Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lucky Lurker Welcome Package

oooh! Ah! Welcome package! Seeing as it was one of THOSE days, where I got home from work, ripped open the package, shed the work clothes in favour of a cute little knee-length swingy green dress with a pleated bodice, spritzed on something to make sure I smelled nicer than a day at work, and dashed off again for a evening of 20 guests aged 3 to 13, 2 prima donna best friend birthday girls, one rowdy magician, pizza, ice cream bars, and an especially fine raspberry beer to make it through the evening, there wasn't much time to appreciate it, let alone photograph it. At least the event wasn't at OUR HOUSE! Back to the package, all I managed was a quick text message to Ember that said, can you guess?, "Lucky Lurker Welcome Package!" Apparently she's not so lucky as I am lucky, but then I'm closer to the source than she is. Expect a photo of the cute little SWAG in a few days or so.

I thought I ought to mention the girls requested no gifts, and instead asked all guests to bring a children's book in Spanish to donate to Centro de Conocimiento Compartido, a library that promotes literacy on the Amazon river. This is a library my #1Man works closely with during his forays into the Peruvian Amazon. You can read about it at and if you are so inspired, you can even sponsor a child to read. We'll be sending books, but who knows how much postage that will cost!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What happened to fortune?

In the morning, I failed to make lunch, which means I was forced to go to the cafeteria for sesame-ginger tofu with a drink and fortune cookie. But what I got was no fortune! It was a stab at a personality assessment. Reading it carefully, though, I think it's a very nice way of saying, "You have a dangerously overactive imagination." So at least it's accurate. If not a fortune.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Momma says

Momma says, "SOB! How did he get to be so big???" and then she says, "How will we fit that telescope in our house???"

Sunday, August 19, 2007


While freezing my stash, one bag at a time, I discovered a UFO about 6 months old. The needles seemed to weather the freezing just fine. I intended to make a matched set but I'm not sure if I have enough yet. Here's where a digital scale would come in handy, eh?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nobody's Princess

(crossposted to itbit)

While reading Nobody's Princess, I couldn't help comparing it to Princess Academy. It's not just that they both have the word "princess" in the title, it's that they both are set in a non-industrial time, where the earthy mythology of the time looms large in the lives of the people.

Nobody's Princess tells the story of Helen, yes, that famous Helen of Troy who incited terrible wars between nations. It's one of those spunky history rewrites that tells of a girl who may not conform to the standards of her time, but meets our approval by being rebellious, atypical, and displaying very modern sensibilities. Adults love to give this kind of book to girls to read because they present such a strong role model. While the other Good Greek Girls are inside embroidering, Helen is outside with her brothers, all clandestine, learning the art of swordplay. Indeed, I would love my daughter to grow up to be this kind of girl, a girl who doesn't wait around for others to take care of her or her affairs, but acts independently and creates her own reality and future.

I particularily liked the positive portrayal of the spirituality of Helen and her people. For them, the gods are very present, and factor into much of how they conduct themselves. It describes a reality far removed from our secular society.

While I enjoyed the vivid portrayal of life in ancient Greece and the glimpse into the early years of a famous woman of history, I found the prose a little clunky. As I mentioned, I couldn't help comparing it to the Newberry Honor book, Princess Academy, and the difference was noticable. If Princess Academy is like driving down a newly resurfaced freeway, Nobody's Princess sometimes read like driving down an old dirt road. The prosecould be clunky and in the way of the story. I felt that as I got well into the book, the story began to take over and the prose became less of an obstacle, flowing better.

The fashion in books for young audiences is to write in series, and this books is no exception. We were left on a cliff hanger, watching Helen set off on another brand new adventure. I enjoyed the book enough that when I will definitely check out the sequel.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

From vintage to Swedish

First of all: No knitting this weekend. Not because I was too busy. By choice! Yes, I chose not to knit, all weekend. I guess I got a little worked up about that mitten. I needed a step back. Time off. I'll be back in force tomorrow. I need a good portable project because I'll be spending hours at the eye clinic tomorrow.

Once long, long ago, my sister told me a fable about a place she called Heaven. It was huge. It was refreshing. It was hip and affordable. The name she gave it was IKEA.

When I travel to Seattle for my coursework, my classmates make covert trips to Ikea. They discuss what vehicles to travel with to accommodate pilgrimages to Ikea. What they can transport safely back.

So today, I gathered together my family, and we all went to that place called Ikea. As we approached along the freeway, my daughter cried, "There it is!" and my son gasped, "It's huge!" My man looked at the flags and commented, "It looks like an amusement park." It was crowded. It was enourmous. It was overwhelming. After wandering helplessly through the maze of affordable and hip furniture, snagging small ticket items like dishwashable chopsticks and modular wastepaper baskets, we wound up with kitchen chairs.

It's a shame, really. We loved our vintage green vinyl kitchen chairs. They were unique. They were like no one else's kitchen chairs. They were universally admired. However, their very vintageness made them fragile and ephemeral. They could not withstand the love and butts of our lively children. I tired of making trips to the second hand shop to see if they had yet another set of vintage green vinyl chairs. Say goodbye to the pretty chairs!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Stash busting

I started with 4 balls of yarn of Knitpicks Essentials. 2 pumpkin and 2 pine. From these 2 balls I got one pair of mosaic socks, one pair of Desert Hiiumaas, and look how much yarn is left over! SIGH. Now I need another project to get this yarn out of my life!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Silver Lining

A day that starts out with an unexpected ocular event is not all bad. While I had planned to go to water aerobics rather than spend my midday in optical triage, I got 3 happy hours away from work, which included a great deal of knitting time. Sometimes fuzzy, blurry knitting while my pupils slowly dilated, but I wasn't complaining. Enough that I was able to finish the Hiiumaas tonight. I was running low on yarn, and was watching the yarn as I decreased, thinking I still might make it to the end of the sock. Turns out I had to attach another ball when I had only 21 stitches left on the needle. Oh well! And for now my vision is fine, and I will be in to see a specialist as soon as possible to see if there are any lingering problems.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Welcome to the frog pond

Make that welcome BACK to the frog pond. I'm baffled with these mittens. I started them last winter and coasted slowly slowly on them. I finished mitten #1 not so long ago on a size 7 needle. I cast on mitten #2 on a size 7 needle, and clearly it was too small. So I stepped up to a size 8 needle, then when I got past the ribbing stepped back down to a size 7 needle, because I had just finished the mitten on a size 7 needle, right? I've been plugging away on mitten #2. Just today I made good progress past the thumb gusset and even made it to the decreases. I carefully counted the rows to the decreases to make sure the mittens were identical, but when I finished the decreases, I could see mitten #2 was a good half inch shorter than #1. I ripped out the decreases, and redid it, making them as close in length as I could. That's when I noticed that #2 was narrower than #1. Perhaps my daughter stretched out #1 all the times she tried it on? I had her come try on #1 and #2 together. I didn't say anything to her, just had her try them on. "This one is tighter." It was obvious to her that #2 was narrower and didn't fit right. I've inspected it carefully and the number of stitches are the same. Everything is the same, except it totally looks like I used a smaller needle on mitten #2. So how is it that I had a size 7 needle on #1 when I finished it? What needle sorcery has happened here???

Off to rip...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

off the road again

Back home, and this is what I have to show for the weekend of traveling. Wheee.

Traveling albums:

Friday, August 03, 2007

on the road again...

220 some miles, 3 albums, 2 potty stops, 1 Subway stop, and a pack of gum later, I have this:

Road trip albums were:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Is my stash doomed???

When I said I wanted negative stash growth, I meant I wanted to knit faster than I stashed. I did not mean I wanted my stash devoured by hungry larva. I found this little silver winged critter in my yarn. Is it laying babies that will eat my stash??? What do I do????

ETA: I found the culprit: wool stuffing that I use in my Babes. It's full of little winged critters. I've quarantined all wool items in the under-the-bed stash into zip lock bags, and removed the stuffing. Any suggestions? Can I save the yarn?

ETA 8/2/07: Last night I decided to start freezing my yarns for preventative moth-killing. Today I discovered this extension site, which has a photograph of that exact little bugger. If that truly does identify my little critter, then it's a Webbing Clothes Moth, slow moving but still eats wool. They do suggest freezing, although they say that a freezer that is below 0F should kill the critters in 72 hours. I don't think my household freezer maintains a temperature below 0F. I think it hovers just below 32F, just cold enough to freeze everything. While I can't fit much yarn into the freezer at once, I will be sure to isolate and freeze every precious stash item, one ziplock bag at a time.

Positive Stash Growth

More than a week before becoming a Lucky Lurker, when I agonized over how I want to have negative stash growth, I made this order on Every day I came home and asked, "Did my package come?" My smart #1Man called me today to tell me it was finally here awaiting me at home.

Clockwise from top left, we have more Regia Mini-Ringel. I decided I really liked the last pair I knit from it, and needed more. Then a ball of Linie, which will become a hat. Also slated for hats is the 2nd Time Around Cotton, which I just had to try. Recycled fibres!! The colours I got are Istambul and Irish Linen. Last we have Lorna's Laces. One skein of Bittersweet, to replace the Lost Lorna of Madrid, plus yarn to make something stripey and delicious.

One mitten

I last blogged this mitten in March. It's been limping along since then. Last night I finished it, all but the shag on the cuff, which will be added when both are done.

Turns out it's been too long since I started the first one and I cannot get the second cuff right. I swear I used the cast on in the book but every attempt I made resulted in a tight and impossible cuff. I have stepped up a needle size, wondering if I really did that with the first mitten, but while that made the cuff the right width, the cast on still was too tight. My next step will be to review the process for the cast on, because it's very flexible, and what I'm coming up with is not flexible at all. Grumble.