Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wild Wild W

Not Bush! No -- BarbP sent me a letter, and it was "W", not realizing that I'm a true blue Democrat. What a challenge! Here goes -- 10 things that start with the letter "W" that have impacted my life. Don't be mad about the first one ....

1. Wabbit: As in “wascally”, as in Bugs Bunny. Seriously. I love Looney Tunes, Bugs in particular. As a kid, it was my first exposure to classical music. Think “What’s Opera Doc?”. Think “The Rabbit of Seville”.

And his whacky sense of humor. My FOO (Family of Origin) is known (well, at least among ourselves) for a wicked sense of humor. Example: My Dad, who passed away 17 years ago, had surgery for a brain tumor. Upon regaining consciousness after the operation, he was greeted by his children singing, “If I Only Had a Brain”. He loved it.

2. Weddings: I’ve had more than my share. My brother calls me a “serial monogamist”. My friend says, “Just because you slept with him doesn’t mean you have to marry him.” But that’s in the past. Found the right one, the last one. In fact, I often tell him that “He’s my last first kiss.” (Okay, I can hear the retching sounds – I’ll stop.)

3. Water: I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love to: drink it, bathe in it, watch it as it roils and plummets over Niagara Falls. I hate: to be on top of it, because …. I can’t swim. Never learned. Every time I try to, I panic. Who knows, maybe I drowned in a previous life – say on the Titanic? Yes, that’s it. I was Mrs. Astor in a previous life! (More likely in Irish steerage, to tell the truth)

4. Whimsical: If it’s cute and funny, I love it. I’m a sucker for little doo-dads that line the edges of my bookcase, the ridge behind my kitchen sink, the shelf above the stove. Most recently -- two chicken salt and pepper shakers.

5. Warp Factor 2, Mr. Sulu: The only way I figure out how to get Star Trek in here. I’ve been addicted since it first aired. If I ever got a tattoo, it would be of the original ship, complete with “NCC-1701” on the saucer section. When I die, I hope heaven is the bridge and I’m Spock’s assistant.

6. Wizard of Oz: One of my favorite movies. See reference to “Brain” above. I could watch it over and over again.

7. Walter: My grandfather’s name – last, not first. He was a great reader, got me hooked on sci-fi, taught me how to play chess. A very quiet man, who could do the Sunday crossword puzzles in ink. I’m not there yet.

8. Wool: Need I say more?

9. Women: I have three daughters who are absolute gems, a sister who’s my best friend, and was blessed with a mother who I miss every single day. Two aunts whose size is not indicative of their strength of personality, and a grandmother who, quite frankly, was a bitch on wheels, but who lived through events I can only imagine. I hope I can live up to all of them.

10. And finally (dare I say ‘whew’?) … Wealth: No, not money. But the wealth of living in the woods, enjoying the sun rise everyday with someone I love, having good friends, a great dog, and a hockey team that’s top in the Eastern Conference!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Lucy Moment

Learn from this -- when replacing a vaccuum cleaner bag, don't try to make the wrong size fit. Say, you bought size "J" instead of "U", but they're both for uprights, so who cares? And so it doesn't quite fit on the opening, but you get out your trusty scissors, and widen the opening on the bag and (snuggly or so you think) put it on, and vaccuum away.

Days pass. Days of successful vaccuuming.

Then, after dusting the entire living area, you plug in the trusty upright and begin the zen-like process of vaccuuming. (It's the white noise). All of a sudden,


The bag pops, the vaccuum cleaner has a seizure, and there is dust EVERYWHERE, including your hair, the tip of your nose, the dog, the tip of the dog's nose, and there is no other vaccuum cleaner bag to be found in the house.

Oh, Looooocie!

I should have stuck to knitting instead of deciding to clean.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Don't Ask

My fired employee issues have gotten worse. Let's just say that all the martinis in the world, nay the universe wouldn't help.

So ... let's focus on knitting! Always a salve in a crisis ...

Here are pair of KnitPicks Parade socks, on size 3 needles, in a modified basket-weave pattern I sort of made up. 48 stitiches around, K2P2 for eight rows, then P2K2 for eight rows ... you get it. The first sock came out perfect -- the stripe changes and texture changes matched, but even though I frogged and started three times on the second one, there still are a few rough spots.

And here is the nearly completed Elizabeth Zimmermann Ribwarmer. I decided one row of I-cord was not enough, so am doing a second. First time I've done this edging, and while I like how it looks, it's taking almost as long as it did to knit the vest!

Here's the vest:

Here's a close-up of the edging:

And here's my issue: for lack of a better term, POOCHING. It's at the end of the short row shaping in the back. Looks like breasts. Now, I haven't blocked it yet, but I'm seriously wondering if those bumps can be blocked out. I really don't want to take it apart -- the short rows are about 1/3 of the way in.

So I'm wondering if I can somehow cut, unravel, and graft back together. Stay tuned ....

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It Gets Worse

Guess who set all the computers in my office to remote access? Guess who installed programs that would allow her to access our network from home? Guess who paid a computer guy to come in and change all the access codes and make our system as impenetrable as Ft. Knox?

... and, guess who has a migraine?

Twig -- send martinis asap.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I Am in Hell

Without divulging the details, I just discovered deceit and treachery on the part of my office staff. I am so pissed off I can barely speak. So tomorrow a.m. I am going to do my best impression of Donald Trump, and then start the search for a replacement.

It is the worst part of having your own practice. I can't afford to pay big bucks or benefits, but am willing to take people with little experience and train them. Sometimes, it's a question of competence. But, in 22 years, this is the first poisonous person I've had in the office.

As you can tell, I'm sick about it. Don't even want to knit! But will, because for me, yarn and needles are better than martinis.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

It seemed like a good plan ....

Okay, knitting only on one project at a time has to go. First of all, I have no photos to post. I mean, who wants to see more garter stitch rows on the Ribwarmer? Secondly, and most seriously, it makes me not want to knit! *placing back of hand against forehead, trying not to faint*

I think I like being able to feel different textures of yarn in different projects, see items progress at different rates, and do different types of knitting. I love the ribwarmer, but I'm getting pretty darned bored with just garter stitch, more garter stitch, and then more garter stitch. I dream of cables, slip stitch color, even the dreaded heel turns!

So it's back to the drawing board. Maybe I'll just refrain from starting new projects, until I finish one of the existing WIPs, and switch depending on my mood.

But today ... I'm shuffling off to Buffalo to see my hockey boys play! Don't want to take knitting -- somehow, the smell of beer and peanuts never comes out, so my new yarn plan will start tomorrow.

Here's to keeping your stick on the ice and shots on goal!

Monday, January 08, 2007

I'm Smarter Than I Think!

See? There are the instructions for the Ribwarmer.

Here's my first half!

Oh me of little faith.

I'm not too thrilled about the result of the short row shaping, but it may be that I'm missing a trick to make it look tighter. I'm thinking of ordering the expanded instructions directly from SchoolHouse Press for later versions.

I'm thinking of black I-Cord edging.

And, to show off, a Xmas present from TwinB. Isn't the little knitting charm adorable? She totally spoiled me. It's certainly a change having an adult kid who's working -- but I do miss those egg-carton/construction paper/glue creations from the younger days!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

My Evil Ways

I'm trying, so hard, to change my evil ways. Without getting to therapy-ish, I seem to have a problem completing knitting projects. I start a project, and it's not that I get bored or don't like it anymore, it's just that another project, pattern or yarn grabs my attention, or I get an idea for something cool to try, and I start that. And then yet another pops up ... and so on.

So I made myself a promise, that I would work to completion on those projects that I have started, one at a time, until they're all done. I figure it will be good for my soul.

But it's sooooooo hard! Try as I might, I can hear them calling me -- the Many Button vest from Folk Vests, already swatched, ready to be started. The Celtic sweater pattern by Alice Starmore with that lovely lavender heather yarn, all wound into "cakes" and ready for me to start knitting. A pair of red mittens -- just because!

Why, I ask, why? (This is the therapy part). Am I fickle? A project 'ho? Do I fear the let-down of finishing? Am I not Zen enough to enoy the knitting moment that's right in front of me? The answer! I want the answer!


Well, I'm still working on the Ribwarmer -- almost done with the first half. But like Jimmy Carter said so long ago, "I have lust in my heart," and must stay strong.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I'm late to the party, but have become totally enamored with Elizabeth Zimmermann's style of knitting, and her patterns. I love the simplicity, as well as the no-full (no seams!) philosophy.

So here is my first EZ creation in progress: The Ribwarmer, from Knitter's Workshop. The yarn is mystery gray wool, that I bought at a craft sale (a bag for $3 -- couldn't resist). You can't see closely, but there are little flecks of black and it looks very "natural". Natural and ... scratchy. I'm going to soak the finished product in conditioner, but since I'll probably be wearing it over a heavy shirt, it won't be a problem.

But ... I need advice. Do I have a problem here? Note the instructions, especially the diagram. It says to start the short row shaping "on the long side", which I did. I'm now at the part where I add a stitch each row, and I'm suddenly unsure.

It doesn't look like the picture. Did I screw up? Does the "long side" really mean the other side? Or will it all work out as I increase? Perhaps I'm just overly nervous (who me?).

Any advice/opinions would be most welcome.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well, I'm finally on the upside of this virus, and back to work. Lest anyone think I spent my time off laying on the couch, watching old movies on TCM in my flannel pjs (guilty), I also did some creating. This:

What is it you ask?
A scissor holster! Is this cool or what? I'm always putting down my scissors (and my yarn needle) and never finding them. I remembered seeing cool collapsible scissors in a catalogue, with their own little case, but also remembered a pricey amount. All of a sudden it came to me -- I could make a case of my own! Out of a felted scrap (from a thrift store sweater I felted).

So I did! A little gross-grain ribbon to hang it around my neck, a little lady-bug trim for fun, and there you have it! Here's a shot of the holster in use.

The second bit of creativity is the Celtic Vest from Fleece Artist. I bought it in a kit at Lettuce Knit (one day soon I'll figure out Twig's email on how to post links) on my recent Toronto jaunt, along with the cool pin.

The yarn is a lovely wool/silk blend, and boy are the instructions right when it says "Don't worry about how small it looks until you block it." This sucker stretched right out. My sister also bought a kit, and we were going to have a contest to see who would finish first, but my sick time on the couch gave me an unfair advantage.

I love it, and will try to get a photo of it being worn. What was interesting to me was the pattern -- you need a circular needle, and divide the yarn in half -- two skeins. Then, you knit a row, slide the stitches back to the beginning without turning, and do another row in pattern. No seams but for the shoulders, and a cool cast on/cast off that leaves a neat edge.

I would definitely do this again, maybe a little longer, especially if you're knitting it for someone over 5'2"!

And last, but definitely not least, some Kitty Eye Candy!

What a helper she is!