Monday, September 25, 2006

I almost forgot...

Here's my next contribution to our growing YouTube addiction: Rhyming.



What a weekend...

Dear Rachel,

I'm so glad it's Monday. As I went to bed last night, I thought to myself, "I can't remember the last time I was this tired." This from a person who has a 20-month old daughter. We had our Wyandotte Heritage Days this weekend, and I wore myself out with working, festivities, and rehearsals. This was Saturday: the man who is playing Sky came over at 9am to practice our duets and run lines. He left around 11:30, we ate, put Rose down for her nap, and changed into our historical costumes. Lauren came over to watch Rose, and we went to the park to sing old songs from 1 to 4. I actually left a little early so I could get changed back into normal clothes before going to church to play Mass. Then it was back to the park to play guitar for a special outdoor Mass (Fr. Ray looks great in a cassock! I should have brought my camera!). I got home for the last time around 7:30, starved but too tired to do anything about it. Andy came down from putting Rose to bed and volunteered to get Chinese. Kung Pao chicken, yum!

Okay, Sunday: church all morning, more singing in the park in costume all afternoon, Guys And Dolls rehearsal from 4 to 8:30, Chinese leftovers, and bed. It was a fun weekend, it's just that it was so non-stop. I just ached from weariness. Today I feel much better.

And here's the nearly-current status of log cabin (I picked up another color right after I took this picture):

Like I said on the phone, it's 16 inches wide now (17 inches long), and I think a 32 inch wide blanket will be a good size. Of course, I could run out of yarn, or I could get tired of it before then, but we'll see.

Here's Cozy, just in case you were wondering about it. As you can see, we're getting ready to have some Fall in the house. Today is turning out to be a gorgeous day. When Rose wakes up, we're going to have a walk with the wagon, which she insists on calling "doo-doo." She used to call it "wagon," but now it's "go in doo-doo." And when we say, "Honey, it's called a wagon," she says, "go in wagon doo-doo." You gotta wonder what goes on in those baby brains.



Wednesday, September 20, 2006

You can't tell a hero by his size...

I'm just a teeny little Superguy.

Ohhhh yeah!

Another favorite Sesame Street moment - check out the awesome stop-motion animation!

And by the way -

Did the Golden Girls give you permission to raid their closets, or did you just wait until bingo night and sneak in?

Off to search for embarassing 1980's photos,


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Kim circa 1986

Dear Rachel,

Remember our conversation about fashions we wore as teenagers? How we were the height of cool with our two pairs of socks stacked and scrunched around the outside of our tapered, pegged jeans? Okay, check out the following number:

This was Spring of 1986. Check out where the armpit of this dress is! Dude, and do you love the white nylons (with black pumps)? I wore this for my Confirmation, and I thought I was so cool and sophisticated.

I posted Rose's aran sweater to my Finished Projects and realized, to my shock, that I have no more finished projects to post. I finished that sweater in February and it is now September, and I have finished nothing else in the past seven months! Now, I did have that wrist issue, and I was a little hesitant to get back in the groove even after I had the cortizone shot, but still -- seven months? Yikes.

However, the log cabin continues apace, and I've really hit my stride with the Cozy, so I hope that before long I'll have something else to show you. I'm really sorry we didn't get our Show and Tell on Saturday.

As far as the Sesame Street videos go, there are way too many for me to list my favorites, but this one would be way up there: Imagination. And, Rachel? "Cat... I'm a kitty cat... and I dance, dance, dance, and I dance, dance, dance..." tee hee hee



Monday, September 18, 2006

Ok, now it is ON!

I couldn't watch the entire I'm a Kitty Cat video for fear that little tune would tunnel holes in my brain (you are pure evil for spreading that kind of stuff!), and Tarako seriously re-inforced my complete sense of "whaaaa..?" when I watch almost anything Japanese. I had to admire the Simpsons vs. Star Trek, but it was the Sesame Street clip, of course that really got me going.

Behold the funkaliciousness of Pinball Countdown.

I think I may have started a vintage Sesame Street binge (show me more of your faves!), but for now, That is All.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Videos (non-knitting)

Dear Rachel,

As I write this, I can hear Rose on the monitor reciting "Brown Bear." It sounds exactly like this: "Bahm beh, bahm beh, hah hah haaah? Ah see reh bir hah hah haaah. Reh bir, reh bir, hah hah haaah? Ah see lellow guck hah hah haaah. Lellow guck, lellow guck..." You get the idea. I'll have to go up and give her some milk and a book in a few minutes, so here are the videos I promised.

This is what got me started, a little trip down memory lane: Twenty

Then a bit of bizarre music mixing: The Simpsons vs Star Trek

Are you still with me? Okay, this apparently has something to do with pasta sauce: Tarako

And finally, this is the one you have to see, even if you didn't watch the others: I'm a kitty cat



Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Knitter Triumphant

Dear Rachel,

I have done the amazing, the unthinkable. I have averted tragedy. I have... tinked lace!

It was Friday night. The Tigers were losing. I was knitting Cozy. The game was going downhill. I looked down at my hands, and *gasp*!

Do you see how the pattern basically consists of staggered stacks of two pairs of yarnovers? This is possibly the simplest lace pattern that exists. Please don't get me wrong. I love this pattern, I love the way it looks, otherwise I wouldn't be knitting it. But it's simple. Yet I managed to screw it up -- and not for the first or even third time.

Rachel, remember when I was trying to knit this pattern in the purple alpaca and it just wasn't coming together? That yarn just did not agree with this pattern, and the mistake kept happening. Instead of two stacked pairs, I came up with three stacked pairs. When it happened in the alpaca, it happened early on, and I just frogged the whole thing. Because I didn't know how to fix it otherwise. After I did this three (yes, three) times, I decided to use the alpaca for something else.

I didn't give up on the alpaca just because of my ineptitude, though. I saw how it came out in stockinette for Lena's sweater, and loved how it looked and felt. But for the lace, even though it was soft, it was hard to see the pattern of the yarnovers and the leaning decreases, and I wasn't "reading" the lace to see the logic of how one row builds on another. I was just blindly following the chart, and using my feeble brain to remember which row I was on, and thus ending up with three stacked pairs.

Now in this new yarn, I had repeated the mistake. The Tigers had lost the game. I was angry, tired, and I just wanted to go to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I was fresh, and I had the smallest idea in my head to try to salvage the situation. I figured, if I mess up, the worst that can happen is I'll have to frog the whole thing, and if I don't even try, I'll have to frog the whole thing anyway.

I carefully pulled the needle out, slowly ripped back the offending rows, then re-inserted the needle one loop at a time as I pulled the final row out. I made sure it was a purl row; no psso or k2tog to complicate things. I wasn't positive that I got all the loops oriented the right way, but at least they were all on the needle again. Then, after I counted and re-checked the chart, I carefully put the thing down, stood up, and did a little dance. The dance of triumph! The dance of successful lace tinking! Andy was so -- well, I like to think he was feeling supportive, although he was probably feeling more relief that he wouldn't have to deal with crazy mad yarn lady frogging out this project and starting all over again.

The yarn I'm using now makes the lace much easier to read than the fuzzy alpaca. I can actually look at the fabric and say: knit, yarnover, knit, yarnover, knit, double decrease; oh, that was row 7 and I purled back, so I'm back on row 1. Makes me feel like I actually kinda know what I'm doing. Weird.



Friday, September 8, 2006

What's happening to the time?

Dear Rachel,

Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?

I swear to you, since we've started this blog, I've spent much more time playing around with it and reading other people's blogs than knitting. This was supposed to encourage my progress, not halt it. Now, I grant you, I have been having fun, but I can't tell you how many times I've said to myself while sitting at the computer, "Why am I not knitting?" and "I really should be knitting," and then continued to stare at the freaking monitor. Argh. Not to mention the lines I need to be memorizing for Guys and Dolls.

Here's our much improved Dermot modeling Cozy:

My camera won't let me take extreme closeups. I wanted to show the stitches themselves, but all I got each time I tried was an off-white blur with some holes in it.

Really, the project I'm working on the most is the Log Cabin. It's 15" across and I'm using a 16" circular needle. I think I can make it work for a couple more strips, but when it gets too bunched up, can I borrow your #5 Options tips with the longest cable? :)

In baby news, Rose had her first violin "lesson" yesterday. I thought I'd die of cuteness.



Thursday, September 7, 2006

When Square is a Good Thing

Just a quick post to give you a link to these groovy square needles I was telling you about. They're supposed to be very nice for people who experience hand and wrist pain when they knit, and they also happen to be quite pretty. What do you think?

*And who am I kidding - square is not only a good thing, it's pretty much a way of life for um... some people I know. *

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Dear Kim,
Oy, I'm already falling so far behind! I'd like to commend you on your wonderful posts, complete with pictures, no less! I would have loved to feast my eyes on that knitted wedding cake, but don't beat yourself up about not having your camera - I know I seldom went to a gig thinking "Gee, better take my camera just in case someone knits a three-tier pastry and I need to document it!"

It sounded like a lovely wedding (ah, to sing under that dome!) except for the professional ballroom dancers. For some reason, that just didn't sound right to me. I'm sure we've both seen stranger things at weddings, but while the Irish dancers were a cool nod to the couple's heritage, it just seems that the ballroom dancers were a little, ummm, Solid Gold for my taste. Well, perhaps we don't need to drag Marilyn McCoo into this, but really, it's a wedding, not a variety hour.

Ok, enough grumpiness and let's get down to the knitty gritty :0). I think the weird stitches will probably even out for you as you keep knitting and your fingers get to know the yarn better, but either way, the miracle of blocking will probably make it all a bad dream anyway. Otherwise, I think it looks wonderful so far. Log Cabin is looking awesome, so colorful and happy! I can't wait to see how it turns out, and if you will ever want to do a garter stitch project again once it's done. I am totally motivated to pick up the needles now, and yes, I think that KnitPicks gift certificate a certain darling friend gave me is about to get sqandered on Options needles. Once I have them I will swatch like a demon and give a full report.

Knitting has been on the back burner, though, due to, you know, stuff. Nik-Nik is sick and through the magic of black-light sensitive dye we've discovered that both she and Hecky are continuing Gavin's grand old tradition of using the entire public area of the basement as their toilet. At least they have not decided to continue his wonderful habit of using the dining room and Lena's room as well (sigh).

We are going to look for a new home for Nicky, but Hecky, well, he's a different story. Hecky was Steve's first cat, given to him when he was just a few weeks old (Hecky, that is) and Steve made a promise that he would take care of him his entire life. Despite the fact that I've demonstrated Hecky's lack of long-term memory, Steve feels bound by his word and his affection for Hecky to see this thing through no matter what. The next step is to try to re-crate train Hecky once Nicky is gone, but if that doesn't work I think I'm going to either demand Hecky's ouster (I know making demands in marriage is Not Recommended, but I have reached a nadir of desperation) or I'm just moving to the state with the lowest cat-to-human ratio until Hecky goes to cat heaven.

We are having a garage sale this weekend, and let's just say preparation to date has been minimal. I'll be working on it in the afternoons and evenings and actually, I'm totally ok with all the work to get ready, because everything that doesn't sell goes to charity and is not allowed to re-enter the house. Hooray! Once we get the garage sale stuff out and the cat waste management issue resolved, I'm going to have professional cleaners come in haz-mat uniforms and clean the basement and then - wait, I have to get a tissue - we'll actually be able to make the basement livable space! *sniffle, sniffle, wipe* I'll let you know how that is going in my next post, which at this rate will be early next week (I'll include photos of knit stuff too, just to keep up the fiction that this is a knitting blog ;0)).

Give Rosie and Andy hugs, and I hope Dermie is feeling better even as you read this. Maybe if you rubbed him with a dryer sheet or something, he'd smell more like home? Anyway, keep knitting - someone has to!


Monday, September 4, 2006

My Big Fat Irish Wedding

Dear Rachel,

I knew I should have taken my camera with me last night. Kilmullen (our Irish trio: Andy, me and our friend Mike Mullen) had a gig at a wedding reception in St. Clair Shores. It took place at a beautiful old country club on Lake St. Clair. There was a menu from 1929 with wonderful graphics framed and hung on the wall of the bar. The dance floor was round, covered by a sky blue dome, and right in the middle of the ballroom. There were original (I mean original) GE fans mounted on the columns that surrounded the dance floor, and the reverb under the dome was incredible.

The bride's parents were from Ireland. They had come here to work, had their family, then when all the kids were grown, they moved back to Ireland and retired. So half of the bride's family were speaking with brogues, which just about killed all three of us. They liked our music, which was a relief.

We played right on the dance floor as the guests came in, took a break during the toasts, then played all through dinner. As we packed up to leave, the bridal couple and party had their dance, and then professional ballroom dancers came out and put on a performance! And then, step dancers in traditional costume came and danced, too!

Okay, but here is really why I should have brought my camera: as we left the club, we passed the table that had held all the table assignments. It also held photos of the couple, mementos, a guest book, you know, all the usual things. There was also a decoration. A knitted wedding cake! Three tiers! White! Frosting! Flowers! Knitted!

Why didn't I bring my camera?



Saturday, September 2, 2006

Cats, sweater, and needles

Dear Rachel,

Dermot's been home for a couple of days now, and he's pretty pitiful. They sent him home with pain medication and antibiotics, and you know how fun it is to give cats medicine. But I manage to get him to swallow most of it, so he's all doped up now and lies around even more than he ever did. The vet told us to keep him from running around too much or jumping. I just laughed. Nuala doesn't even know who he is anymore (apparently he still smells like hospital) and hisses at him whenever she gets within a yard of where he is currently sleeping. He just lies there.

I managed to get a couple shots of the green ribbed sweater.

I used the sleeve as my swatch and I work on it here and there when I want a portable project. I'm a little puzzled by how some of my stitches are turning out -- I don't know if it's the yarn, the transition from knit to purl, or my technique, but I usually have fairly even stitches.

It's not easy to see in this picture -- though you can click to enlarge -- but some of the stitches in the very left of the knit ribs (last knit stitch before switching to purl) are wonky. They seem bigger, loopier, than the others. I'm hoping this can be worked out in the blocking (famous last words, I know).

In other knit news, Yarn Harlot recently wrote about how much she is enjoying the new Knit Picks Options. You and I had talked about these, and how tempting they are. Now with The Harlot endorsing them, as well as Knitter's Review, well, let me just say I don't know how long I can hold out.

I read in AAA Michgan Living that there will be a Sheep and Wool Festival in Romeo on September 23 and 24. Does that sound like an adventure to you? I'd also love to drive up to your neck of the woods soon and visit Have You Any Wool for that Regia Bamboo sock yarn as well as The Knitting Room (I heard KR stocks Koigu. Must find out if it's true). Let me know what you think (not that you don't have anything else going on).