Wednesday, June 30, 2004


Bones And Raw Food,that is. Also known as the Biologically Apropriate Raw Food Diet, as you can see from the link, although that name is a registered trademark of Dr. Billinghurst.

If you clicked on that first link, don't let it scare you. That person is doing it the Martha Stewart way. I am doing it the Dexter's Deli way. Which is to say, for the time being, I just went to the shop and picked up some prepackaged frozen patties and bones as extra treats. There are pre-packaged BARF foods that are meant to be incorporated into a larger diet scheme, but for the moment, we have the equivalent of the starter's kit for transition time. Pretty much the whole package. After I've learned more, I'll get more neurotic about it. ;)

I've been meaning to switch them for a long time. Tahoe is underweight, Bélu is overweight, and Tahoe's pickiness has pretty much meant free-feeding. Which will eventually kill Bélu, because she just can't stop herself.

I tried to implement diet plan feedings with commercial food (well, Solid Gold, a local company) but Tahoe only will eat a certain amount on a schedule if it is made very high value and Bélu's not so stupid she'll see a bowl full of supermix four times a day being made up for her brother and NOT notice that all she gets is dry kibble with just a sprinkle of liver powder...long story short, this will fulfill dietary needs and desires and be healthier for them, while being possibly less a pain in the ass than what we were doing before. We've just heard incredible things from other dog owners on the BARF.

Speaking of propaganda, I almost barfed (in the traditional sense) when I saw these bags of food in the dog food store:

The ingredients are good, but WOW, way to take a schlocky brand and really push it everywhere. Like the pet rock of the self-help world.

In fiber:

I am ready to throw the Firestar fiber out the window and let the birds in my neighborhood have wicked-cool nests. I'm trying to spin it really fine for plying, and it just isn't having it. The yarn keeps sliding apart. I've adjusted ratios, speeds, twists...it's not like this stuff is all that sweet to the hand in the first place. Any advice would certainly be welcome.

Even though I need to work on the second Critter Knitters blankie, I've started a lace shawl:

I'd used my swift to wind up a skein of Nandia cashmere's silk/cashmere laceweight, and in ten minutes I'd wound it all, when before, sans swift, it took ten minutes to wind a paltry fifty yards before breaking the yarn in knotted frustration.

BTW, if anyone is thinking about buying the Nandia cashmere from eBay, don't. Not worth the wait, and it feels like a wool/cotton blend. But, hey it's in the stash now, so I might as well use it.

What I really have to do is finish the Map of the World afghan panel I'm on, and start that crayon-coloured cardigan. Yeah, and...

Meanwhile, the house is a bit of a mess--is there anything more soul-suckingly dull than washing the same dishes, clothes, household surfaces over and over and over again?

Thankfully, crafting can really spice up one's life:


Sunday, June 27, 2004

Spoils from Solvang 

In the spirit of sharing the triumph and exhilaration of a successful hunt...

I bought this kickass mongo swift, finished, sturdy, swedishly useful.

4 oz. of Ingeo fiber, a groovy dark green. 4 oz. of Firestar fiber, a snazzy, sparkly blend of greens.

2oz. of locks, for dyeing crazy colours and then spinning. I think I'll make a clown merkin.

16 oz. of supersoft 80s merino fiber. A set of short Brittany dpns, size 1.

A bottle of Createx dye, yellow, so I don't have to fool with Kool-Aid again for dyeing 'less I want to.

A Dyer's Garden: From Plant to Pot Growing Dyes For Natural Fibers by Rita Buchanan, a neat little book(let) of random trivia spinning tidbits called SPIN SPAN SPUN: Fact and Folklore for Spinners and Weavers by Bette Hochberg, and from The Book Loft new, used, and antiquarian bookstore, I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson (Mrs. Martin Johnson). From the title of this last one, I would think it'd be the story of my life, but it's actually an account of exploring Africa by airplane--published in 1940.

Yes, yes, it was a rockin' day.

As if you didn't know it from her blog, Jen is supercool and ridiculously charming.

Jen holding the life of a grotesquely large sandflea in her hand and NOT crushing it. A testament to will.

On the way home, as you could see from the pics above, we stopped by a beach and saw more "sandfleas" hopping around than I think I've ever seen in my life. There were many happy dogs frolicing, and we saw what seemed to be two different types of dolphins.
They seemed to be playing or hunting, and one leaped completely out of the water in a total Free Willy flip.

G'damned show-off. Harumph.

Now here I have a couple of questions regarding things seen at the beach.

#1) What is this?

It looks like some little model of a quantum universe or something.

And, #2) Why is this flag at half-staff?

I've been noticing it around that flags are still being flown at half-staff around state and federal buildings/properties...Are we still "mourning" the Gipper?

So here's another reason I love my car:

I reset my trip odo everytime I refuel, and in case you can't see it, that badboy says "426.4" and my fuel gauge indicates just a little less than half full, despite sitting for an hour in standstill traffic on the I-5 south of Del Mar because they had to close down all lanes while investigating a fatal TC. Which I minded, but didn't mind, as I got some knitting done in the parking lot that was the 5:


Same ol' boring double moss stitch sampler square I've mentioned before.

The drive home to San Diego was pretty cool, as I caught the finale of the Disneyland fireworks show:

Yep, yep, a purty good day. Now I'm going to take my new books to bed.


Friday, June 25, 2004

Those who are appalled by "fart jokes" mouse on... 

On Knitflame today someone mentioned talking out of their ass. Now there's a lot of "straight from the ass's orifice" talk on KF, KL, KBTH, AK, SK...well, really, the 'net, but for some reason today I was reminded overwhelmingly of "Le Petomane."

And since the only knitting I've done in the last few days is a dull dull double moss stitch square for a sampler afghan out of the handspun handyed yarn I already showed youse (the lighter blue one), I thought I'd share a "puerile" panegyrical post [I put those quotation marks on because I don't actually think that body function humour or the appreciation of said humour is necessarily childish, just human] of a master of colon control.

and I love those old ads, or wine posters, posters from old expos that chi-chi little restaurants or Crate and Barrel-type shops have on their walls, so I'd love to see this up on my kitchen wall someday:

Have a good weekend and wish me good traffic and driving karma for Jen [of JenLa fame] and my roadtrip to Village Spinning & Weaving in Solvang.


Monday, June 21, 2004

Wha' happened? 

From this:

to this:


Once again, this colour isn't exactly right on my monitor. I think I need to unhinge my tight wallet and invest in some proper photoediting software that I can control colour levels and such for the display, but until then, trust me that there is way too much yellow in this photo. But anyway...

It's as if the dye knew I was originally going for artichoke colours and decided to dye itself in an artichoke heart colourway. It's hard to tell from the pics, but all the colours could be found in the artichoke I ate the night before, the darker muddy green of the boiled outer leaves, the lighter springy green of some internal leaves, the purply-pink of the stickery protection of the heart.

But very strange for it to turn out that way, as after I took the first picture, I did nothing, added nothing. The only explanation I can think of has to do with a chemical reaction between the pot and kool-aid dye/or a separation of colour components as I used a little bit of the Jacquard acid dye colour called "gunmetal" to mix with the lemonade kool-aid and it has a red/purple component to it.

And this is why dyeing can be both fun and/or frustrating for me, as I often get unpredictable results.

Completely unrelated to fiber: Have you ever wondered what would happen if you went through the first Harry Potter book and replaced the "d" in "wand" with "g" to make it "wang?" This person did, and produced such gems as: "He bent down and pulled his wang out of the troll's nose. It was covered in what looked like lumpy gray glue."


Saturday, June 19, 2004

Happy Juneteenth! 

Last night I was preparing an artichoke as a late night snack, and I thought I'd use the leftover water to dye some of the BFL I'd originally spun up for the Rogue but decided against using. Just the other night I'd boiled some Globe artichokes and the colour I'd poured out had been gorgeous. Last night though, it was a European style artichoke and while delicious, with a much bigger heart, it didn't produce the same lovely level of vibrant emerald green the Globes had. But I'd already soaked the skein dammit, so I poured it in and fired it up, and then mixed some acid dyes. I tried a green and blue variegated, but ran out of yellow to make the green with, so just ended up adding more blue. Too much blue, so I turned off the flame, soaked more yarn, and added a second skein.

The darker skein is the one that had been originally dyed blue and green, so it was more of an overdye when I added more and another skein. The picture isn't quite right of course, it makes the colour look a lot more inconsistent and lighter than true because of the flash of the camera. On the second, lighter skein though, there are some noticeably lighter dyed bits by the skein ties...I guess I should have soaked it longer, tied it looser(?)

I turned off the dyebath early and there was some unexhausted dye this morning, so I soaked a fair bit of roving (6-8 oz)into it. But it was turning out too light a sagey green for my tastes.

I was thinking about doing a light frothy bouclé for sort of a seafoam motif through the "moods of the sea" themed blanket I'm planning for my mom, but eh, it was just too light looking. I still wanted green, and really, not that much darker in the end, but having run out...I rummaged through my cupboards and found a packet of Toki:

Guatemalan Kool-Aid, basically. I bought it in the only store in Tenejapa (a village in Chiapas). Mixed with blue, it made a nice spring green, but not enough so I ended up going to get some good ol' 'merkin Kool-Aid and throwing that in with some blue too:

Aaah, that's more what I was looking for (though the piccie's a bit darker than true, 'course your monitor may vary) for my seafoam bouclé...

I'm just treating it like regular acid dye, so we'll see how it turns out.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004


...the newest member of the family, Sheila Doog!

She's my brother's dog and they're visiting from southeastern Arizona (Bisbee/Douglas area) while he gets his IFR (Instrument Flight Rating). He and my mother are the bemused figures in the background of this picture.

Here's a better pic of what my niece looks like when she's not buried headfirst in Coronado dogbeach:

Sheila Doog is a poster pup for rescue/shelter dogs--look at that face! Those markings! And to top it off, she's smart as hell. She is believed to be a Queensland Heeler, also known as an Australian Cattle Dog, a breed said to have a little dingo in them, and some bull terrier--remember Spudz MacKenzie? Since she's only five months old, she'll likely be about thirty-five pounds when she's finished growing.

My mom has been teaching her tricks and some basics--she learned "shake" and "down" very quickly, and Mom bought a book of dog training & tricks, so I expect that by next April she'll be doing everybody's taxes, as they're a great teaching/learning team.

As might be expected, there are a few jealousy issues between pups at Mom's, ('cuz she's a whippet Grandma dammit!) but when they are at the dog beach or in my Grandmother's backyard, they get along pretty well.

On the knitting front: Meh.

Still working on the Map of the World afghan and a critter cozy, but not very much at a time and not very often. I really should cast on for that crayonbox coloured mohair-silk bouclé cardigan, to get myself excited about knitting something new, but I also "really should" put a dent in all these WIPs laying around the house.

I did spin up a bobbin of Blue-faced Leicester while watching that old classic "Volunteers." (with Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, John Candy, Gedde Watanabe [remember "What'sa hoppenin' HotStuff?" from Long Duk Dong in "16 Candles?" Did you know he was born in Utah?])

I'll probably spin up another bobbin tonight, alternating it with chemistry homework. Summer session has started at the local community college, and I have some catching up to do from loafing around last semester. Somehow, through all my school switching around, I never took a chem class in my life. It's just an Intro lecture and lab, I'm married to a former biochemist, so I'm looking forward to it, despite all the chem horror stories and the faces people make.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

Attack of the Homogeneous Anglos! 

From Spinnerin Vol. 180, copyright 1967. I bought this pattern book in Sacramento at a thrift shop for 25¢--I didn't even knit then, only bought this because of the SuperMod, Swingin' Sixties Style inside. It's titled "Gentlemen Prefer" so in many of the pictures it looks as if the men with smooth mannequin pancake makeup faces are sharing one mannequin woman. In a few pictures, it's just men, playing with cameras with long telephoto lenses...there's a very KenDoll Homoerotic vibe going on.

Actually some of the sweaters aren't completely "un-hip," I can see these mass produced and tagged with a Billabong/Quiksilver label in a local surf-skate-snow shop:

Hip to be square, and all that.


Friday, June 11, 2004

Books, books, books, knitting? 

A one-armed combat instructor called Cliff (yes, I know - he taught unarmed combat, and he only had one arm - very occasionally life is like that) once told me that pain was a thing you did to yourself. Other people did things to you - they hit you, or stabbed you, or tried to break your arm - but pain was of your own making. Therefore, said Cliff, who had spent a fortnight in Japan and so felt entitled to unload dog-shit of this sort on his eager chargers, it was always within your power to stop your own pain. Cliff was killed in a pub brawl three months later by a fifty-five year old widow, so I don't suppose I'll ever have a chance to set him straight.

Pain is an event. It happens to you, and you deal with it in whatever way you can.

--The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie

I'm re-reading this for the first time in a long time, and that passage, almost at the beginning, really struck me. This passage can take you very different ways, depending where you're at...but mostly, it's just a very enjoyable book, although there are parts where it seems he's trying a little hard with the wordplay (although not as hard as Kinky Friedman tries in his books, now THAT'S obnoxious) and it's a lot of fun.

There are a lot of "serious" books out there I should be reading, but I really enjoy the ones that tell me a story AND make me laugh. Here there's a sort of P.G. Wodehouse connection, because I used to love the Bertie and Jeeves stories, loved watching the Masterpiece Theater Bertie & Jeeves series, and now, enjoy reading the books from Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Making History was probably my favourite of Fry's, but they're really a genius comic team:A Bit of Fry & Laurie.

I couldn't help myself, I listened to Sedaris's newest while sitting on the couch knitting, driving, washing dishes, sorting pictures...I love the stories with "the Rooster," his foulmouthed brother Paul.

I'm reading my way through the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, having been intrigued by

and then hooked by

and so now I'm reading The Color of Magic which is one with Rincewind. But I like the ones with the Watch, or Death, best. I just love that Death is pretty much the most sensitive character, the character who's most "human," or at least, what we'd optimistically like to believe is "human."

Knitting-wise, not much is going on: I've charted up a paw print and started up a second 36" CritterCozy blanket, to be made out of Homespun. It's funny: I washed the first blankie I made, took it out of the washer and it felt "gross and crunchy," but drying it in the dryer return it to all its lustrous acrylic glory.

I've progressed a little bit on the Map of the World Afghan, but not much as I had to change the chart. For some reason I found it offensive that within South America, Africa, the continent of Asia, there were different colour blocks for each country but for some reason my beloved Mexico was undifferentiated from Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Part of Panama was coloured orange! As if it was part of Colombia! Not yet, motherfucker! Not while I'm knitting! ;)

Logically, I suppose it was because to bother with such little blocks of colour might be frustrating, but since it matters to me, every country gets a separate colour. The thing I like about this project is that I have the Option To Map The World As I Choose...which means the whole USA may be intarsiad: "The Whippet Kingdom" or the "Nation of Two." Okay, we're four, but it's a book thing. Ooohh...maybe I should chart some dragons for my oceans..."thar bee dragons here..."

I haven't spun in a while. I think I'll finish spinning up 1600-2000yds of BFL in aran weight, but then I'll start spinning the merino/tencel blend in peacock and the merino in mojave I bought from Paradise Fibers (though the fibers are Ashland Bay's) and spinning those up for the Rogue. I really think the Rogue would look good in the dark silky blue of peacock with the cable sections a bloodred accent. And, really, you can't have too much aran weight yarn.


Saturday, June 05, 2004

Sunday Odds & Ends 

Being a Wingwoman looks like an interesting job...

I bought a few new frames last night, went through old pictures, finally hung up some of our old pictures and things (hey, it only took me ten months to get around to it, might be some kind of record for me) and ran across a theme in many of my favourite photos. See if you can spot it:

(sorry about the bad scans)

This morning, in the wee hours, when I am highly vulnerable to shopping impulses, I joined audible.com and downloaded David Sedaris's new book.

He is one of the rare authors I've found who can read their own stuff aloud and have it be better than just reading it from the page. I told myself I will listen to it while running...there's six hours of audio there, so this book might just change my butt.

Finally, some knit-related stuff, lest anyone think I am a total knitposeur:

some progress on the "Map of the World" afghan

I'm up to knitting a bit of Peru, and in a few more rows, Ecuador.

Two peace armbands (peace symbol chart available from the Revolutionary Knitting Circle.)

The smaller one is for warm weather, the larger more colourful one is for winter, wearing over a jacket sleeve.

A finished 36" CritterKnitter blanket made from Lionbrand Homespun.

Tahoe seems to have adopted this as his own, which I take as a sign of doggie approval, and thankfully he hasn't much of a memory, so he won't pine for too long when it disappears into a mailer.

Well, off to see who gets whacked in the season finale of The Sopranos...


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Woo-hoo! and Gak! 

"Woo-hoo!" because of the new CA KnitBlogs ring set up by the fabulous JenLa and "Gak!" because when I cut and pasted the ring code into my sidebar, I experienced the same thing I had when I tried to put up the CritterKnitters link.

Bullet points abounded and my fonts were all funked up.

So I finally looked up how to do bullet points and it's

  • Well, that's not very helpful to write that, is it? I don't know enough about HTML to create a HTML-free zone to show the code, but it's li inside tags. Which is what blogger has as part of a code for links. So I had to go through and delete all the
  • s and add break tags since the formatting went further haywire (check out the archive list, for an example, as I couldn't figure how to fix that) since the beginning and end bullet point tags had been performing that function before.

    But I still have no idea why the font went super-sized on its own, or why adding another item in the sidebar suddenly made my browser see bulletpoints where it had seen only part of link code before.

    I'll be buying an HTML for Dummies soon, I promise, so I'll stop boring you all with my entry-level confusions. I definitely need to tweak this template, it's very blah. But I am afraid of screwing up things irretrievably. Like when you start ripping back lace...

    I found some fun HTML help websites though, with fun code generators and helpful examples.HTML Basix andComputer Hope, if you're interested.

    I've been knitting a little, but haven't any fun pics at the moment, so I'll just end this post with a pic of a bridge over Agua Clara river in Chiapas.

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