Sunday, December 31, 2006

And a Happy New Year to All!

My stash runneth over. This is a shot of the garage stash annex. Some of those tubs have been there for, well, a lot longer than I care to think about. The box is holding squares for an afghan that my mother knitted, and which I really should assemble and finish. I really should. Except that I'm not fond of brown and orange. Or acrylic. But my mom made it. By the way, she died in 1991, so we are talking about a number of years here! This thing will be old enough to vote soon.
Question: do I count it as a UFO if I intend to finish it for her? Or does it NOT count because, after all, I didn't start it? Quite a conundrum, isn't it?
In other news, we here in the Greater Pasadena Area will be hosting our annual Tournament of Roses extravaganza. If you live outside of the country--heck, outside of SoCal, you may wonder what the big deal is about a rose parade and bowl game. It's a big enough deal that the main thoroughfare through Pas (aka Colorado Blvd, for reasons I have never known) is now lined with people camping out for the night to secure a good viewing spot. Most of them will be too tired and too cold tomorrow morning to really enjoy the parade--but it's the experience. (Personally, I think it looks like a gigantic homeless encampment, but what do I know?)
I will be watching the parade broadcast--or, more likely, rebroadcast--from the comfort of my living room. Might even put a log in the fireplace and have a toasty fire, there will be fresh coffee and cookies are baking as we speak. Oatmeal cookies make a tasty breakfast--just like having oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar on it, right?
Prime knitting time!! I'm hoping to get a few more tiers in on my Lady E's--#1 just needs about 4 more to be done, #2 has 10 tiers done, so they will be good parade companions.
And yes, I have seen the parade live and up close. In fact, for several years, my girls were volunteer float decorators, and we had the glue-stained fingers and sweatshirts to prove it! D1 even got to be a float escort one year, standing watch over her float during a torrential rain. Of course by the time the parade started, the usual sunshine was beaming and all the floats looked lovely. My current job is right on the parade route, as was a previous job--we would take the VW bus, back it up to the wall of the parking lot (conveniently, about 6 feet above street level) and the kids could stretch out on blankets in the back (or back-back, as they called it) and watch. And the quilt shop was right there for coffee, hot food, clean bathroom facilities...
Anyway, here's wishing a very happy new year to you and yours. May all your resolutions be good ones, and be achieved by the end of this year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Of Wind, and Plague

Okay, okay, so plague is a bit dramatic. I guess it's just a sinus infection, brought on by allergies due to the devil winds we've been experiencing. The rather fuzzy shot is of my driveway, made dangerous by a dousing of liquidambar burrs. Brought down by those same devil winds.

Tell me again why I keep those trees?

Oh, and the other photo?? That's the huge collection of the things that are still hanging on the trees.

Okay, here's the tree story. Way way back when, my children were
just little tykes who went to school. On Arbor Day, it was customary for someone to give the fourth graders a little tiny tree in a milk carton. So of course the little tiny tree comes home, and gets popped into the ground. After all, these are children who from their earliest years were helping me in the yard. Pulling weeds, and picking flowers--sometimes, pulling flowers and picking weeds, but you get the drift. So these little trees got lots of TLC. First came #2 son's (they didn't always get the same kind of trees--#1 son got a little pine tree that turned up its toes at the SoCal climate) and then came D1's--planted side by side, for some unknown reason. And they grew and they grew and they grew, as did D3's little liquidambar seedling. Now? There are 3 trees that are taller than the house, shedding little burrs all over the place. And the kidlets who used to happily gather the burrs and paint them gold and stick them onto things, or tie ribbons on them and put them on the Christmas tree, have gone on to bigger and better things.
I hope the gardener has a big broom to sweep all these things up with. He will be here tomorrow so the driveway may be passable for a little while, if the winds die down.
Driving over these things feels like four flat tires. Or driving in downtown LA.
In other news, a court date has been set for the Grandcarrot's Official Court Hearing. Yay!
Okay, time to go take more of those good drugs (generic antibiotic, and I hope it works) and get some more rest. I hope that someday God will explain to me just why he invented sinuses in the first place. Not that I'm questioning His design skills, you understand.
Reminds me of the little couplet from Ogden Nash:
"God in His wisdom made the fly,
And then forgot to tell us why."
Happy Third Day of Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holly-dazed Update

Leading off with the (at long last!!) finished Pea Pod. Mom must have told Santa about the sweater-to-come, since this perfect-match bib was in Garrett's stocking!
The buttons are just plain little iridescent pearls from JoAnn's, 95 cents for 6. But perfect, no?

The scarf is done. It's been delivered, and its new owner has approved. I really tried to get a shot of the detail, but this was the best I could do.

It's a reversible cable, pattern from the Lion Brand website (but really you don't need a pattern once you "get" that reversible-cable concept. There may be a few more of these in my knitting future, as this one was roundly applauded by the male contingent of the family.

This is a shot of this year's tree--the one on yesterday's post was last year's. The house is D3's. Amazing to me that she can pull this all together, while still working her crazy long hours!

The stockings were hung on the staircase with care, since hanging them on the mantel would have seriously impaired the fire-building. And it was really nice to have a fire blazing while we got ready to tear into that stack of gifts!
Speaking of that stack, it's much smaller than usual. This was the Year of the Heifer Donations. The Conn. families donated a goat, and a flock of chickens, geese and ducks; I gave a pig; plus, there was a whole menagerie that was given for my birthday.

Carrot with carrot. He loved the soft bunny--those ears are just right for chewing! You can just see the leg and ear of his new teddy bear (courtesy of Uncle Jeff) too. He had a lovely Christmas even though he wasn't feeling 100%--that's why we didn't put him into the PP for a shot. However, it's going to fit just fine, with a little room for growth. Thank goodness!

Well, that was us--how was your holiday?? Inquiring minds want to know!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holidaze!

Just a quick note to wish you a very happy/merry holiday, whichever one you celebrate, whether you're having a big party or a small one, alone or with a multitude! In the end, it isn't so much what we celebrate as the fact that we do celebrate at all. Here's a toast to peace and joy and love for all!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, Lizziebug!

The Blizzard Angel decided that Lizzie should have a very snowy birthday...

So here she is, shoveling snow! Mom (D1) says that they are enjoying living in a snow globe...

This will give you an idea of how much snow they have! (Yes, they have snow goggles, these girls are skiers. They just got back from a skiing vacation--made it down the mountain just in time.)
Happy day, Lizzie! Enjoy the snow and the hot cocoa afterwards!
Meantime I am in the process of giving my house a nice Christmas present: a new garbage disposal! Isn't that just what everyone wants? I sure hope the house appreciates it...
I am almost through the first ball of Encore on the scarf. The deadline is Saturday at 4--must be done, wrapped, and presented by then. Ah, the pressure!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday Happenings

First off, here's what D4 refers to as our Charlie Brown holiday decorations. Two strings of lights on the front of the porch. Hey, it's two strings of lights more than we had last year!

Kind of appropriate, really, since the poor old house (yes, old, it was built in 1921) has been getting a little bit of attention this year. So a little decorating is in keeping with that theme. (Okay, okay, it got a new driveway, new back door, new French doors on the back, a new door from the garage to the back yard, new deck, and a new pergola--considering what it needs, this is a drop in the bucket!) The big decisions are yet to come--whether I'm going to be staying here, and thus making more repairs, or whether I will chuck it all (and maybe SoCal too!) for alternative living arrangements.

The sheer volume of what needs to be gone through, organized, purged, etc, argues strongly for staying put. But then, I always feel much better about living "here" during the winter, when the weather is bearable.

How about a little carroty goodness for the holidays? Here's The Boy with his dad and grandma--oops, excuse me, seems the grandcarrot is going to have a Memere to go with his Lola.

I think his daddy is a cutie too.

And yes, that thumb is a constant companion. Funny coincidence? His mommy was a thumbsucker too. She has nice straight teeth, too, no orthodontia required.

Isn't the little bear hat adorable?

Okay, enough gushing. Honestly, there HAS been knitting action going on here. I'm trying very very hard to finish up the Secret Santa scarf before its deadline. Friday afternoon, when I clock into work, it needs to be finished and wrapped, as Mr. Steve and I will not cross paths on Saturday. He'll be done and off for home before I come in. So today, which is a day off, I can knit away, and have some time tomorrow as well. I am procrastinating on the knitting by doing laundry, bills, dishes, posting, and all that good stuff. I sure hope I can get it done and not have to go to Target to BUY him a scarf!

I'm still looking for buttons for Pea Pod. I had meant to have them sewn on and ready for the dinner on Monday (when the above picture was taken) but of course couldn't find anything suitable. I think I have button issues--I love them, but hate sewing them on. "Asking a quilter to sew on a button is like asking Van Gogh to paint your garage."

Okay, back to knitting the grey scarf. Victory post when it's done!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tagged! Or, Six Weird Things

Thanks to Sheepish Annie and her friends HM and RM, I've been tagged to tell you 6 weird things about me. Here's #1: I can actually work in this mess. Oh, wait, it looks a lot worse than that now... but I'll spare you.

Doesn't everyone keep her shoes on a shelf on her computer desk??

2. I have a phone phobia. I can go for weeks putting off phone calls, just because I dread picking up that phone. That's why I have been able to go for months with my house phone out of order (the computer is connected to a different phone line).

3. In spite of #2, I am obsessive about keeping my cell phone handy. You can always reach me on it, day or night, although when I'm at work, you have to talk to my locker. It's a hoot to walk by the bank of lockers and hear all the cell phones ringing, pinging, or playing music.

4. I hoard stuff--yarn, fabric, books, buttons. By some people's standards I hoard cats, too, but there are only 4 of them, so I don't think I'm in that league. I can toss newspapers, though, and expired coupons, so I'm not quite ready for the little men in the white coats. Or the Got-Junk truck, either, although D5 might argue with you on that point!

5. I often think in French. I have finally, after many years in SoCal, learned to say my prayers in English, but I almost always say the rosary in French. And I carry my mother's rosary in my purse.

6. I love punchbowls. And punch cups. I was married to the Punch Bowl King of Southern California--oh, hell, probably the entire known Western Universe--and I really love all of them. Of course the "kids" and their kids will be getting some, but I'm very fussy about adoptive homes for these precious babies. Not as careful as if I was adopting out cats, but still.

Okay. I'm tagging Mary, Marie, Madge, Jillian, Annette, and Patty. I'll be checking up on you guys--hey, if I can hang my weirdnesses out for the whole world to see, can't you join me??

Simon says, c'mon!
(Want to know 6 weird things about Simon? His whiskers are wider than his body; he can't meow; he chirps; he doesn't mind sleeping on pants hangers (ow!); he picked us out, ran away from home every day and came over till his people finally agreed to let him stay; and he won't touch people-food or cat treats.

There, that's not too hard. If a cat can do it...

Yarn Management and Containment

Hi, I'm mehitabel, and I'm a stashoholic. Knit Devil has posted stash pictures and is encouraging me to do the same, and I had to admit to her that I'm too embarrassed. I mean, I brought 6 tubs of yarn home from the storage unit, and they are in the garage for now. Yes, there is more yarn at storage (but not fabric) and I can get into a nice digression about how and why we acquired the aforementioned SU, but that would divert me from my plan for Yarn Management in the New Year.

Wendy has had an idea and has set up her rules for her Knit From Stash 2007 project. I read them and thought about joining her, but then I quickly realized that a Stash of Epic Proportions like mine can't be managed that easily. (Whether it can be managed at all remains to be seen, but I'm willing to try.) So here are my 12 steps (one for each month of the coming year, though not necessarily to be completed in the months that match their numbers) and I'm posting them here for all the internets to see, so y'all can keep me honest. I'm also planning to post updates frequently and if I don't you're welcome to ask for them, demand them, stamp your feet and make me give them!

1. Assess and organize. Knowing your enemy is the first step, right? Besides, it will be fun to meet old friends and maybe get to play with computer programs--I think Excel will work for this.
2. Purge. Ruthlessly. I don't think this step needs explanation. Maybe it would help to think of it as Sharing The Wealth.
3. Assign. Some things were bought for a specific pattern, so it would help to have the pattern and its source stored together with the yarn.
4. UFO Patrol and WIP roundup. Again, self-explanatory. I'm starting to think that a monthly repeat of this step would be really good for me.
5. WIPs get whipped into shape. UFOs get judgment: they are either going to become FOs or they are going to return to their roots, ie yarn balls.
6. Periodic evaluations. How well is this working??
7. Pattern round up and organization. All those lovely designs printed off the internet, especially the ones in the stack that the cat knocked over and mixed up. I've got notebooks and sleeves, so let's put them to work.
8. Books books books. Lots of knitting books, most of which are keepers. Gotta weed out the ones that aren't, make working copies of some patterns so they're handy for assigning to yarn.
9. Gift and charity knitting. This is one of the reasons I said these steps weren't being assigned to a particular month--I want to do this all year long. If there are going to be yarny gifts for birthdays or Christmas, then I should decide that early and get on with it! And I've sorta let the charity knitting slide, since my knitting time has been drastically shortened, but that's really no excuse.
11. Knit from stash exclusively. For this part I may follow Wendy's rules, except that since I don't knit socks, I won't need the Sock Yarn Exemption. I'm not even going to push for a Scarf Yarn Exemption, since I have lots of yarn that would make good scarves.
12. Review, Reassess, Re-evaluate. Frequently.

Oh, yeah. I am also planning to use this same treatment with my fabric stash. Buttons? Not so much. I've already been going through the "regular" books and magazines and moving along some old pals that are just not earning their houseroom privileges.

I'm thinking that for me, 2007 will be the Year of the Declutter. Oh, and what's with the All In Caps bit? I'm afraid I'm beginning to think in YA titles!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Keeping Up With Stuff

Well, as y'all know, I said no Christmas knitting. But I changed my mind, sorta.
This shapeless-looking grey blob is actually a reversible-cables scarf. It's for my Secret Santa victim--I mean, giftee--at work. He doesn't read my blog, so I think it's safe to talk about it here! He takes the bus to work every day, and walks a lot too, so I think he'll appreciate a nice warm scarf. The dark grey is a "manly" color and the cable pattern is exceptionally subtle. Should you think about making a nice cable sweater out of Encore, let this be a warning to you. 'Nuff said?? The pattern goes quickly--worsted weight, 38 stitches, #8 needles, and I can turn cables without using another needle.

Is this not the cutest thing in the whole world for my grandcarrot?? I wish you could see the detail on the cute little face--and it's very very soft, too.
Of course you can also see how badly the finish on my little lamp table has been worn. Normally it holds a lamp...and it's a bookcase, too, and swivels. A nifty piece indeed. It was a gift to Himself from friend Gwen, many years ago, and currently holds his Depression Glass library. Or part of it. Yeah, I have all the glass, and all the books, too. No, I'm not sure what I'm doing with it yet.
Oh, and D3, if you are reading this? Don't tell the carrot, okay?

In case you were wondering about progress on Lady E II. Here she is. One of the things I am really enjoying about this is the amazing variation in color. I am on the second ball of Tapestry--or is this the third? Call me Clueless tonight--and I swear, there are no real repeats of patterning. Most enchanting. In this picture it's looking very grey-and-beige but in some lights it looks green and gold. It's going to be a great piece when it's done! The other one is coming along, too, and should be ready for fringing before the new year.

Speaking of the new year coming along, I'm working on some resolutions. I think they'll be ready to share soon. Stay tuned!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Knitter's Day Out

Y'all know what this is. It's a gratuitous cat picture (it's Simon, sitting on the shredder), because like the dork I am, I didn't take any pictures at all.
But let's begin at the beginning. I don't even remember how all this started, but I got involved in a Day Out with friends. KD and I headed to the wilds of Burbank (Toluca Woods? Really??) to meet up with CBM for lunch, coffee, and knitting at Romancing the Bean, a website-less spot in the aforementioned Burbank. After much knitting, noshing, and general jollity, the gleesome threesome made their way to Unwind for some yarn fondling. Yummm. Then KD and I headed out to Studio City for (of all things) buttons. Yes, Pea Pod needs buttons (still) and the hope was to find some charming and appropriate buttons for PP and for KD's pink-and-red sweater. Results? Mixed. KD got some, I didn't. But wow, what an experience La Knitterie is! For true yarnaholics, I think this is probably the equivalent of a three-day-bender with associated memory loss. Wow!

Do you think I got to rest? Ah, no. It was also the night of the quilt guild's annual Holiday Dinner. More festivities, more food, great company and presents! presents! If I remember I will take pics--well, I can't exactly photograph Lisa's contribution, since it was in a gold See's box and said "Eat Me!"

Work continues to be busy and I have to say, I am enjoying it. I love setting up a nice display and then having it disappear into people's hands. I am such a book pusher. Love those books! And, yes, a number of them have made their way home with me. Wanna know what some of them are? Sure you do! (Partial listing, ok? Don't wanna short out Blogger!)
1. Lisey's Story. I don't normally read Stephen King (except that I love love love his nonfiction books on writing) but the theme of this one is appealing to me.
2. The Shape Shifter. I really like Tony Hillerman's style.
3. Deadly Slipper by Michelle Wan. A new (to me anyway) mystery writer.

Okay, off to re-examine the latest Knitty. C'mon, Sknitty, let's dish!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Off the Wagon--Sorta!

So today I went back to the shop and fell off the wagon, and this is what came home with me:

Isn't it adorable? I had seen it on Friday and "resisted" the temptation to buy it. I was sorry as soon as I drove away, but by then the shop was closed.
So Saturday, I had some commitments that I needed to honor, made myself a promise that I'd stop by on my way in to work. So at 4:05 I pulled up and parked in front of the shop--which closes at 4 on Saturdays! What could I do?

So. Today I got off work at 2, and made tracks for the shop. Had to hunt through three piles of canvases, and was beginning to think that they had already sold it--after all, I'd left it on top of the stack! Obviously, I did find it, since I'm confessing to having bought it. I also got enough #5 perle cotton to work it in. I'd spent t he weekend debating whether to work it in "fancy" stitches--you know, like brick stitch for the house, and french knots for the trees--or do it in a kind of flat, primitive style. I think the primitive has won out. At least for now. They did have some gorgeous merino needlepoint wool...and Impressions are also good. Neither of those had the color range of the DMC, though.
And no, this doesn't mean I'm giving up knitting. As a mother-of-many, I can share my allegiances!
And in addition, I finally got to meet Larry!
Let's see how long it takes before this becomes an FO... unlike the poor neglected and unloved MOTW!!
So maybe I need to finish that "thing" before the end of the year...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ok, I'm A Joiner, I Admit It

I'm just the latest joiner on this, I'm sure, but it is rather intriguing. Check out this person's blog to see what I'm talking about. As I say, it's an interesting experiment and I've still got enough academic curiosity to want to see what happens. And yes, I'm going to follow his instructions and ping Technorati. If I've done it right.

Please join me and we'll all find out how fast a meme can travel!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Happy December!

Since it's already late in the day, I can't say happy First, so I'll just wish you a whole month of good stuff--whatever floats your boat, whether it's error-free knitting, happy stash enhancing, fun with family and friends and all the rest of the holiday trimmings.

I'm feeling rather proud of myself tonight, and I'm hoping it won't turn out to be one of those pride-goeth-before-a-fall kind of moments. One of our LYS started a month-long sale today, 30% off yarn and needlepoint canvases. Naturally I had to stop off, since I'd had a couple of personal invites--a hot pink postcard from Alison, the owner, and a note from Larry. I've been wanting to meet him, but today wasn't the day: he had been cornered by a customer who was wanting help with her cast-on.

But I digress. I'm really proud that I was able to walk into that paradise of wonderful yarns, and beautifully hand-painted canvases, and walk out with--nothing. That's right, nothing. There was one canvas that really was calling to me, but realistically? I don't think I would get to it. I may go back on Monday, and if it's still there, it might come home with me.

But no new yarn! Did you feel the tremors??

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Carrot Says...

He's hoping your Thanksgiving was as great as his was!
Lots of hugs and loves from aunties, cousins, uncles, grandma, friends. A big ol' family gathering, complete with big ol' turkey and all the trimmings.

Garrett got a taste of whipped cream. Just a taste. His doctor hasn't put him on "food" yet.

So this year we were thankful for many things, including this newest addition to the family. D1 and her family made the trek out from Colorado, which added extra fun to the mix.

Not too much knitting content today, sad to say, as all I've done is work on one or the other of the Lady E's. I do have a project with a deadline, though: a square for the NETA charity-raffle afghan. A 12" square in a rusty brown--I'm going to practice a little for gauge tonight, although since it's wool (Paton's Classic Wool) it will be block-able to the right size if it's a stitch or two off either way.

I'm being a pretty bad Lacevember person, too. I've got the Hanging Garden going, but so far am only 6 rows into the pattern. I think I might have to resurrect Birch, since she's also lace, and work on her instead. I don't know what it is about the HG--it's a pretty pattern, not complicated, nice yarn, using my KP Options needles, but I'm just not feelin' it.

Maybe I'm coming down with something. I certainly hope not--with a job in retail, I'm certainly needed at work and also exposed to all sorts of "stuff" floating around.

I've made a classic "me" decision for this year--I'm not making any of my gifts. None. Zero. Zippo. Nada. Rien. Pas du tout. Now, I've made this kind of decision before, with rather laughable results as I'm sitting up late finishing stuff, but I think this year I can say it and mean it. With Christmas and New Year's Day both falling on Mondays this year (and, yes, D3's birthday, which is Jan. 8 and the completion of our holiday marathon) there will be some extra weekend time to get ready. D3 is hosting the family celebration this year, since she feels strongly (and I agree) that the Carrot should have his first Christmas in his own home.

Anyway, I'm currently thinking that this will be a year for books, gift certificates, and my old standby, magazine subscriptions. Do watch this space for meltdowns, though, as my mood and inclinations change!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Eye Candy??

First, a recuperating-from-being sick boy, and his goat: Notice the wild hair!!

Then, a slight miscalculation on my part. I had bought 2 skeins of the yarn on the left, which is an unknown Schaefer yarn, in a colorway called
Snoopy's Crayons. Found some Schaefer Elaine in the same colorway and ordered it. Well, my yarn is obviously not Elaine.

I think it's Miss Priss, but so far I haven't found any more in that colorway. There may not be any, I may have bought the last 2 skeins in the entire world last June. In W. Hartford. Which isn't very close to me, now is it? Actually I'm hoping that the 2 skeins will be enough for a sweater for the Carrot. The third was for insurance. Now, I guess it will become a scarf or a shawlette.

Then there is my "substitute" for that wonderful pink and grey Socks That Rock that Fay Lynn got a couple of weeks back. I really loved that.
So, here's my attempt to recreate that: Araucania Nature Wool in shaded greys, and some Valley Yarns in black and a couple of pinks. Very very yummy. I am currently thinking, rather lacy sweater in the grey with bands of pink. And maybe some white.
Lastly, my big indulgence: some Fleece Artist BFL in Sea Storm. This is 1000 meters, folks, and I am thinking it will make a nice PNW shawl. Or maybe the sheepy one.

Enough yarny posts. I have been rather busy since D1 and her family are here, and staying with D5. That's the family with the two little girl-bugs (you saw them knitting). They came to see me just as I was getting off work today and we had a lovely romp through the children's dept. of the bookstore. Yes, they are taking some new books home. We all went to Shogun tonight--these girls have very eclectic tastes, love sushi and steamed dumplings. It was a new adventure for me, never had been, so it was very interesting.
I'll try to post a bit more in the next few days, but we'll see how I do. I've been fighting some kind of "nasty"--allergic reaction to something, complete with hives, red itchy spots, etc., and concomitent fatigue. I even missed a couple of days of work, that's how bad it's been. So I'm trying very hard to keep my work commitments, and then of course there's the time I want to spend with my family. Always something, isn't it??
And, Lady E has grown a little more. Hopefully we'll have some "done" shots soon!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thanks Y'All!

Well, thanks to Joan and Madge I now have a photo on my profile--and it's the original mehitabel! Isn't she a cutie??
The blurb for this book says that it will appeal to lovers of humor, poetry, and talking vermin.

Here's your eye candy for the day--my favorite grandcarrot, sitting in his stroller at Starbucks while his mommy, his auntie and I all had coffee. And didn't share it with him, either!
There are two suspiciously yarny packages waiting for me to open them (gee, the "Webs" return address on one might be a clue??) so there will hopefully be a little yarn porn to share. I've got one more item ordered, but since it's a third hank of something I already have 2 hanks of, I'm not going to count it.
Yes, I am once again going to try to rein in the stash acquisition. You heard it here first. I have way way too much yarn. Alert the media, she is once again going on a yarn diet. Although, reading diet blogs--Debbi is one of my favs, since she also knits and beads--has been raising my awareness that what I need is not a diet, but a Yarn Management Plan. In other words, a "diet" is something you go on and off of, kind of a punishment for past sins of overindulgence. Yeah, overindulging in food or yarn is not a good thing.
I know that part of it is that I've been self-medicating with yarn--better than with booze, or drugs, or even food, but still not terribly healthy in the long run. Depression is the pits. I'm working my way out of it, bit by bit, and I've got lots of good support.
And thanks to all of you who are providing that! I mean it--without y'all, kids, friends, knitters, quilters--I don't know where I'd be. Curled up in bed sucking my thumb, probably, and that only looks good on people The Carrot's age!
Off to knit now--if I spend a couple of hours knitting, it will assuage my guilt over having SO MUCH YARN!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Stuff with my Cat

Simon is very easygoing and quite accommodating. Witness him posing nicely with Lady E II and her ball of yarn. This is the Woodland colourway and it's rather intriguing. In some lights, it's greeen and gold. In other lights, it's grey and beige. I keep finding bits of different colors as I keep knitting. One thing, though, is that I don't think it's Simon's colors.

Now here, Simon has bee joined by the moose cub and the little "computer bear" as well as Lady E II. As I said, he's pretty mellow. On this picture, you can actually see his enormously long whiskers--even his "eye whiskers" are exceptionally long.
No, I don't have progress pics of anything else. I spent the weekend working at the bookstore and also at a stamping workshop. I made 10 cards (2 each of 5 designs) and when I'm not quite so tired (yes, I worked again today) I'll take them out and photograph them. I took Lady E II to the bookstore meeting and got a whole tier knitted, along with getting up to speed on new books for the holidays. Lady E I is looking like more of the same--she doesn't really show progress now, and she's too bulky to take very many places. So she and Hanging Gardens are "home" knitting and there hasn't been a lot of that in view recently.

Now a question for the Tech Set. Please forgive my massive ignorance as well as fatigue tonight.

This is the picture I want to use for my profile photo:

... but I don't want the arrow, natch. So my two questions are, how do I remove the arrow? And how do I upload this to my profile? It won't let me just upload it like I did to get it in here. (BTW, mehitabel is the cat; archy is the cockroach. He can only type in lower case because he can't hold down the shift key and type a letter at the same time. I know, my "cat" is named archy; he was named for our late-lamented black cat Archie, who was named for an Australian cat we met in '88. TMI??)

My Victorian Lace book came today, so I am planning an early bedtime: just me, my book, and a cat or two if they behave!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lacevember Photos

The current lace project: Hanging Gardens by Sivia Harding; yarn is Kid Merino from Crystal Palace, color 9800--lavender/blue/pink/gold but reads mostly lavender. I have beads for it, but the yarn frays if the beads are strung on it so IF I add them, it will be with needle and thread after the piece is completed. Here you see it after Row 12--not very far along, but then it's just been started! How far will it get in Lacevember? Who knows?? Needles are KnitPicks, which are turning into my very very favorite for everything.

Okay, this is flash-your-stash time--stash with cat. Here's a small part of my lace stash--some random balls of Kid Silk Haze, aka Kid Silk Crack cause it's sooo addictive.
The maroon-y red is what I'm doing Birch in--she's in that old WIP round-up picture down there, front and center! So, yeah, two lace projects OTN now unless you want to include the AbFab, which is Feather-and-Fan, as a lace project too. Anyway, back to the stash photos. There are some beads in there which will probably go onto one of the (many) projects in the future. The little "cakes" of yarn are wonderful Artisan NZ Merino, lace weight. I have a couple more of the pink-and-lavender colorway and want to use those for the Romance shawl from Fiddlesticks. Oh, the Great Wall of Rubbermaid? Just a small part of it. This is living on top of the trapdoor to my basement. The green-lidded one is holding my Rowan Tapestry, which is rapidly being transformed into Lady E I and Lady E II.

Now I am feeling a little better about all this stuff. Of the WIPs in this picture, the blue shawl on the left is done, just needs a light blocking and it will go into service; the two pink things are also done and moved along to new homes. The MOTW has its last sleeve done, needs to be washed and blocked and sewn together, get a neckband added and it will be good to go; Birch and the Ab Fab have both had a bunch more added to them. I think Birch is going to move to a KnitPicks needle too, she's on a Bryspun right now which is OK but I don't like the thick cable. I sure hope I have the right size KP to put into service...

There you have it. Or part of it. I'm going to go look for something to cast on for Peacock Feathers with--I'm sure I have some blue/green/purple something somewhere in that wall of tubs...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The knitting questions, or the usual suspects

How long have you been knitting?
Since I was 7 or 8--I can't do the math.

How did you learn to knit?
My mom taught me, and then I learned a lot more from books and patterns.

Favorite thing about knitting?
I'm a process knitter, so that's the best part for me. I love learning new tricks and techniques, too, just taught myself how to knit back backwards and I love it!

How long have you been knitting lace?
Let's see--made knitted lace dresses for my oldest daughter who's now (oops) 40.

Favorite thing about knitting lace.
Watching it come to life when it blocks. Oh, and mastering the challenges!

The yarn questions, or flash your stash

Favorite lace yarn?
mmmmm... Kid Silk Haze and its clones

variegated or solids for shawls?
Depends on the pattern, I love both!

Favorite lace color?
no such thing--I don't play favorites. I mean, I have a favorite oldest son, and a favorite younger son, you get the idea...

Technique, or show us your skillz

Circs or straights?
Circs, every time.

Favorite lace knitting trick?
Don't really have any; just plug away at it.

Lifelines? If so with what?
Not usually.

Fancy blocking wires, or just sewing pins stuck in your carpet?
Quilt pins on the spare bed.

Pattern, or can you follow directions

shawls or lacey items?
both--have done lots of shawls though

triangle, rectangle, or circular shawls?
triangles or rectangles, my big circular one was not a hit

Charts or printed instructions?
Either or both, I've done both ways--I usually translate charts to directions muttered under my breath as I go along

Favorite lace you've knit?
See above...

Favorite lace you want to knit?
Got a whole collection of patterns I want to do. I need to live to be 145, with no arthritis!

Just Fun, yup that's right, just for fun

Favorite jelly belly flavor? The minty ice-blue ones

Tell me everything you know about Eric the Red.....
Seriously? I used to teach 4th grade. My favorite thing about him is he brought Forest Cats over to the US and they bred with the native cats to give us Maine Coons.

Coke, classic or with lime?
Cherry Coke. Or the Black Cherry Vanilla.

Holiday carols, sing along, or wish they would be banned from all public airwaves?
Love to sing along with the carols, but hate the jazzed-up versions. Ick.

What is the definition of irony?
Listening to Alanis Morrisette and realizing she's describing your life!

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?
Dunno, I always crunch them!

Why is my cat always puking in front of my son's bedroom door?
Because he won't let her in so she can puke in his bed, of course!

What is your superhero power?
Mighty Mom, of course...

If the laundry is 9 foot by 11 foot (just dreaming, that's a big laundry room), and the walls are 8 feet tall, and you are going to tile the entire room in tiles that are 3 inches by 5 inches, what color should those tiles be?
They'd be Bachelder tiles in lovely warm tones, with lots and lots of figurals mixed in.

What's for dinner tonight?
We had corn cakes and apple strudel. It's so nice not to have to feed a family any more!

What is clogging my children's bathtub drain?
Check for missing toothbrushes. (Honest. We had a sink that wouldn't drain--plumber pulled 15 toothbrushes out of it.)

Don't you just hate it when...

This happens:

Well, or this:

For some reason, Blogger isn't playing very nicely today. So it uploaded the pictures I took, but is only showing them here as HTML code. Sigh. So I don't know which is which! One is a "still life" on the coffee table at Zephyr--they do lovely floral arrangements all over, and Patty had put her unfelted fuzzy clog down next to the bowl of posies. The other picture is Annette, dealing with a huge wad of "yarn barf." She was all set to start a nice project, and lo and behold, her ball of DB Cashmerino Aran exploded!

Don't you just hate when that happens??

Okay, changing the subject slightly, I hope you've all been over to see what Wendy is doing with the Heifer Project. This is a cause that's near and dear to my family, and I've already sent off my donation. Prizes schmizes, I think the real reward is helping people, who have little except determination, get a helping hand. If I was in that situation, I'd love to get a critter to help me feed my kids, educate them, make a better life for them.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Another one of those things...

What kind of knitting needles are you?

You are interchangeable.Fun, free, and into everything, you've got every eventuality covered and every opportunity just has to be taken. Every fiber is wonderful, and every day is a new beginning. You are good at so many things, it's amazing, but you can easily lose your place and forget to show up. They have row counters for people like you!
Take this quiz!

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| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Yes, it's true--my family has found my blog. Welcome aboard, kidlets, and feel free to make as many snarky comments as you'd like!

Now on to the good stuff! Since I've mainly been working on Lady E lately, here's a picture of her at (I think) 24 tiers. Or maybe it's 23. Anyway, she's rapidly approaching the limits of portability, so it may be time to cast on Lady E II. This week alone, she's been worked on in the car on the way to the airport, in the Starbucks at the international terminal, at Zephyr, and during both the Biggest Loser and Survivor. Yeah, I have totally declasse taste in TV shows, but what can I say?? I love watching reality shows, my very own form of train-wreck-watching.
This is Padua doing what he does best. Or at least, what I like him to do best! He has the most raucous meowowow of the whole crew, and when he's not happy, we all know it. But he sleeps nearby when I'm on the computer, and tonight during Survivor he slept on my lap while I knitted.
Thought as long as I had the camera out, I'd take a progress shot of the latest (maybe last?) Ab Fab. This is the Sorbet colourway and I'm liking it, although the blue in the one mohair blend comes across awfully strong. I'm starting on the third repeat of the progression, probably will finish at least 4 repeats and perhaps take it to a 5th. We'll see how the proportions look after the last of the 4th.

Don't look at the messy part of the chair. Please. I throw an afghan over it since the cats like to nap on it, but then they pull the afghan down and get nice and cozy in the wrinkles. Funny how, if I make my bed in the morning, and the quilts are nicely flat, I won't see a cat on it; but if I'm running late, and leave it mussed up, I'll come home to 3 or 4 of the little darlings sleeping in the folds.

Oops. Looks like I'm turning into one of those old ladies who yammer on and on about their cats. Just call me Mrs. Figg. (And here I've been identifying with Mums Weasley!)

Monday, October 30, 2006


That's kind of like musing, only more aimless. It's what I feel like these days, loose ends, unravelings. More hours at work = less energy, less time for knitting, less time to plan stuff and take care of "business."
Here you see what happens to my printer when I'm not looking. Yes, it is covered with a poster and there are books propping up its little shelves. I don't think it was designed to hold 15 or so pounds of cat, let alone all that fur. The books are galleys of new releases that I'm reading for work.

But who could move that adorable face?

Then there's this one--he's perched on top of the shredder, which lives next to the computer and printer. Gee, I hope it's heavy-duty enough to withstand cat hair.

Today was trippin' down to LAX with youngest D to pick up her friend, who was arriving from England. Now, Mel lives in Australia, so this was a detour of sorts, but she'd been visiting her grandparents in Sussex. Last time she visited? She arrived from Dubai. The girl is well traveled. She'll be here for a couple of weeks, right in the middle of the Halloween extravaganza. D5's husband loves Halloween and spends hours decorating and planning his presentations for the lucky (?) trick-or-treaters that dare the porch. I'm going to miss it this year--and the grandcarrot's debut as a puppydog--since it's Tuesday, and if it's Tuesday it's quilting night. Students can cut class but Teach needs to be there. (Yes, there are people there who call me Teach. Otherwise very nice people, whom I love dearly.)

So there was knitting on the way to the airport--it was dark on the way home--and in the Starbucks in the international-arrival waiting room. Still working on Lady E, who is rapidly approaching a lack of portability. Wonder if that means I can cast on Lady E II (the Woodland colourway) for traveling??

I have some grandcarrot pics to post, too, but I'll save them for next time. I'm hoping that the Ds will all take plenty of Halloweeny shots, too. Since I'll be quilting and all...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fiber "fix"

Time to get a quilty sort of fix for today--I did bring the camera to SnB today, but we spent so much time moving from one area to another, that taking pictures just kind of got left behind. It was a real Mad Hatter's Tea Party effect--you know, "Clean cup! Move down!"

So we're going to treat you to some alternative stuff. First, we have Judy's Flower Garden. This is mostly hand pieced and will be all hand quilted. Judy inherited a whole lot of partially-completed projects which she's been finishing up. Thanks to the great variety of 30's reproduction fabrics available now, she can get a finished quilt that looks completely "period." Then there's Louise, who after swearing mightily that she'd never do another one, was caught doing a second Bouillabaise. This is two sets of fabrics from Pincushion Boutique--the green is Margarita with Lime, and I can't remember the pink's name. I think this is going to be one POW!! quilt!
Remember how last week, I showed you the fabrics Anne had picked out?
Well, she added a couple more from her stash, and got busy. Not only is this a fantastic quilt, folks, but this was done in less than a week. I am truly awed and amazed at her skills!

Finally, a little fur for your enjoyment. What's life without cat fur in everything, right? I must say, though, this boy (Hi-Hi) doesn't shed and doesn't tangle--he's got the greatest coat, thick and plush. Here he's curled up on the shelf under my computer--I didn't even know he was there, till he gave me "the paw" to say hello.
Not much knitting to report on today, did most of another tier of Lady E but she's not looking all that different from the last pictures so we'll have to give her a little more time. My next challenge is going to be finding a nice flat surface where I can set up the swift and ball winder--I'm really eager to get busy on those BWA sweaters, in spite of the fact that today is HOT and dry and windy--Santa Anas, doncha know. (Most flat surfaces in this house are covered with stuff--great stuff, but still stuff.) Ah, the joys of packrattism!

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Fond Farewell, and other things

Tonight, there won't be those two crazy Maries out there on the patio at Starbucks. No knitting needles flashing in the lights from the passing cars,* no yarn flying all over the place. The crickets will search in vain for their favorite purple hiding place** and the baristas will just have to go without their nightly laughs.
One Marie is on her way to Seattle--about an hour on the road, as I write this--and the other is blogging sadly. Dear friend, have a safe trip and do warn the Seattle yarn shops that they are going to be invaded by a horde of Pasadena knitters!
*KnitPicks needles are shiny and bright and reflect the light.
**that Jordana Page purple knitting bag/carryall/holdall

Okay, now here (just for you, Madge!) is some of my latest eye candy.

First we have some Skye Tweed, in a pretty light blue, from Webs. No color name, unfortunately, but it's a nice greyish-blue with darker and brighter flecks in it. I think this will make a nice cardi for *moi* n'est-ce-pas?
Okay, now these beauties are from Black Water Abbey yarns. They are a nice heavy-ish weight and each hank has 220 yards. (Hmmm...why does that number sound familiar?) The upper one is called Bluestack and will probably become a Celtic Dreams gansey, while the Ocean will become Marilyn. You can see the patterns and more about the yarn here but I warn you, if you love arans and Celtic designs, stay away! Marilyn (the owner, not the pattern) also included color cards with my order; now I am anxious to get these knit up, so I can order more. And I heard that "someone" might like to make Rogue out of the Mountain color... a really pretty lilac/lavender color. Since that someone originally got some apple-green Lamb's Pride for Rogue, we'll see what happens, no?

I may have shown this lovely woodsy color of Sea Silk before, but I know I didn't show the beads I got to go along with it. Found them here and the little clear-top containers are from Martha's defunct web store. The beads come packed in little plastic baggies and I was able to peel off the label and stick it onto the side of the container, so if I run out I can run right back to the bead store for more. This might become a beaded Diamond Fantasy Shawl, which is a Sivia Harding design and which you probably already saw on Madge's blog.

Lastly, what's a good blog post without a shot of the grandcarrot? (No, Bad Gramma has not yet sewn the buttons on Pea Pod, hush up now!) Mom is at her wit's end with that hair and it may be getting a trim soon.

All together now: Awwwwwww!!