Friday, August 29, 2003

Stop the Presses!
I started the first sleeve for Aran Go Round on Size 7 DPNs, but I was getting a funky-looking ladder between the needles on the reverse stockinette fabric. I don't have a 40" cable to try the famous Magic Loop method. Am I dead in the water? Why, not if you use the fabulous new Magic Loo method! No, Magic Loo is not a mystical British bathroom, it's a new method created by me that's begging to be published in a book and will make me millions of dollars! Bwah ha ha ha! (thuds back to earth) What? You mean someone else may have thought of this before me? Rats.

Let's all do the Magic Loo! Pull the right-hand needle & cable out as far as you can. Move stitches forward onto left-hand needle, and knit the round. The single loop travels around as you knit, and disappears at the end of the round. Pull the right-hand needle out, and repeat the sequence. Easy squeezy. Can I have my massive book advance now, please? No? Oh, well -- can't blame a girl for trying.

New Aran Go Round pictures on Monday.

It's (Not) Just My Imagination, Running Away With Me
A reader asked me why I've had so many 70s-inspired blog entries. Hey, it's not just me going through an introspective phase. All the latter-year Boomers are just hitting or are into their 40s, and our collective "look back" is being reflected in current popular culture. That 70s Show has been a hit on TV for several years. VH1 is running I Love the 70s. Volkswagon successfully reintroduced the Beetle. Even Clairol Herbal Essence and Breck Shampoos are back on the shelves. But I swear it wasn't me that brought back bellbottoms … those puppies were bad enough the first time around.

So don't fight it … pour yourself a glass of white zin, turn on the Lava Lamp, and pop Saturday Night Fever into the DVD player. Which brings up the question: Do you think John Travolta ever looks at himself in that movie and thinks, "Damn, I was hot!"

Thursday, August 28, 2003

True Confessions Time
Marcia of Purls Before Swine fame is calling herself the Barney Fife of Knitting due to her Suki bag not behaving during the mystical felting process. Well, pardners, I've got my own Doofus Knitting Moment to 'fess up to.

Let's set the scene: Aran Go Round is zipping right along. The body is knit up the armholes, and I've nearly got the 2nd sleeve done. So I hold it up to the 1st sleeve for length comparison. Length looks good, but what's this? Why does Sleeve #1 look a bit narrower than Sleeve #2? Could it be … oh, crud. A quick stitch count reveals that Sleeve #1 has 5 less stitches than Sleeve #2, which has the correct number of stitches. 5 stitches in worsted weight yarn equals about a 1" difference in circumference. Into the Frog Pond goes Sleeve #1. Into the Penalty Box goes our Knitter Who Shoulda Known Better.

Riddle Me This, Batman
Why does every beauty product I buy have an action word in the name? Here's a few:

  • Effect

  • Correct

  • Rejuvenate

  • Resurgence

  • At least the high-end beauty products have French names, so they sound a little less severe:

  • Chanel: Aquamousse, Lotion Tendre

  • Lancome: Bienfait Total, Impactive, Sensation Totale

  • I'm trying to head into this aging thing with grace and style, but it's a tough road. When you see Cindy Crawford doing a Clairol Nice and Easy haircolor commercial, you know you've turned a corner.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2003

    Isn't This Cute?
    A freebie pattern sheet from Michael's for a fun, furry little purse using Lion Brand Fun Fur and Microfiber yarns. Snapped up 3 colorways in turquoise, orange and fuschia, for 3 nieces at Christmas. I'm going to try to get one started this weekend. Looks kinda like a Tribble from Star Trek, with a handle.

    My mother says I have a long history of making purses, starting with my baby blanket. Apparently, when I was about 4-1/2, I decided I was a "big girl" and didn't need a "soff bankie" anymore. So mom turned me loose with safety scissors and a big blunt-end embroidery needle and floss, and I cobbled together 2 crooked little purses. She still has them tucked away somewhere. Then I learned to crochet at around age 8, and made several little flap-front purses with button closures. These went along with the mesh-crochet "Juliet" caps that Janice Pohoky and I made and sold on the playground for $1 each. We didn't use a pattern -- just started with a chain-4 circle and increased wildly until they fit. We could crank out 1 each at lunch recess. They were crocheted in the wildest colors that Red Heart yarn had available in 1970, including that godawful "Mexicali" color. We then immediately spent our money at bake sales on the playground. So much for reinvesting the profits!

    AGR Update
    Round and round, like a dance of snow
    In a dazzling drift, as its guardians, go
    Floating the women faded for ages,
    Sculptured in stone on the poet's pages.
    Robert Browning, 1812-1889

    Aran Go Round continues nicely. I'm about halfway up the 2nd sleeve and am hoping my new copy of Twists & Turns arrives before I finish. If not, oh well. I've got 3 furry purses a 'waitin.

    Janet Szabo, the editor of the Twists & Turns Newsletter, has a blog! Read it here. I look forward to reading the blog of someone who's work I admire.

    Apropo of Nothing
    Verdict on the new Diet Pepsi Vanilla: yuck. Too sweet. Too much vanilla flavoring.

    RockStar, with Groupie Dachshund Hubbs, is rocking out playing "Johnny B. Goode."

    Fern could care less.

    Monday, August 25, 2003

    Check the Lost & Found
  • Lost: (1) copy of Twists & Turns Newsletter, Winter '01 issue. Last Seen: Saturday, knitting in the car, waiting for RockStar to finish his guitar lesson.

  • I was toodling along nicely on Aran Go Round, until I decided to check on a detail in the pattern. Uh oh. My Winter '01 copy of the Twists & Turns Newsletter had disappeared. Completely. Totally. Disappeared. Retraced my steps. Searched the car. No luck. Grrrr. Wasn't smart enough to work from a photocopy, of course not. So I ordered another copy from Janet Szabo. Will sit in the penalty box and feel shame until new copy arrives. Will immediately make a photocopy to work from.

    I don't lose things often. Seriously -- I always know where my keys, wallet, sunglasses, purse, etc. are at all times. But on the rare occasion I do lose something, it's gone for good. Because I never, ever find these infrequently lost items. Ever. It freaks me out. Where do these things go, that they're so completely gone? Weird.

    So here I am, manning my Lost & Found Booth, ever hopeful that the pair of Guess sunglasses I lost in 1996 will somehow find their way back to me.

    Friday, August 22, 2003

    Well! I Certainly Feel Better!
    Apparently, we rockers have a defender in Ronnie James Dio (Holy Diver!) If you're gonna front like a rock star, you gotta throw down the hand symbol properly. This choice tidbit comes from Alison, a very Brainy Lady indeed. She is also hosting a Knitting Rock-Along that incorporates the IRO (International Rock On) hand gesture. RockStar informed me that Avril Lavigne has "totally messed up" the IRO. Her version looks more like bullhorns. A slight but important difference, he assures me solemnly.

    Which reminds me, it's my turn to ferry him to his weekly guitar lesson tomorrow morning. Then it's on to our bi-weekly Rob Halford Stalking Session at the local Borders bookstore. Mr. Halford, the lead singer of newly reunited band Judas Priest, lives here in San Diego and browses at Borders nearly every week. RockStar is determined to meet his idol and have him sign his authentic 1982 Judas Priest "Screaming for Vengeance" roadie jacket (purchased off of Ebay with his allowance). The employees at Borders have taken up RockStar's cause and have passed along his interest in meeting Mr. Halford to the man himself. Reportedly, he's quite tickled to find out he has fans as young as RockStar. We just haven't managed to cross paths, yet. Cross your fingers for us, folks, 'cause I'm really sick of going to Borders nearly every damn week. I've exhausted my favorite sections (knitting, DIY, horror anthologies) and have taken to cruising the more esoteric sections of the store (Jesus for Dummies is available, in case you were wondering).

    I'll tie up this topic neatly AND segue into knit-talk by saying that I've always wanted to convert this pattern from the Little Badgers Knit Book to an adult size. Might do it someday, too. Rock on.

    On the Knitting Front
    A little more progress made on Sleeve #2 for Aran Go Round. Nearly have the cuff completed. Now that our air conditioning is working again (a mere $500 later), I look forward to a weekend of housework avoidance and knitting fun :-) Pictures on Monday.

    Lock Up the Visa, She's Goin' Shopping!
    Actually, the damage has been done. Ordered a Fair Isle pattern and Adrienne Vittadini Spring '03 book from Woodland Woolworks, and some old Vogue Knitting magazines & vintage patterns from Laurie Kynaston's Vintage Knitting. I think my addiction to knitting patterns is as strong as the addiction to knitting itself.

    My tentative relationship with the Clothes Hangar 950 (aka the ProForm Elliptical Trainer Model 950) continues. I've managed to haul my carcass out of bed at 5:30am each weekday morning since my return from vacation. This morning I decided to end the week with a bang and did the full 30-minute workout. I'd been doing the 20-min workout prior to today. We'll see how the ol' legs feel tomorrow. The cool thing about the CH950 is that it's IFIT-compatible. IF I had a computer nearby, I could log onto and hook up the trainer to the computer and have the IFIT website drive the trainer directly. Unfortunately, the computer's in the other room, so that's out. But I did order two CDs from their website -- one with a 30-minute workout and another with a 45-minute workout (I'm being optimistic here, folks). You plug your CD player into the trainer and the CD drives the trainer with a new workout. Pretty cool, huh? "Pete" and "Robin," my new personal trainers on CD, will be arriving in the mail soon. I'm feeling oh-so-virtuous AND virtual!

    Have a nice weekend, everyone.

    Thursday, August 21, 2003

    Oh, this is too funny! Found this link on Knitting Goddess #9’s site – knit your very own Fry-Up! (Brit-Speak for breakfast). She lists it on her future project list as "The Coolest Bag Ever." I could see myself proudly wearing this bag circa 1972, with Famolare shoes. Anyone remember Famolares -- those crazy shoes with the wavy sole? I wanted a pair of those shoes in the worst way when I was about 10 years old. Never got 'em, though -- my mother simply could not afford them (disabled single mom, 3 kids under 10, unreliable child-support -- you get the picture). However, a classmate of mine at St. Stephen’s parochial school in Portland had them. Tracy Piazza, the Pizza Heiress, had it ALL -- multiple pairs of Famolares, long golden corkscrew curls, immaculate white Peter Pan blouses and crisply dry-cleaned school uniforms, and a fully finished basement for cool slumber parties. I was sooo jealous of Tracy Piazza. She was a very nice girl, though, so it was impossible to hate her. And her family’s pizza is still sold in grocery stores in Portland.

    Aran Go Round Keeps Going Round
    Cast on for the 2nd sleeve of Aran Go Round on my break today. Got a few rows picked off. I really look forward to getting this 2nd sleeve done and uniting the sleeves and body. That’s where the payoff is – the cabling around the yoke. This endless purling feels like finishing all my vegetables before I get my dessert.

    Ordered this from Ram Wools today. It’s a 65"x35" shawl in Marks & Kattens Soft Mohair. I ordered it in the Soft Grey shade shown. It was only $14.00, including the pattern (what a deal!). Not sure who it’s going to be for, yet …

    Brent over at Beetle Blog has completed an absolutely stellar Inishmore, in Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool. His Counted Cross Stitch kicks major bootie, too. Wander over and admire his terrific work.

    Your Culture/Couture Link for Today
    Cruise on over to Cat Prin. Find the perfect little outfit for your feline friend … all very chou-kawaii (Super Cute!). Being a literary kind of gal, I particularly like the Anne of Green Gables outfit, but suspect Fern might have issues with it. She’s very centered and secure in her "cat-ness" and doesn't need help with her "look," thank you very much.

    Almost Friday … hang in there, everyone.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2003

    Pssst! Got a Minute?
    The results are in! Our vacation to Portland, Oregon (with a mini-trip to Vancouver, BC) is officially a success ... despite my setting the alarm incorrectly for the morning we were to depart. DH said, "Set the alarm for a quarter to 4; our shuttle service will be here at 5:00 am." (we had a 6:30 am flight to Portland) So naturally, I set the alarm to 4:45 am rather than 3:45 and we had an insane 15 minutes to get ready instead of a leisurely hour-and-15. DH maintains I've always been "time-challenged" and have "trouble with clocks." Hmmph. I maintain that it was a test of our agility and everyone passed with honors. DH and RockStar just looked at me when I tried explaining this to them.

    Here's my Portland Yarn-Related Haul:

    10 skeins of cranberry Wool-Ease (buy 2 get 1 free at Fred Meyer, yee ha!), Debbie Bliss #4, Knitting Pure & Simple zip-up jacket pattern, latest Vogue Knitting with dopey Daryl Hannah and her "celebrity scarf" on the cover, 4 vintage copies of Threads magazine (2 of which have great Alice Starmore articles in them). Visited the Yarn Garden on SE 14th & Hawthorne and Mole Hill Farm in Lake Oswego. Truly, I got off easy on the yarn spending. I could have dropped a bundle in either yarn store ... lots of yummy stuff.

    We took a day trip to Cannon Beach and Astoria, Oregon. Of course, it rained. This is Oregon, what do you expect?

    Me, peeking into the backseat at RockStar

    My sister and her darling daughter, who tagged along on the trip

    DH, riding the ancient bumper cars in Seaside, OR

    RockStar at my niece's 6th birthday party, which had a very tropical theme ...

    While in Portland, one must indulge in the many fine cultural pursuits available. This includes visiting pawnshops with RockStar, to search for even more guitars to fill up his room. Ah, but even a beleaguered stepmother deserves a treat, such as this lovely little intaglio ring for the rock-bottom price of only $29.95!

    And now it's off to Vancouver, British Columbia! Here's the border entrance to Canada, at Peace Arch Park in Blaine, Washington

    The lake near our friend's house on Bowen Island, a short ferry ride from Vancouver

    And when I got home after 2 weeks away, guess what was in the mail? That's right! Yarn from Ram Wools

    The package included the Siobhan pattern I'd been lusting after, and Patons Classic Wool in Dusty Blue to knit it up in. A Patons mini-booklet with a hooded sweater I'd been eyeing. Plus, 4 skeins of King Cole Anti-Tickle DK (love that name) to make Fiber Trends Faina Scarf:

    The New Directions in Knitting Book is one of those "Try It for 30 Days Free!" dealies from House of White Birches. It showed up in the mail while I was gone. It's an "OK" book. I think I'll keep it. There's at least 2 projects that look promising.

    Lest you think no knitting got done whilst I was away, let me disabuse you of that notion, pronto! After all, it's 6-1/2 hours each way from Portland to Vancouver. Whaddya think I was doing the whole time? The proof's in the puddin' ... here's the body and 1 sleeve of Aran Go Round:

    Mariko got herself a special keyboard duster yesterday. Admiring her sense of style, I, too have acquired this fine feathered fellow, who sits suctioned atop my monitor. And he's not just a keyboard duster, he's a (pause for effect) PEN, too! True multi-tasking at its finest!

    Had enough? I have! It's off to a lovely Lean Cuisine dinner (ate too much and too often on vacation) and fine conversation with my wonderful husband. Have a nice evening, everyone.

    Monday, August 18, 2003

    She's Baaaaack!
    Well, sort of. From tomorrow forward, I'll be posting my VITs (Very Important Thoughts) in the evening rather than the morning. I've been posting on "company time" at my day gig, and that just doesn't sit well with me, ethics-wise. They're paying me to push pixels, not blab about my knitting online. So! Look for a new post starting tomorrow evening around 6pm Pacific Time.

    Happy Monday, everyone.