Stitchy McYarnpants

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

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Best Keyword Search Day - Ever.

I wish I could get everyone who did these Google searches and ended up here together for a party.

johnny damon / micky dolenz
knit pom pom fetish
my headgear pic
pills mistaken for candy
why crochet scratchy
how to make a beer hat
farrah faucet naked

'Nuff said. Internet, have I told you lately that I love you?

Oh, and here's something that will soften even the most cold and brittle of hearts. If this doesn't make you smile, you may want to check your chest for a circuit panel becuase I think you may be a robot.

I can't help it, I have to include the picture from the story I linked. It's just too much cute to resist. When you look at it, play the theme song from "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" and you might just going into a diabetic coma. But it will be totally worth it.

*I just wanted to add my prediction that these two will be made into a Disney or Pixar cartoon and I'll have toy versions of Owen and Mzee by 2007. I can't wait!

I should take up knitting

I know, I know. This is supposed to be a knitting blog, so where’s the ever-lovin’ knitting?? Well, I haven’t been very productive with yarn lately. It’s a total bummer. Work has just been so busy, I can’t get a good solid chunk of time to really get into something as challenging as I’d like. I’m still working on Clapotis and have promised myself that I would make some mittens by the end of January, as well. Of course, I’m totally useless with dpns and am more likely to put out an eye (either mine or that of an innocent bystander) with those things than actually produce something useful. I tell you, I’ve tried and tried and tried. I completely understand how it’s supposed to work. I’ve read loads of tutorials. I’ve looked at painstakingly detailed photos of every step of the process. I’ve watched other living humans crank out socks with no problem whatsoever. I just. Can’t. Do it. My hands, it seems, want no part of it. I can’t hold all the needles right and they go every which way, then the yarn gets all tangled in the needles and then I do the thing where you tighten the stitch to avoid the ladder and end up with not only a ladder, but the ladder has a neighboring row of stitches that are tiny and cowering.

And yes, I’ve tried the two-circular method and it just served to further disgust me. I had a major problem getting the stitches past the joins on the needles when I switched sides. I had to pry them over with what seemed like excessive force. And again with the ladders and their terrified neighbors. It’s just not happening, kids.

Luckily I found an old pattern (among my heaps of old patterns) for mittens that are knit flat, then folded and seamed. How will they look? Who knows, probably crappy, but when my hands are ensconced on some luxurious wool or other, I won’t care. Honestly, I might as well just shove each hand into the center of a skein of yarn and just move on.

In other, more happy-making news – I got Sirius radio! (I admit it. My guiltiest of pleasures is listening to Howard Stern. There, I said it. Or typed it. Whatever. Why are you looking at me like that? Don’t leave!) Turns out, satellite radio is amazing! My drive to work is an hour each way, so I have a lot of time to invest in the radio. I got the Sportster Replay boombox package, so I can listen to it when I work from home, too. During this morning’s commute, I heard Adam Ant, Tom Waits, The Smiths, Freedy Johnson, and some comedy bits by Eddie Izzard and Jerry Seinfeld. When is the last time you heard Tom Waits on the radio? Never, that’s when! And do you know what I didn’t hear? Commercials. Not one. As you scan channels, you can see the name of the artist and song playing (or the name of the show and host if there’s a talk show on), so you can just zip right by without stopping and find something you like on one of the other 120 stations. I listened to a cooking show the other day! There are two NPR stations! We drove to my parent’s two hours away for Christmas and never lost the signal (it transmits to your car radio – you pick the station that has nothing else being broadcasted to it). I’m hooked, I tell you!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Ho Ho!!

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Making Christmas dreams come true . . .

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Museum of Kitschy Stitches VIII: Special Non-Yarn-Related Holiday Edition

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

I have seen the future of knitting and . . .

It. Is. Adorable!

This is Madison. She just turned 10 and she’s a knitter. Her mom taught her when she was 8 and she’s made a number of scarves for friends and grandparents. Her current WIP is a light green wool scarf. When it’s finished, she’s going to put pink pom-poms at the ends to jazz it up.

Now, when I say she’s a knitter, I don’t just mean that she happens to know how to knit. Heck, you can teach a monkey how to knit, but you can’t convince it that starting a knitted sweater for it’s cage mate two weeks before Christmas is anything but a bad idea. Nope, Maddy is one of us (one of us, one of us!). I was showing her parents something in the kitchen and as she waited patiently for the boring grown-ups to finish their boring grown-up conversation, she stood there with her little knitting bag hanging on her wrist and was KNITTING! She’s a standing knitter, people!

She also confided to me that it’s totally annoying that when you give handknits to people, they don’t understand that they have to hand wash it and never put it in the dryer. They need to take special care of this stuff. It’s exasperating for us all, to be sure.

And so what else could I do but drag her up to my apartment and help her on her way to SABLE status. Seeing as how she’s only 10, she’s going to need a HUGE stash, and I did what I could. I let her pick some stuff out and I also gave her some special things I had tucked away. I’ll admit there’s some candy-colored Berroco Plush in there, but there’s also some undyed alpaca.

When it was time for them to go, I’ll give you one guess what she said. All together now . . . “One more row!!”

Maddy’s dad is Scott, my brother’s college roommate. Because I’m in such a ridiculous state of denial about being 36, I still remember hanging out with Scotty and my brother at the dorms like it was yesterday. It’s like no time has passed and the only difference is that people just don’t think Howard Jones is da bomb any more. Sometimes I’m still taken aback by the fact that he has three little girls (and a female cat, and he’s just assuming that the guinea pig and the parakeet are girls. He also works in an office of 16 people and he’s the only guy. Scott is the very definition of a ladies’ man.)

Maddy’s mom is Shanna, a fellow knitter and real peach! I don’t know her nearly as well as I do Scott and I don’t get a chance to see their family as much as I’d like to. But as soon as I saw Shanna the other night, I forewent the traditional “Hello, nice to see you.” and went with a finger pointing exclamation of “Clapotis!” It’s the customary greeting of knitters in the wild, is it not? It just so happened that Shanna was wearing a gorgeous Clapotis made with this incredible silk/merino that I failed to photograph. It had the perfect texture for that scarf with just enough unevenness in its single ply. You’ll recognize one of her other daughters, Emma, from this photo from Jon’s and my wedding. She’s the short one. Perhaps Camryn (I’m pretty sure it’s “Camryn” and not “Cameron”, but I’ll need a judgment on that. Shanna??) will model something for us someday so you can see her. They really are the sweetest little girls ever, always with the pleases and thanks yous.

Here’s the thing, Shanna is an avid blog reader and yet I can’t link you to hers. Know why? Ain’t got one. That’s right. Can you stand it? All in favor of Shanna and Maddy starting a blog together, say Aye! (and maybe give them at least one good reason as to why they should join us (join us, join uussssss))

Aye! One of the best reasons I can think of to start a blog are all the amazing people you'll meet. It really is a wonderland of delightful people out here.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Elongated Debriefing

For every action, there is a reaction. And for every vacation, there are ramifications (and, according to the rhyming dictionary, you also need to deal with abdication, adjudication, altercation, complication, confiscation, demarcation, desiccation, dislocation, invocation, gasification, medication, obfuscation, relocation, suffocation, and vindication) It seems like every time I go away, it takes at least as long as the vacation to get myself back in gear. This time was no different.

But you know what? I’m not going to bother rehashing the past couple of weeks of tiredness and workload and yadda yadda. I was going to go on about it, but what’s the point? It’s pretty boring, nothing earth-shattering. Just me feeling kind of blah and out of it. But I did finally manage to get my vacation pictures uploaded and labeled, so check ‘em out! Hopefully this link works, someone be a dear and let me know if it doesn’t.

I feel like I waited too long to blog about Spain. It seems like it was months ago. But what I do remember was that it was a-freaking-mazing! I highly recommend it. This is the actual trip we took and it was just what I hoped it would be. I’d actually go again on the same trip with Jon because I really think he would love it. He’s not big on traveling and I was sort of checking this trip out to see if it would be his kind of thing. It totally would. The Cortijo (the inn) was amazing with a great staff, fantastic food every night, and a plethora of cats and dogs for the cuddling. The tour guide was a really good guy with a pleasant, laid back personality, even if he did cheat at Speed Scrabble (seriously, just because it's on the Sound of Music soundtrack does not mean that "fa" is a word. Neither are "re" and "la"). And the 10 or so other people that were on the tour with us were delightful. Charlene and I were the only Americans and I have to say, it was really refreshing to be the one with the accent. There were people from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Germany. Three people were traveling alone, which always seemed a little scary to me. But once you witness the dynamic of the tour group, it makes perfect sense. Forging new relationships in strange lands seems the way to go!

As for the region itself, it’s hard for me to describe southern Spain. Sweeping vistas, rolling countryside, and a herd of sheep led past the Cortijo twice a day! (I checked and they looked like meat sheep, not wool sheep.) And we just don’t have the same kind of architecture here, so walking into a palace where every room is covered in hand-painted tiles and incredibly detailed carvings of intricate design, it’s a little hard to process. That’s another reason I’d like to go back. Now that I’ve looked at it, I think I’d have an easier time actually seeing it the second time around.

I think the place that had the most effect one me was the Mezquita in Cordoba. It was the site of many a conquering, but during it’s last conquering in 1236, it was switched over to a Christian establishment. Later, in the 16th century, they tarted it all up with the notion that God really digs the bling. It was like an arms race between rich people to prove who loved God more. Jesus would have hated the whole thing. The artistry and craftsmanship were astounding, but it was so over the top that it kind of left a bad taste in your mouth. It was sad and beautiful and disturbing and hilarious and sickening and awe-inspiring, all at the same time.

And of course, the food was to die for! Between all the walking and the fresh, unprocessed food, I definitely came back in better shape than when I left. (But fret not. I've undone all that good and am back to my couch-potatoey goodness.) Tapas is a great way to eat, they just keep bringing plates of this and that to the table. Since the tour guide ordered it for us all the time, we never knew what was coming next or when it would end. There were plates of cheese, thinly sliced ham special to the region, roasted peppers in olive oil, chicken croquettes, meatballs, chorizo, seafood, fresh asparagus, tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, and lots of other delicious nibbly things. And they always served lunch with pitchers of sangria, beer, and orange juice. Imagine that. Entire pitchers of fresh orange juice. Not those little tiny glasses that are metered out here in the US.

We also went to London for five days and had a blast. There is SO much to do there, I definitely need to go back. We did mostly touristy stuff and all your hints, tips, and suggestions really helped. We took a double-decker tour to get the layout of the land, went to the V&A, the London Eye, Tower of London, Harrods, Marks and Spenser’s food stores, and walked around a lot. We also saw Ewan in Guys and Dolls. The seats were spitting distance, you could actually see them spitting! He was adorable, as we all knew he would be. We even waited at the exit for a while to get his autograph, but he never came out. Well, he probably did eventually, but we didn’t hang around for it. We also saw Rob Lowe in a production of A Few Good Men. We got half price tickets in the morning. It was ok, but I’m partial to showy musicals myself. It was fun to see Sodapop in person. We didn’t wait out back, so I don’t know if he graced the public with his presence.

But there was one highlight of my trip that I cannot overlook. I knit the manager of the Cortijo her first scarf. Ever. She saw me knitting the basket weave scarf and asked if I could make her something. “Of course!” I exclaimed. But I needed yarn. The next day, she had two skeins of Katia Sherpa. It’s pretty thick and I did my best with the size 7’s I had with me, but it was no go. I needed bigger needles. The next day, she brought me size 10’s! And every day, she and the other girls who work there would check on my progress. It was so sweet and funny, they totally need to be knitbloggers. I ended up knitting an entire skein and ripping it out because I stupidly thought the stockinette stitch would lay flat for this special occasion. But I managed to finish it just in the nick of time. I even made a little matching scarf for her sister’s dog, Tina, with a few yards of leftover yarn. I don’t have a good picture of the finished object, but Charlene might, I need to ask her. But here is me in the process of knitting it. Just look at that luscious tan! And you can see that I’m knitting directly off the first scarf as I rip it. It turned out well and Nieve looked really pretty in it. The colors were perfect for her. It has a garter stich edging and was mostly stockinette except for a single cable way off to one side. It still curled a bit, but I didn't ahve time to block it. She didn;t seem to mind.

Since I’ve been back, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to knit. I’ve made some headway on Clapotis and I’m really liking it! I was further inspired by Caryn’s Clap-in-progress, so I’m hoping to finish it in the next few weeks. I was in a knitting-induced trance during the increasing and lost track of the number of pattern repeats I had done. I went a little too far, so it’s wider than it should be. I’m hoping I won’t run out of yarn and plan on making it a little shorter to make up for the extra width. I could get more yarn, but since it’s hand-dyed, who knows what the next skein will look like. We shall see.

My darling sister-in-law also gave me 4 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, so I’m looking forward to making a soft winter scarf for myself. I know, how many scarves do I need? A LOT! That’s how many.

OOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!!!! I almost forgot! I can’t believe I almost forgot! Right before I left, I won! I won! I won Wendy’s Peacock Shawl in the Give a Little contest. Can you stand it? Look at this beauty! And trust me, I’m guarding it with my life. I’m also sending a bunch of patterns to Kim from SanityKnits. She won them in the Give a Little contest!

Whew! That was long! Thanks for hanging in there!