrabble, and look forward to playing it with Caroline. My fellow-word-geek father abhors games of all kinds, but this is the one he will play. In fact, I'm not sure if I've enjoyed "the world's most popular crossword game" any more recently than a match on a train from Lucca to Firenze in May 1999 with Dad as one of the players. . . Shall we pack the board when we trek to Sheep & Wool, you gals?


Tuesday Newsday

Nearly photo-free, but here's the haps: I finished the Multi-Directional Diagonal Scarf over the weekend, and it's blocking now. Instead of fringe, I crocheted a loopy little ruffle (how's that for tech-talk?) on the ends -- just chain stitch that I attached between garter rows because I liked the contrast of curves with the scarf's angles.
I started Julie's Lily Bag in a burgundy Cascade 220 that's subtly flecked with turquoise -- I can't wait to see how it felts. And, just because I happen to have some in the stash, I'm thinking of adding three stripes of turquoise, and finding a button or toggle to match.
I'm using my Denise Interchangeable Needles for that, one more item purchased with my ThreadBear gift certificate (Thanks, Dad!). And thanks always to Rob and Matt for offering the needles, the Cascade and the Lily pattern. Enablers!

musthve.JPGWith encouragement from Rachael (spoken! written! jam-enhanced!), I've cast on for the Must-Have Cardigan in the purple (discontinued) Cascade Indulgence I grabbed from the Boys months ago. This will be the most complex garment I've yet attempted to knit, so I am grateful for the Knit-Along group created by Theresa and Kate. By cast on, I mean that, and that only: 42 stitches on a needle, ready to begin becoming a sleeve. That's why it hasn't made the WIP list yet.
I'm optimistic, though. We have to be, right? That's how we accumulate so much yarn and so many grand plans for the Finished Objects of the Future. I never cottoned to that Yarn Diet, even if I am participating in the Great Stash Redistribution Project. Optimistic and hedonistic ~ from Indulgence to this: with the confidence that I'll be ready for more cabled goodness after the Must-Have, I ordered a yummy bunch of Elann's new Peruvian Collection Pure Alpaca to make that lovely Bed & Breakfast Pullover from Interweave Knits (Nutmeg, tipped with Sapphire, FYI). I realize I probably won't knit it until the fall -- and it could inherit a new destiny between now & then -- but what a way to start the season, si?


Just in time

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Finished the wee one's mitts on a day of highs in the 20s(F) and lows in the teens. They weren't ready for our morning outing to play with Suzanne and Tori, but were done post-nap for feeder filling and wood retrieving. I attached a crocheted chain between them in hopes of preventing loss. The discerning eye will notice the two are not identical: I knit the first with bamboo DPNs (and while watching The Two Towerson DVD); I knit the (better-fitting, tighter) second with my new Inox circulars, courtesy of my ThreadBear gift certificate. If she didn't need them now, I'd redo the first, but I don't have the yarn to complete a third. Ah, well ~ no complaints from the wearer, who only asked, when I presented the first, Are you going to make me another one?


The Return of Bunny

sbjan0002.jpg. . . and Sarah, and Lisa, and the Twins -- many of my S&B buddies are in the midst of educational commitments that keep them from attending our monthly fiber get-together, but they were still on winter breaks Tuesday when we totalled 13. Bunny, left, a future nurse, crocheted a baby blanket for a yet-unknown recipient, while Sarah, a future priest, used my basement sewing machine to attach the binding to her quilt. Keenan had big fun with my ball winder while her sister Scottie worked on her first sock as mom Frances looked on. cakesm.JPGThese three brought the most amazing treat to grace my dining room table in ages (well, actually, it remained in the freezer): the Chocolate-Peppermint Ice Cream Cake from December's Bon Appetit!

Future librarian Lisa brought two newcomers -- her same-named PA pal, and Ashley, whom she taught to knit that night:

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Who'd the camera miss? [See how I avoided a whom there, Em?] Regulars Heather, Hettie, Michelle and Pam stitched (or bitched), but that cake distracted me -- as did our youngest attendee, trying out a new medium.