Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays!

I wish all of you love and blessings, and someone to stay warm with....



Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fit problems

Here's the finished and felted moebius basket that I showed in the unfelted state a couple of posts ago...

I think it turned out pretty nice. I like the way the yarn pooled into a lightening bolt pattern around the basket. I was sort of envisioning it as a cozy cat basket, where perhaps a sort small cat could have a cozy little nap. Though, it was an experiment of sorts because I really had no specific pattern and was knitting it from stash, in a size much larger than any I have made before.


The rim of the moebius strip was knit from a different yarn from the rest of the bowl to make sure I didn't run out while doing the I-cord bind off, and I also wanted some contrast. So as it felted, the yarns shrunk down at different rates. This is fine and is something I was anticipating----however, unfortunately for some small cat, this caused the rim to shrink to the point where the basket is better suited for a nap if you are a cobra rather than a cat.....

"Hey, here's that basket that mom made, lying on the floor again! Let's just see here.....If I climb inside I can have a warm nap again....mmmmm...nap."

"Something seems to be wrong here...."

"HEY! WTF! I know I fit in this thing just the other day!"

"Mom's shrinkin' stuff in the wash again. Hmmmmfph. This just won't do...."

Oh well, better luck next time for the cat basket idea. I guess I'll have to knit one the size of the sofa before felting to get it to stay big enough for a cat to fit into! However, after dragging this one up, sopping wet, out of the washer several times to check the felting progress, I don't think my biceps could take felting anything any larger. Just about killed myself dragging this one up and down out of the water---felt like about 30 pounds of wet wool! I'm sure it wasn't quite that heavy, but it certainly seemed like it was I think the minions will be getting a nice unfelted cat bed!

This large felted basket can be currently found holding a nice little portion of my yarn stash, and it's working out great!

But don't ask the Toe-cat his opinion on the matter....

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tempting

Here are the world's most impossible socks---impossible to knit on without a microscope and a giant halogen boom light, impossible to finish for some reason even though I swear to buddha that I have knit 5 trillion rows on these freakin things since I started them at the turn of the century, and impossible to photograph. This would be photographic attempt #15,378.....



and #15, 379....


You will notice, despite the blurring and poor definition, that these socks still have no heels. Yes, I started a heel flap and then frogged it---between the splitting of the yarn, the slipperiness causing a giant long stitch at the start of the heel flap that didn't become apparent until 10 rows later, and the size zero needles they are being knit upon which is making me blind, they seem to just really be going nowhere right now.

But for reasons unknown to even me, I have forbidden myself to cast on another pair of socks until I somehow suffer my way through this pair to the bitter end. I mean, I didn't always have the hate for these socks---I love the cuff pattern and the colors. But suddenly it seems to be a case of them against me, so I have to come up with a solution to finish the rotten things somehow.

I'm not feeling the love for the standard heel flap, especially with this tiny, splitty yarn, so I'm thinking I might want to try a short-row heel, but.....

I have never yet tried to knit a short-row heel and I'm not sure how I feel about doing my first new heel experiment on a pair of socks that took so long to get this far. Perhaps I should save that attempt for a more plain sock that I haven't spent so much time on up to this point. I'm sorta feeling that there may be more bad juju ahead if I try my first attempt at a new technique on these socks, but there is always the lifeline option.

And there is a third solution that I have been pondering (besides frogging their nasty little butts into oblivion).....How about if they don't become socks at all? How about if they become a very lovely pair of nice, and better yet, almost finished, wrist warmers?! Ooooh, pretty!

Oooooh yeah---pretty TEMPTING!

Obviously, I can't seem to make a decision and if I don't make one soon, I will never get to cast on another pair of socks! (Again, I don't know why I feel I cannot cheat on these socks with a new pair---I guess I'm too loyal and feel I should have closure on this relationship before I move on to another.)

So what do you all think?

Slog back through the regular heel flaps?

Take a risk and try the short-row heels (keeping in mind that I usually screw up grandly the first time I try something new---that's how I learn), risking the demise of the pretty socks altogether?

Or turn them into a lovely pair of wrist warmers and move on to a relationship with a new sock. A sock that fulfills me and supports me emotionally. A sock that gives as well as takes.

I leave it to you to advise me whether I should kick the socks to the curb or give them another chance....

Meanwhile, you can find me fondling my sock yarn stash and hunting for that one special yarn, dreaming about if whether we could have a future together. Maybe even a sport-weight (yes, size does matter!). One without the tendency to split on me when things get rough. One that won't laugh at my size 2 or 3 needles, or leave me blind and alone at night when I need it most. One who has my need for warm feet in less than 5 years at the top of its priority list.

A good relationship is hard to find, my friends.

ETA: Oooh! Oooh! Found a great swap for the New Year! Go check out the Mmmm....Hot Cocoa Knitters Swap. Who couldn't use a little chocolatey and yarney goodness during the darkest, dullest part of the year? (If you decide to join in the fun, be sure to let them know in your comment that you saw it here!)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"How About A Nice Number Two?"

Warning: No knitting content, and if you are easily offended by bodily functions or lame scatalogical humor, read on at your own risk....


Has anyone seen that Supercuts television commercial where the giant robot hairstylist chases customers around holding huge, sharp scissors? And when the customers try to say what haircut they want, the robot repeats over and over again, "How about a nice number two, how about a nice number two...?"

I love that commercial! I'm sorry, but it just cracks.me.UP! I mean, do you think there is some subliminal, advertising trick reason for why they picked "#2" as the choice being offered? Hey, the road to adulthood is a long one, folks, and apparently I'm still winding my way through adolescence.

Maybe this ad makes me laugh because I used to be a hairstylist and worked for a while at a Supercuts. How much fun would I have had chasing after the customers who sat in my chair with big, sharp tools and a maniacal look, asking them if they'd like a "nice number two?"

Or then again, maybe it's because I am now a nurse, and get a little too big a kick out of the thought of some robotic nurse, chasing patients down the hallways, holding some dangerous-looking medical devices, while informing them, "Your doctor has ordered an enema for you----how about a nice number two!?"

Heh.

Don't laugh. With the nursing shortage it may be coming to that. If you ever see that add replicated to advertise your local community hospital and the robot is wearing a nurses' hat, be very afraid.

I think I've worked in the medical field for too long.....I need help.


However, if anyone feels in need of a "nice number two," I still hold both a valid Cosmetology license and a Registered Nurse license, so I'm qualified on both ends...give me a call and I'll see if I can help you out.....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Knits for the Slumpedy Cure

What is a girl supposed to knit when she is in a slump? Hmmmmm......

If she is feeling slumpy, she can't really take knitting too seriously for a while. Can't go around working on anything intricate or complicated while in a slump, now can she? That would be too tiring to contemplate while feeling slumpy.

I guess the answer to the dilemma is to knit items that are, well,...a little silly perhaps! I'm here to tell you that a sure cure for the slumpies is to knit one of these...



That's right, it's a tiny little dress. And yes, that's right, it's a dishcloth. Here is it adorning a bottle of dish soap...

Now how could I feel all slumpy-like after working on a dishcloth that's a dress? Silly, I know! But very fun and very quick to knit indeed----and a FO in a couple of hours! Definitely not slumpy!

In looking for something else silly to cure my slumpediness, I then moved on to this....

"Why Knotty Kitty, what the HELL is that?" you might ask. That, my dear friends, is an absolutely huge, pre-felted, moebius bowl, using a ton of leftover bulky wool stash! (The moebius part is the rim strip, which is a moebius band with I-cord bind-off). If it turns out big enough after felting, it will make a fine, cozy bed for some random cat to sleep in.

Here's a volunteer to test it out....

Toe-cat gives it a big thumbs up (because he has thumbs and he can do that)! I think he would be perfectly happy if I just left it as a lump of knitted wool---don't bother with the felting. A couple of minutes after I took this pic he was curled up in a happy little nap upon the giant basket!

I'm tellin' ya, if you are feeling a little slumpy, get to knitting on any silly project you can think of that doesn't involve any deadlines, stress or complicated knitting skills. Heck, it doesn't particularly even have to involve actual usefulness or wearability!

I'm not saying silly knitting is a total cure for the slumpedies, but chuckling my way through knitting a tiny little dress and a humongous, stash-busting basket certainly didn't hurt any!

I think I feel better already......:)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Slump Day

I'm in a slump.

And as such, it would be fair to say that any blog post written by someone in such a state will undoubtedly by somewhat, well,...slumpy. I'm just sayin' is all, so don't go blaming me at the end when you've been exposed to slumpiness and try to say no one warned you.

I'm declaring that today is the official, unofficial Slump Day. I need to name it and expose it, bring it into the open to air out----then maybe it will go away.

I don't know who named Wednesdays as the official "Hump Day," but I figure I have just as much right as anyone to name a day, especially one as hated and dreaded by almost everyone as Mondays. So it is done. Today is Slump Day, says I. At least for this week.

I've been feeling kind of "meh" about everything for the past couple of weeks. I'm not depressed, and I don't have a bad attitude--just not terribly interested in one thing or the other. Like knitting. Or blogging.....especially blogging. I've worked on my knitting projects a little, but not much motivation there. You might have noticed an absence of blog posts recently. I think about blogging, but then---nothing.

I'm really happy to have time to myself again, to not have to go to a job I hate and get yelled at by pinheads every day, to have time to read, catch up, relax, play with the cats. Hey, I've even cooked regularly over the past two weeks---happily and without grumbling---and despite my husband looking at me like I must have gone insane. However, it seems I'm not really inspired to do anything that requires the least bit of mental effort----and I mean the least bit! Like I said, a slump.

Maybe it's the dreaded transition, for me, from summer to winter. It seems that winter has just sort of ushered itself in around here, shoving fall right out of the way. Yep, straight to the drippy, wet, windy and cold. Slump.

At the end of each summer I live in denial for as long as possible. I hate winter. I wear my flip-flops and summer clothes until I get so cold that I feel like I'm stepping outside in my underwear---that's when I finally give up and break out the dreaded long sleeves and closed-toe shoes. This year, my toes and forearms never even got to see most of September. What happened to those supposed lovely sunny, crisp days of fall? Didn't see many of those this year. Just wet.drippy.windy.cold. Today is all of the aforementioned.
(Did I mention I hate winter?) Slump.

I guess I'm not the only one having a slump---went to the Madrona Fiber Arts site today to try to register for a class for the upcoming Winter Retreat in February '08. For those of you not familiar, Madrona is a knitting retreat held at a hotel in a local town, with 4 days of classes, tons of different teachers, gatherings, banquets, get-togethers, marketplace and lots of fibery fun. Registration opens at a precise time on a precise day on line, and classes fill up before you can even get connected to the registration page.

However, the Madrona registration program must be having a slump as well. When I attempted to register, I was greeted with a page that stated "Registration temporarily closed due to technical difficulties." The same thing happened last year, I might add. I know the truth. "Technical difficulties" is just a fancy techno-name for....that's right....a slump.

And BTW, as has happened for every year in the past I've tried to sign up for classes at Madrona, by the time I check back and registration is up again, all of the classes will be magically full. I've never gotten into a class that I wanted there in the 5 years I've been trying to register, so nothing out of the ordinary on that front. But very much in keeping with Slump Day!

In truth, I shouldn't even have been tempted to try to register for Madrona, yet again, cuz the classes are waaaaay too expensive. I didn't want to take one of their dumb ole' classes anyway.....Successful registration at Madrona would have gone counter to true slumpiness and proper, respectful celebration of Slump Day.

I'm done now. Have a slumpety day!

Friday, October 19, 2007

And now for something completely different...

How often do you see something like this?


Pink fried eggs? Pink crop circles? Or if you are old enough to have had one already, your breasts after your last mammogram, perhaps? (or as I like to call it, a grab-and-smushogram... if you've had one, you know why!).

October is breast cancer awareness month, and what better way to help get the message out there about getting your mammogram than to knit some flattened boobies! Which is why, when I saw this free pattern on Vyvyan's blog, I simply had to knit it up immediately! (This is a picture of it before washing and blocking, cuz I won't have time afterwards before I gift it to a friend)...

I have made Vyvyan's Nubbins dishcloths before, which are a fun, quick knit, but this one, called "Nubbins for Ta-Ta's" is more fun than a clothesline full of giant brassieres and granny panties hung out in the open! It's not every day that you see boobies on a dishcloth, ya know! Teehee. And I might add, since I had no power for hours yesterday and last night (thank you, windstorm), it is an easy knit by candlelight as well! If you need your mammogram, go make an appointment already!

On an unrelated topic, I'm so excited! I'm leaving on Sunday to attend a Floating Knitting Retreat with Cat Bordhi! I'll be spending 4 days in the San Juan Islands, floating around on the inter-island ferry, learning about new sock architecture and other fun stuff, looking at great scenery and staying in Friday Harbor!

I've lived in Washington for about 13 years now and have never been able to see more of the San Juans than just going by on the ferry from Sydney, B.C. It will be great to be able to explore, see the sights and spend some time there, along with all the knitting I can handle for most of the week.

Just think...........one week I'm toiling unhappily in a boiler room operation, and the next week I'm floating amongst beautiful, green islands and knitting til my fingers are sore! My only regret is that I was not able to get into the retreat that included Lucy Neatby as well. Maybe next time. I'm just happy to be going! Going to the knitting retreat has been in my plans for months, but now I won't have to climb into my handbasket for my return to Hell when I get back! Whoo-Hooo!

So now I'm off to catch up with laundry, errands, etc. that should have been done yesterday (again, thanks dumb windstorm). Talk to you when I get back, and hope I get lots of great pics to share!

But before I go......

To everyone who commented on my post yesterday, thank you from the bottom of my little unemployed heart! I don't often put anything that personal on my blog, and I was a little worried that I would bore y'all to sleep with it before I got to the contest winners! But my heart was warmed when I saw all the comments of support this morning. It was something I just had to get out for cathartic purposes (which worked very well, by the way...). I so appreciated that you took the time to read and send comments of support. You guys SO rock!

I am happy to report that I am feeling a wave of relief that I finally just gave it up and left, and put it out there for all to see after agonizing personally for months. I'm feeling peace coming back into me, although it will take a little time to slough off all of the negative cr*p that was thrown onto me during my time there! I guess time is the best soap for washing away that sort of grime, along with the support of friends.....thanks again.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bye-Bye NBRO.....and More Contest Winners!

Today is a happy, happy day for me, and perhaps a happy day for a couple of other people, too, depending on how they feel about being a winner in my recent little contest!

Before I announce two more contest winners, I must announce the big news that makes this such a happy day for me......I quit my job at the Nurse Boiler Room Operation!! I understand that some people may view the loss of my income as a bad thing and I'm not crazy about that part either. But there are just some jobs that aren't worth the paycheck at any price, and this was one of them.

I love being a nurse and helping others, and I love the feeling that I may be contributing to the greater good in the world in some small way, by hopefully being a nurturer and health educator to people at the times they may need those things, or providing any other comfort or support I can as a nurse. Yes, I'm one of those touchy, feely-type nurses who leans more toward being your Supportive Nurse-Mom rather than toward Super-Wonder-Nurse or Nurse Ratchet! (I'm sure we've all met up with one or two of those....).

With that being said, this job did not allow me me to be the type of the nurse I like to be. I enthusiastically took a job that was supposed to be about providing education and support to people with chronic health conditions over the phone. However sadly, what it turned out to be was all about the bottom line, satisfying contracts, how many calls per hour, how long on each call, what tasks were accomplished on each call, etc. And the worst of it was being connected to a timed dialer, timing every call and wrap time, and that pops up computer-dialed calls to the nurses, usually with the person on the other end already irritated because they've said "hello" three times with no response before we got the call, and already think we are a telemarketer.

What they also didn't tell us is that the people we were calling did not exactly sign up for this service, but rather were nominated by insurance coding that identified them as having one of the qualified conditions. Yes, all of the great little details you find out only after having started the job and your training....

Suffice it to say that what I would estimate to be about 80% of my call recipients were NOT happy to hear from me! Over the course of the past four months, I have been yelled at, called names, insulted, derided, chastised, interrogated and hung up on a daily basis more times than I care to count. Even worse than that were those who "cooperated" with the call with dripping sarcasm, or were outright hateful and evil. I must add that everyone was told that involvement was totally voluntary and they could opt out, which practically none of them could do without including at least three of the above bad behaviors! I've learned ugly things about people that I never wanted to know...

It got to the point that when every call popped up, I responded with my usual cheery and friendly greeting, only to hold my breath to wait for the likely onslaught that I was about to face. Imagine my surprise and relief when, very occasionally, that one person who really needed some help was happy to talk to me! Unfortunately, those lovely people. with whom I adored conversing and sharing and discussing their challenges to try to find solutions, were so few and far between, I can practically remember every sweet one of them....

Nurses are anything but quitters. I tried mightily, mastered the job as it was given with all of the restrictions within only a couple of months, and became skilled at finding ways to interject my personality and some fun into every call I could. I have never left a job after such a short time, and I was bound and determined to make this one do-able.

It was a good fight, but add to all of the above management and policy problems, inconsistencies and broken tools, and I just couldn't do it any more. I sadly gave my two-weeks notice and left all of the great nurse colleagues and friends that I had made while there, and my last day was yesterday. I am not the only one---the place is bleeding nurses out the door, despite the decent pay. However, I really had to fight the feeling of being a quitter or a failure to give my leave after such a short time. But a couple of weeks ago, after talking to my 5-million-and-first total and complete, rude, sadistic, ignorant, moronic pinhead on the phone, I logged off the dialer and wrote my notice right then and there. I had been sitting on the fence and that person was the last straw!

All I can say is how happy and relieved I feel now to have escaped, and how exhausted I am! I now realize that this job was sucking the soul out of me, and if I stayed I was destined to have to develop a skin so thick that I would become one of the types of nurses I really detest. I could not allow that to happen. I haven't been a nurse for long enough to become a sad and jaded burn-out who goes through the motions and has nothing genuine left to give!

Yes, my idealistic nurse soul is now free of it's chains (and it's paycheck), to wander the greater Puget Sound area in search of another place where it can contribute to the greater good and be of help to someone....

Meanwhile, my lazy body is going to watch from the couch while knitting, at least for a month or two! A knitting-time-starved nurse deserves a little break, doesn't she? Yippee! I'm free! Besides, who wants to job-hunt over the holidays, anyway?

On to more Contest Winners!!-----

After waiting for a response from the original winner of the "guess how many balls in the basket" part of the contest, Mary Ann, I have received no contact from her. Sorry, Mary Ann, but the win must now go to the person with the next-closest guess.....Sue S. Sue's guess was 82, just two off from the original winning guess.

The final winner is for my favorite post. This one took a while, as there were so many great comments, pattern links and fun greetings! I finally decided that the prize should go to The Knitorious Mrs. B! She wrote me a lovely and humorous little poem for my birthday, as well as providing a link to a free copy of the Ballband Dishcloth pattern (who doesn't like a ballband.....and a free pattern?). I also found out after looking at her blog, that she is a nurse, too! That didn't have anything to do with the contest win , but I do love to see a fellow knitting, blogging nurse!

Congratulations, Sue S. and Knitorious Mrs. B!! Be sure to send me your snail mail addresses, so I can send your prizes!

BTW, probably won't be sending any prizes out until the end of this month. Getting ready to go out of town next week, and tons of laundry and errands are calling......

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Birthday to the Toe-cat!!....and contest winners!!

Sorry for the late hour of this post, but with working this weekend, it's been a busy couple of days. But not so busy that I couldn't announce two winners of my Belated Blogiversary and Birthday Big Basket of Balls Contest. And what better day to announce contest winners, than on the first birthday of the Toe-cat!

Yes, little Toebi is one year old today!!! What a character he has grown into! He loves to lock everyone in the bathroom by slamming the door closed. However, he hasn't mastered opening it again, so it's a problem when we're not home. He loves to chew on our finger like a pacifier when he wants to take a nap. He will crawl up next to us and curl up, and then use the end of one of our fingers as a chew toy for a minute or two before falling off into a happy nap. It really does make him sleepy! And he's very careful when he eats his kibbled food---if a morsel or two falls from the dish, he must go around and clean those up before he can go back to eating from the dish---very tidy!

Happy Birthday, Toebi! Extra toes and extra sweet---what more could we ask for?!!

Now without further ado, I can announce two of the winners of the Belated Blogiversary and Birthday Big Basket of Balls Contest!!!

Surprisingly, only a few people guessed even close to the actual quantity of balls in the big basket! No one guessed the exact quantity, and no one went over. The closest guess of 84 balls of cotton was made by Mary Ann, who is blogless, and also left no contact information in her comment!!

Congratulations, Mary Ann! If you are out there and read this, please email me at twominions@yahoo.com by October 15th with your address so I can send you a lovely prize! If I don't hear from you by then, I will pass the win along to the entrant with the next-closest guess.

So I suppose you would like to know exactly how many balls ARE in that basket! The number of balls in the big basket is......88. Hard to believe there could be that many in there, isn't it! But here they are out of the basket, so you can count them if you want to....


How close was your guess? The quantity was counted, verified and closely-guarded by the Chief Minion himself (who, I assure you, was SUCH a big help in the counting process....).

The next winner was chosen by assigning numbers to each valid entry in order of their posting, and then putting the numbers into a random number generator. The random number selected was 61. Congratulations, Stephanie Davies!! (Click on her name to check out her great blog!) If you happen to see this post, Stephanie, send your address to me at the email I listed above so I can send your prize!

There's one more winner to go.....but I haven't picked them yet. Still need some more time to decide which commenter should win the final prize (sorry, but I just haven't had enough time yet). I will try to post the final winner soon, so check back to see if you've won!

Thanks again so much to everyone for taking the time to stop by and leave your entries and comments! I appreciated every single one! Congrats again to Mary Ann and Stephanie on winning!

Have a great week, everyone! :)



Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thanks!

I really want to thank everyone who left comments, birthday and blogiversary wishes and contest entries over the past week. Hope you'll stop by again some time and leave your comments!

I had a nice birthday overall. Lolligagged around the house, stayed on the computer for way too long, took a shower at 3:00 in the afternoon, and then met my cute hubby and another couple for a lovely dinner at Trader Vic's. It was mostly a quiet day, but very nice, especially with enjoying a dinner out with some new friends of ours at the end of it. And reading all of your fun comments made spending most of the day alone seem not so lonely at all!

I haven't chosen the winners for the contest yet, but I'm working on it. I'm so pleased that there were so many entries! I'm still working on going through them to look at all of the links you left, as well as checking out the blogs of all of you who left your addresses. Lots of fun and talented people out there in the blogosphere!

I will try to announce the winners by the end of this weekend, but I am also working this weekend, so please forgive if I'm a little late by chance. In the meantime, for all of you who made guesses about how many skeins of cotton were in the Big Basket of Balls, here's a little teaser for you about how many balls are actually in there. Here's all of the skeins, emptied directly from that now-empty basket in the background and laid out on the floor...

The accompanying minions were not counted in the total, and no skeins were added or subtracted for the picture---just dumped 'em all out and lined 'em up on the floor....

For those of you now suffering with a case of shock and awe at the sheer size of this line-up, try to keep in mind that I've been collecting cotton yarn a little at a time ever since I used to crochet...years ago....before I even learned to knit. So what might first appear to be an uncontrollable cotton yarn obsession is actually a case of slow and insidious self-reproduction by the yarn itself! Yes, it's true! Every time the collection realizes I don't have a new color, they reproduce it themselves! And being snuggled all together in that cozy basket hasn't helped any. Of course, I disavow all knowledge of ever actually purchasing that many skeins of one type of yarn...

Were any of you close on your guess? I can say that there were no entrants that guessed the exact quantity!

Here's the latest project I just started. I had this beautiful (and impossible to photograph) skein of STR heavyweight in the stash in this very cute colorway---Little Bunny Foo Foo---and since fall has decided to start so quickly this year, what better time to knit a lovely little ruffled tea cozy?

I'm knitting it from a pattern I got at Churchmouse Yarn & Tea, while on the infamous LYS Tour last May. Yes, I know I still have an unfinished pair of socks leering at me from the basket, but with the days getting darker and colder, I thought I might start something knit on needles a little larger than size zero.

Love those socks, but a girl could go blind working on them. And I can't cast on another pair of socks until I've finished those. I have very few knitting rules for myself, but having only one pair of socks going at a time is one of them----Progress is slow enough for me on sock-knitting, but I'd never finish a pair if I allowed myself to start a second pair while one is still unfinished! I grew up Catholic, so maybe it's just some little knitting penance I've assigned to myself....or maybe I'm just weird....Either way, there's enough problems with UFO's around here without having two of one thing. Of course, the rule obviously doesn't apply to starting more different projects. (Hey, I didn't say I was a good Catholic...heh heh....). I can make my own rules only so strict if I want me to follow them.

And so I've digressed, as usual. What was the topic of this post again? Oh yeah, thanks again to everyone who entered the contest and commented, birthday, winners coming soon, and making tea cozy, which somehow led to strange, guilty excuse-making about still-unfinished socks and some insane blathering about my self-imposed knitting rules......

Be kind. My brain is a very strange place. It's not easy living here.

I'm really done now.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm having a blast!

Having this contest is so much fun! I am enjoying reading all of the comments so much. I'm still working my way through all of the links you've all provided and looking at all of your blogs (from those of you who gave my your blog address!).

Holding a contest has definitely made my belated blogiversary and birthday week way more exciting than it would be otherwise. The contest continues until midnight on my birthday, Wednesday, October 3rd. So feel free to enter on this post or below if you haven't already! And BTW, if you leave an "anonymous" comment, probably a good idea to at least sign your name at the bottom, as I have had a few anonymous comments with no name identifier. I really don't want to announce the winner as "anonymous #3" or some such thing. Make sure I know who you are in case you win!

I'm in the midst of my workweek at the NBRO for the next couple of days, so no pics today. But I will try to post some pics of my new project soon. It involves some Socks That Rock Heavyweight yarn, but it's not socks...Funny enough, I've had some STR yarn in my stash for a while now, but this is the first chance I've had to knit with it, just on a project that's not socks. I can say for now that it is really nice to knit with and makes a great fabric---at least in the heavyweight.

Happy Knitting everyone! And if you haven't looked at a giant basket of balls for a while, scroll down for a good look, make your best guess, and maybe win some new balls for your very own!....snork....I'm a ten-year-old....I can't stop.......I really should grow up some day.....


Naaaaaaah!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Keep those CONTEST entries coming!!

A very nice lady just emailed me to say that she had trouble linking to my blog to leave a comment. Perish the thought that someone couldn't leave an entry!

My contest has only been going on for one day, and thanks to all of you, I'm having a blast reading all of your fun comments and looking at the links! And of course, I want everyone who wants to enter to be able to and have a chance to win some fiber-related prizes!

I'm thinking that maybe since my last post was long and had lots of pictures, perhaps Blogger may be throwing one of it's periodic temper tantrums and not allowing any more comments on that post. Hell, I don't know---my technical knowledge of how blogs work doesn't go much past "mouse over and click" (refer to my comments on prior posts about there being no geniuses in the Knottykitty Kingdom...).

So here is another post with no other purpose except to allow more contest entries and comments! So just click on "comments" at the bottom of this post, and keep them coming!

Hope this solves the problem. Good Luck in the contest!

>^..^<


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Time for a CONTEST!!....and some actual knitting content!

Don't fall over, but yes, this post will contain actual knitting content. But first, let's commence with my first ever, official blog contest!! I'm not saying it's going to be scintillating or anything....no creative geniuses live in the knottykitty domain, we are simple creatures here. It does, however, have an official name---In honor of my first blogiversary and upcoming birthday, it's time for....

The Belated Blogiversary and Birthday
Big Basket of Balls
Contest

Because here at Knottykitty Knits, we love us some balls!! (Don't be a dirty girl, you know I mean yarn balls, of course!) I'll give a minute to clear that image from your mind.....now, I'll continue.

Since I've been known to knit a dishcloth or two around here, I have managed to acquire quite the stash of kitchen cotton through the years. And, oh! I just so happen to have a picture of it right here, arranged in a lovely basket...

I'm not sure why I thought it was necessary, but just in case, here's a closer view...

All of the balls in the basket are whole (no partially-used) skeins. They are mostly standard Sugar 'n Cream balls, both variegated and solid, with a few of the larger-sized balls in there as well. I believe there are one or two Peaches & Creme balls in there as well.

Here's the contest part---

Leave me a comment on my blog by midnight (PST) on Wednesday, October 3rd (the birthday part--mine), that includes the following:
  1. Your guess as to how many balls are in the basket.
  2. Your favorite small project to knit, with link to the pattern if available, so we can all have some new patterns to look at, because we love that!
  3. Your blog address, if you have one, because we love to look at those, too!
  4. Optional: Any kind of birthday/belated blogiversary greeting you'd like to throw in, be it normal, funny, poetry, strangeness or whatever.

[The reason for #3? Because I'll be home all day by myself on my birthday (sniffle) and I'm old (hmph) and I love a good laugh (ha!).]

I'll be giving out yarny and knitting-related prizes for the following:

  1. Closest guess on how many balls are in the basket, without going over the quantity.
  2. My favorite comment that makes me laugh, or feel better about getting so old, or both.
  3. Random drawing.

I will try to announce the winners by the end of the weekend, following the end of the contest.

So what are you waiting for? Get on in here and leave a comment with your guess, your favorite small project pattern and your sense of humor!!

********************************************************************************************

Real knitting content:

Yes, it's true! I've actually managed to finish a couple of projects this past week. First, I finally finished this basket that I was done knitting a couple of months ago, and then let it sit by the washer waiting to be felted. Here's the before picture...

and here's the finished basket....


Knit with Paton's SWS soy/wool yarn---I have to say it again, I love making felted projects with this yarn. The color choices are great and it felts up as soft or as stiff as you want. I didn't have a pattern for this basket. Just sort of made it up as I went along. I wanted a squarish-shaped, low-walled basket, and I think this one came out pretty good for a first attempt at making a basket without a pattern. I also included increases as I knit up the walls of the basket, hoping it would keep the walls from flopping outward after it was felted---and it worked! Finished size is about 7-1/2"L x 5"W x 2-1/2" deep.

This second FO, the Moss Grid Handtowel from Mason-Dixon Knitting, turned out nicer than I expected. It took me absolutely forever to finish, done on size 4 needles, and I was a little worried about how it looked when it was done...


It seemed like the "moss grid" squares really didn't show next to the strips of stockinette between the boxes. I thought it might have been my tension when switching back and forth between the moss stitch and stockinette sections.

So I put it in a nice woolwash soak for about an hour and hoped for the best. Hard to capture in these pictures, but I'm still amazed at what a little soak, a trip through the dryer and some light blocking when almost dry did for my cute little towel!

Those stockinette strips between the squares smoothed right out to reveal the nice little moss stitch boxes! I couldn't seem to get a great picture, but the color is much deeper and it has a lovely sheen to it! Needless to say, I was excited that it came out this well compared to the before pictures!

The fabric also got incredibly soft, with a great drape to it. It was made with Euroflax sportweight. I have some beautiful moss green in the same yarn to make it a set. About 3/4ths of the way into knitting this hand towel, I was thinking I might not be making another one because it was getting a little monotonous. But seeing how this one turned out has returned some of my desire to make a second one to complete the set...later.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I'm a Dork!

While lying in bed last night and thinking about the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival (that I won't be attending this year, unfortunately), I realized that it was about the same time last year that I posted about going....which then led to the realization that this meant I had started blogging some time right before the OFFF, which meant.......WAAAAAAT? I missed my own dang Blogiversary! I guess as the only celebrant of this particular occasion, it was entirely upon me to both remember and celebrate accordingly, and I forgot! (.....Oh, and don't even ask about the stream-of-consciousness thinking that led to thoughts of the OFFF while lying in bed trying to fall asleep.)

How could I miss my OWN Blogiversary?! Especially the very first one!? Yep, it was September 18, 2006 when I first decided to toss my own special brand of weirdness into the blogosphere. I can't believe it's been a year already! (Which probably has some part in how I missed it). But mostly, I blame missing it on my current involvement with gainful employment and it's cruel interruption of the enjoyment of my free time and favorite activities. Yes, the NBRO continues to exert it's evil influence on my life....

In any case, I believe this calls for some type of contest, don't you? Yes! Sounds like a great idea---when I think of one! Being me, and being supremely good at never being prepared for anything, I haven't exactly come up with what type of contest I want to have yet. I'm not good at quick thinking, and I'm already late anyway---it'll take me just a teeny minute to come up with something.

So in honor of my Belated Blogiversary, I will be bringing you an appropriately belated contest.....soon......

Yes, dorkiness still reigns supreme in Knottykitty Land!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

'Tis silliness and mirth Thursday

If any of you are fans of celtic music, or Irish and Scottish drinking songs, and also love your little sweet and well-behaved (but of course!) kitty(or kitties.....we are knitters, right?), have I got a CD for you! If any of the above applies to you, you really must check this out!

If you browse around the site, there are samples of the songs, as well as printed lyrics. Very silly and very funny! The CD is by Marc Gunn, who has a Celtic and Irish Music podcast on iTunes. If you like Irish/Scottish drinking tunes, pub songs, etc., you might want to check that out as well.

Had an extra day off from the Nurse Boiler Room Operation, now aka NBRO, (for reasons I will explain later), so made a little progress on a couple of almost-FO's. Still haven't taken the pictures, but hopefully will have a couple done by the next post.

I can't believe how long it is taking me lately to finish any of my knitting projects! Granted, I'm a slow knitter, but progress seems to have screeched to a halt recently. It seems I'm either working, or getting something ready for work, or too tired from work....you know the drill. Hopefully, some of that might be changing in the near future. I don't want to say anything yet because the exact plan is still up in the air, but I'll let you know when all is final.

So FO's and pics (hopefully) next time, and perhaps some big news about my status at the NBRO. Hope you check out the link and enjoy some fun music!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I've joined the Yarnival!

While perusing the new September issue of Yarnival, I was pleasantly surprised to find one of my blog entries has been included there! You might remember a little tale I told a month or so ago about the dangers of lurking too long around strange frog ponds? I submitted it a while back, but never heard anything---I didn't even know it was going to be included. Happy surprise for me! Go over and check out the new Yarnival if you get a chance.

Today has been the way a Sunday should be. Slept late, went out for breakfast at The Maltby Cafe for a late breakfast (and it was really late after waiting for over an hour to get seated, but well worth it!), picked up some fresh-baked bread at the bakery, and then back home to sit like a lump on the sofa while I look at the rain outside, and enjoy not having to be anywhere in particular.

Gotta go.....I'm off to work on my Tofutsies socks (Yes! actual knitting), this afternoon, interspersed with some hot tea and one of these chocolate croissants that leaped into my bag somehow at that bakery. I love afternoon tea and chocolate croissants and nowhere-to-be on a Sunday---especially when it's raining.



Have a happy Sunday! :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

A whole different kind of stashing

Aside from full-time slavery at the nurse boiler room operation, I have a new time-sucker from my available free time for knitting and blogging....




Whooo-hooooo! I got a new iPod, y'all! I mean, who has time to seam those poor, ignored un-felted clogs when I have 25 years worth of CD catalog to upload, podcasts to peruse, new tunes to shop for and pictures to catalog!!?!

Very exciting new purchase for me, as I have been wanting an MP3 player for a couple of years now! I shopped and browsed and pondered back and forth for all of that time, and with my birthday coming up, I had to seize the gift-receiving opportunity to make a choice. I had just about decided on a lovely iRiver player....

That is, until they announced the new iPod line-up last week.

I admit, I had spent most of my mp3 research time trying to avoid joining the Apple, only plays one format, have to buy from iTunes, iPods tribe. I kept researching other players, trying to find that perfect combination of features that I wanted, and waited around with reviewer promises of upgraded models of other sorts, especially iRiver, which was my number one in the running.

When the new iRiver came out a couple of months ago, I thought I had settled on that one. About the time I was going to turn over my final choice to cute husband for his gift-shopping ease, Apple announced the updated iPods and Nanos last week. I'm only a mortal woman and could only stay so strong against the A-force---I had to check it out.

My next mistake was going to the Apple store to "just look" at them in person. Kryptonite in that store, I tell you! Then cute husband made the mistake of uttering these deadly words----

"Since they have them here, do you want to just go ahead and get one now, or should we wait until your birthday?"

Ha! (play evil music) Silly, silly man! Doesn't he know by now to never, never ask a girl inside of a retail establishment, fondling longed-for merchandise, if she WANTS TO BUY IT NOW or wait until her birthday?.....a whole 3-1/2 weeks away?!! Obviously, he is cute but hasn't learned much in our 10 years together. (.....hey, wait a minute....he doesn't have to SHOP for my birthday now! Hmmmphf. An evil genius.).

So you know the rest. It was a done deal at that point. All that was left was the choosing between the iPod classic and the cute little Nano in great colors. Being a practical girl, I decided it was much better to have an extra 72gb of storage for a mere $50 extra, so the cute Nano was passed over for the more plain, but totally rockin' iPod classic with the 3-inch screen!

Another selling point? I want to listen to Harry Potter books on audio, and iTunes has the exclusive contract for those (more Kryptonite)---can't get them anywhere else in mp3 format. Yes, I know I could have bought the books on CD/DVD and loaded them onto another mp3 player or whatever, but where's the fun in that when I could purchase all of them to directly download as I go?

A knitting needle has not been touched in this house for the entire week. During any available time at home, I can be found with my nose buried in my computer, browsing iTunes, downloading podcasts and music, surrounded by a huge stack of my own CD's waiting to be uploaded and automatically formatted to my iPod. Yes, I'm sounding a little geeky here, but I've waited two years to get my hands on one of these and I've gone a little wild with it.

I've looked at the knitting, I've even thought about going over to the knitting and picking it up. However, I have completely dissed the knitting as I've walked by it on the way to the computer with the iPod in my hand....repeatedly. Yes, I know the knitting goddess is going to punish me severely for this in some way or another when I finally come out of my iPod-induced fog and pick up the knitting again.

But I say "bring it" to the knitting goddess. Hey, she hasn't been too nice to me lately anyway. Remember this? And the first skein of Sea Silk that met a horrible demise? (no pics available of that one---too traumatic). I'm just sayin', I deserve a little peace here. Is the pursuit of a little aural entertainment that leaves my knitting in the dust for a little while such a huge transgression against the goddess?

Say a little prayer for my UFO's today, okay? I promise I'll touch them soon.....really....just as soon as I finish with this one download......amen.

But in the way of appeasement to the goddess, I have downloaded a butt-load (yes, that is an official measurement) of knitting podcasts. And I will even download pictures of my knitting onto the iPod to, ya know, keep the goddess from cursing it. We just can't have any of that !Because as good as I'm getting at sitting by the frog pond, I'll be damned if I know how to frog a screwed up, cursed iPod.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

This may look like an innocent dishcloth....

So I know you are thinking to yourself, "is she actually going to post a picture of another dumb dishcloth?"... The first and simple answer to that would be, "Why yes, of course I am! I love to knit dishcloths because they make me feel accomplished when I'm really not, and give me the warm, fuzzy feelings of an actual FO, which is something that seems to have become somewhat of a rarity around here.

But wait! There's more to this dishcloth than it may appear! Though it may seem lowly and simple, this dishcloth turned out to be the world's most complicated dishcloth to me to complete, for reasons I will explain after I show the picture....

This is called the 4-corners dishcloth, and the pattern can be found here. For most knitters, a simple dishcloth knit with short-row technique--a snap, right? Around here, not so much. The pattern looks simple enough, and I have done some plain short-rows before, so I started knitting happily, glad to have a simple pattern to work on. As I rounded the first corner, I noticed a disturbing feature---a gaping row of holes between the rows when you knit back down the second half of a corner.

Hmmmm....kinda ugly, but I kept going to see how it would look. After rounding the second corner, decided it was really bad and it must be due to my sucky knitting skills, so ripped that one out.

On the second one, try as I might to pull tightly at those areas where the corner halves join, I was still left with rows of what I would say were some unsightly rows of pretty large holes. Ugh. If you take a look at the gallery of these cloths made by others and click on some of the pictures to get a closer look, you can see there are some that have some sorta small holes, some have big, gaping holes, and others look perfectly hole-less and lovely.

At this point, not being a very clever girl, I emailed the pattern author to see if I was missing something in the pattern to have such large holes occur. Unfortunately, her answer to me was basically, "hey, it's just a dishcloth---don't worry about it!" Hmmph. Being a very stubborn girl this was not the answer I wanted to hear, so I was going to figure out how to get rid of those holes if it kills me. The dishcloth has now become a daily experimental project.

I decided that the knitters of those other hole-less cloths must be using a secret technique with which I am not familiar. I often see posts about short-row heels on socks, but have never done any myself. It dawned on me that the wrap & turn technique that I so rapidly skip over when I see it in print because it confuses me, was probably the answer to my problem.

Okay, so I guess if I want to finish the damn dishcloth, I now had to drag out all of my available resources and try to learn to do the terrible and avoided wrap & turn technique used for short-row heels, and try to learn it from a book. I'm going to finish this dishcloth, sans gaping holes, if it kills me!

Thus was born the third and fourth attempts as the same simple little dishcloth, while learning to wrap & turn with my short rows. The picture is of my fourth attempt. The technique is not perfect, and hell, I don't even know if I did it right (learning 3D technique from a flat picture rather than another human is not my strong point...). To add to my confusion, there are different directions in different resources to do the same thing. However, as for getting rid of the gaping holes between the halves of the short-row corners---mission accomplished!!

Oh, and don't look too closely at that kind of wiggly line running up the center top of the dishcloth. That would be my attempt to both learn and carry out Kitchener stitch done to join two garter stitch rows on a long row of stitches! For the record, I have a hard enough time keeping regular Kitchener straight without mistakes to get through 8 stitches at the bottom of my socks. Trying to match garter stitch from the wrong side over 19 stitches was a little more challenging! It's not perfect (I said don't look too close!) but I did finish it and dishcloth, and it looks pretty cute in person!

So in review, this simple and humble dishcloth was, for me, simultaneous learning lessons in short-rows, wrap & turn technique and Kitchenering done for garter stitch. And I finished it without throwing it across the room or setting it on fire! You never know what you're gonna get when you assume something will be simple!

The funny part is, I probably would have avoided learning the wrap & turn thing forever if it weren't for the fact that I am so stubborn that I couldn't stand the thought of being defeated by a dishcloth! The same goes for learning to do Kitchener on garter stitch over 19 stitches---who the hell would volunteer to do that unless they were either crazy, or it was needed as the only way to finish the dumb thing without a seam in the middle?!

Seriously though, after I got the hang of it, this dishcloth was actually pretty fun to knit and it went along pretty quickly for being a learning tool. I can't say I'm crazy about doing Kitchener on garter stitch, especially since I'm left handed and have to work backwards to do it, but it was a good learning opportunity as well. I also think the lack of elasticity of the cotton yarn probably made it a little more challenging. I'll probably make another one some time....later. But I do think I'll be a little less shy about attempting those short-row sock heels now, which is a plus.

Though, to all of you out there who have done short rows with wraps & turns, (which is probably almost everyone except me), can you please let me know if it looks like I did it right, because I still have no idea!! All of the directions I could find assumed alternating rows of knit and purl while doing the short rows, rather than continuous garter, so I'm still a little fuzzy about that whole part about which way to knit the wraps with the stitches. But the holes are covered, so I'm thinking I was close....?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Can you say "spoiled?"

So, I thought cats were supposed to like to cuddle up together and sleep in a pile. Apparently, I would be mistaken in that notion. Because when it comes to the Knottykitty household, there will be none of that! Everyone seems to be happy now that they each have their own bed. And Lord knows, we wouldn't want anyone around here to go without their own special, individual place to sleep.....

When there was one bed, the Chief Minion, Mini (the black one) was being constantly squished within an inch of his life by the Toe-cat (center). We finally managed to remove what my friend Emma called Mini's "barnacle," by getting the 2nd bed, in the center. But the struggle continued between the Technocat, Mochi (sleeping on the left) and the Toe-cat, to see who could squish whom out of that bed (Mochi lost out again---can we begin to see who the troublemaker is in this group?), which led to purchase of 3rd bed on the left.

So I bring you this rare moment of domestic bliss caught on camera. BTW, let's not even talk about the most expensive, FOURTH bed that is upstairs, currently being rejected by all of them! Yes, the little bastards are incredibly spoiled. However, I have stopped short of buying them outfits to wear and giving them birthday parties---I do have some sense after all!

Oh, and did I mention?...These are the DAY beds! At night, the 3 little darlings can be found trying to simultaneously shove cute husband and I off both edges of our bed while they occupy the middle....together. That is, until the wrestling, fighting and rabbit-kicking on the bed begins around 4 am--again, courtesy of that cute-as-a-button little Toe-cat. (He really didn't have a "troublemaker" label attached when he was sitting there all cute and innocent in his shelter cage, looking at me longingly to take him home with me....)

Oh well. They are minion-y and eat their weight in cat food every day, but they are mine and I love them dearly. Why, if they weren't here, who would remind me that I really want to get up every morning at 5 am, to let a cat out of the bathroom who stands up and slams the bathroom door closed with his paws from the inside and locks himself in? (Toebi's new daily trick...yay--he's a clever one...). Funny enough, he never performs this trick during the day.

You just can't buy that kind of help. I'm not complaining mind you, just counting my blessings...counting my blessings...yep....

>^..^< >^..^< >^,,^<

Friday, August 31, 2007

A fine day at Pt. Defiance

I've had a few days off from work this week (hooray!) and on one of those lovely days (it's always a lovely day when you don't have to work, right?), cute husband and I decided to head south to Tacoma and go to one of my favorite little zoos at Pt. Defiance. If you've never been there, it's on a point overlooking the Sound and surrounded by miles of forest, trails, park, gardens and a marina.

This zoo is one of my favorites because though it is small, it also has an aquarium with sharks, seahorses and tropical fish, as well as beluga whales, sea otters and polar bears up close and personal! A small zoo with a large proportion of exotic animals that you don't see every day.

Here's a few of the great things we saw on that awesome, sunny day:

Beluga whale flipping over as he swims by...
Frolicking sea otters...

A polar bear, as close as I ever want to get to one without glass between us...

Now here's something you don't see every day---swimming polar bear butt!



A gorgeous Bengal tiger---that camoflauge works so well, I had to look for him for a while...

Oh, and here's an exciting little find that was not in the zoo, but still a pleasant surprise nonetheless...

Yes, it's just a fast-food joint, but it's a fast-food joint from where I grew up! What the heck this one is doing here, two states away from Southern California? I have no idea, but they have great burgers, and we immediately pulled right in for lunch on our way to the zoo! And it even tasted like I remember.

Hey, it's nice to have a little taste of home once in a while, even if it is only a burger. The only one I know of far north of Los Angeles is in Monterey, CA, but I had no idea this one had snuck up way up here! I'm just hoping it is the scout for a later invasion to come!

As for knitting content, I have been doing some knitting over my few days off, but there are ends to be weaved in and no pictures taken yet, so zoo pics and fast-food finds will have to do for today.

I'm also taking this weekend to seriously consider what I want to do about my job. Though I've only been at this job for a couple of months, I fear the nurse boiler room operation is a bit of a soul-sucking flop. I am paid well for what I do, but I am a nurse because I really love to help people, and I am having my doubts about how much help is really being received by what we do there. The longer I am there, the more it seems like it's so much more about pleasing the contracted clients and the bottom line, rather than giving any value to all of their members that we call to try to help with their chronic health concerns.

I could go on and on, but it's a little complicated to explain. Let's just say that the job it not turning out to be exactly about how it was painted to me when I was hired, and it's a little demoralizing. I've never considered leaving a job this soon, but unfortunately, I can already see the writing on the wall about this one, and I'm not liking what I see. Although it's also hard to think about turning around so soon to get back on the job search and interview hassle, along with more training at another new job..Ugh. That thought alone is enough to keep me on the fence far longer than I should be!

If anyone has any words of wisdom for me, please let me know what you think. I know I will not be staying at this job permanently, no matter what. It's just a matter of trying to figure out how long I can stand it before I develop an even worse attitude about the work and run screaming from the building. No matter how much I hate this job, I do want to try and leave on a good basis. It's also about losing a good paycheck that I've already started to enjoy. But I can't help wondering sometimes, at what cost to my heartfelt feelings and goals about what kind of nurse I know I am and want to continue to be...

Life is a difficult dilemma sometimes. I guess I'll just keep knitting until I figure it out, but I think I'm just in that denial phase I go through when I know I have to do something unpleasant and want to live in happy denial for a while before I do it. Besides, I really don't want my health or sanity (lack of) to make the decision for me later!

Have a safe and fun holiday weekend, everyone! I'm going to the beach tomorrow (Yeah!) to watch the waves and smell the salty air and enjoy my weekend before my return to the nurse boiler room...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Magical Wednesday

Wednesday is a good day. Wednesday is the day of my weekly day-off escape from the nurse boiler room operation. It is Wednesday today, and I am happy and free to knit or blog or sit around on my butt and do nothing (but that rarely happens---can't waste a good day!).

However, Wednesday is also the day that I weekly sit and ponder if I really want to return to the nurse boiler room operation for the rest of the week! The jury's still out on that one, but there's still a warehouse full of those gently used Flowbee's to be sold, so I guess I'll keep showing up there for the rest of the week until I figure it out....and keep in mind that I do like to eat and have a roof over my head....and buy yarn.....must remember the yarn...

But for now, Wednesday is still a happy, carefree day of doing whatever I want! And that also makes it sort of magical in my book. But what also helps to make it magical is this...

Got a new book last weekend!

I am a big fan of Cat Bordhi and her wonderful, creative mind and techniques, and this is her new book, hot off the press! I have had hours of knitting fun making moebius scarves and baskets from past books, and used one of her books to learn to knit socks on two circulars---the sock knitting technique I use almost exclusively now.

I have been waiting for this book for a while. I went to a 4-day workshop with Cat in Newport, OR in April of 2006, and the book was due to be out shortly after that, so it's been a long wait!This book is full of sock patterns with the foot shaping achieved in may new ways, both cuff down and toe-up. Not that I've exactly mastered the standard sock architecture so far---I still have not even done a toe-up sock. But I've been intrigued with what this book would hold since that workshop over a year ago, especially since we were given a little teaser of then top-secret patterns from this book and the two more to come after this one!

I haven't actually attempted one of the patterns yet---there is a baby-sized sock pattern for each new technique for learning. But I am getting prepared. I made these this past weekend...

These are my first attempt at making my own stitch markers by the way, so not quite perfect, but completely useable! Why the alphabet letters? Most of the patterns in this new book have you do increases/decreases at particular marker points on the sock to go along with the techniques used to build the sock, necessitating the need to know at which marker to knit a given instruction. (I made two sets because I like to knit two socks at once, being a sufferer of a serious case of Second Sock Syndrome.)

You don't necessarily have to have lettered markers to do the pattern, but since my powers of concentration are less than stellar at times, this definitely will make it easier to keep track of what I'm doing! For those who are lucky enough to still have half a working brain, you can keep track in any way you choose.

Cat mentions in the book that she has designed some lettered stitch markers, called Cat's Magical Markers, that are going to be sold by Skacel, but I haven't seen them anywhere yet. I've been meaning to learn how to make some stitch markers for a while, so this was a good project to get me started. (Besides, I really don't need to spend any more money to purchase what would probably be the thirty-gazillionth stitch marker in my possession...).

Oh, and about that frog pond tale.....

In case you didn't figure it out by looking at my progress bars, this was the true-life lace victim of the story.....sad but true...


The Mermaid Wrap, version 2.0, is no more. I'm beginning to think this was a project that was just not meant to be. I mean, after the irrepairable yarn-tangling debaucle of version 1.0, and having to switch to a variegated color from the desired solid which was no longer available, it may have been doomed from the start. Not to mention, I really wasn't feeling much love for those little colored boxy patterns were appearing due to the way the color changes came up in the yarn. I tried to like it, but I think those little boxes of color interfered with the vertical pattern too much.

I fully intended on finishing the wrap since I had put so much time into it already, but then came that ill-fated meeting with that rotten little frog and his pond, and so it went. I have salvaged the precious Sea Silk this time, and will find another pattern later that will work a little better with the way the yarn colors pool, to try to avoid the little-boxes look. Perhaps something with a lace leaf or flower pattern that has more curved shaping to it.

And no, in case you're thinking it---I did NOT will the wrap away to the corn field because I didn't like the color boxes! The frog just had it in for that wrap from the beginning, so I put the blame squarely on him. heh heh. bad pun.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hear ye all, a cautionary tale....

All ye good knitters out there, pay mind to this cautionary tale....

Once there was a girl who lived in a small village where there was no labour to be had. So she and her brave husband traveled far and wide together every day down the long road to reach their places of work, and traveled again back to their village each night. The girl had a great love for knotting of colorful, woolen string with wooden sticks, all manner of which she would bring with her in a bag each day, hoping for one moment in the long day's toil that she could enjoy her beloved craft.

After one long day's labour, when the girl arrived to pick up her beloved husband along the path, he was not to be found. She searched and finally found him, still in his place of work, toiling before a glowing square object. He then informed her that alas, his cruel and heartless master bestowed upon him extra labour to complete this day, which must be finished before the next day's sunrise. The girl, not able to return to the village alone for fear of stranding good husband at his place of labour, and being a goodly wife, decided to sit and wait patiently for him to finish his tasks. An easy favour to be done for such a hard-working husband, thought she.

It was then that a spark of happiness lit in the girl's eyes, as she realized that even though she was exhausted from her day's long journey and toil, she could make good fun of the waiting time by pulling out the bag containing her beloved woolen strings and sticks to knot to her heart's content. She even found a spot next to a lovely pond, where she settled in to cozily enjoy her craft long into the dark night, while waiting for good husband.

As one hour wore into another, the girl continued to wait for good husband next to the lovely pond and knot her woolen string happily. Though her eyelids became ever so slightly heavy, she continued on contentedly, striving mightily to maintain the rows of perfect stitches on the lovely, lacey form growing before her. Weariness be damned, she would not lose these rare stolen moments to rest when she could enjoy wooly merriment!

As the girl sat contentedly plying her craft, she happened to notice a frog perched on the other bank of the pond. She greeted him well and paid him no further mind, for he was an ordinary frog and of no consequence to her and her happy activity. The frog then jumped into the pond and swam off to do frogly things, while she continued on with her stolen hour of lace knotting.

It was then that strange happenstance occurred! As the girl carefully counted her meticulously-laid stitches of lace she found a disturbing discovery, indeed!.....Alas! A stitch had gone missing! A single, tiny stitch had wandered off, and she knew not where! Where could one tiny stitch go while she paid such close attention as she knotted?! She searched far and wide for the one tiny stitch to reappear. She searched the pond bank around her, in the bushes there around, and even reluctantly and tediously unknotted several rows of her lace in her search, but to no end! The stitch was not to be found. Anywhere.

As she continued to search frantically, the girl heard a small splash in the pond. She turned just in time to catch sight of the frog as he swam away across the pond. She thought nothing of this at first, as of course, he was only a frog and of no bother to her. "Go on with you into the happy night, good frog," she thought to herself, "I have bigger woes this night and have not time for you and your frolic!"

The girl rubbed her eyes in exhaustion and scratched her head, knowing not where the tiny stitch could have gone. She sat down again on the pond bank to ponder her plight. It was then that a sight not to be believed caught her eye. As she gazed across the pond at the frog as he swam away, she caught site of a tiny, colored object in his mouth! Could it be....?!? As the frog continued to the far side of the pond, the girl realized with great surprise that indeed, the frog held a colorful object in his mouth! Egads! It was her missing stitch!! What nerve had that frog to steal one of her precious stitches away and ruin the perfection of her knotted lace! "He shall not get away with THIS!" she cried.

The girl dropped all she was holding, and set off afoot around the pond bank to capture this robber frog and demand return of her stolen stitch forthright! As she finally reached the other side of the pond in exhaustion, she realized the futility of her chase. For as fast as she could run around the pond bank, the frog could swim swiftly across at twice the speed and out of reach! The bounder of a frog had stolen away with her stitch, and there was not a thing she could do about it!

As the girl trudged defeated back to her side of the pond, she saw another sight most disturbing! There, on the opposite bank of the pond, where she had sat that night happily knotting, she saw the frog leap out of the pond and hop to where she had left her goods.....and her knotted lace object! She made good haste back to her side of the pond, but to her woe, she was not quick enough this night. She arrived just in time to see the robber frog jump back into the pond....holding in his mouth the end of the woolen string attached to her beloved lace object!

The frog swam mightily with the woolen string firmly clenched in his froggy jaws! The girl could only watch forelornly as the frog frolicked mockingly, pulling her beloved knotted lace into the pond, and unraveling it away into the dark night, stitch by stitch, row by row, until it was no more. Oh, the woe! She hung her head as she gathered her wooden sticks, and what was left of her precious bag of colorful strings, and returned to find good husband.

As time wore on past the mid of night, the weary girl and her very-weary husband made their way down the long road back to their village, where they finally settled in for the night. The girl dreamed of her colorful, knotted lace and wished for it's return, but it was not to be. But be not sad for the girl. She was not one to lose a battle with a silly frog and be defeated!

On the next day, she thought fondly and wistfully of her lost lace as she again packed her bag of colorful strings and wooden sticks to take on her long day's journey. Happily, the girl had many strings of bountiful colors and many fine wooden sticks with which to play, if she found a few stolen minutes that day! No frog trickery would ruin her happy craft, thought she! She would gleefully create new and colorful lacy forms, just as soon as she was able! "But I must avoid strange ponds and the trickery of their frogs," she reminded herself as she set off for the day.

The moral of this story, loyal readers, and a cautionary to good knitters everywhere is this-----

NEVER shall ye sit and knit on the banks of an inviting pond late at night and after a long day's labour! For though the moon is luminous on the cool water, and the banks beckon to sit and cool your feet while you go happily to your craft, resist the urge to rest there! And most assuredly take ye heed of the friendly-appearing frog resident of the pond, for the goodly gentleman frog of the day indeed becomes the robber frog of the night! The frog will frolic in the moonlight while your eyes become heavy, and your carefully-made stitches he will steal away into the dark pond! Once there, good knitters, no salvage be for your beloved woolen stitches. The property of the bastardly frog they will become and sink into his pond forever, never to be further gazed upon by you this day or ever more!

The End

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Poses, Noses, and something for my Toes-es

It's really hard to blog when you seem to suddenly have no life other than getting ready for work, traveling to and from work, the work itself, and doing all the things you need to get done because you're always at work....sigh.

With the above said, is it stating the obvious that my knitting time has been severely curtailed of late? Not to mention time to blog....or anything to blog about....Yes, I could tantalize you with tales of rush hour on I-405, or titillate you with tidbits about packing my lunch, or anecdotes about the many patients I talk to every day, who act like I'm a telemarketer selling a used Flow-bee when I call them to talk about their health. But no, I am not a cruel woman and I will spare you this.

So, what does that leave a frustrated and time-squeezed knitter to blog about? Yes, that's right---it's time to bring out the dog and pony show.....or, um, in my case, the cats and sock-knit-on-toothpicks show!! I know, you are so excited you can hardly stand it.....so let us begin with some minion-y cuteness, shall we?......

Here's a picture of Toebi and Mochi doing their best imitation of a Calvin Klein ad....

Toebi: I must go, and take your catnip mouse with me...

Mochi: No! Don't leave me!....Well okay, go ahead, but leave the mouse....

Here's another of the toe-cat (Toebi) and the technocat (Mochi) enjoying a moment together on the cat tree...(well, Toebi enjoying....Mochi, not so much. Mostly doing his best to ignore Toebi and not get squeezed off of his prime viewing area...)


(I can't believe my little toe-cat is growing up so fast---he weighs as much as Mochi already!) Lovely large mitts, no?

And finally, here he is in all of his grand minion-y-ness, making a rare blog appearance---mostly because I can seldom get a picture of him that isn't either blurred (he's a little ADHD, you know...) or so black that he looks like a spilled puddle of pudding with eyes in the middle---

Mini!

Not a great picture of the Chief Minion himself---but the best I could get out of 30 pictures of a blurred black blob with a double-exposed head! Even the action-shot setting doesn't work on this one! I keep hoping he'll hold still one day soon---in the light---with his eyes open. Problem is, when he sees the camera come out, he runs up to me to very excitedly see what I'm holding.....

And on the knitting front---

Seems the only projects I've been able to complete lately are the cold cup cozies. I've finished a couple of more of them, because I like them, they are quick and can be worked on one or two rows at a time without messing up anything---perfect to bring along to work for the occasional 5 minutes of knitting I might get to do on my break! No pictures, but cute, colorful and they work great!

A little progress on the Tofutsies socks, which is hard because the only time I can work on them is in broad daylight with the addition of a miner's headlamp and a magnifying glass! (kidding). But damn, this yarn is teeny! Having not gone completely blind yet, here is three pattern repeats done on the cuff....

Yes, this picture is to scale. They are about 3 inches long. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little, but let's just say it is taking a LOT of knitting to get some distance on these socks! Also hard to photograph the pattern with the bright raspberry colors and the variegation in the yarn. Here's a little closer view, but not sure it's any easier to see...

I'd love to report some fabulous progress on some of my other WIP's, such as my Mermaid Shawl, but unfortunately, other projects sit unattended and lonely in the knitting basket at home while I'm away most days....

BTW, looking for good suggestions on how to get fired (in a good way, of course, with no repercussions to myself) so I may continue my formerly happy life of actually getting to knit once in a while.

In the meantime, you know where to find me if you need me....at a secret nurse boiler-room operation somewhere near Seattle, trying to sell some used Flowbees, cheap, to some unwitting patients who don't want to talk about their damn health anyway....