Sunday, July 31, 2005

Etcetera, etcetera 

Thanks to everybody for the birthday wishes! Don't forget to check out Minou and Sparky's donation page--remember, your US dollars go farther in Canada ;)

Speaking of things in Canada which go far...

Today I went to The Grove and joined a bunch of other knitters in getting their books signed and listening to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee ("that's Pearl, not purl," anybody else remember that from the KnitList? Bonus points if you remember her Knitflame nickname) talk about knitting phenomena. Then I drove home listening to Open Source Radio on the iPod all about...knitting phenomena.

So I've done more listening to talk about knitting than knitting. Today, at least.

When we went to Disneyland I brought the Victoria Tank to work on, but eventually ripped it to the balls while in line for the Pinocchio ride.
Gauge was way off, and apparently I was high while knitting most of it. It finally got too wonked up even for me. So it went.

Today I knit on what will be the heaviest Tivoli T out there, made from Reynolds Gypsy mercerised cotton. I don't know that I will ever wear it, but it's a good carry around knit project.

I've finished spinning up the green BFL for the faux-Noro Butterfly, I'm just going to immersion set the twist and then I'll probably leave all of it in some sort of a box and knit it up in a couple years. I mean, I'd hate to break out of my routine here.

Here's what's spinning up now:

There's that merino/silk blend all predrafted like a mofo and spinning up around lace-weight to be plied to around a DK weight. No specific plans for this, but it's spinnin' up real purty.

Okay, here's the Choose Your Own Adventure™ portion of the post. If you want to read more about the Yarn Harlot today, keep reading. If you want to read what books I've read since I last posted, scroll down to where it says What Books I've Read Since I Last Posted. Yes, it's a creative kind of day.

I didn't realise, but apparently my camera has a drug habit. These are the two best pics I got today:

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee throws out Toronto gang signs to her peeps in the crowd.

The girl with psychedelic dreads and a bloated-looking Harlot, all out of focus. This is A Very Bad Picture. She actually reminds me of a girl Nick and I knew up in Sacramento who was very aptly named Jolie.

Anyway, to the meat of the thing. It was amusing, I bought a book and had it signed:

And she was enjoyable to listen to (more so when she dropped the sheaf of papers and did Q&A) and chatty and approachable while signing and all the things publishers could want their authors to be.

Maybe it was just me, but I definitely felt a "blog crowd vibe." You know, where almost everyone is a blogger and knows it, and there's this sense of "okay, what do you know about me and what are you going to say over the internet about me and this? What am I going to say about you? Should I take a picture, or is that too stereotypical desperate blogger-sheep?" Do you know that feeling? I didn't quite pin it down, if someone knows what the hell I'm talking about, please tell me.

What Books I've Read Since I Last Posted

Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King. This is the latest in the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series. I liked it for all the historical San Francisco stuff and the dash of Hammett (pardon my pun) but she really built herself into a little box and it was so damn predictable. I read it though, so that says something.

The newest Harry Potter. Did anybody else have the Spiderman song stuck in their head after they finished this one? All set up for the finale. Good thing for the pensieve, eh? What a useful narrative tool that thing is.

Mystic River by Dennis LeHane. Nick and I read A Drink Before War way back when because we were told that his series was "better than Spenser," fluffiness of which we are very fond. So we tried it and found him to be trite, sentimental, and overly fond of weak-willed characters with an unpredictable streak of violent righteousness that never turns out quite right. And so it is with Mystic River. You just keep reading hoping for something better.

Multiple Choice by Claire Cook. Fluffy and cute, this is like a lighthearted Mermaid Chair. No daddies dead under mysterious circumstances or mommies hacking off bits of themselves in penance, but a fun summer read with similar themes nonetheless. ;)


Tomorrow is the start of PC Turnoff Week which just happens to coincide with our evacuating the flat while some dude takes apart our bathroom. So, I guess I'll see how long I last without this particular idiot box.

See you next week?


Before you go, who's up for a North County Yarn Store Crawl next Saturday? Shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment, and we'll work it out. (edit: Let's make it Sunday. Nancy can't do it Saturday and without Nancy it won't be any fun. So Sunday?)


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Support ze Minou Pitou! 

In case anybody was wondering what I might like for my birthday...Minou and her Mommy are walking for a great cause.

And you can donate quite easily here. Hey, if you don't do it for ze Minou, do it for Sparky.

On the subject of birthday wishes though, check out Terri's birthday wish list--needles that count stitches for you! How on earth will I frustrate and annoy myself now?

Where'd I go today? Here's a clue:

And there, sometimes I felt like this:

But mostly I felt like this:

And as much as/more than ever (I can never decide which it is because this disease called love is so entrenched), in love with this man:


Monday, July 25, 2005

"You say it's your birthday/ Well it's my birthday too--yeah" 

"...We're gonna have a good time."

I don't know what Louise Brown is up to but I'm celebrating by doing a bit of laundry, some dancing (because the Beatles told me they'd like to see me dance), immersion setting of yarn twist, some spinning, maybe some dog beach?

Do you know those card/booklet things that tchotchke shops have for birthdays--"the year/day you were born:" stuff? Here's what mine could say:

You have been alive for four Popes. Not hard when one of those reigns was only thirty three days.

The year you were born...

Ted Bundy was caught, Son of Sam was sentenced, the Hillside Strangler terrorised Los Angeles, and the Unabomber started up.

The Sex Pistols had their last concert.

The Jonestown mass suicide.

Dan White killed Moscone and Milk (remember the "Twinkie Defense"?)

California reinstated the death penalty.

And I was sixty-two days old when my Dad helped clean up body parts from PSA 182. He wouldn't get on an airplane for over ten years after that.

Yes, I was the Baby of Doom.


Friday, July 22, 2005

sweaty, sweaty, sweaty, sweaty, sweaty, sweaty... 

Add my complaints to the pile of "It's HOT"s out there. It seems very stupid of me to have this heat-creating computer all fired up and going, but hey, "stupid" is a theme I celebrate.

Good, now that we've got the weather out of the way...

++++Drama in the Laundry Room++++

If I didn't already know Mandy's Zak rocks, I know it now. He provided an answer to the spider Q with a site cite, just in case I thought he was talking out of his ass. It is a "a female spider of the family Pholcidae (who is carrying her egg sac)" indeed.

I love it when the internet and people with better search engine skills provide answers to life's tough questions. Especially since she seems to have stashed the eggs somewhere, so I'd have no clear answers to provide otherwise. She and a slightly smaller, weedier-looking spider (her mate I'm assuming) have set up a new web between my washer and the wall. In the path to the detergent unfortunately, so they'll have to be moved as I can remember to not walk right through their web for only so long. And I'd hate to orphan an egg sac so young. Especially since they eat other bigger, badder spiders like black widows and (I'm hoping) brown recluses.

There was a (suspected) brown recluse and egg sac in our shower window last month. I sprayed her with simple green until she stopped moving, and she waited until I was rinsing the shampoo from my hair before flinging her dying body at me. I shrieked like a cub scout and hosed her down the drain.

Where she waits again. And plots.


No matter what anybody says, you can get five ounces on a Lendrum bobbin. It's just not a very good idea (it makes treadling a little bit harder, and the take gets less smooth):

I only pushed it so far because this was my last of four bobbins of the mainly blue-sort of green pound of BFL for my fake Noro for a Butterfly. Still, I gave up and put the less than an ounce

(it looks like more because it's fluffed on the seat cushion) on the one other bobbin of it I hadn't skeined up yet.

Next up, the mostly green-sort of blue other pound of BFL.

As fake Noro, my yarn kind of fails because
1)the colours aren't as bright
2)the differences between the colours isn't very dramatic
3)it's spun thick and thin --and while Noro has its slubs, mine are on purpose and the variety in thickness is a bit wider because I still find that more interesting to work with and I like the way it looks.

I also left out the vm, the sericin, and the scratchiness of Noro. Hopefully, the pronenesss to pilling too, but I think with a single it'll be up to me to knit it a little tighter to avoid it. The fibers are relatively long and the amount of twist is relatively high, but I wanted it to be somewhat bouncy and soft, so we'll see.

I suppose I should worry about the biasing it will do, but...meh. Vamos a ver (we will see).

Four skeins, total of one pound, approximately 908 yards which according to this handy chart just puts it into worsted weight. Roughly 57 yards per ounce means 100.32 yards per 50g versus Noro Silk Garden's 110yds/50g, which means I'm off by 10yds/50g which could be a big deal over the whole of the project, but I'm happy because I actually wanted to make it a little heavier as I'm a slightly loose knitter and wanted a slightly tighter knit for anti-pilling purposes. Of course, it's counting chicks before they hatch since I haven't even swatched a sample. Right now this is how I feel about swatching.

Anyway, here's the four waiting to have their twist steam set. Waiting until it's less than 300ºC.

You can tell the difference in the first skeins spun (the outer) because 1) they've relaxed and puffed out after having been off the bobbin for a while 2) they're darker because the first part of the roving was darker.


I'd been knitting a bit here and there on the Tivoli T while I read the new Harry Potter. But not so much since, because, well, I think I enjoy spinning more, even when it's this hot.

++++Other Stuff++++

I was talking to my brother (last week?) and he and the Doog were at a street festival in Anchorage and he was having a great time listening to this Australian one man band guy.

"Rudd? I think that's his name," my brother said.

And then when I browse around the NPR site to find something interesting to listen to while doin' stuff, I find this. And he is fun. I love me some didgeridoodly-dandiness.

I also saw this news story about the police chasing down a guy wearing a heavy coat despite the heat and, well, do you think this witness Mark Whitby reads a lot of lurid fiction? Bolding mine:

"He was hotly pursued by what I presumed were three plainclothes police officers. One of them was wielding a black handgun. He half-tripped as he run into the carriage, they pushed him to the floor and basically unloaded five shots into him."

C'mon, is it because he's British? Not "chased" but hotly pursued, presumed, not "thought" or "guessed", plainclothes, not undercover, "officers" not cops (or bobbies, do they still say "bobbies"?) half-tripped , not "stumbled" or just plain "tripped"? And what's with wielding? When was the last time you saw that word outside porn or pulp? I'm not even going to go into that last bit, but damn, he counted the shots and framed some serious "cops as bad guys" language in there. This guy isn't some shocked and over-excited witness, he's worked out how he's going to tell his story and (if he was an American I'd bet a pinky toe [why not? they've become chubby with age anyway]) to whom he's going to sell it. Anyway, it struck me as odd. Maybe because I'm reading LeHane's Mystic River and the word choice/plausibility factor pops up there. Or maybe I've succumbed to some stereotypical American paranoid xenophobia. Who knows? (Who cares?)

P.S. I feel like I'm somehow ripping off Too Much Wool with the spider posts. Click the link to see a much freakier looking spider. We have some spiders around here that look kind of like that, and I saw one down by the laundry room last night. When I went to take a pic though, it was gone, probably hiding from the heat like I should have been. I thought I'd check on the lovebirds and found that the smaller weedy-looking spider has been replaced by this fatass (fat-ab):

I wonder if the smaller one ran off or was eaten?


Monday, July 18, 2005

What's this spider got? 

This guy's roaming around in our laundry room with this egg-cluster-looking thing in his/her mouth (chelicerae?) and I've never seen such a thing. Is s/he carrying them around to lay more then spin a web around, or is this how this spider bundles and cares for its eggs? Are these even eggs? Is this some other spider's egg cluster that this spider has co-opted for snackies? I will be observing (between the endless laundry cycles) but I'm curious for answers from others.

And just in case the spider pic is creeping you out, here's the next thing I snapped a photo of, coming back through the gate to go back up the stairs:

The silliest looking guard dogs ever.

I done read dese books. Yep.

Hard Truth and High Country by Nevada Barr. I love these Anna Pigeon books, even if she is always walking into these long dark night of the soul with only a murderous sociopath for company situations. She's a mystery solving, mountain-climbing, hiking, case-cracking National Park Ranger of a certain age, and I like that sort of thing. And the character's come a long way in gore-tolerance from Track of the Cat. I wish Jamie Harrison would write more Blue Deer mysteries.

Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith. Cute, but I prefer his female voice of Botswana, so I think I'll skip the others in the series.

Fiber Content

I was messing around with some of my handspun, labeling it for sale and snapping photos to eventually set up a shop site, and this is one of my favourite skeins. It's BFL, but the colours I dyed it make me think of mermaid's hair because of some of the slightly bluish tints that appear amidst all the grassy greens:

I sent its evil bigger-yardaged twin to Mandy.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

O Cambria!
(belted out to the tune of "O Canada!")

I sure hope you're not missing us as much as we miss you.

If your new people don't give you every single thing you want, you give us a ring-a-ding-ding and we'll be up in a jiffy to get you.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Reason #349 Why I Love Nick 

He's gone out to get us ice cream in the middle of this disgusting heat and neither of us is even pregnant.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005


I was really annoyed this morning when I put the kettle on and ten minutes later it still wasn't boiling. In my precaffeinated state, it may have taken a further five minutes before I realised I'd turned on the burner underneath the mondo-dyepot. Dammit.

No harm done to the Finn-Dorset fleece inside. Which brings me to the actual Phirst Phase of my idiocy, since I thought'd be a good idea to separate hunks of the fleece for dyeing in all the colours that show up in a flame (flamin' finn-dorset, 'cuz I got burned, d'ya get it? Yeah, not very subtle, but I had a beautiful theory of how it would look in the end) but once you start thinking about the variation of colours within a flame (and what kind of flame? Gas? hot? wood? cool? the end of the night coals of a beach bonfire? the bunsen burner flame of a chemistry classroom? I'll bet you'd get a lot of different flames from different people if you took a flaming poll) it all starts to get a little fuzzy and you end up with what looks like Halloween Fair vomit on your table:

There's purple, blue, and green to come to join the mess of black, orange, yellow and a red that's more of a rose. I hope once I start blending and spinning I'll like it more.

I've cast on for Grumperina's Tivoli. I'm only on row 6 or so, so if you picture a loop of st st mercerised blue cotton on some shiny Addi needles you'll probably come up with a better picture than what I gots to show ya. I couldn't find any stitch markers last night when I was doing it so just used little bits of household detritus, and it doesn't look terribly clever at the moment.

I cast on for Tivoli so I'd have something more fun and a little less fiddly than the Victoria Tank. I pulled that sucker out of my bag yesterday and had at least ten stitches off the needles. And even though it's only a simple nine stitch repeat going around and around, a variation on the beloved feather and fan, I still manage to cock it up every once in a while. But I knit on it for perhaps two hours on Sunday and only f'ed up once --right before I stuffed it into my bag, what a coincidence. I've only gone back once to fix a f-ck up. We'll see.
Exciting in-progress pic! Perhaps two inches!

Oh, and CJ asked about the yarn, and I'm afraid I'm a bit vague on the info. Not on purpose, of course, and if anyone is absolutely dying to get some, I will find out. Anyway, it's from a one pound hank my MIL bought for me for my birthday last year from a friend of hers who has a yarn store on her property in Springville, CA. I'm not even sure of the yardage, I just know it's a buttload, but the tag just said: "1lb" And I keep coming across similarly dyed bits of mohair, so there must have been a coördinated skein of fluffy mohair snuggled up to it as some point. She did have some great hand-dyed stuff--the bouclé I made the meringue yoke cardigan out of was from the same trip and also a gift.

I suck at "running errands"

I went on my own little mini-knitshop tour yesterday in search of a US4 Addi Turbo 24" circular. (Yes, I could have called ahead, but that rips the thrill right out of the hunt.)

My first stop was the new site of Knitting in La Jolla at 909 Prospect. She's tucked back into this little mini-mall location, just between a Grille and a Hard Rock Grill. Definitely my favourite shop of the four I visited, but she had every Addi 24" (fromm 00 on) except the size 4, and none in her backup stock. Lots of novelty yarns, but lots of beautiful hand-dyed stuff too, though none local that I saw, and lots of books and fun little notions.

I walked over to Helga's Yarn Boutique to see if she sold Addis. Yikes. It's like a yarn shop from the 80s, mostly acrylic, mostly novelty, only Clover bamboos for circular needle choices. And pretty much night and day from the charm of Knitting in La Jolla's owner.

For sh!ts and giggles I drove up Torrey Pines Rd from La Jolla, to where it becomes Camino Del Mar and stopped by Dexter's long enough to find out they were out of the only food Tahoe will put inside his perfect little mouth (aside from cat poop) but they'd have more by 2 o'clock today. This was the real reason for my meandering mission, but since we aren't out of his food yet, and it was a gorgeous day, I didn't care.

Camino Del Mar happens to turn into Historic State Route 101, which just happens to have two knit shops on it in Encinitas.

The first one I came to was Black Sheep, which has a huge collection of Manos. HUGE. Some spinning fiber, beads, novelty yarns, sock yarns, staple yarns, the largest stock of patterns I've seen anywhere, and dyes and resists for painting fabric and acid & procion dyes for protein fibers. Definitely the most diverse stock of the day.

They had a "Part Time Help Wanted" sign up and because I was high from the fumes of this wide-open with possibilities window-down day I asked for an app and even started filling it out before I came to my senses.

Nobody drives from La Mesa to Encinitas to work two days a week for $7-8/hour unless they're still living with their parents.

And while I may answer in the affirmative when Nick calls out "Who's yore daddy!?" he is not, in fact, my father.

But I did find the circs, refrained from buying anything else I didn't need, and set off down the road for Common Threads.

Common Threads has a huge stock as well, but it's mostly organised by colour (there's an altar to Manos in a closet-type room off to the side) and since I no longer had a specific shopping goal, I felt a little adrift in a sea of gradiated colour, with Lorna's Laces nestling Berocco, a chaos of acrylic and wool. There appeared to be a section of Lamb's Pride in various colours for felting, but it seemed like it was in the middle of being organised so I don't know if that was a static installation or not. There were a ton of Addis, but they didn't have the size I had needed--I looked just for price comparison. Their book section wasn't bad, certainly more than Helga's, maybe more actual books than Black Sheep, but except for the Rowans there wasn't much you wouldn't find in the Giant Chain Book Store Hobby Section. Anyway, they had a lot of stuff, but you might have a hard time if you went with specific yarn in mind.

Books I've Read

A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King--This is the third in her Mary Russell series. I think they're fun, even though I've never really read much of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories (I think I've only read "A Speckled Band" and "Hound of the Baskervilles") and I like the occasional period reference tossed in ("I met an odd man named Tolkien with a passion for Anglo-Saxon verse...") of real and fictional characters (Lord Peter Wimsy appears briefly in this one too) because it breaks it up a bit as they aren't exactly your action-packed gritty Vachss type books.

The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith--More fun summer fluff. Precious & Mr. JLB finally get married, one of the apprentices gets a thorn in his bottom, and Mma Makutsi won't have to wash at a shared standpipe anymore! Woo-hoo!


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Listing to the Left 

My version of organisation usually consists of going through and making lists. Once I've done the lists, I feel fairly satisfied and accomplished and that's about as far as it goes.

So the other night I went through all the pattern books and put bookmarks at patterns I want to do, and made a list for handy-dandy reference later. I came up with 64 items. Hmmm...so this has been pared down to seasonal quickie items:

What I Want to Knit This Summer

  • Victoria Tank by Veronik Avery from the Summer 2004 Interweave Knits (p.s. isn't it sad that the best pic of the pattern a first page google search turned up was by a blogger? And if you're interested in doing the tank check the rest of Teresa's gallery notes, 'cuz it definitely captures what I'm feeling here for the first part, and I love how her picot edges turned out.)

  • Tivoli by Grumperina

  • Criss-Cross Adrienne Vittadini Tank from the cover of the Spring/Summer 2004 Vogue Knitting

  • Shapely Tank Top from White Lies Designs

  • Racerback Tank from the Twinset Italiano from the Fall 2002 IK

  • ChicKami from Bonnie-Marie Burns.

    And since the summer's already almost half over, it looks like I've got a lot of getting tanked to do.


    Hey, if you came here for fibery stuff and aren't interested in books, go ahead and mouse on, don't bother with this last bit. But if you have any info to contribute about wool combs/hackles please help me out (in the comments or in the forum linked, whichever you prefer).


    I have been horrible about keeping track of what I've been reading for the 52 Books, 52 Weeks thing. I think I need to be more organised like MJ and originator of the "meme" Large Hearted Boy. I might do better if I made a list of all I'm reading and all I want to read. But I'm lazy, and the method doesn't really work for my knitting so I don't know that it would work for my reading. Doesn't mean I won't try it though...

    Here's what I have out to read:

  • The Full Cupboard of Life & his Portuguese Irregular Verbs series by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Hard Truth & High Country by Nevada Barr
  • The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin & Nicole Krauss
  • Out by Matsuo Kirino
  • Mystic River by Dennis LeHane
  • The Smartest Kid on Earth by Jimmy Corrigan
  • Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  • The Hours by Michael Cunningham
  • Running in the Family & In the Skin of the Lion by Michael Ondaatje
  • and I'm working my way through Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series

  • and it won't be long until the new Harry Potter comes out, hooray!

    Here's what I can remember that I've read since I last updated the book thing:

    Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham--a wonderful book and a great one for discussion. (By which I mean it's one of those books that you appreciate & understand even more when you talk about it with someone else).

    Must Love Dogs by Claire Cook--enjoyable chick lit, this is one I listened to from Audible & it was read by the author which doesn't always turn out well but was fun this time.

    The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty--another Audible, read by the author and a great experience.

    Coraline by Neil Gaimon--holy cow, another Audible, read by the author (and, well, have you SEEN what Neil Gaiman looks like? Have you HEARD him read? He could read me the dictionary and I'd be rapt)

    all of the available Lemony Snickets (Audible, read by Tim Curry is the best way to go, lots of fun)

    The Mermaid Chair & The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd--two books about two very different XX chromosomal-bearing beings at two very different phases of life discovery. I think I enjoyed Secret Life... more because of the sensuality of the bees & the imagery of the black Madonna and bee colony info, & because while I should have been able to sympathise with the protagonist of The Mermaid Chair's "who am I, what is my place?" it was too interconnected with the rejection of her husband and her family and the life she'd made for the last twenty years for me to really understand and empathise with her. These were also Audible selections which I listened to while on lunch breaks or doing housework or cleaning crapped crates so that may have had something to do with it.

    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell--Audible, loved the different voices, but I think some nuances were lost with the listening because of not being able to flip back between semi-interconnected stories and see the words. I loved the different genres and echoes through time; I think you might make bridges between this and Specimen Days in style and recurrent themes. There's a 1984 chord humming through at least.

    Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by some guy--Audible, and so fun to listen to the rythms and nonsensibilities.

    The Hamilton Case by Michelle De Kretser--Who do you trust? The narrator? The people? The land? Definitely not the land. All kind of murky and shifting and exotic and sensual and loathsome at the same time. I've picked up Ondaatje's Running in the Family to read because there's something there that feels like the voice of a country.

    Battle Royale by Koushun Takami--A great, archetypal story with inevitable comparisons to Lord of the Flies, but either the translator or the writer's adaptation made it kind of clunky and unsubtle. I just read on to see how it would end (so, not unsuccessful, I think the writer might say).

    Zorro by Isabel Allende--an unequivocal "meh." My Mom and I both read it waiting for the really exciting stuff to start. It never really did. It did lend some realism to legend and split it into three people, and I did care enough to read to the end, so that's something. I wonder if she's heard of Joaquin Murrieta? And BTW, there are some who claim the real Zorro was Irish.

    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro--Much like Remains of the Day, lots of repression of emotion, and most of the fun of figuring out the hook or "trick" of it is done by page 80, especially as some details of the "twist" are left unexplained. His standard themes are explored: What is it to be human? What is the soul? What is love, what is it worth, does it mean anything, do our feelings mean anything, does our being mean anything, what does a postion of servitude give/get you, is living and loving sometimes so exhausting that giving yourself to the slow process of dying is a relief and balm?

    Practical Demonkeeping & Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore--Pure fun, nothing deeper, nothing better than joy.

    Nickel and Dimed (but I blogged about that disappointment already)

    Edited to add: Oh, I remembered some more.

    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini--I can't believe I forgot this one. This one is one of those books that you read in a day because you can't put it down (unless, like me, you are filled with a frustrated loathing for the narrator so strong you have to set it down and go for a walk, but then, I couldn't help myself, I had to see where it went from there. And I cried.)

    Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi--I think I blogged about this already. Definitely worth reading, and frightening because you wonder how much has changed.

    and the first four in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series
    These are a lot of fun and quick reads, although I suppose the voice I find so charming could become monotonous after a while.

    I hope nobody minds these Amazon-linky things. (Well, if you're reading this post July 15th, you don't know what the hell I'm talking about since I deleted them all as some of them turned into gigantically whorish flashing ads for Amazon instead of a nice sedate framed book link. Ick.)

    I've seen them on other people's sites and went to Amazon to see if they were an easy thing to generate because I like that you can see the book cover and title. Sometimes I don't recognise a title just from a title, but it will be something I've already looked at and discarded and I don't waste my time clicking when I have a visual jog to my memory.

    But it turns out all these little windows are part of an Associate program kind of thing, where you sign up and then they make it super-easy for you to generate these things and if someone clicks and buys through them Amazon gives you a kickback.

    I don't see that happening with my little blog, but I do like how easy it is to make the piccie links...but on the other hand, it feels kind of whorish to have shopping links on what is essentially a journal. "Dear Diary: Buy this." Plus with so many at once, it's kind of visually irksome and not very interesting.

    But this was catch-up. I'll try and stay on top of it, so I can look back at the end of the year and see what I read and how I felt about it right after reading it and see how that's changed. 'Cuz that's my version of fun 'round here.

    Oh, hey, speaking of books, please help me remember that the Yarn Harlot is coming to the Grove for a book signing on Sunday, the 31st at 3pm. San Diego Knitters, you have Inky to thank for suggesting it.

  • |

    Saturday, July 09, 2005

    The world is changing every day. 

    But here are some things I can count on:

    Crivens will be beautiful from any angle.

    I love Nick, and not just because he lets the dogs use him as a pillow.

    Cambria will make me smile.

    I love my mother, and not just because she has an eye for marvelous flowers and shares them with us.

    And I knit incredibly slowly.

    That is about three hours of muddling with the Victoria Tank from the 2004 Summer Interweave Knits.


    Monday, July 04, 2005

    OOh, a new Knitty. 

    I love Andre. He's definitely my favourite, although I don't think I'll ever knit him.

    It's such a spot-on intarsia rep of the "real" thing.

    And I love the description for Hardcore:

    The cardigan has baggy sleeves (because, let's face it, baggy sleeves are cool) that are three-quarter length so that they don't get in the way when the wearer is DJing, break-dancing, doing graffiti, or participating in any other hip-hop related activities.

    Meanwhile, said wearer is making it clear that he not only has mad hip-hop skills, but mad knitting skills as well.

    Damn right, this knitted cardigan is strictly for the hardcore.

    I know, without a doubt, that his Mama is real proud.

    I can see knitting Tychus:

    And I know I will knit Cigar, perhaps with a Broad Street style modification for myself, but as it is for the men in my life. Oh, so many men. ;P

    BTW, I've cropped it, but the pic for Cigar is a great one. Sure, you don't see how far down the wrist the glove ribbing goes (but who cares, & who knits to pattern in such a personal preference anyway?) but you can see the knitting clearly and see the affection the photographer has for their [surly-looking] subject. I dunno, but it charms me.

    Of course, if I knit any of these, it'll be a miracle, because 'm such a project slowpoke. And if I knit them to pattern, even more miraculous, because there's also an article by the Bitchy Canadien Knit Goddess herself on gauge. And of course I mean Bitch in the most "Feminist Response to Pop Culture" sort of complimentary way.

    While it might not always turn out as well as I'd like, I definitely prefer to look at pattern particulars as suggestions and the designs as inspiration. I think it's fun. And I think that's the point.


    And a Merry Monday to Ye! 

    I've heard there's some sort of holiday going on today, but in the brief period I have been among the unemployed, I have lost all track of the days, so I could be wrong.

    Here's a fleece update:

    I followed this tutorial to the letter using my washing machine, a buttload of Dawn dishwashing liquid, and separating the fleece in half into two military surplus mesh laundry bags. There was still a lot of visible dirt and debris after several rinses, so I soaked it overnight and repeated the process the next morning. I got some more dirt out, but was still left with this at the end:

    The tips of the fleece seemed to curl over and trap dirt:

    And there were some sections which felt different to the hand, check out the crimpy-dimpiness here:

    And numerous bits which were shorter than the rest of the staple (a half inch in length or less) which I believe are called "second cuts" and are a Bad Thing because they are unusable. Here's a weird puff, where they kind of mixed with some longer staple, although mostly they are easily identifiable as they rolled into themselves during the washing and rinsing process.

    It looks almost felted there, but the bits separate quite fluffily.

    All this reminds me of my wanting to spin this in the grease, but it was just too poopy, and it kind of ticks me off all over again. The consensus (and thank you guys for all the advice) seems to be to e-mail her before leaving feedback, but I don't really know what to say. I don't want to return all this after all this work, but I know I wouldn't have purchased this if the product description and picture actually matched the product. I don't know what a fair per pound price for a poopy Finn-Dorset fleece with second cuts present is, so I don't know what to ask for to give her a chance to make me happy. I want to give honest feedback, because as a buyer I depend on other people's honest feedback, and I did look through her feedback before bidding and it seemed specific and positive. But I don't really have anything positive to say --not even about the shipping, because to clarify, she shipped two days after she said she would ship it, it arrived ten days later. Shee-it, I should probably just send her what a just said right there, eh?
    Anyway, wah, wah, who cares, lesson learned. Only buy fleece you've fondled in person.

    I have another question for fleece experts: What's this weird dandruffy-looking stuff?

    Finally, an FO

    I guess I can't complain about somebody sayin' they'll do something "tomorrow" and then not doing it...here's some pics of the finished Sirdar hooded sweatshirt:


    Looking distinctly Mr. Creosote-ish.

    "Know the warning signs of a stroke."

    ("Sudden [...]loss of balance or coordination" [not so sudden, more like life-long, in my case])

    Detail of mini-pocket
    (I made it just big enough for my wallet and keys

    Detail of my crappy shoulder seaming and pocket.

    I totally forgot to have him take a pic of the back. But it's the same as the front, 'cept it's got one more cable pattern repeat and my @ss in it. So you ain't missin' nuffing.

    So, just to recap the details, it's the Kid's Hoodie (y?) from the Sirdar Family Denim book #283, using Lavold's Angora which I love love love. I think I must have used about 14 or 15 skeins. Since I made the mini-pocket, I didn't have to get into the two extra skeins I got (though it was close, I seamed the mini-pocket with scraps I cut off from my long-tail cast ons) and I might use them for gloves, or socks, I dunno. Maybe I'll make a Mondo Pom Pom for that reservoir tip of the hood.

    Dyejobbie jabberwocky

    Hey, I'll bet this colourway looks familiar:

    I'm just a "one trick pony, one trick is all that horse can do" kind of kid when it comes to what colours I like to spin up for myself or my family. This is about 14 oz. of the superfine merino I bought from Solvang Village SpinWeave way back when on the mini-trip with Jen. The blog last saw it like this after being savaged in the dog spree:

    As you can see they didn't really damage it, just unrolled it and harassed it a little bit. I separated roughly two ounces of the most harassed parts and dyed the rest.

    I'm planning to spin this up to make a scarf for my brother. Maybe some fingertipless gloves and a hat too, though we'll see. A man in a matching set looks a little over-mothered, if'n you ask me. Which you didn't. But I'm generous with my opinions like that, no need to thank me.

    Anyway, it's amazing the difference between this and the BFL. The BFL almost feels like Brillo in comparison. I'll bet it'd be a real system shock to go between this 80's merino and Churro (ooh, or Karakul, erk!). Amazing the wide and wooly spectrum that's out there.

    What's your favourite wool? Or favourite fiber overall? Since I don't mean to be ovis-centric.


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