Stitchy McYarnpants

Confessions of a husband-neglecting, cat-shooing, yarn-hoarding knitaholic. But in a good way.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

WiP it, WiP it good!

Oh my, look at all the cobwebs in here. And the dust bunnies are multiplying like, well . . . bunnies. Let’s just open some windows and get some fresh text in here.

Firstly, I would like to declare “Mission Accomplished!” I got my mom knitting again! I though I was going to have to lure her back with wacky novelty yarn or something chunky, but do you know what it took? Baby camel. 100% One Hump Baby Camel, to be exact. I was hanging with my peeps (ok, I was chatting with relatives at my brother’s) at Thanksgiving, and all of a sudden my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, her mom, and I were knitting. It was an impromtu Stitch n Bitch! I looked at my mom, her eyebrow went up as she was spying my alpaca scarf and I knew I had her. So I dragged her up to my apartment (I live upstairs from my brother) and made her go through my stash. Initially she had settled on some GGH Samoa. Nice stuff, a very soft cotton/poly blend in a burnt orange. Then, as I was showing her how the swift and winder worked, I remebered another stash box behind the couch (I’m like a squirrel, there’s yarn tucked all over the place). “I have something very special.” I told her. “Oh?” she said. And BOOYA! The baby camel come out and the Samoa went back in. It’s so delicate, you can tear it apart with barely any effort. She decided to make a ribbed scarf and although she hasn’t picked up a pair of knitting needles in over 5 years, she immediately remebered how to do it. By the time she left, she had a couple of inches done and it looked fantastic. Needless to say, she’s hooked and I’m going to have to do a little stash enhancement for her. Wheee! Time for a mother/daughter day at Patternworks.

On to WiPping it. Normally, I’m a one-project kind of gal. I like to start and finish something before digging into something else. If I don’t, I tend to get sidetracked and never get anything finished. Multi-tasking is just not my bag, baby. BUT, last Saturday, I had three things going at once. An alpaca scarf for my friend’s birthday, a shell and wave shawl, and another shell and wave shawl (I like the first one so much, I started another with some lace weight I had). The scarf was a boring-to-knit 2x2 rib and I cursed it as the fun, fun lace pattern sat in the knitting bag. Now that I know how to do Yarn Overs the right way (deceptively simple – just bring the yarn forward and knit the damned thing. Voila, a hole. It’s one of those things you do accidentally all the time), I just wanted to YO my tail off.

The scarf is now finished and looks very handsome on my friend (you’ll have to take my word for it because I forgot to take a picture). I’ll add pictures of the shawls later. The veriagated yarn actually looks ok and I feel guilty for saying such nasty things about it. I’m hoping to have one finished next week. It’s a terrible ruse and I know it never will be, but I like my little fantasy world where I get stuff done in a timely fashion. It’s for my friend Charlene’s mother. We’re visiting her parents in Florida next week and I wanted to have it done. The other needs to be done by Christmas because the woman it’s for is heading back to India in January.

I’m loving this lace knitting thing. I got Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle and there are some beautiful things in there. And so my list grows. I am also inspired by Norma’s bead-handled Sophie. It never occured to me to use a beaded handle, but now I must.

Lastly, the good news is that I’ve stuck to my yarn diet and haven’t bought anything since I went to Fiber Loft’s sale with Melanie. Good Stitchy. Goooood. The bad news is that I haven’t stuck to my food diet and I have to wear summer clothes in Florida next week! Eeek! Fat, Stitchy. Faaaaat. Time for the supermodel diet of coffee and cigarettes! I don’t smoke, so I’ll just have extra coffee. And I’m going to have to take a weed wacker to these legs! Winter body in summer clothes is always a nightmare. But I think I’m going to treat myself to one of these babies. We’re probably going to do some bike-riding in Florida and I hate lumbering around in bike shorts (especially when they’re padded). Charlene already has the one in the Cherry Blossom pattern (very pretty), so I think I’ll go with Puccina. Or Bali Blue. It’s very cute and looks like a regular skirt but has built-in padded shorts, so you can walk around without feeling dorky in your skin-tight, wedgie-causing, crotch-gathering shorts. Woo!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Attention Fellow Knitters

We interrupt your regularly schedule blogsurf to bring you this important message.

Stitchy McYarnpants is an idiot. Over the past two weeks, complaints and unrest about a lace shawl have been heard throughout the region. It is rumored that there have been repeated flare-ups of violent frogging of said shawl. Since the last ripping incident, McYarnpants has considered sanctions against the shawl and has been protesting it's completion.

Our sources are now reporting that McYarnpants, an admittedly new-ish knitter, has been performing “Yarn Overs” (YOs) incorrectly. The lace pattern in question relies heavily on Yarn Overs being done properly, so this mistake was a catastrophic one. The repercussions of this information are not completely known right now, but we assure you that the results she bemoaned had less to do with the yarn and everything to do her incompetence. Though she could not be reached for comment, we believe Stitchy McYarnpants will be restarting the project with a renewed hope that it will be completed by year’s end.

We will now return you to the web.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Free at Last!

I’ve done it! I’ve broken free of my shackles! Ratchet and Clank had been beaten and I can get back to my prior preoccupation of knitting. Woo-hoo!

Thanks for all the great feedback on the MOKS. Once again, I’m flattered and delighted that people find it amusing. Also, you guys had Jon blushing and grinning up a storm with all your compliments on him in his new sweater. He is indeed adorable, especially when he’s blushing and grinning. I decided I liked the second picture, too. Something about the t-shirt sticking out is so cute. I hadn’t noticed that he wasn’t wearing a watch in the Sear pose until someone mentioned it. That makes it even better!

As it turns out, he really does like the sweater and has worn it a couple of times already. The only trouble is that he’s not so good at putting his clothes away and this is a Very Bad Thing* in our house. When he took it off one night, I asked if he put it somewhere safe from Dot’s Gaping Maw of Doom. He said yes. Minutes later, I found it on the bed. THE BED, people! He may as well have left it as a garnish on a silver platter of tuna with catnip sprinkled on it!! The next time he wore it, he put it in the drawer. Sort of. He left the arm hanging out! This simply won’t do. I’ll just have to do sweater recon whenever he wears it. War is hell.

So now that the sweater is done, I’m working on the Ostrich Plume Shawl, only the yarn I bought for it just didn’t work out. It’s weirdly variegated (the color changes every couple of inches) and looked like total crap. The pattern got completely lost in the muck and the individual stitches looked like little bugs. I knitted and ripped it out three times with three different sized needles and it just ain’t hap’nin’. I switched to using the Geisha I got a while ago and it’s better, but I made the mistake of trying to socialize while I worked from a chart. Bad news. So I had to rip out a few rows and it’s really fuzzy yarn, so you know how that story goes. Luckily I was in public when I did it, so no one was injured and what’s left of the shawl didn’t get flung, shredded, set afire, or stuffed into the litter box.

So the shawl is on hold until my murderous rage subsides. I do have some really pretty laceweight wool, but again, it varie-freaking-gated. Why do I always buy it? I always end up hating it! See Yarn Harlot’s post for more on this subject. She has great timing and saved me the trouble of expressing fustration myself. I owe her one. Perhaps I could pay her back with this lovely laceweight yarn I have . . .

To take my mind off the shawl, I started an alpaca scarf for my friend’s birthday later this month. I have ripped it out three or four times now. First the needle was too big, then the 1x1 rib didn’t look right, then I decided to try a cable and it looked lousy with the yarn (not variegated, but three different colors stranded together – again, I ask you – WHY??) and now I’m just doing a 2x2 rib and to hell with it. It’s actually looking pretty good, though I don’t know if it’s wide enough. Wait. Let me rephrase that. I don’t care if it’s wide enough. I’m just going to make it really long and that will compensate, right? (insert penis joke here) (insert joke about inserting penis joke here)

Well, at least I’m done with that video game, right?

*I just noticed that Blogger is acting funny and this link is not working right. If you have trouble, it's the entry from 9/22, you can find it in the archives to the right. If you don't know about Dot, this will help explain my distress about the sweater being left out.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Museum of Kitschy Stitches, Vol. III - Emasculation Nation: Menswear That Makes Men Swear

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Heeeeeere's Stitchy!

Phew! A whole week has gone by and I have no idea where it went. Well, that’s not entirely true. I had Post Election Stress Disorder for a day or two, but got over that. Thanks for all the comments to the last post. It was a crazy few days but all we can do is move forward. And a special thanks to KayTee for being hip to the idea of agreeing to disagree. I agree. Hey, lookit that, we agree! I’m touched that you were concerned. However, I haven’t been away because I’m depressed, mostly I’ve been away because I’m obsessed.

That’s right, I’ll come clean and admit that I’ve been staying up way past my bedtime, ignoring my wifely responsibilities, and even shunning the affection of the cats. My eyes are bloodshot, I’m twitchy, I haven’t had a home-cooked meal in days, and I’m getting to the uncomfortable underwear at the bottom of the drawer because laundry is just not that important to me. Not anymore. For you see, I have replaced most social contact with Ratchet and Clank. For those of you in the know (and it looks like there are a few of you based on some comments I received a couple of posts ago), you are no doubt in the same mess I am. You’re dreaming of things exploding and you want to smash everything you see with a wrench to see if bolts come out. For those of you not in the know, well, it’s hard to explain. Ratchet and Clank is a game for the Playstation2. It stars a cute fox-like creature and his robot sidekick, whom he wears as a backpack. There are all sorts of crazy weapons (including one that changes enemies into sweet little grazing sheep!), and there are funny clips telling the story as you go. The actual name of the game is “Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal”, so it’s pretty cheeky (har har). What’s hard to explain is why I’m so powerless against this it. There are other similar games (“Jak and Daxter”, for instance), and I’ve played them, but they just don’t have the same soul-sucking je ne sais quoi. So I have already made my apologies to my family and friends for my absence in their lives, and I will play this game every minute that I can until I finish. It usually takes two weeks or so, but it was my birthday last Saturday and people kept wanting to take me out and give me gifts and stuff, so it really cut into my game-time. Once I’m done, I will have purged my system and will not need to touch the Playstation until next year, when the new Ratchet and Clank comes out (this is the third in the series, and I don’t think they’re about to release their hold on me just yet).

Speaking of my birthday, this was a pretty great one! I turned 35 and I thank everyone who still cards me a nightclubs. Friday night, we had sushi, then went to this thing called Tomb. It seemed like it was going to be really cool. An immersive gaming experience with puzzles and great special effects. It was not. Actually, it was kind of goofy and cheesy and the “tour guide” was so bored, or had to pee, or was just tired of watching people trying to have fun that he kept solving the puzzles for us. But sometimes goofy stuff is just as much fun as actual fun stuff is and we had a good time making each other laugh. Saturday we had dinner with my folks and I had steak covered with lobster. Too bad they couldn’t have topped it off with baby Spotted Owls for maximum decadence. Maybe for the big 4-OH.

I got some great gifts, too. My brother and sister-in-law gave me Stitch n Bitch Nation and another knitting-book-that-I-forgot-the-name-of –but-it’s-really-nice-and-has-some-good-lace-patterns. I love the patterns in the new SnB, too! Great stuff. Charlene gave me a Get Fuzzy page-a-day calendar and I am staying away from it so I don’t just read the whole thing right off the bat. Love me some Get Fuzzy! Charlene’s cousin, Laura, gave me a pretty glass mosaic candle holder with a huge pumpkin spice candle. My friend Kristin gave me the Rock, Paper, Scissors Strategy Guide. My friend Victor came through with the Department 56! I love Halloween stuff and my birthday is conveniently located right afterwards. He got me a cute black cat lantern and this dip bowl.

Probably the best gift I got was a ball winder from my parents. I got myself a wooden swift to go with it (with a 50% off coupon for Joanne fabrics, I couldn’t resist). This is the most amazing pair of things ever (many men will disagree, but it’s true!). I am now in possession of the most perfect balls you could imagine (again, the fellas may take umbrage, but . . .). The best part is that even if the cats try to mess with it, they can’t. The spinning swift just knocks them in the head and they get all confused and run away. Truly a wonder.

Before I move on to knitting stuff, I just need to tell you about this amazing show I went to Monday night. Yes, I put the video game controller down and I am so glad I did. We saw a guy named Andrew Bird at Johnny D’s in Somerville. He’s heading to Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, and then France (his website had dates and places). If you are nearby, do yourself a favor and go see this guy. He’s the real deal. A true talent. He accompanies himself of violin while he’s playing guitar, it’s the coolest thing. He starts off most songs by playing some pretty violin riffs. Suddenly, he’s got a guitar, but you’re still hearing the violin. He actually records and layers violin pieces right there, then loops them so they play during the song. He uses pedals to stop and start them during refrains. It’s really amazing. He also plays a sweet xylophone, whistles beautifully and has a gorgeous voice. I’ve dubbed him the Everything Bagel of singer/songwiters. This guy has it all. And he’s cute and quirky, to boot! If you like Grant Lee Phillips, Jeff Buckley, Freedy Johnston, Jonathan Richman, and/or Paul Simon, you will love this guy. Seriously. I bought a CD of his called “The Swimming Hour” at the show and the first 5 songs are all the kind you play over and over. I haven’t heard the last half of the CD much because I’m stuck on the first, but there’s good stuff all over it. There are some complicated, swirling songs with violin that makes me feel like what figure skating looks like – floaty and bendy and free. There are also bluesy, rockabilly numbers, a pretty tango, and some catchy Beatlesque tunes. I don’t think he sticks to one genre, unless you consider Freakin’ Awesome a genre.

Man, do I ever get chatty when I’ve been away.

OK, now to knitting. The Manly is done. I repeat, we have completion on the Manly. Earlier I posted that I wasn’t all that happy with it, but now that Jon has worn it a couple of times, I really love it. The sleeves have sort of evened out and you can’t really see the puffiness. I did a little photo session in the back yard that ended in a very Cameron Diaz vs. the Paparazzi way. I hope you enjoy these pictures of my darling husband. I need to send one over to Drew, the host of the Man-A-Long. If anyone has a favorite, let me know!

I have also finally started the Ostrich Plume shawl. Originally I was using verigated yarn, but the pattern got lost in all the colors. I switched and am using the light blue Geisha acrylic/mohair yarn I got the Elann. It’s much better and using the chart is not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. It’s actually fun and easy! Yay! When I get a couple of pattern repeats done, I’ll post a pic. I’m meeting up with Melanie on her turf for a Stitch n Bitch tonight, so hopefully I’ll make some good progress. Must. Not. Think. About. Ratchet. And. Clank.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Warning: No Knitting Content in This Post

Bush has gotten the popular vote by about 3.5 million and I don’t quite know what to make of it. What does this say about the country in which I live? That its citizens are satisfied with being lied to and manipulated? I guess if I ever decide to make the career switch to shyster, this is a good thing. And I have a handy-dandy color coded map of where to make my living. Actually, all I have to do is head away from the ocean. I guess I just don’t understand the idea of voting to reduce people’s freedoms. It makes me sad to think that a majority of people in this country think it’s ok to attack a country under false pretense, and that they use their interpretation of god to dictate what choices people have, who they can marry, and even what advances medical science can achieve.

I’m simply befuddled at the anti-intellectual sentiment that is over-running this nation. A lot of people seem to think Kerry is a pointy-headed elitist because he tends to be verbose and uses big words. He's a "flip-flopper" (if I never hear that term again, it'll be too soon) because he can see many sides to complex situations and is willing to adjust his approach to suit the needs of a changing situation. I bet he's even willing to admit it when he makes a mistake, and then - get this - tries to fix it! I have a feeling that people want a guy like Ray Romano in office. A regular Joe, just like them. Personally, I want a guy who’s smarter than me in office. The thing is, Bush isn’t a regular Joe. He’s the privileged son of a politician who has breezed through life, handed opportunities at every turn. I truly think his folksy way of speaking, using “nu-cu-lar” instead of “nu-cle-ar”, and even fumbling on words is an affectation that he uses to prove what a “regular” guy he is. Frontline had a documentary that profiled Bush and Kerry throughout their political careers. Young GW doesn’t sound the same as old GW. He is not from Texas, he’s from Connecticut. And yet somehow he’s posturing like he’s an extra on the Dukes of Hazzard.

The only solace I can take is that a lot of people who voted for Bush this time around did it while holding their noses. Republicans were stuck between a rock and a hard place. If Democrats can come up with a candidate that people can be excited about from the get-go, then the country may very well experience some progress by the end of the decade and we can begin healing this disturbing division. I don’t forsee one inch of social progress in the next four years, and hopefully we can undo any regression that happens. Honestly, the sadistic, voyeuristic, reality TV-loving jerk in me is looking forward to watching the America Show over the next four years. Without having to worry about getting re-elected, what wacky hijinks will GW get mixed up in? Maybe a case of mistaken identity involving Iran? Perhaps a date with South Korea AND China on the same night? Maybe a Very Special Holiday Episode with Israel and Palestinians coming together when the power goes out during peace talks and they all get locked in a meat freezer? It could be that some of his coworkers have been keeping some Big Secrets thinking he’d be losing his job and now that he’s staying, their consciouses will start gnawing at them and they’ll blow the lid of this mother! Who knows, but at least my guys Jon Stewart, Al Franken, and Michael Moore will have something to talk about for the next little while.

And that is the last political jibber jabber you’ll find here, at least for a while. Until then, we can all agree that knitting is great and we will all vote Yes on Proposition 934: Were knitted fashions of the 70’s just plain goofy?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

My fellow Americans

It’s a momentous day here in America. There’s a buzz in the air and people are excited about taking part in an amazing process. Although it’s been part of American life for years, this time is different. There’s more on the line and an array of elements make it more complicated, but so rewarding. It will connect people in a way it never has. Issues like weapons of mass destruction, public health, and global environment are at the center of the platform and it’s all up to those who participate.

Yes, truly a great day. The new Ratchet and Clank game for PS2 is being released today!! I can’t wait. I already put one on reserve. This is the third in a series of Ratchet and Clank games and this one has a whole new set of cool weapons and has online gameplay! Can you stand it? Every year a new one comes out and I’m obsessed until I finish the game. The only problem is that I can’t pick it up today because the store is near my work an hour away. I’m working from home today because I went to vote and didn’t know how the lines would be.

Oh yeah, GO VOTE!! Make an afternoon of it. Go get a cup of coffee and a pastry. If you’re at work, tell your boss you’re taking a liberty break. If you’re at home, put the knitting in a bag and go! GO GO GO!! Then feel smug for the rest of the day because you are a good citizen and are exercising your rights, even if you don’t exercise anything else – put Splenda in your coffee, it’ll be fine. If you don’t, you’re not allowed to complain OR gloat if your guy loses/wins. No votey – no gloaty - no moany. Also, it would be good if you voted for Kerry. Just as a personal favor, ‘kay?

On the knitting front, Manly is done – pictures to come at some point. It came out ok, but I’m not thrilled with it. It’s my first knitted thing with sleeves, and you can tell. The sleeves came out waaay bigger than the armhole. Now, a different, better kind of knitter would have ripped them out and made them over. I’m just not that kind of knitter. I MADE them fit. Now the sleeves are a little puffy and vaguely piratey. Also, I should have made a medium. Take this as a guide with the Manly sweater from Stitch and Bitch, if your guy normally wears a medium, but measures a small in the pattern, make the medium. I blocked the crap out of it and just short of turning into taffy, the sleeves came out ok and it’s no longer a belly-sweater.

Also, I love Oprah’s new hairdo. She looks great. SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP – her guest today appears to be Johnny Depp. Forget you, I’m outta here!