Stitchy McYarnpants

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

Saturday, October 29, 2005

October 29th

OK. First of all, it's October 29th. The autumn air should be crisp and clear. I should be hearing the shoosh of leaves beneath my feet as I walk. Kids should be getting ready to go trick or treating and comlaining that they have to wear a light jacket to protect them from the chilly fall weather.

And yet, when I look out my window, I am confronted with this.


Uuuummmm, I re-check the calendar, wondering if I've missed my vacation in November altogether and gone right to Christmas.

Nope. Still October 29th. Huh. Mother Nature sure has a bug up her ass this year, eh? Pull it out, old lady! Pull. It. Out. Boy, oh boy, I sure can't wait for the hailstorm of ants she's been working on. I heard she was thinking about a Fun Fur tornado, too. She loves the novelty yarns.

Second, I have been thoroughly and completely busted by Julie in the comments. I purposely didn't mention it in the previous post. I was repeating the knitters' mantra "No one else will notice, no one else will notice, no one else will notice it . . . ." But I was wrong. The afforepictured basketweave scarf (yep, it is to be a scarf) has a bit of wonk in the lower left corner. I have decided to pretend that it's my "signature" and that I did it with all of my faculties engaged. Otherwise, it would drive me crazy and I would have to put it right into the garbage disposal. Of course, we don't have a garbage disposal, so I'd have to go to the hardware store, buy one, and install it just to get the dark thought of that lower left corner out of my head. So, in order to save me the trouble, it's my knitting signature and that's that. Don't make me send the Feline Home Protection Brigade ofter you. They'll curl up right on you and you'll be pinned for hours.

Lastly, since I'm leaving for a two-week vacation on a redeye flight next Friday, I thought it was time to ask my fellow bloggers if they've been to London and what have they seen. Charlene and I are going to be spending a week in Andalucia, Spain, but it's with a tour, so we'll be pretty well taken care of there. After Spain, we'll be in London for 5 days looking for some fun stuff to do. We'll be there from the 13th through the 17th and we already have plans Monday night. We have 4th row seats to see Ewan McGregor in Guys and Dolls. Woo-hoo!

So if you have any tips (yes, I've been warned about the pick-pocketers, especially in Spain), know of any good shows or concerts going on, need to tell us what to avoid because it sucks, know where all the cheap Rowan yarn is, or have any particular destination in or around London that we should visit, now is the time to cough it up.

We have already decided to go to the V & A. They're having a Diane Arbus show and I loves me some Diane Arbus! So, what else should we do?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

And the Winner of the 2005 Squirreled Series is . . . .

Team Stitchy!!!

And the crowd goes wild! Stitchy was a long shot this year, with many convinced she’d be outwitted by the twitchy little rodent. It’s long been known that her biggest weakness is a furry critter of any kind, and if the first two rounds of the Squirreled Series were any indication of things to come, Stitchy was going to get owned. But in a stunning upset Tuesday night, it was the squirrel’s weakness that was his eventual undoing. As rumors of the squirrel’s taste for peanut butter surfaced, Team Stitchy hatched a cunning plan to exploit this vulnerability. The trap was smeared, sunflower seeds were embedded, and although he had denied his addiction vehemently, the interloper was unable to resist the rich, creamy goodness.

Unfortunately, there is no photographic documentation of the victory as Team Stitchy was actually in the car on the way home from work when the game was won. Team Brother was, however, on the scene and provided a play-by-play recounting of the events. It is reported that the squirrel was on the small side and looked rather scruffy. It is surmised that said scruffiness occurred during the critter’s stay in the basement as he looked fluffy and clean when he leapt out of the ceiling just days ago. Early reports also indicate that the squirrel departed with a belly full of peanut butter and seeds as the food tray was completely clear of residue. Team Stitchy finds the idea of the little squirrel licking up all the peanut butter to be adorable. All parties involved felt badly that it was such a rainy, windy night, but upon his release into the yard, the squirrel headed straight up a nearby tree. No doubt he has already drawn up a crude map and is devising a new plan with a growing squirrel army. Chances are good that he is actually, at this moment, wearing an army General's hat and has taken to using a riding crop for gesticualating powerfully in front of his troops. Luckily, the homestead is reinforced with ten housecats just looking for something to chase.

Here is one team of four cats warming the bench, just waiting for their chance to join the game. Bring it on, twitchy.


*ok, I'll admit it, they don't look like the livliest or killiest bunch. But these babies can go from napping to deadly in seconds. Seriously. You just try and stop them. Sure, it would be better if the squirrel were to position itself directly below one of their paws, but no need. ~ahem~ They'll wake up. Aaaaany minute. Mark my words. You can groom something to death, right? Because once they start that . . . hoo boy, ain't no stopping them. *cough* Y'know, or they may just want to toy with the squirrel for a while. Bat it around, cuddle with it, make it feel comfortable. Then BAM! More . . . cuddling.

Anyhoo.

Here is some knitting. It’s a basketweave pattern from Viv Foster's Knitting Handbook. Nothin’ heavy, just a simple knit/purl thing. But I’m really enjoying watching it come together. For all its simplicity, it looks pretty detailed.


And the back is even cooler! I love when my knitting treats me to little surprises once in a while.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Game Two of the Squirreled Series

Squirrel - 2
Stitchy - 0

I have now resorted to the big guns. Big peanut butter guns. Big peanut butter guns encrusted with sunflower seeds.

Your move, varmint.

(I fear this may reach Caddyshack proportions before it's all over. I'm looking forward to sculpting the plastic explosives.)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Yes. Shy.

I love that I have to convince people of that. Yes, she who shares the contents of everything from her uterus to her cats’ litter box with everyone on the internets, is shy. I was once referred to in high school as “That girl who never says anything.” I live in mortal fear of speaking in front of large groups of people. It’s all a sham, people. Stitchy is really a hermit. Luckily, I am a yarn-seeking hermit, so I can actually be drawn out of my shell at times. And it is a lot easier when confronted with a gaggle of giggling knitters.

So Laurie is right. I was rather restrained in my stash enhancement last weekend. I did a pretty good job of sticking to my budget. But I also forgot to include some stuff. Whoopsie. It’s because it was all put away. Out of sight, out of mind – you know how it is. I got a bunch of stuff for needle felting. I got a cool tool that holds six needles at once, five blobs of pretty roving to make an assortment of cuties, and some foam felting boards to keep you from stabbing your legs from FeltCrafts. They were extremely helpful, the woman at the booth actually ran to her car to get some extra needles for me. I shall be patronizing them again. I also got a bag of more felting fluff from Misty Mountain Farms. There are even bits of curly wool in there that should be really interesting to work with.

I don’t have pictures of all that stuff, but I do have a finished object! I made a little Rhinebeck mascot. Of course, right before I finished, I saw that Juno has already found one (see the last photo of the demon sheep of Rhinebeck). Drat! Oh well, I pressed on and came up with this little dude.

Please meet Spendy, the Spokessheep of Rhinebeck.


Spendy says “Baaaaaaaaa more stuff!” He has bendable arms and legs (well, technically, they’re all legs) so he can help point out all the things you need.


You can also see that he’s been hanging out at the fried dough cart for a little too long. Just look at that belly! Our little Spendy does not make good choices when it comes to fair fare. He should have just had that salad. Oh well. “Fraaaaaa more dough!”


And in the comments, Kristy asked about the recipe for the felted bear I made a while ago. I got the instructions and kit from Living Felt. It’s such a gratifying use of fiber, I can’t recommend trying it enough. Now that I think of it, I actually bought the kit from Marr Haven. Both places have lots of cool felting stuff, so check ‘em both out!

And in other news, I have embarked upon the classic battle between woman and beast. No, not Jon. Not the cats. A squirrel. In our basement. When first discovered, he was napping in a box of leftover decorations from my wedding. He came flying out when Charlene walked by and startled him. My brother, unaware of Charlene’s encounter, thought someone had left one of their cats down there because garbage cans were knocked over, bottles from on top of the fridge were smashed on the floor, and there were little footprints all over the toilet seat where someone had perched to get a drink. I believe there were also some little footprints on his laundry that was hanging down there. Later, I was putting away a rake after some long avoided yard work and heard the skittering of tiny paws in the ceiling. So I tapped here and there until I startled him and he came flying out of a hole and ran to the other side of the basement along the pipes. Apparently, this squirrel is wound real tight. He needs to chill. If he would just come out and sit on my shoulder, he would get so many treats and smooches, his head would spin*. But he wants to do this the hard way.

Honestly, I was just worried that he was hungry. But it turns out he also found the birdseed we had down there. So I got a Have-a-Heart trap. It’s all steel and noisy and clanky, so from the squirrel’s standpoint, this is actually a Have-a-Heartattack trap. Jon and I set it up, we even included some treats that we’d just gotten for our own under-documented hamster, Wuzzy. We’ve been checking the trap regularly since yesterday. I moved it closer to his water supply today, though I refuse to admit it was just for his convenience. I checked it a short while ago and it looks like he had himself a lovely snack. But he didn’t hang around for the actual trapping or anything. He did, however, leave a bunch of empty seed shells for me to clean up.

Squirrel 1
Stitchy - 0

*Don't worry, I don't plan on kissing the squirrel when I catch him. He's going right outside.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rhinebeck (aka - Oh My Aching Paycheck!)

OK, first off, I just have to say that I had a blast last night! I love impromptu fun and when you get a bunch of knit-bloggers together, you are guaranteed a good time. Which perhaps makes it not so impromptu. Implied impromptu fun, maybe? Anyway, we rocked the house at Willow Books in Acton. So much so that I think we made them really nervous. I was lucky enough to get a seat right up front because I was alone and there were some single spots available. While sitting there waiting for the reading to start, the bookstore owner was talking to one of his employees about the number of people that were in attendance. Apparently he hadn’t expected such a huge turnout and was more than a little gobsmacked. He reminded me of every uptight shopkeeper in every Three Stooges episode. And the woman he was speaking with said “Never underestimate women and what they’ll do!” My head did a quick series of 360 degree spins and came to rest pointing in their direction. My eyes narrowed and turned a strange luminescent green and sparked with small licks of flame. And from a place deep in my belly emanated a low, menacing growl. “Knitters.” I said. “Never underestimate Knitters.” They backed away, stuttering and sputtering and falling over piles of useless, non-knitting-related books.

Ok, that only happened in my head.

Anyhoo, the reading was fantastic and the stories were great. A group of us lingered afterwards and ended up going out for a drink at a nearby restaurant. They seemed as perplexed as the shopkeeper. Must be something in the water. Or a lack of wool in their diets. Something. It’s as though they all possessed knitting needles, but kept them firmly lodged up their posteriors for safe-keeping. In attendance at the after party were CarolesKnitting Carole, BookishGirl Wendy, ObsessionDuJour Kellee, SandysKnitting Sandy, EtherKnitter Laurie, Knitigator Kathy, Stoneview Julie, WoolyBuns Chris, Woolyheaded Ruth (I wish Chris and Ruth were a couple so each could introduce the other as their better half) , MedStudentWhoKnits Kristen, Yarn Harlot Stephanie and a few ladies who’s names I have woefully forgotten. I believe two were Linga Roghaar and Molly Wolf, the creators of the KnitLit books. And there was someone wearing the most fantastic pair of blue socks with purple cables. I failed to introduce myself properly and didn’t get her name. She is now and forever will be in my mind “the woman with those fantastic socks.” And also, there was Non-Blogging Sharon who NEEDS to get a blog. What a great lady! Hop to it, Lady Jane. Now the pressure is on her to either make us happy by joining our fold or disappointing us by not sharing stories of knitting and bees and baby cows in the living room.

So now that I’ve recapped Rhinebeck Redux, let me get to other one. The one with acres of fiber.

Well, I’ll echo what everyone else has been saying. It. Was. Wicked. Fun. Cara’s Blogger Meetup was a thing of beauty. I wish I weren’t so lousy with names because I met loads of great people. I do know that my Bloglines list has gotten quite a bit longer since that fateful day, and it was already honking huge. There were so many people that I started feeling a little overwhelmed. I’m actually a really shy person. I was always the kid hiding her face, sitting alone on the corner, and never saying a word in class. One day I just decided to pretend not to be shy and it usually works pretty well. But man, there were just so many people. I fear if my mother had been there, I may have been clinging to her leg for security. But I think I managed not to say anything stupid, and I did manage to remember most of the people I met, if not by their real names, then by their blog names. I was shocked that so many people knew who I was, even though I didn’t know who they were. There are a lot more knit bloggers than I ever imagined! YAY! So, to everyone I met, it was my extreme pleasure. To everyone I saw who I had already known, it was great to see you. To those I haven’t met yet, look behind you! Boo! Just kidding. Or am I?

OK, on to the fair. Well, how about I just show you what I bought? I’m actually in a bit of a rush and Kellee has taken responsibility for documenting our drive, which required a hand-written map from a guy in a wine store. You see, we were headed to my darling cousin’s house in New Paltz on Friday night to spend the evening. They live past a bridge. The bridge was apparently ok, but the road past it was now a good old fashioned swimming hole. Kellee’s rocket car cannot, apparently, defy gravity. Some rocket car. pffft. So a nice man drew up a map. Kellee has it posted at her place. He went so far as to draw little lines around the streetlights to give the appearance of radiant light. He also made cute sound effects as he drew the blinking light. He got us to Elaine’s without a hitch. We should send that guy a thank you card. I think the store name is on the back of the map. Hang on to that thing, Kellee!

OK, so I didn’t go too nuts because I had already spent a bunch of my money at Webs, but here goes, in order of purchase, even.

Maple Creek Merino/Silk, colorway Crocus. I’m a sucker for green and purple. I can’t help myself. This is ridiculously soft and for all you yarn sniffers out there – it smells really good, too. Not too detergenty, just . . . nice. It does a nostril good. This will become some sort of shawly/scarfy thing. Maybe a Clapotis? It might be too fine. I’ll have to do some research. Mike offered to provide a nice, fluffy background for the photo. Any spinners want to take a try at him?


~sigh~ Here is some Jamie Harmon wool/angora. It’s a 50/50 split and is just gorgeous. I only got one skein for myself and am making a skinny little scarf to wear in the office. I want it near my neck and facial region at all times. It’s soooo soft. I was knitting it at the book reading last night and one of the authors said he kept looking at it while he was reading because he wanted to see what color would come out next. It is a much fondled yarn, deservedly so. I also got a skein in beige/reds/blues/greens for my sister-in-law. I was going to get that one for myself because I wanted to get away from the purple and green thing, but I just couldn’t. Love the purple and green.


Here is a little salt pot from Bell Pottery, who had a booth in the 2-story barn, I think. My cousin in New Paltz has a lot of their pieces, She even has a whole shower tiled with this pattern. It slowly works from day to night as it moves across the shower. Amazing. (Someday, these will
be in my bathroom or kitchen. Oh yes. They will be mine.)



Here is some Potpourri Yarn for my mom. It’s fiber content is “A Little Bit of Everything”. This is a lousy picture, but it’s a very delicate rose and yellow. I hope she likes it. It’ll make a pretty scarf.


Wow, that’s it from the festival, I think. But we did stop at the Morehouse Merino store on the way home and I had to get something for the babies. I got this little sheepskin for the kitties to sleep on (and fight over, I’m sure). Here are Dot and Chi-Chi examining it. Look at how her paws sink right in. Plush, baby!


And here is Dot digging in. I’m curious so see if she sucks on it or not. It still smells sheepy, but in a nice, clean way. And there’s still lanolin in there. Maybe this will curb her need for fiber . . . Time will tell.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Whoops!

I made a mistake when I said the Creme Brulee was part of Webs' store brand of yarn. In the comments, Johanna said she had been looking for some all over the place, then Lauren asked if Knit One Crochet Too was really Webs own yarn. So I looked it up and Knit One Crochet Too is not actually theirs. They do have their own line, but now I don't know what it's called. Sorry about any confusion!

Does anyone remember what Webs yarn is called?

Stay tuned for pictures of my haul from Rhinebeck. Also, I just got back from seeing the Yarn Harlot at the Willow Bookstore and it was such fun! I met a group of amazing and hilarious ladies and we all for drinky-drinks after Stephanie finished her authorly duties. More on that tomorrow, too.

So Rhinebeck happened.

And it rocked! I didn’t bring a camera, but there are plenty of photos floating around the internets. Besides, it’s kind of tough to document girlish glee.

My travel mates, Melanie and Kellee were the best. We worked out sort of an unspoken system of parting and regrouping throughout the day. Rather than lingering or rushing, we pretty much moved at our own paces, but managed to come together after just about every yarn barn. It was like a little dance. Cell phones also helped immensely.

We headed out on Friday morning. Kellee drove her little turbo-charged rocket car and it was nice to just be a passenger for a change. When I work in the office (3-4 times a week), I have about an hour drive each way. The upside of this is that the drive to NY seemed to take no time. This was due in large part to my delightful companions, but also because I’m a slave to the Mass Pike and its wanton toll-collecting ways.

We made sure to leave early because we wanted to make a pit stop on the way to the great Empire state. It just so happens that Webs is conveniently located between Point A and Point B, so it would have been inconsiderate of us not to stop by and peruse their offerings. Having never experienced Webs in person, I was anxious to get there. Upon arrival, we headed straight for the bathroom. They have a little sofa in there. I love that. It made me want to sit and knit in the can for a while. This was the first of many bathroom visits. Between Melanie’s wombmates and my thimble-sized bladder, toilet-trekking made up a considerable amount of our weekend activities. Once we checked that off the list of things to do, we roamed Webs’ vast warehouse. My brain had a tough time processing the endless rows of coned yarn at first. It’s a bit much, so I just petted the chenille for a while. But once I got my bearings, it was a feast for the fingertips. There were all kinds of fiber, from scratchy rug wool to smooth-as-silk . . . well, silk. There was even a shelf of coned tinsel in an array of Barbie doll colors. For a moment, I wondered if a tinsel afghan would be a reasonable project to embark upon, and then I thought of Dot wandering around with a two-foot-long metallic rainbow trailing behind her. Although the other cats would probably enjoy their new living cat toy immensely, I thought better of it and eventually settled on this collection of goodies:



The cone is some sort of cotton/poly ribbons stuff that I’m going to use for Nuthin’ but a T-shirt. I also got some of Web’s house brand superwash called Crème Brulee. I got enough for some kind of sweater, but I don’t know which yet. I also couldn’t pass up the super-soft Berrocco Pleasure that was on close-out. I would have if they hadn’t provided a knitted sample to lure me in. I got enough for a scarf and I just need to find a pattern for something knit on a diagonal. That’s what they had knit for the sample and it was very plain, but quite fetching. And sort of French, in a way.

I also found some squatters living among this year’s selection of knitting magazines. These little stowaways were huddled in the corner together, no doubt doing their best to go unnoticed. But my eyes are trained to catch even the slightest hint of an outdated hairdo or the twinkle of a clown’s glittering nose. So I plucked these survivors of the Great Pattern Purge of Nineteen and Ninety-Two from their hidey-holes and took them home where they could be mocked (and MOKSed) properly.



We also had the pleasure of meeting two fellow knit bloggers who were slaving away behind the cash registers. Imagine, we hadn’t even hit Rhinebeck yet, and already the bloggers were springing up! They were sweet as pie (like strawberry rhubarb or chocolate cream, not some nasty mincemeat) and wrapped up our shopping spree just perfectly. One was the SPARKnits, who immediately appreciated those knitting magazines for their unapologetic awfulness. The other gal recognized Melanie’s sweater as a Rogue as soon as we walked in, which I thought was so cool. Of course, I can’t for the life of me remember her blog name. I do know it’s on LiveJournal, but she’s making the switch to Blogspot soon. Damn. If you’re her and you read this, can you put your blog name in the comments? Pleeease?

Once we had spent a good portion of our yarn budgets before even leaving the state, we pressed on and headed for the promised land of Sheep and Wool.

Stay tuned! I will continue tomorrow and give you the scoop on the rest of the weekend, washed-out bridges and all!

Oh, I'm also going to do my darndest to make it here tonight. Anyone else?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'b Sick

I’b totally sick today. By nose is all stuffed ub, and yet it’s running like a faucet. Gross. It’s so stuffy that I can only breath through by bouth, so by borning iced coffee was a real treat. I was afraid that while I was drinking through the straw I would create a vacuum and imblode, bossibly sucking by head right into the straw! Lucky for be and cars near be, this was not the case. But I did try to swallow with by bouth oben, just id case.

~~haa-chooo~~

****sssnnnsnnnnnnngggghghghhhhhhhh*****

Excuse be.

But I refuse to be sick for Rhinebeck. Even if I am, I’b still going. Hobefully Kellee and Belanie won’t mind all by sniffling. Ban, this sucks! I feel like I’ve got a whole cat stuffed in by sinuses! I was hoping by allergy medicine would helb, but it hasn’t. At least there’s Nyquil – sweet nectar of the sick. And Buffs Blus tissues! Those are the best. Jon has this cold, too, so we ran out of Buffs Blus and have resorted to toilet baber. It’s not a bretty scene at Chez Yarnbants.

I think I’b gonna need a thicker sweater for this weekend. Babybe I'll make one of these babies. I still have time! At least you'd be able to find be. Just follow the bointing and laughing.


I could stuff the sleeves with all the yarn I buy! (is it just be, or does this look just like Heather Graham?)


I could totally half-ass the sleeves AND hood and end ub looking like a frightened turtle wearing beach-colored wrist gauntlets.


Or I could just boke a hole in an afghan and call it a freaking day.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

These Little Piggies Live Large

Today I have shoe porn for you. Charlene and I are going to Spain early in November (more about that in the coming days), and I needed some good shoes to traverse the narrow streets of Seville.



No, wait, wrong Seville. I meant this one. The one littered with frilly Flamenco dancers.



I also needed some to stroll in the rolling farmlands surrounding our pension in Andalucia.



Sometimes when I look at that picture, I think I’m just going to pass out from sighing so much. I mean, should anything be allowed to look so peaceful and welcoming? ~sssiiiiigggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh~

*thud*

Whoops! There I went. OK, enough fooling around. I’ll write all about the trip soon. But for now, let’s get to the good stuff. New shoes. I’ve finally decided that I’m done spending smaller amounts of money more often on cheap, crappy shoes that fall apart after the first couple of weeks. I will never again slip my feet into what smells like a pair of day-old carcasses. And no. More. Blisters. EVER!!!! Nope, I’m going to spend that money on fewer pairs of well made shoes that will last longer and provide more support than a couple of empty Kleenex boxes.

And so I started this magical shoe odyssey with Dansko, the mother of all comfortable shoes. I give you – Folly. This photo isn’t all that great, you can see them a lot better on their website. One of the things I love about Dansko is that they come right out and call it a bowling show. A lot of companies would shy away from this comparison. I happen to love the look of bowling shoes, which is why I picked them out immediately. These babies are right up my alley. har har.



And then I stumbled upon the NAOT display. Wow. Comfortable, practical, and most of all, adorable. May I introduce Camila. These are like hugs for your feet from the second you put them on. They have a removable cork insole that molds to your feet. When it wears down, you can just get a new one. Amazing! I love the little pattern on them, and it’s highlighted with a bit of stitching for extra fancy goodness. I really liked them in brown, they look great with jeans. But I also wanted to wear them with a skirt, and as stupid as it sounds, I don’t know how to wear brown shoes with skirts. Since I can’t pack too many shoes for our trip, I needed a shoe that could be casual or a bit dressier, so I had to order them in black. And yet – the brown were so pretty. So they came home with me, too.



I dare say that these are the types of shoes I’m likely to have cobbled. What a concept, shoes worth repairing. Hot damn! I’m going to take them for a test run at Rhinebeck. Give ‘em a little work out to break them in.

But the day of decadence didn’t stop there. I also happened to be in Porter Square, so I popped into Mind’s Eye yarn shop and nabbed a little treat for myself. I got three balls of Marks and Katten “Dream”. It’s got just a pinch of angora, hopefully not enough to make my nose twitchy, but just enough to make me want to pet my future scarf all day. I set up a little threesome to show just how hedonistic I was feeling after buying such lovely things for myself.



And then Mike got bored with the shoes and the yarn, so he brought his toy to the door and said “Heeeeere’s Mikey!” in a very sinister way. He also claimed that all work and no play makes Mike a dull boy, so I decided it was best to do as he said.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

FOs in da house!

Man is that a cute baby!

Anyway, I have a couple of finished objects! ~gasp~

I finished Maxx’s sweater and he looks very dashing in it. He loves wearing little outfits and does a good job of lifting his front legs to help put them on. He’s a good guy, that Maxxie. I recently discovered that he spells his name with two “x”s and I think it makes him even more of a stud. I learned of this odd spelling in a most peculiar way. Maxx’s owner is a dear friend named Ronnie. Ronnie’s mom was an amazing woman who passed away last week after a long battle with lymphoma. It was impossible not to love Carolyn. And she loved Maxx to smithereens, often taking him with her and her husband on weekend getaways to their vacation house. Carolyn left strict instructions to have a bouquet of peach roses from Ronnie's and his sister’s dogs and cats placed at the head of her casket. When we went to pay our respects to her at the wake, there was a lovely bouquet from Oliver, Felix, Maxx, and Miss Kitty right beside her. It’s always such a great relief when someone can provide you with a smile at such a solemn occasion, and when it’s the guest of honor that’s providing that smile, it’s even better. It was such a perfect testament to the kind of lady she was.

I managed to get the sweater knit just in time for her to see it, though I hadn’t gotten the buttons on it yet. Knitting this was a major stress reliever, I did it all on the day before seeing Carolyn for the last time. We all knew it was going to be the last time and I didn’t know what else to do with myself, so I made a tiny sweater for her grandpup. I’m glad Ronnie doesn’t have a Great Dane!

So here is Carolyn's special little guy in his brand new sweater. The buttons don't hold it closed, they're just decorative. And I could have sworn I sewed them on straight. Maybe the sweater is just a little twisted from being on a wiggly dog body.



It has a pocket on the back so he can carry his favorite toy or maybe a few extra bucks for some Snausages in case he gets hankering during his walk.



Wow, I didn’t realize how much that sweater meant to me until just now.

And here is another thing I’ve finished as a thank you to someone who’s helped me out tremendously recently. There’s just something about being able to make a handmade gift for someone. So much gets poured into it that it feels much more real than buying a gift. I’m really happy with the way this turned out. I forgot to take a picture of the inside, but I lined it and attached an old-fashioned label from Charm Labels that said “From the needles of Stitchy McYarnpants” inside. I also attached metal grommets to the inside of the lining. I did this mainly because the grommets wouldn’t fit over the felted fabric, but I think they might have ruined the look of the bag if they had been on the outside. Don’t ever let anyone tell you to just “pop in some grommets, it’s easy!” It ain't. Not by a longshot. I ended up tossing the stupid little grommeting tool off to the side and just smashed the crap out of each one with a hammer. Turns out it was the only way to get them to attach themselves. Sure, they got all banged up and dented, but it looks more homemade that way. Yeah, that’s it. Dented = Fine Handmade Quality.



Hooray for finished objects! Hooray for heartfelt offerings of yarny goodness! Hooray for cute doggies! Hooray for smashing crap with hammers! Hooray!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Obey the Baby

OK, in perusing magazines for MOKS fodder, I ran across what very well may be the cutest baby ever. Don't you just want to squeeze him? He looks like a little Purdue Chicken. I can't stand it.




It saddens me a little to think that this baby is now in his late 40's. Or maybe he's a magical eterna-baby who never grew up. Yeah. I'm going to assume that's the case. He's to cute to have a second mortgage and a boring job that he hates.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

No spam on me!

The knitting masses say Word Verification, and Word Verification it shall be. Thank you, gentle readers. And spam you, spamsuckers! Blow it out yer spamhole! (This may be my favorite new way of swearing.) I love the idea of typing in a word to prove you’re human. I feel that my existence in validated every time I do it. Typing “Ve6t8soK” means I’m me! I just hope that I haven’t offended any artificial life forms. If any of you are artificial life forms, I apologize, but I just can’t take the chance that you won’t turn out to be a spambot. Sorry.

I’m so glad you guys enjoyed the Opacity link. It’s nice to know there are so many admirers of old out there. AND, my sister-in-law, Becky, says she lives near Bannerman’s Island, which is one of the places the guy at Opacity explored. CooOOOool! Road trip!

So I’ve decided on my own personal Rhinebeck sweater. It’s the SnB Under the Hoodie sweater. I have all the pieces knit, now I just need to do a little Dr. Frankenstein magic on it. Stitch it up, bring it to life and voila. If I could only remember where I stored those pieces lo those many months ago.

I’m really looking forward to Rhinebeck this year. I went last year and had a great time. Now that I know more people, it’ll be even more fun! Last year, Jon came with me. What a trooper. He said the only way he’d come this year is if he could host a booth with vibrating Lay-z-Boy chairs, video games and a beer keg for all the yarn widowers who were dragged to the fair unwittingly. (one can only assume that at least some of the guys there thought they were going to a rifle range or an outdoor comic book convention) He even wants to put up a dart board with a luscious skein of alpaca as the bull’s eye. He will not be joining us. I’m heading over with my sistergirls Kellee and Melanie (and Melanie’s lil’ knitters-to-be). My mother-in-law and sister-in-law live up that way as well, so I need to see if they can make it. (Becky, I know you read this blog, so whaddaya say? Up for some gratuitous yarn porn?) My mother-in-law came last year and reacquainted herself with lure of the stash. She hadn’t knit in a long time, but since going, she has returned to her yarny ways.

I wish there were a blogger booth or something. It would be great to be able to sign in and out with arrival and departure times. Then you could see who was around at that time. It would be like a living scavenger hunt trying to pick out all the bloggers in da hizzy! Maybe we could do Blogger Bingo and whoever fills up their card first wins! Oooooh, someone needs to do this! As it is, we’ll all be able to sign a living autograph book so she’ll be easy to pick out.

Now, I’m going to research that insulation as FiberFetish suggests. With a name like that, how can she possibly be wrong?? And Leisel left a helpful comment about decorating. She suggests finding a piece of fabric or artwork and decorate based on that. That makes sense. Can I base an entire house on the contents of my stash? Hmmmm . . . (by the way, check out her blog, she has a hilarious button about Fun Fur as it relates to the flesh of Cookie Monster. Good one!) You commenters are awesome! I know I’m terrible about responding to comments, but just know that I appreciate everyone’s feedback. I feel the love! Mwah! Perhaps part of the turning of my new bloggy leaf is being better about addressing comments. Tell me, is it considered good blog etiquette to do it in the comments section?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Snaaaakes!

So what the hell kind of jerk spends all sorts of time spamming blogs just to get theirs noticed? And while doing it, they pretend to compliment the bespammed by saying “Hey nice blog ya’ got here! Come check mine out!” It may work once, but geez Louise, 40 or 50 times? Screw you, spammy! So what’s a blogger to do? I know I’ve heard other people mention this happening, so how do you stop it if the spamholes have Blogger accounts? Lousy motherspammers.

Anyhoo. Have you ever seen Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? You know the scene where he runs into the burning pet shop to save the animals, and every time he goes by the snake tank, he makes a face and moves on to something cuter and fuzzier? Eventually, everything cute and fuzzy has been rescued, so he has no choice but to save the snakes. Moments later, he runs out of the shop screaming, arms flailing, his hands full of snakes, then he just passes out.

Yeah. I’ve been feeling a lot like that lately. I hate being a grown up and having to make decisions and junk and stuff.

Carlos the Electrician is finally done (yes, that Carlos and that electrical work). He came a couple of times a week on average and I didn’t act as his assistant most days, so it took for-freaking-ever. And now we need to decide what the next step is – do we look into having insulation blown into the ceiling while the ceilings are all messed up? I have no idea how much it costs, but I’m guessing it’s hella expensive. And then we have to patch all the holes. Honestly, there are probably at least 50 places that need patching. I haven’t counted, but we had work done in every single room in the house. Do we do it ourselves over time, making mess after mess every weekend for the rest of our lives? Or do we spend more money to have it done in one or two weekends? Then we have to paint the walls in every room. In most places, this means removing wallpaper. And neither Jon nor I are any good at decorating, we still have milk crates everywhere, fer chrissakes! So I have no idea what colors to choose or anything. Oh my heavens, what a mess.

I suspect we’ll just cover the holes with plastic “for the winter” and never speak of it again. It will be our silent pact to just pretend we don’t live in a wooden box with holes poked in it. Egads, we’re living like a couple of tree frogs captured by an 8-year-old!

Another snake in my craw, unfortunately, is my blog. I keep wanting to post, but I just never have time to write anything good, so I just put it off until a later than never seems to come. I’ve gotten out of the habit and its bugging me. So I hereby declare that I will write something every day until I leave for Rhinebeck. It may not contain pictures and it may not be brilliant, but I’ve got to get back in the habit of blogging. So there you go. Instead of a vow of silence, I’m taking a vow of daily rambling. And if I don’t do it, you can feel free to mock me, berate me, even spam the bejesus out of me with links to blogs about David Hasselhoff. As Dot is my witness, I shall blog again!

And since I have no pictures today, either, I will leave you with a link that is probably not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you like spooky, abandoned buildings – particularly asylums, than have I got a link for you. This guy is a great photographer and even has pictures of a building that Charlene and I have a dangerous crush on. Yes, we have a crush on an old insane asylum, so what?! It’s in Danvers, MA. If you drive up Rt 1 north, past all the strip malls and whatnot, you can see its spires peeking out above the trees on the left. The best time to see it is in the winter when the leaves are off the trees. They’re going to be replacing it with condos very soon. I don’t know how much demolition they’re going to do, but they will be some and it’s a shame to loose such an amazing piece of architecture. You can’t drive up to it, there’s pretty tight security, but it’s worth a drive by just to see the peaks of the buildings. It gives me shivers just to look at it. I don’t know if I believe in ghosts and hauntings and wayward spirits, but if such things existed, this place would be crammed to the gills with them. It even starred in a movie called Session 9, which I loved.

So take a peek Opacity, not only at Danvers State Hospital, but of the other urban ruins he’s explored. They’re truly beautiful and creepy and sad and stunning.