Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Goofy Cat Moment

You gotta love cats.

There is never enough fresh water in the house for Cappuccino. You would think I was trying to kill her with thirst. This is why I can't use that spray on shower cleaner stuff. This happens every day after I shower. Silly little cutie.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mussel Beach Party

My fingers stink of crab.

I was attempting to clean a couple of whole dungeoness crabs that I took out to thaw a few hours ago. To my dismay, they were still frozen, but I tried to clean them anyway. I wanted to make crab cakes. I guess, I'll have mac and cheese instead washed down with a small glass of cheap chardonnay, with the DVD of 'Yojimbo' on the telly.

Still, I got my shellfish rocks off this weekend. Me, the hubster and a work buddy of mine all went and scored some yummy mussels at a nearby beach. The weather was dicey, but held. It was supposed to be a slight minus tide and we were there half an hour before peak low tide, but we still got rather wet. Not really a minus tide in reality. It was fun though! I was fishing license-less, so I left the gathering to the registered, watched their backs for waves and took pictures.

The intrepid mussel gatherers do their thing:

These look like larval critters--baby barnacles or baby mussels:

The sky was doing weird, wonderful things with light and color:

We took all our shellfish home and noshed on Spicy Thai Mussels, bread and lemon icebox pie all washed down with Newcastle beer. It was a tasty feed, I must say and we were assured of the freshness of the seafood! There were barnacles on the mussels and we all got brave and tasted a couple of the larger ones. They actually were quite good and tasted a lot like crab, but were only a tiny sliver of meat in each, so not really worth the effort.

Cappuccino flopped out in front of the fire after the feast. I felt about the same way. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday and nice to know we earned our tasty meal!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Earn More Sessions by Sleeving

Charlie: Ten more seconds and I'm leaving!
Roxanne: What did you say?
Charlie: I said ten more seconds and I'm leaving.
Roxanne: Oh.
Charlie: What did you think I said?
Roxanne: I thought you said earn more sessions by sleeving.
Charlie: What does that mean?
Roxanne: I don't know. That's why I asked

--Roxanne, 1987 starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah

I think that is a reasonable line to describe my state at the moment. Earn more sessions by sleeving. That's what I am doing: sleeving. Actually I am procrastinating because I am blogging about sleeving rather than doing it. I am up to 72 stitches out of the needed 104, meaning I have 64 rows of slogging stockinette to go. Onward and upward...

I did have a work lunch hour interlude project--YAH ("Yet Another Hat"), this time for me rather than as a prezzie as the last few were. I felted it this morning and it turned out as cute as ever these hats do, all woolly and curly brimmed.

The has was knitted up using Cascade 220 and felted in three hot water cycles before rinsing in a top-loading washer.

Zarah is not currently going with me to work. She is a purely at-home project, although that may change if the 'gottas' set in. Right now the sleeve reknit is aversion therapy. The hat was an at-work project, but my knitting bag contains a couple other small portables that I can autopilot during my lunch hour. Even 30 minutes of knitting can dial back the white noise of a busy clinic, although the male portion of my cowrkers (which is most of them) look at me kind of funny. Well, they can keep their World of Warcraft. I got my fiber. Still, I like an autopilot project that I don't have to concentrate too hard on so with the red hat done, currently in the ondeck circle is the 'Belinda' wrap from Mason-Dixon Knitting: Knitting Outside the Lines which I am doing in Madil Kid Seta--Cascade's answer to Kidsilk Haze. We'll see how the Madil holds up to the beloved KSH, but it would be nice to have a yarn that works with it to expand the color choices.

Tonight is a minus tide just before sunset and the Hubster has a spanking new fishing license, so we are going mussel gathering. A first time for both of us. I am armed with a recipe for Spicy Thai Mussels that sounds yummy. Hopefully the weather will hold.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More Sleeve Madness

For my fiber-bemused buddy:
(you know who you are--hee hee!)

"O mercy, God! what masquing stuff is here?
What's this? a sleeve? 'tis like a demi-cannon:
What, up and down, carved like an apple-tart?
Here's snip and nip and cut and slish and slash,
Like to a censer in a barber's shop:
Why, what, i' devil's name, tailor, call'st thou this?"

--Petruchio, Act 4, Scene 3
'The Taming of the Shrew' by William Shakespeare

I am in Stockinette Purgatory on the first redo of the Zarah sleeve. This quote comes to mind as I just watched a video of this play last week. Apropos, I think, so I thought a quick blog was in order. Blogging, even briefly gives me a break. Tonight it's plodding sleeve stockinette and some 1963-4 vintage Season 1 'Outer Limits' courtesy of Netflix. Hokey and excellent! Sleeve on, Macduff! (that is homage to the video of Macbeth that awaits...)

On a tangential sleeve note, here is a daily rant: why the heck is it that I have 3 sets of size 4 needles and 4 sets of size 6's, but no matching set of size 5's? I mean really, what's up with that?!

Another ranting note as to the quality of my day: my hands stink of bleach at the moment as I attempt to remove blue sharpie ink from a white lab coat. That's what I get for absentmindedly putting a sharpie with the cap on the wrong end back in my pocket: a nice, vivid stripe across my boob. As my boss observed this morning: "It's the right angle for a rightie to put it back into the pocket." Lovely. Well, yay Clorox!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fit to be Tied, A Knitting Saga, Part IV: "The sleeve. The sleeve!"

"The sleeve. The sleeve!" Frank Fry (Norman Lloyd) from Alfred Hitchcock's 'Saboteur'

Frank Fry is about to fall to a messy death from the torch of the Statue of Liberty after his sleeve, grasped by Roberts Cummings, comes loose from his jacket. Very suspenseful film making.

So why the shrieking, falling image of Frank Fry? I have got sleeves on the brain. Bad sleeves. I am having a case of Deja sleeve because I am finally reknitting the first sleeve from 'Zarah'. I ripped that puppy last night; fifteen minutes of tinking and rewinding. It's a heck of a lot faster to tink than to knit. Sigh.

I took measurement after trying the pinned up sweater/sleeve combo and made the appropriate notes for changes. The upshot is that the sleeve is (by my calculations) 18 stitches too narrow. How this happened, I don't know. The stitch count is correct for the large sized sleeve. Oh well. (grrr.)

I ripped one sleeve and left the other as a guide. I was able in a sad little way to tink to the 13th row, so that is a tiny start. The pic shows the embryonic new sleeve and the too narrow old sleeve. Since both sleeves were "complete", that means I will end up knitting them twice. I tend to knit both sleeves at once on sweaters. When I do this it usually means that the shaping ends up being uniform on both sleeves. Well, not this time. It's one sleeve, checking as I go. So I hope I won't end up a splat like Frank Fry. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fit To Be Tied: A Knitting Saga, Part III, Zarah Recap

Well, it's 2009--a whole new year. The Christmas projects are mostly done. Only the the Kinetic scarf remains to be finished. I should have it done before my brother's birthday. (Yeesh!) I am on the last ball of yarn, but it has reached the interminable stage even though I have knit on nothing else since Christmas. I am really ready mentally to work on something, anything else.

Still, I am nearing the end and trying not to get sidetracked too badly from my NY Knitting Resolutions, although distraction is already starting to occur in the form of upcoming birthday projects and some small projects that I actually have stash for (specifically Noro Cotton Iroha for Clapotis and Tahki Donegal or Cum Matt Cowhair yarn for the Formal Boot Bag).

But I digress. This is supposed to be a post about Zarah. Zarah has lain untouched in my knitting basket since late Summer/ early Fall when I started the Modern Quilt Wrap. This is where Zarah stands: the fronts and the back are done and I am happy with them. The collar and sleeves are done and I am NOT happy with them. The sleeves are too narrow and the proportion seems off. The collar looks slightly too short.

This is the current recap of how much I have knit and reknit on this puppy:

1) the back was knit a total of 2.5 times before I was happy with it.
2) the fronts were knit 1.75 times each.
3) the collar has been knitted 2 times already and it is still not right.
4) the sleeves have been knit 1 time each and are not right.

Here is pic of the current state of the bodice. The black lines are scrap yarn placed over the bust darts so they will show up in the picture. In real life, they are quite unobtrusive.

So here is what is on the agenda: I need to check the sleeve size, recalculate and reknit them both. The pattern for the collar has it as onle long, straight piece, but really it needs to be knit in a slightly horseshoe fashion with some decreases to get it to lie correctly and not bunch up. So, I will try to make some sleeve calcs this week and start up by next weekend. I want to schedule a down day where all I do is knit. (my Eveready Bunny husband is not good with just 'sitting around', so I need to negotiate some me time with him.) The upshot is that I have to have Zarah done by the end of January. I also have some brithday projects to do, one easy hat due by early February maybe not so easy socks due by the end of March. Maybe a couple more, if I can squeeze them in. All these little things early in the year. Argh.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Three posts in one week--I must be starved for posting. I guess I am making up for lost time since I had a one month blog hiatus between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I just had too much to do.

I was poking about on the internet last night and ended up visiting a website I hadn't been to in many months: Woolworks has been around for 15 years. It was one of the first sites on the internet to try and create a comprehensive site for listing techniques, resources, books, etc. for knitters spinners, dyers and other fiber artists. The creator is a woman named Emily Way and she was the driving force for this site which I thought was a great idea from the get-go. I found woolworks myself in about 1995 or '96 and I used it time and again as a centralized resource for my knitcraft.

The internet has had usegroups, threads and discussion boards since the early days and I initially belonged to some of these online groups. I shortly found out, however, that following threads and discussion boards is really not my thing. I feel like I spend more time wading through posts than getting things done and I get bored. No disrespect intended to those who love the format, but there it is.

So then there was It had a comprehensive book list of titles and authors, lists of stores by location, updated by information sent from users, a gallery of pictures, and techniques, just to name a few of the available things. It even had a discussion boards and a page of OTHER discussion board URL's. My favorite page was the information on dyeing yarn with koolaid, down to a table of the colors you get based on the drink mix flavor. Excellent! All this cool fiber stuff and it was all free.

Recently, I noticed that there was not a lot of updated content for the site. It was mostly run by Ms. Way and a crew of other volunteers. It was not for profit and was supported entirely by donations. It must have been a hell of a lot of work to do. I have enough trouble keeping up with this tiny little blog. I can't imagine how much time a large website of that sort must have taken.

So why am I writing all this? There is a notice on the Woolworks homepage that as of November 25, 2008, Woolworks is shutting down. Man. I was very sad about this! I must say, I was only mildly surprised, however, given some of the other sites now on the web. Everyone these days seems to have a blog--even me. The internet seems like unlimited information for fiberhounds. And then there is Ravelry.

The current gold standard for fiber artists these days (in my humble opinion) is I am a dedicated Raveller. My Rabbitknitz logo is also my Ravetar. I log onto Ravelry daily, keep my projects updated, surf patterns and books. The format is easy to use and the user can post projects and pictures for others to see and to refer back to with minimal fuss. I love Ravelry! websites like Ravelry, however, really evolved out of earlier web iterations like Woolworks. There are even things that Ravelry doesn't (yet?) have like the comprehensive list of fiber stores that Woolwroks dis hove. Planning a trip? You could go to Woolworks beforehand and make a list of stores that might be on your route with very little fuss. That is a very cool thing! I am deeply deeply sorry to see Woolworks going away.

The data on the site is apparently being archived at places like the Internet Archive Wayback Machine so that the content will be preserved. Trust Emily to do the classy thing: no sudden shutdown, but an organized filing away of information.

The most distressing thing to me, however, is that I googled the site and the shutdown, there was nothing, NOTHING!, about it to be found. No chat, no postings, zip, I felt that I had to add my two cents worth to the end of Woolworks. Thanks, Emily and all your volunteers, all the users and crafters who added to and maintained the site for 15 great years. My hat is off in a respectful salaam to Emily Way for creating and maintaining this website for the use and edification of crafters world wide. Woolworks, you will be missed.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy Knit Year 2009

Well, here it is; 2009 has arrived. I was expecting a quiet transition into 2009, but instead I had a harrowing entry into the New Year. The NYE anxiety centered on a samoyed I was babysitting named Heidi. Heidi's parents went on ski holiday over Christmas and I agreed (with Hubby in tow) to watch her. Now, Heidi is a very nice dog. She's friendly and playful and generally pretty easy to deal with. Still, as the week wore on it seemed like she was growing progressively more irritated with the fact that is was me or my husband showing up to feed her rather than her real mommy and daddy. So, on a backyard potty sojourn on New Year's Eve at dusk, I turned my back for two minutes and she decided split. Gone. White fluffy greased lightning. I was utterly beside myself. I called my husband. Then I called Heidi's owners. It was New Year's Eve with all the inherent celebrating and I thought "Crap. Midnight. Firecrackers. Freaked dog on the run." (Yes, I was thinking in sentence fragments by this time.) Hubby and I looked both on foot and by car for over an hour. Then we realized me needed bigger guns, so to speak and called the police and filed a lost dog report (which turned out to be a VERY good idea.) So no Heidi. We stayed at the dog place all night hoping she would show up. No soap. I was an utter mess.

Finally about 10:00 the next morning, the police called and put us in touch with someone who had her and called her in. So, all's well that ends well and Heidi went home safe and sound. She had been found about 3 blocks from home very soon after she ran off, and so spent the night at least safe from the bad weather and partyers with fireworks. Bless the folks who took her in for the night and bless the Eureka police department for taking our lost-dog report seriously.

One of my coworkers today said, "Your New Year's Eve should reflect how the rest of the year will be." Man, I hope he is dead wrong. I prefer to think that I have paid up a big debt of bad karma by having one seriously bad, anxious night.

I tell this story by way of explaining why the 'Happy New Year' blog I had planned to write is a bit late as are any list of resolutions I might make. Every year people talk about their New Year's Resolutions. I tend to be an exception these last few years because I don't want to set myself up for failure so early in the year. Still, I have a 'date' with my husband to make resolutions tomorrow night of the "lose weight, exercise more, be more organized" variety.

What I want to talk about here, however is some knitting resolutions.

The picture is of my Modern Quilt Wrap knit in Rowan Kidsilk Haze. The border is my addition to the pattern and I am very pleased with how this turned out. I finished it up in October of 2008.

I am at a bit of a crossroads via my knitting of what I feel I SHOULD do and what I WANT to do. I have spent the last few months (since mid October and the completion of my Modern Quilt Wrap) knitting Christmas presents for people. I did pretty well, finishing all but on gift on time. That unfinished gift --Kinetic by Norah Gauguin-- done as a scarf is at the halfway point.

My dilemma is this: I have several small projects I should do for some first quarter of 2009 birthdays. Then I have the several circling-the-airport projects such as my Zarah, my Grant Avenue vest and my Jiada sweater that I am tired of wading through in my knitting basket. I also have a shawl that is needing tweaking on the edging. Always with the unfinished or not-perfect projects! I want to start something NEW!!

I have a couple of things new in mind. I have a kit for Solveig Hisdal's Peony Sweater from "Poetry in Stitches" that I have had in my stash for about seven years. I am ready for it. I also broke down and bought the yarn for the Da Vinci sweater from Rowan #44 (most of the yarn, actually--Jannette's Rare Yarns was out of Rowan Chestnut Wool Cotton when I ordered.) These are two serious fairisle projects, but I want both done by the end of the year. I am determined (yes, we know how determined I tend to be--NOT!) I also have some hot Kidsilk Haze action that I have decided to use for the New Shell lace pullover from Madeline Weston's "Classic British Knits". There's more, LOTS more, but these represent new yarn, stash yarn, and leftover yarn all three. I will let myself start knitting when Zarah is done, I think. That being said, there will be more posts for the "Fit to Be Tied" saga, and, I HOPE, some resolution, too.

So, speaking of resolutions, here are my fiber resolutions:

1) Zarah
2) Jiada
3) Small first quarter projects (3--maybe 4. 'Nuff said there)
4) Grant Avenue
5) Hisdal Peony
6) Da Vinci
7)New Shell? or some other project?

This is an ambitious list, and will mean me laying off the Snood and Hoyle Yahtzee and KNITTING. We'll see how far I get. This likely means no Christmas prezzies this year, but I can only knit so fast.

So enough blogging and more knitting-- I still have the Kinetic Scarf to finish...!