About Me

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Four years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mutterings

The appearance of evil, and vice versa:

I've been catching up on my reading this weekend, particularly in the 6 Weird Things meme. One of my blogfriends wrote about getting picked on as a kid because of a physical characteristic. And I responded in part:

"Body image is one of those good thing / bad things we seem to be stuck with while here in mortality. The young can be so cruel. And far too many people don't get less cruel as they get older, just more subtle about it.

"This impulse to compare ourselves with others does not come from the One who loves us best. And I wrestle with it [in both directions] as much as anyone else.

"Why is it so hard for us to remember in Whose image we are fashioned, and treat ourselves and others accordingly?"

One of my gripes about online dating is that the profiles give far too much emphasis on physical appearance and far too little on character. Including the screening for the service I use, which I laughingly refer to as the Churchboy Dating Service. On the other hand, it's useful to rule out the most superficial of men, those who want somebody who looks good [from their limited perspective] and not one who *is* good, or is trying hard to be. When I see "slender" in their requirements, I hit "delete" in a Noo Yawk minute. And it's not just the Senior Adonises who want arm candy, it's often the Couch Potatoes as well. And women are just as hung up on the things of the world, only we tend to focus on height and net worth rather than spiritual stature and individual worth.

There are exceptions, of course. My friends Brother Sushi, Brother Karitas, and Brother Stilts. And Brother Abacus is in a class by himself. And my girlfriends who date men that the Material Girls walk right by [and don't know what they're missing out on].

End of that particular rant.

Stuff I am thankful for:

“Happy Feet”. I took myself to the movies last night, and the music was great, and Mumble is my hero. I came home by way of the grocery store [we were out of milk and pesto, imagine!] and the video store [“Intolerable Cruelty” and “Miss Congeniality 2”, neither of them quite what the doctor ordered but I got a lot of knitting done on the Prodigal Sock’s mate.] I went to bed way too late and will no doubt nod off during church. Do you think they’d notice if I smuggled a Cherry Coke into sacrament meeting?

Friends and family. I am thankful for a Christmas dinner with no drama. I am also thankful to get along sufficiently well with the father of my children that a tribal dinner does not require Valium on my part or a stomach pump on his. Some families aren’t so blessed.

I am particularly thankful for Brother Sushi and his GPS [Guy-think Parsing System], because while I am fluent in Girl-think with an PhD in Feelings and am also reasonably conversant in Logic, I either never got or have somewhere mislaid my secret agent decoder ring when it comes to the male half of the species. He is especially adept at letting me know when not to take something personally and when it might be more appropriate to yell and scream and throw crockery. And his driving does not make me crazy[ier], an important detail since he has been the chauffeur of choice while I am babying my knee.

Speaking of yelling and screaming and throwing crockery, if you know who started the rumor in my local church area that I am engaged, feel free to kneecap his/her vocal chords. Yes, I married the children’s father six weeks after we were introduced. And we see how well that turned out. Five lovely daughters, and enough heartache for several lifetimes.

Remarriage is one of those items on my list that is important but not urgent. Brother Abacus and I are still in the early stages of getting to know one another. He gets full points for being able to dance, and for singing on-key. He is smart and funny and kind, all of which are must-haves. I like him; he likes me [let’s shoot Barney from a tree, with a great big shot from a loaded 44, no more purple dinosaur. Sorry; wrong song.]

And in the meantime he has tax season to get through, and I have eight weeks of intensive faith-based counseling. And when he emerges from the pencil shavings and I finish this course, I may look at him and say “still no red flags, *and* he’s not Brother Right”.

I have spent a significant portion of my life trying to make other people happy and denying significant portions of who I am meant to be, in that process. If I marry again in this life, it will be because the man pleases *me*, and because the Spirit has given me an unmistakable witness that the marriage would please God. He will have to be an extraordinary man for me to give up my freedom, independence and relative safety for interdependence, intermittent aggravation and the pleasures of the marriage bed.

Dancing on Friday night. Not much of it, but some. I pulled my drugstore elastic knee brace on over my stockings and was able to boogie without tearing up my knee again. I did feel a couple of creaks and twinges while line dancing, but I have great hopes of returning to cha-cha duty sometime before getting my resurrected body. While I didn’t have anywhere near as much fun as I usually do, I was never quite bored enough to face the drizzle and retrieve my knitting from the car. There were a couple of pity dances, and I was sufficiently medicated not to spit in their eyes, LOL.

MRI of said knee is Wednesday morning. And the regular Friday night dance is next weekend, and I’m hoping it’s better on all counts.

Tonight I’ll go to the singles’ Family Home Evening that Brother Abacus has fired up, and when I get home I’ll write down my end-of-year mileage for my cosmetics business, which I am closing out. And tomorrow morning I’ll meet my son-in-law at his office, and he’ll install my new brake pads. And then maybe I’ll finish sanding the Forever Table.

Coda:

Happy New Year, everybody. May you enjoy peace, a modicum of prosperity, good health, relative sanity, and all the dark chocolate you can afford. And may all the surprises be good ones!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to my Sisters of the Wool

Pictures of LittleBit's fingerless gloves had to wait until Christmas dinner at Secondborn's. I had hoped to get over there Friday but no such luck.




Here's a rough version of the pattern:

With Baby Cashmerino and size 1 needles, cast on 54 stitches using long-tail cast-on over 2 needles held together. Divide onto 3 needles and work K2P1 ribbing for 16 rounds.

The fun part:
Round 1: Purl.
Rounds 2-4: Resume the ribbing.

Eight chunks of pattern [32 rounds total] took me to the thumb. I knitted in a scrap of yarn over the first 8 stitches, put them back on the left needle à la "Fetching", worked them in K2P1K2P1K2, then purled the rest of the round. Four chunks of pattern above that point, ending in a P round. Then eight rounds of ribbing and bind off.

Pick up 8 stitches at the base of the thumb, 8 at what will be the top, remove the scrap yarn and make sure you pick up a stitch on either side of this "buttonhole". You should have 18 stitches; divide onto three needles for sanity's sake, work 6 rounds and bind off. To double-check the length of the thumb, I had 10 rounds above that last purl bump just under the thumb gusset.

Thumb detail, now that the tinsel and wrapping paper have settled.

*Perfection*

It's dark-thirty in the Lone Star State, and I have just finished sipping a mug of [virgin] eggnog and opening my presents. A gift certificate to the LYS from my office manager, an amazing beaded evening bag from my sister, and a huge red art glass bowl from Brother Sushi. LittleBit and friends cut a CD for me which has yet to make it into my hot little hands. We did not go nuts buying presents within the family this year; we didn't even do the gift exchange because a number of us are facing major financial challenges. Ironically, my kids who traditionally have been poorer than Job's turkey are the ones who are solvent, which makes this mama grin for them!

I brought home a nice assortment of leftovers from the Family Home Evening activity last night: a bit of turkey, a bit more brisket and barbecue sauce, the last slice of Brother Sushi's white chocolate macadamia nut pie [which I am saving for LittleBit, at great personal sacrifice], some fruit salad in a ziploc bag, and some truly inspired green bean casserole. We didn't have a huge turnout because it was raining cats and dogs and little fishes. Maybe a dozen people? Nevertheless, the fire was warm and the company merry. We sang carols and took turns reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 and sharing Christmas memories and traditions.

My brownies turned out well, though we were so stuffed with everything else that we barely made a dent in them. I'll take them back to the party on Wednesday; these are fudge brownies and will still be fun to eat, if LittleBit and I haven't devoured them before then. The potatoes? Not so much. I put them into the crock pot and put it on "low" when I went to church, entirely forgetting that if I wanted them to be done when I came home, I should have put it on "high". Lovely, salty white boulders, not even softened enough to be considered al dente, LOL. I dumped them into my big pot and cranked up the heat, and I even scooped out smaller portions to nuke in the microwave, but it was not to be. Finally, I dumped the whole mess back into the crock pot and poured the melted butter and the warmed half-and-half over it and put the lid back on and left to pick up Brother Sushi.

Anybody want to come over for a big bowl of mashed potatoes for breakfast? The butter and cream have caramelized during the night, and the kitchen smells *wonderful*. I'm about ready to toddle out into the kitchen for a slice of pumpkin pie.

Merry Christmas, all y'all!

Postscript: no parting hug from Brother Abacus, as I had my hands full of assorted bags; but *he* kissed me goodnight. In front of the wingman. Je suis content. [Because some of you are fiends for "details", LOL.]

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Good Night's Sleep and Other Ramblings

Something more precious than rubies around here. When the girls were young and I was chronically exhausted [there was one stretch where I was pregnant, or nursing, or both, for four and a half years], I needed seven or eight hours to feel fully human. I rarely got them. And therefore, I rarely felt like a person who was -- theoretically at least -- at the top of the food chain.

When I went back to school eleven years ago to get my associates' degree in interpreting for the deaf, the pace was such that I knew that I needed to get fit in a hurry and also to thrive on less sleep. I made both a matter of prayer as well as action. I really miss mall-walking. I would frequently meet up with one or both of my two best friends, and we would solve the problems of the world as we circled round and round and round. I miss the chick time, and I miss the action, and I miss that feeling of being in control of my world for one to two hours every day.

I do not miss the mall. Our best one is a far scarier place than it was a decade ago, and I avoid it whenever possible. The other two do not even bear contemplating. Though a friend tells me that one has the best bead store she's seen, better than the one I love in Fort Worth, so after the Christmas madness has settled down I think I'll take a field trip with her and see for myself. [She worked as an air traffic controller for years, so there's not a whole lot that scares her, LOL.]

I am up before the birds this morning, because I went to bed with the chickens last night. I think I was in bed by 9:00, though I'd have to check the timestamp on last night's post to be sure. [8:30, it says; fancy that!] And I woke at 3:30 this morning and have already put in five or six rounds on the re-starting of Prodigal the Second. If LittleBit were not blissfully snoozing on the other side of the hall, I would pop in a church video and knit some more.

Six and a half hours of sleep, compared to my usual five, is something to get down on my knees and be grateful for. [But then there's the challenge of getting back up again. Though my sore knee is much improved, and I think I can risk a couple of slow dances next Friday night at the New Year's Eve Eve Eve dance if I take my elastic knee brace and borrow one of Brother Sushi's heavy-duty, lock-and-load postsurgery braces should the drugstore one prove insufficient.]

So what's on the agenda today, after the rest of the world is awake?

(1) Grocery shopping. LittleBit and I are both out of milk. And I need to pick up taters and cream and butter and horseradish for the crockpotful of revved-up mashed potatoes that I'm taking to the potluck at Brother Abacus' house tomorrow night. He's roasting a turkey and providing brisket. The rest of us are bringing side dishes. I might also bring some of my killer brownies. And if there are any leftovers of either, I can take them to Christmas dinner at Secondborn's on Monday, or I can keep them for my lunches next week at work. I also need to pick up the ingredients for the raspberry cake that LittleBit wants for her birthday on Tuesday, recipe courtesy of adopted daughter FloridaGirl. We loved it last year.

(2) Lining Brother Sushi's tie and finding a suitable container for it, once it's been photographed for the blog. Weaving in the ends on LittleBit's fingerless gloves.

(3) Wrapping Brother Abacus' gift, which will make the trip to FW in the trunk [with Earl]. We have been dating such a short time that I don't know if a gift is in order, but I am prepared and will be happy, either way.

(4) Getting together with Firstborn's hubby, if his schedule is still clear, so he can do the brakes on Lorelai [adding the ingredients for a pan of lasagna to the grocery list; a son-in-law who is happy to be paid in food is vastly preferable to a mechanic who insists on $200 of hard-earned cash].

(5) Trekking to FW to have Secondborn take photos for the blog, and to pat her tummy and say "hello in there", and to play with BittyBit awhile. [Hard to believe that little monkey turns two, three days after LittleBit turns 17!]

Friday, December 22, 2006

Prodigal Sock's Slightly More Prodigal Mate

I cast on the mate to the Prodigal Sock this morning, after pinning out Brother Sushi's tie and polishing off the thumb on LittleBit's second fingerless glove.

I cast it on twice. The first time, my long tail wasn't *quite* long enough. The second time, I had a few distractions but managed to get seven rounds completed before the end of my lunch hour.

This evening, I was sitting in the cafe at the bookstore, waiting for LittleBit and her BF and Fourthborn to finish their last-minute shopping at the mall. I was just finishing round 16 when I realized something was a little funny.

21 stitches on needle 1? check! 21 stitches on needle 2? check! 21 stitches on needle 3? "Harlot, we have a problem!" Somehow I only managed to cast on 18 stitches and not notice it for 16 rounds.

Must be the dearth of kissing. Which is not likely to be remedied this weekend. I am thinking that the holidays are just about the worst possible time for two exceedingly busy people to start dating one another. I'll see Brother Abacus on Sunday night at a church meeting at his house, and I have volunteered to serve as chauffeuse to Brother Sushi, my ever-faithful wingman. And I am thinking that at the end of the evening I will give my guy a gracious smile and a gentle hug and a discreet peck on the cheek like the ones he gave me at church *last* Sunday night.

And it can be his turn to miss me, until he clears his schedule sufficiently to pick up the phone.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tag, I'm it! And so are you!

“THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

Six weird things about me:

1. I have been engaged 6.5 times, married twice, and am the bemused owner of perhaps the world’s best radar gun for picking men who are unavailable: temporarily or otherwise. [Yes, I’m back in the convent again. Wait, maybe I'm not. After a week of silence, which I sortof expected but didn't particularly enjoy, we had a good if brief chat this morning as I finished getting ready for church and the girls tapped their feet and pointed at their left wrists.]

2. Five daughters; they would probably take exception to being called “weird”, but apples don’t fall far from their tree. Also three granddaughters and a whozit, sex yet to be determined. The only sons are the wonderful men who have married my daughters.

3. For three years after divorcing the girls’ father, I slept on a Victorian fainting couch as visible evidence that I took [and still take] old-fashioned morality quite seriously, for myself as well as for them. We call it the Chastity Bed, and it now occupies the space beneath the dining room window, along with a pillow adapted from a Kaffe Fassett design, the face of a medieval woman, fondly referred to as “the nun I am living like”. The fact that I now have a queen size bed with a feather mattress atop it and lots of pillows and a down comfortor, which we sometimes call the Muffin Bed, should not be construed to mean that my views on What Is Right and Proper have changed. This makes me very weird in modern circles. I don’t mind at all.

4. I have craters, one per thigh and one per arm, from smallpox vaccinations that failed when I was a kid. My high school boyfriend used to call me “Crater Leg” [like Crater Lake, in Oregon]; time and avoirdupois have made them less visible.

5. I was extremely shy as a child, so shy that if you asked me what time it was, I would blush. I can now speak to 200+ people or more [yay for a lay ministry and 30 years of giving talks in church!], sing a capella to them if I take off my glasses so I can’t actually *see* them, and I participated in the Taos Poetry Circus in June 1998. And at church today, I signed all three verses of "Silent Night" while the choir and congregation sang, and I didn't start weeping from joy until halfway through the benediction.

6. I used to love talking on the phone when I was a married, stay-at-home mom. It was my lifeline to the outside world. Now that I am a receptionist at a law firm, I’d prefer not to talk on the phone unless I’m talking to somebody who might be Brother Right. For some incomprehensible reason, I don’t mind that at all. Otherwise, just shoot me an email. Interesting that the brief, lovely flurry with Brother Abacus was [is apparently still being] conducted the old-fashioned way: by phone and in person, though I did learn to text-message.

I'm tagging Jeri, Jo, Wanda, Elizabeth, Taya, and MsKnitingale. And I'm very proud because I *finally* figured out how to do the link-by-name thing.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Prodigal Sock

Hi, honeys, I'm home! Have been offline for about ten days. And will not be online much until after Christmas, but here are some updates:

Went to the dance on Friday the 1st. Had my knee X-rayed earlier that day and was advised to do nothing that irritated it. MRI is scheduled for the 3rd of January. So, no dancing. A shame, really, because Brother Sushi and I walked into the gym, and it was raining men that night!

Brother Yummy's sweetie drove the extra mile and retrieved my knitting bag from another meetinghouse. So here are pictures of the Prodigal Sock:



The pattern is from "Knitting Vintage Socks", and it was pure joy, even with all the frogging during flirtfests with Brother Abacus.



Other sock won't be started until I'm done with Brother Sushi's "surprise" necktie.

Still dating Brother Abacus; six dates at last count. I broke down and added text messaging to my cell phone, and to LittleBit's. Our fellows are [respectively] the king and prince of text messaging, LOL.

Hard to believe that Brother Abacus called me for the first time, one month ago tomorrow. I am still besotted, if somewhat less giddy than in recent weeks.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Brother Abacus meets M'sieu Clapotis and the Sisters of the Wool

Talk about having one's cake and eating it too! There I was, knitting away on M'sieu Clapotis when on a whim, or perhaps by inspiration, I checked my cellphone [*bucks is a noisy venue, between the clicking of the needles and the pandemonium of the coffee machines] and discovered a VM from Brother Abacus.

I treated my Sisters of the Wool to a brief reprise of the Rupert Everett "Kimmy! Kimmy" chorus and took myself outside to talk and laugh and pace about while he and I chatted. We settled whether we wanted to go on the singles' field trip this weekend to the outdoor craft festival and flea market, with the storm front moving in sometime today, and my knee still wonky, and his place needing a vacuuming [not! you could do brain surgery on his kitchen floor, LOL] before LittleBit and I go over to help him decorate, and whether I should double-dip a full slate of church meetings on Sunday -- three hours at his ward in the morning, and three hours at my own in the afternoon -- and what we came up with was this: no to First Monday in Canton and yes to six hours of church.

Then he came out to *bucks and met my Sisters of the Wool and took me to the ice cream and dairy shop just down the road for a cone and one of the best and most fascinating doctrinal discussions I've had in a long while. Man oh man, I have missed that in my life every bit as much as the flirty stuff; the children's father and I used to have wonderful explorations of the gospel, both the theoretical stuff and the practical applications. Brother Sushi and I have far-ranging discussions but they tend to be more oriented toward how to reconcile a warrior spirit [his, mine] with the Savior's perfect example of the balanced, righteous life.

But I digress. A lovely evening, last night, graced by time with my girlfriends and crowned with the companionship of the Spirit. And a short one; I was home by 10:45 I think and asleep soon thereafter. Wakened two hours later by my cranky knee; I forgot to take my evening dose of anti-inflammatory before leaving for Knit Night and am presently waiting for it [and a mug of warm milk] to kick in and send me back to tryst with the Sandman.

I got to demonstrate to Brother Abacus how the stitch drops in M'sieu Clapotis, and I have one more repeat on the straightaway before I start the decrease section. I weighed the scarf at the grocery store yesterday morning after dropping LittleBit at early morning seminary, and I did major number-crunching on my lunch hour. I suspect that I'll finish it tonight or tomorrow.

Pictures, most likely, this weekend. And now if you will excuse me, I'm going to limp back to bed for another hour and a half of sleep... Or maybe I'll be slothful and reset the alarm for 5:00.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Holy Cow!

Zero knitting content. Zero apologies.

Date #2 with Brother Abacus on Wednesday night. Chinese food and a video. Met both of his [grown, delightful] kids, who were bunking down en route to a football game elsewhere in TX on Thanksgiving Day. I was home at a reasonable hour after a lovely evening, with my virtue and dignity intact.

He flew out on Thursday morning to visit his brothers, leaving me a sweet and chaste text message. He'd told me when I left that he'd call me when he got home again.

Brother Sushi spent part of the late afternoon and early evening [yesterday] with us, helping us reconnect the TV and peripherals after we dismantled our old, ugly particle board entertainment center. We took him to dinner in thanks, meeting up with a good chunk of our extended family. When we got home, I was surprised to find a VM from Brother Abacus, saying that he was driving home from the airport and just wanted to say hi.

Brother Sushi, being nobody's fool, grinned and said, "This is the part where you take me home so you can call this guy I approve of, right?" Parnelli Jones would have been so proud of me!

He was home from his trip to AZ a day earlier than I thought he’d be. I told him that LittleBit was expecting a callback and late date from her new interest. We decided it might be interesting to double-date and would certainly solve the chaperone problem, LOL.

I think that LittleBit and I set a new Olympic speed record for apartment straightening!

Her guy was stuck in Dallas, so we consoled her with a trip to Sonic for some dessert, and the three of us watched “Take the Lead”. She and I had family prayers while he sat there on the couch, and then she looked him square in the eye and said, “It’s a quarter to one. You have 15 minutes.”

I plead the Fifth as to what time he left. But let the record show that no commandments were broken, bumped, bruised, spindled, mutilated or folded.

Have I mentioned that I really, really like this guy? Pure class, pure gold, in a distinctly non-boring way.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Frogging M'sieu Clapotis

I looked at it this morning and realized that I was more than halfway done, and that the finished "scarf" would be more suitable as one of those ritzy lumbar pillows that they sell in my favorite stuff-for-the-house-that-I-can't-afford catalogue.

Sigh.

I had better luck than I'd feared, un-laddering three columns of dropped stitches. And by miracle or serendipity, I re-inserted my needle on row 6 of the increase pattern, precisely where I needed to stop the increases and begin the straightaway. So it was just a matter of fiddling with the beginning and ending stitches on that row, and I'm off to the races again.

I don't remember if I've shown pictures of the yarn, but I bought it from a Sister of the Wool at Knit Night. There was too much turquoise in it for her taste; she doesn't like "blue" any better than I do, but lucky for me I don't consider turquoise to be blue. It's in a glorious category all by itself, and it's welcome in my world.



I'm totally drawing a blank on the name of the yarn, or the artist, but it's 65% wool and 35% silk, approximately worsted weight, and the color is "Midnight". I'll come back in awhile after my brain-f*rt has finished and insert the name. [Brain is currently non-f*rting; the yarn is Lotus Blossom, and my friend is knitting an amazing shawl from another colorway.]

Here's another shot:



These are very dark and mysterious-looking. The actual yarn is somewhat lighter and has a little of everything except orange in it: turquoise, a lush warm rose, mossy green, a bit of indigo but not enough to make me crazy*, plum and purple, and tan-to-caramel. I only had one small pool, and it was of the rosy tones, so I didn't mind all that much. I'm re-knitting that portion now, and I suspect that the pool will have evaporated.

What's on the agenda today? An oil change for Lorelai, a de-thugging of my living room, and the hanging of the moosletoe holder in the doorway betwixt kitchen and dining room. LittleBit has a new boyfriend, and I strongly suspect that Brother Abacus will be making an appearance chez nous in the very near future.

[*crazy being a relative term, LOL]

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Weekend of Finished Objects

OK, so it's not "The Year of Living Dangerously". She had a better agent than I do!

The weekend per se was 3.5 weeks ago. The pictures, however, are the result of this afternoon's tryptophan-induced wooziness, compounded by a very pleasant Date #2 with Brother Abacus last night.

For your viewing pleasure, we present:

Samhain Splendor.



And a detail:



Feather and Fanning Myself [a shrug for the perimenopausal woman who likes to flirt nearly as much as she likes to dance]:



With a close-up of the buttons I went back to JoAnn's to buy, grand-opening madness notwithstanding:



Me, laughing, with bad hair from post-turkey napping on the kids' living room floor while BittyBit tried to figure out if I was really asleep, or just playing.



And a back view. I know, I know, all these weeks with only verbiage from me, and now comes the deluge.



October's quilt blocks, stitched up just in time for our monthly run to the quilt shop, shown with the finished blocks for November:

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Good news, bad news

In which your intrepid heroine wonders if someone has invoked that famous Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times".

First, the good news:
Better-than-OK food at the dinner last night.
An interesting [but not in the Chinese sense] pair of speakers for our fireside, or inspirational talks. The first one encouraged each of us to make our own Thanksgiving proclamation each year: things we are thankful for, and blessings we would like to receive.
The second one was a little more dynamic, and I took notes because the tryptophan from the turkey was kicking in. For reasons that will become apparent shortly, it is not convenient for me to fetch the notes and share them with you. Trust me, he was good.
Brother Abacus kept his promise to come to the dance. And I did get to dance with him.

This is where we detour to the bad news:
I re-injured my leg dancing with Brother Yummy before he arrived and was only able to dance the slowest of the slow dances with him, and no fun spins and twirls. Very frustrating for both of us, because it was quite apparent that he'd rather be dancing with me.

I was thinking I had absolutely blown it with him, and that he'd waltz off into the sunset with another of the sisters...

Back to more good news:
...when he said he wished he could drive me home, and I handed Brother Sushi my key and limped off to the chariot.

And the bad:
Completely oblivious to the fact that I’d left my knitting behind.

And the good:
He drives as smoothly as he dances.

And the bad:
I am going to the after-hours clinic today to get this leg looked at. So I may or may not be at church, because the clinic is open from 12-3, and church is from 1-4. Life is too short not to be able to boogie.

Particularly with him.

And the silver linings:
Because my sock that only needs a 3-needle BO at the toe is approximately 45 miles away from home, I get to start my clapotis with stash yarn while waiting for the clinic to open.

Because I can barely walk, I can gracefully accept my older daughters' offers to help me set the house in order so as not to scare off this good brother.

Because I think he likes me as much as I like him.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I only write poetry when I'm trying to figure things out. Last one I wrote was when an old friend and I reconciled, four years ago.

The first line came to me earlier this week, when I was picking up dropped stitches in my sock after talking to Brother Abacus for two hours on the phone.

Like knots slipping in silk,
this merciful unskeining of the heart:
Hands serving as swift
to hold it steady as it spins;
winding, curving into usefulness,
motes flying giddily aloft
as stitches of remembrance form,
one over one cables take shape,
and the dust of forgetting dances away.

© [me] 18 November 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Twitterpated

Knitting content today is purely subliminal. I won't even pretend to be apologetic! I appear to have a major crush on a minor politician.

Talked with "the boy" for two hours last night. I have a church meeting tonight at 7 and a cosmetics order to deliver after that, and then we will be meeting at a mutually-convenient restaurant for dinner...

The knitting muse has decided to punish me. I know I was knitting while I talked to him, because I messed up the lace pattern on my sock and completely forgot to keep track of my row count. Can I find that bag this morning? That would be a "no".

So before I dine with Brother Abacus, I will be breakfasting with Kermit... Assuming that I can find the sock.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Yee Haw Crawdaddies

This will be largely, or perhaps entirely, a non-knitting post. Unholy glee may well be involved. Prepare to rejoice and sing along, or just scroll on down in hope of sighting a knit or a purl or a wanton yarnover.

When I woke yesterday morning, there were potentially interesting developments on the topic of Brother Abacus. No personal sightings, but one of my friends spoke with him recently and came away much impressed. There was a good chance that he would be at the Fort Worth activity last night, and if so, he would almost certainly have a date. So the challenge was to get on his radar and stay on his radar, without triggering hers.

That, to me, suggested a judicious use of the color red, coupled with vivacity and keeping my distance physically. I hurt my knee line-dancing last weekend, but dance I would, and with my usual sass. The idea was to be having so much fun without him, that he would remember what a nice visit we had last month and want more of the same.

But first, another "drive-by-fooding" of the elders. I dropped off their dinner on the way to pick up Brother Sushi for the drive to Cowtown. They were much appreciative and asked if there were anything they could do for me. I said, yes, as a matter of fact there was; there’s this man I like who lives in Fort Worth, and I was hoping to see him at the dance, and hoping to get on his radar screen.

I remembered to find the missionaries at stake conference today and thank them.

I wore my red long-sleeved knit top over my red and purple Indian print skirt. Says he during our first slow dance, "red becomes you". Yes, it does, that's why I chose it, and woohoo! it worked! I think three slow dances, and five or so fast dances. Yes, I got to dance with Brother Abacus. [I do believe that he danced with me more than with his date. I am trying to feel guilty about that, really I am.]

I tore up my knee again, and it was well worth it. Thanks to my good friend Brother Yummy for making me look good during our traditional swing dance, and please sir may I have some more next weekend at the Thanksgiving dinner dance? That will be me with my knee taped up under my white slacks and my black linen tunic. PT friend thinks it may be a hamstring.

Oh BTW, I did wear my new red shrug, my Red Sweater KAL, to the dance last night. No pictures anytime soon, as LittleBit is getting over strep so no trips to Secondborn's, and I have postponed my camera purchase in favor of a few new items for my wardrobe.

There's your knitting content. I'm off to take a nap.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

First Knit Picks Order

After finishing the brown Felted Tweed socks, naturally I needed more yarn. And when I saw the deep discount on Nancy Bush's "Vintage Socks", I sent a post to my Sisters of the Wool. Did they want to join in for the free shipping? They did. But more than half the order was mine, bwa ha ha ha ha!

This:



And this, because I loved it in a different color in my friend Jeri's Swallowtail Shawl and thought that a pair of dressy socks would tell me if I wanted to make a Swallowtail for dessert:



I'm making the "Child's First Sock" on p. 60. It is such bliss to knit that I'm seriously thinking of acquiring enough [in a different color, most likely black] to knit a fairly traditional cardi. Madness, to contemplate several months of knitting on size 0's!

And this. LittleBit loved it; I've cast on a sock for her and will order more for myself. I have about six rounds worked up from the toes, on size 0's, tried Magic Loop with a 32" needle and think I'll be happier with a second needle, knitting both at once á là Cat Bordhi. I've noticed that I get a slightly tighter gauge with the Addi's than I did with the Crystal Palace bamboo DP's. Pictures of these 2 WIP's to follow **when I have my new camera**.



I can't believe I said "when I have my new camera" with a perfectly straight face. Or keyboard, as it were.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fetch this!

OK, patience is sometimes rewarded. I was about to close this post in exasperation when my photos leaped onto the page.

Here is Fetching.4. The *third* green pair in designer-specified Cashmerino Aran; after the first pair in leftover brown Felted Tweed that went home with my girlfriend for her flautist daughter. The first two green pairs went to my best-friend-at-work and my best-and-only-sister. If you look carefully you will see the needle still tucked inside from sewing in ends.



And here is the ball that followed me home on Monday, for another pair, for me.



It was red. What can I say?

That same trip to the LYS also yielded another ball of the brown Felted Tweed, because I *will* have another pair to match my socks.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's a Red Letter / Sweater Day!



This is all Anne's fault. And maybe a little bit mine, after waxing rhapsodic over her red Malabrigo, if I remember correctly. Red something or other, that's for sure.



From the stash: nine balls of vintage Columbia Minerva Reverie, a mohair/orlon blend that surely must date back to the Sixties, in the most lovely "hey-sailor" red. [Two other yarns of equal quality and lesser quantity and similar carbon-dating, saved for other projects.]

Five balls of Crystal Palace Waikiki, bought a couple of weeks ago because I thought I only had half a dozen balls of assorted red mohair, instead of fifteen.

What to do?

This, which is actually the start of the second back, in our old friend Feather and Fan:



And this, the back and the start of the [first] sleeve, in profile:



And this, showing how I merged the two edges and phased out the two-stitch garter border:



So what is it going to be when it grows up? A shrug or cocoon; the plan is to join it at the convex edges and embellish some or all of them with really cool buttons from Benno's Buttons in Dallas or The Ribbon Gardner here in Arlington. Which I will probably acquire tomorrow. I'm either taking two hours of PT tomorrow afternoon, or the whole day off. I'll decide once I get to work this morning.

The goal? To wear this to the dance tomorrow night, blocked or otherwise, in the hope that Brother Abacus will be in attendance and will say, "Oh my goodness, m'dear, that's lovely, and so are you! May I have this dance?"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Tweedling my thumbs in a Fetching manner

OK, I was going to have photos, lots of photos, to show you. Said photos would have been taken Saturday the 21st, when this was drafted.

However.

My first pair of "Fetching" whipped up in no time at all from the leftovers of my brown Felted Tweed socks. It was deliciously chilly on Thursday morning, so I wore the gloves and the socks to work with my long brown silk ruffly skirt and a store-bought sweater in brown and cream marled cotton yarn that I bought at Burlington Coat Factory 7 or 8 years ago. I was tweeded pretty much to the gills!

I can't take a picture of the gloves, because the day before I began cobbling this post together, I gave them to a friend for her daughter to wear in marching band. You can't play the flute with frozen fingers. I'll make another pair for myself, probably next week. The alpaca feels *wonderful* on my hands. An experience I definitely want to repeat. And I certainly have plenty left; enough for one glove and quite possibly for both.

Immediately after binding off the first pair, I began again in the intended yarn [Cashmerino Aran] in the darker green. I sent those to my sister in Seattle for her birthday. Which is why this wasn't posted until now. I had one yard of yarn leftover from the first pair, which I used to embellish the package.

I made 1.9 pairs of "Fetching" for my best friend at work. Why only 1.9 pairs, you ask? When I got to the top of the second glove, I could only bind off about halfway around, and there was *nada* for the thumb. I felt a little foolish for sending off that last bit of the yarn in the mail, but I ate chocolate until the feeling passed.

There is some joy in Mudville, however, because I wasn't sure that I'd be able to get a pair out of one ball, so I bought three with the idea of making two pairs and having 3/4 of a ball for my stash. Instead, I will rob Peter ever so slightly ~~ not so much as you'd notice ~~ to pay Paul, finish C's pair, and knit the third pair one round shorter in the "body" to give to a petite friend. Or maybe just buy a 4th ball. It's Cashmerino Aran, after all, and unlike that whole rich/thin thing, I don't believe you can have too much of it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

If everybody else were doing it, would you do it too?

And the answer in this case is "apparently so".

Several of my girls sent this to me a few weeks back. And since I'm not quite sleepy enough for a nap, particularly after what happened last Sunday night when I tried it (asleep at 6:00 or so, awake at 10:30, up until 1:30, and awake for good at 4:00; not looking for a rematch), I guess I'll inflict it on my reading public.

Very much enjoyed LadyLungDoc's responses, which I just read, particularly #46. http://purlthis.blogspot.com/2006/10/its-all-about-meme-48-things.html

Also Elizabeth's. After which I looked up "meme" and then "sophonts". http://www.elizabethklett.com/knit.html

Where were we?

48 Things About Me(me)

1. FIRST NAME? Lynn

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not that I'm aware of. I think it was a generational thing. There were 2 Lynns and a Lynne in my calculus class (also 2 Daves and 3 Johns, in a class of about 15 people).

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? In church today. It was the annual sacrament meeting put on by the Primary children.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yes, and my printing, and my calligraphy.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Would rather eat peanut butter on crackers, or pepperjack cheese.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I hope so. It would be a little depressing to look at myself from outside and see no redeeming social value.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Several, not counting this blog. Daily gratitudes (but not recently), weekly newsletter to friends and family of the 5-or-so things I'm most thankful for, with backstory and commentary. I take notes in my church meetings and keep them in my planner. And then of course here, in terms of my creative work/play.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Not since I was three. The smell of ether still makes me queasy.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Are you meshugineh?

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Old-fashioned oatmeal simmered in apple juice, with a bit of freshly grated nutmeg and a dusting of cinnamon. No milk, no sugar. There were times when the children's father was in school that we ate oatmeal twice a day. This is the only way I enjoy it nowadays, except for oatmeal cookies, at which I excel. I do like MaltoMeal with brown sugar and milk. Go figure.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No, I kick off my Dansko clogs (which I've now started buying on eBay) in the doorway to my room, and they stay there until I start to trip over them.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physical strength is what sons-in-law are for. Mental and emotional strength? I am normally one tough cookie.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? I tango with Ben and Jerry on a regular basis but also like most of the Blue Bell (a TX creamery) flavors.

14. SHOE SIZE? Eur 40; I have a high arch, even after all those kids and all this extra avoirdupois. After two surgeries for ingrown toenails on one foot and three on the other, it's barefoot or clogs, baby. I even dance barefoot.

15. RED OR PINK? Yes. And fuchsia and turquoise and plum and marigold and...

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My uncanny ability to zero in on the one man in the room who cannot see me, and fall for *him*.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I miss the man the children's father used to be, before time and chronic illness stole his compass and his backbone.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Oh please no.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Red long-sleeved Tshirt, purple and black and red ethnic-print crinkle skirt (WalMart, summer 2005), plum tights, and my black cabrio "professional" clogs. [Does this mean that the backless clogs are amateurs?]

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Dinner was homemade chicken a la king, minus the peas, and mandarin oranges because that's what LittleBit was in the mood for. Dessert was her portion of the microwave tapioca that I made for our breakfast yesterday, that she only ate three bites of.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The dishwasher.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Red, of course.

23. FAVORITE SMELL? Johnson's Baby Powder. It reminds me of a certain Marine that I loved, before I met and married ExH's 1 & 2.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? LittleBit's best friend, on the way to dinner with Brother Sushi last night. LittleBit had left her phone in the car on the charger when I dropped her off for her volunteer stint at the haunted house.

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? Eyes, and then mouth. And once I've filed that away, I start gathering clues about character.

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? "I don't know her, but I'm pretty sure I'd like her a lot if we met. I've been reading her blog a long time." I copied that from Elizabeth's blog, and what she says about her source, goes for me about her as well.

27. FAVORITE DRINK? 1% milk.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? You're kidding, right?

29. EYE COLOR? Started out brown when I was little, became hazel as I got older. If I'm happy, they're bright green.

30. HAT SIZE? No clue; hat color, however, is unabashedly red, and worn with as much purple as I can lay my hands on.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Glasses. I had contacts 35 years ago, the old bad hard ones.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? Yes.

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings; happy endings with lots of 30's style snappy dialogue are better, and happy endings with singing or ~~ even better ~~ dancing, are best of all.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Fall, when I can get it. This is TX. We have two seasons: February, and summer.

36. HUGS OR KISSES? I vaguely remember liking both. Hugs are definitely easier to come by.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Brownies. *My* brownies. Which are never the same twice.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Let's let this die a quiet death, OK?

39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? See #38.

40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Simple Abundance, the scriptures, Born Fighting.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? My mouse and a nearly-empty mug of juice to wash down the tapioca.

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? N/A; I only watch Gilmore Girls and am probably not going to buy season 6 and am not much impressed with season 7, except when the starchy Emily got herself arrested last week. That was hilarious!

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? The timer, announcing that the brownies are done. BittyBit hollering "Nana, Nana!" when she sees me walking up the sidewalk.

44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? Beatles.

45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Washington, DC.

46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I am one of those obnoxious people that was given the "ten talents" and tries to keep them polished and shiny, and as a result I keep picking up more.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? A little town in Idaho, because the even smaller town that we lived in, didn't have a hospital.

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Stole it from Elizabeth, but could just as easily have stolen it from LadyLungDoc.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A new distraction

Perhaps not exactly a new distraction, in some ways a very familiar distraction, but a new-to-me distraction. I met a widower last weekend, at the unofficial singles' activity.

And I learned something interesting about widowers.

Widowers are looking for more of what they had; divorced men are looking to avoid what they had. Divorced people in general are looking to avoid more pain, frequently at all costs. This leads some of them to remarry quickly or often, and badly. This leads others to be excessively skittish about making another eternal commitment.

Therefore, as one of my daughters put it, widowers have a short shelf life, because they were [presumably] happily married and want to repeat the experience. They date-with-intent, they commit, they’re off the market again in a year or so; those men who make it past that first year frequently don’t remarry.

Women who really really reeeeeely want to remarry, keep their eyes peeled for widowers, which puts said men in the unenviable position of being the lone June Bug at a Ducks Unlimited picnic.

Which leaves me in an unenviable position, myself. How much flirting is sufficient to establish that if a certain party were interested, I would not hand him his head? How much implies that I’m a card-carrying member of Ducks Unlimited and that he should run like the wind, Daniel-San?

I think that getting a Tshirt printed up for BittyBit to wear to their next ward social [he's in the same congregation as Secondborn and her family] that says “Ask me about my Nana – better yet, ask her out!” might be just a little too much, LOL.

Do I deputize my son-in-law, who thinks very highly of the party in question? How much do I pray over this? How much prayer is appropriate before it becomes nagging? The last time I prayed for righteous male attention, I got the children’s father [and to be fair to him, for many years he was truly the answer to my prayers] so I’m understandably leery. I know there are no guarantees.

On the other hand, I am somewhat comforted to find myself attracted to a man who seems to be “normal”, whatever that is. Considering that the last three men of my faith who have asked me out since the divorce turned out to be loons in one way or another, it has made me question what I am sending out into the universe that men like that would pursue me. [Never mind the question of my own initial attraction to *them*.]

Saturday night I dreamed that I was in love and getting married. Not one of those embarrassing dreams that makes me glad I’m not responsible for what my brain throws together when I’m asleep, but one that woke me up to some deep truths.

I function rather well without a man in my life, *and* I do even better when I am suitably partnered. I don’t want a man that I have to chase; I do want one worth following. I would like, please God, another hand on the tiller and another pair of eyes in the crow’s nest.

Said widower will not be at the church dance tonight; he will be visiting family out of town. [He took a call at last week's activity; I eavesdropped shamelessly while appearing intent on my knitting.]

I will have a great time anyway; I will be with my acquired brother, I will be full of allegedly delicious Mexican food, and I will have my knitting with me in case the dance is less successful than usual.

And I will be planning what to wear to the *next* singles' dance.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

BittyBit



Something for the grandmas out there. This is BittyBit with her Viewfinder. My sister had one in the 1940's, which I inherited when I came along. Edifying shots of bears at Yellowstone Park and Mount Rushmore. Now it's Disney Princesses and who knows what else? She's not supposed to take the cassette out herself. That's supposed to be a Mommy Job or a Daddy Job. But this is *my* grandchild we are talking about, and in this shot she is obviously thinking, "How fast can I pull this yellow thing out of the case after the flash goes off?"



I *love* this picture. Unlike Ado Annie in "Oklahoma", here we have a girl who *can* say "no". I want to blow this up to poster-size and give it to her on her 16th birthday, when she'll be officially old enough to date boys.

Best family story to-date: she calls Firstborn GiGi. And Firstborn did something irritating, at least from a not-quite-two-year-old's POV. So out of this precious mouth came the following:

"Gigi! *My* chair. Don't!"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

And Another Block of the Month Quilt Year Begins

Last Saturday, 60% of the girls and I, plus 33% of the granddaughters, high-tailed it to a northern suburb of BigD. If it's October, then a new series quilt must be beginning. The concept is simple: you pay $5 at the beginning of the quilt year, and you pick up the fabric and pattern for the first month's block. Return [in person] the next month with your finished block, and the second month's kit is free. In theory, it is possible to make 12 blocks toward a quilt top with a $5 investment; in reality, we each usually end up buying at least one other block because of illness or absence.



Above are Firstborn and Secondborn, respectively, mugging for the camera in a real "Romy & Michelle" moment.



Here they are again with BittyBit (Secondborn's kiddo), who is less than thrilled with the lot of us by this point.



And here are LittleBit and BittyBit, just before we all piled into the cars to come home.



Secondborn photographed this month's fabrics for me. I own the EQ5 quilt design software (Electric Quilt 5), and this is what the completed block will look like:



She was also kind enough to capture the fabrics as images that I can import into EQ5, and I'll probably get around to that if I can stop knitting or typing long enough. In the meantime, you'll just have to settle for a photo of the completed block (most likely on the day we have to show it off to collect block #2, if I know us). But this will give you a rough idea, for now.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tweed-le-de-dee! (Updated slightly)

With apologies to both Scarlett O'Hara and Tweedledum.



Not sure what this wants to be when it grows up, but into the stash it goes! Call me stubborn and a hold-out, but this is the first time I've been tempted to buy anything Rowan. It just never appealed to me before. But this, oh my! Soft as a baby's tush, and the perfect color to go with my new lace-embellished floral vintagey-looking T-shirt from WallyWorld.

I'm thinking socks, I'm thinking subversive, and I'm thinking I'll be having loads of fun researching a pattern online and probably coming up with my own...

And I just proved a wild-eyed hunch correct: that if I go into the "edit HTML" mode on my primary blog [that would be The Ravelled Sleave] and copy the code, it will transport nicely to *this* venue [that would be Tweedingalong]. ^5's all around!

Posted to this point on 10/1 to "Tweedingalong". Updated today with photos of the sock in progress.

OK, this is what I've come up with: the love child of "Thuja" and the Sock of Doom, femmed up with the merest hint of lace. I have inserted spiraling eyelets into the 3/1 seed stitch rib and am planning to reverse the spiral on the second sock. You can see the eyelets because we got creative and rolled up one of BittyBit's bibs and stuffed it into the sock.



My first thought on the heel flap was to do it entirely in seed stitch, to carry down the seed stitch rib into the foot. I'm inordinately fond of this seed stitch rib.

But then I realized that it would probably not make for a graceful heel turning, so I came up with this: an insertion of seed stitch into a stockinette-on-the-edges heel flap. A nod to tradition (cue Tevye) and a stronger nod to sheer bulldog stubbornness, LOL. Stand on your head to see what it will look like on my foot; the light was better this way. I was so pleased that we were able to capture the texture in this shot.



And here's a profile of the happy heel turning.



I mostly like this yarn. I like its softness, and I like that it's easier to get gauge with this yarn than with anything I've ever used before. Must be the alpaca. It knits up nearly as swiftly as the Swedish DK in my first outbound Socks of Doom. And I'm not having to dangle my project once or twice a round in order to untwist an overtwist in the yarn. I really really really like that!

What I'm not crazy about is the flatness of the stitches. They are beautifully, perfectly uniform, and they also seem verging-on-comatose. I'm used to a lot more sproing in my yarn, even if it drives me nuts.

But I may have just come up with a name for these socks. The Stepford Socks?

That's Two, Two Socks of Doom, Bwa Ha Ha!

My right foot, neatly and cozily enveloped in the Sock of Doom.



My left foot, sans today's medicine, because I forgot, because we had quilt class, pudgily resting atop my right foot. I wasn't kidding about the "cankles".



_Crumpet_, I bow to your stealthy sock-knitting skills!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Socktoberfest 2006

When did you start making socks? July-into-August 2006. Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? Taught myself after watching my Sisters of the Wool at KnitNight.

What was your first pair? Cherry Tree Hill, basic toe-up socks from Wendy D. Johnson’s article on Knitty, http://www.knitty.com/issuewinter02/FEATtiptoptoes.html modified to accommodate the quirks of my middle-aged ankles. Knitted on Crystal Palace 0’s.

How have they "held up" over time? I have worn them once, so far, and I could feel every blessed stitch in the soles. I’m waiting for next payday to buy some Eucalan to wash them.

What would you have done differently? Tried this 20 years ago.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed? The CTH is very froggable and forgiving. It was perhaps not the best choice for my first pair of socks. I used Juvel’s DK http://theravelledsleave.blogspot.com/2006/09/speaking-of-sock-wars-first-target-is.html for my first pair of socks for Sock Wars 2006, and I will be buying more. A very lively yarn, and a pleasure to knit. Currently using Rowan’s Felted Tweed for an adaptation of “Thuja” http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter05/PATTthuja.html as my oeuvre for Tweedingalong. Love how it feels as it moves through my hands, but the resulting fabric is a little “flat” for my taste. I’m more than halfway down the cuff on the first sock. I like the almost-instant gratification of knitting with DK yarn on size 2’s, as opposed to the “from here to eternity” experience of CTH and 0’s. I completed two pairs of socks for Sock Wars before being taken out by my assassin in Melbourne. The second sock was mostly Sirdar Denim, augmented with Debbie Bliss’s Baby Cashmerino for cuff band, heels, and toes.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method? I did a slightly ruffled crochet cast-off on my first socks, and on the matching mini-socks for my youngest granddaughter. I love my Crystal Palace resin-infused bamboo needles. I am planning to make the next pair of socks using Magic Loop if I can score a pair of Addi Natura’s in the right size. [I did not enjoy working with my Addi Turbo as part of the needle rotation for my Elann Crop Cardi.]

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?) Well, until I did the flap for the Sock of Doom for Sock Wars 2006, and based on 2 pairs’ worth of experience, I would have said short row, those pesky double-wrappings notwithstanding. However, I *much* prefer the fit of the heel flap.

How many pairs have you made? One for me, a matching pair for BittyBit, and two pairs for Sock Wars. I am currently “unventing” pair #5 in the Felted Tweed.

Regarding Comments

I just rejected my first comment. I suppose it was inevitable, given sufficient time. It linked me to a page that was peppered with the F-bomb. Not something that I'd have chosen to pollute my eyes with, thank you very much.

As Thumper's mama said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." And as Ray Charles sang, "Don't you go a-messin' with my world."

In my world, women still talk like ladies.

Now if all y'all will excuse me, I've got to go put on my pearls and do a little dustbusting.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sock Wars (Finito)

My color-blocked Socks of Doomy Doomy Death arrived in the mail at work today. Pictures to be inserted later, quite possibly this weekend. In the meantime, here's a link to Crumpet's blog, with photos of how they look on *her* feet: http://www.crumpart.net/blog/?p=313

They were properly oohed and aaahed over by a bunch of the muggles at work. I'm planning to wear them tomorrow, even if it means that I have to shave my legs and wear a skirt.

She picked my absolutely most favorite shade of yellow, ditto the red, and the orange is poised nicely between the two. I've emailed to ask what yarn they're made from, because I would like to add some to my ever-growing stash. All I know for now is that they are DK wool and heavenly on my feet.

And now if you will all excuse me, I'm going to put on my jammies and work on my tweed socks, secure in the knowledge that the only socks I'll be finishing for the next year or so will be *my own*.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sock Wars, Round the Second

OK, you really can't see how pretty these socks are, and the colors aren't true. Sockinator sent me the stripedy yarn, which is Sirdar's Denim Tweed. It's charcoal, or possibly dark denim, depending on the light, and cream and the most lovely delicate pale pink, which causes the charcoal to "read" as purple, particularly in the fluorescent light of the break room at work.



I wasn't sure there'd be enough yarn to make two socks, as LadyLungDoc's tootsies are a bit longer than mine, so the "blue" yarn is Debbie Bliss's Baby Cashmerino in soft grapey wonderfulness.

I'm pleased to report that the yarns play nicely together. As you can see, when we photographed these on Sunday afternoon, I was sneaking up on the toes on one sock and ready to pick up for the gussets on the other. As with the yarn I chose for Sockinator, I used a size 2 to get gauge, and I actually did a better job with gauge on this one than on the first.

The Baby Cashmerino is *heaven* slipping through my hands, though it seems a little overtwisted to me. It doesn't look that way in the ball, but there's a visible skewing in the stockinette stitches that Pleaseth Me Not. The left side of each stitch is as upright as one of the guards at Buckingham Palace. The right side bellies out like a sail. Not so noticeable in the ribbing, however.

I'm glad I only bought one ball to embellish these socks, and not enough for a sweater. There was a Brown Sheep yarn that I used 20 years ago with the same problem, but it was a *single*. I got around that by working it up in Aran vests for the girls, three of which [sweaters, not girls] are still extant and will show up in another blog post in the near-ish future.

I also bought two balls of Rowan Felted Tweed for my Tweedalong project. I think I will need the 2's to turn them into a pair of socks. I haven't decided on a sock pattern yet. They go beautifully with my newest lace-embellished T-shirt from WallyWorld. And they will just have to wait patiently for me to be done with Sock Wars. [Update: I am going to begin "Thuja" from Knitty's archives to celebrate Socktoberfest.]

I had hoped to mail these off on the drive home from work last night, but I finished them after LittleBit's sectional practice for choir. They'll go out on the drive into BigD, if traffic cooperates, or else on the drive home tonight. I'm in contact with LadyLungDoc's target. I think I can take down *her* target before my socks finish swimming over from Melbourne.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Progress on the Lace Crop Cardi

Between the mailing-off of the first Socks of Doom to Sockinator in the Pacific NW after work on Monday, and the arrival of her target's sock-in-progress at 11:00 on Friday, I knitted down to the armhole joining and onward, ever onward to the first four of 18 pointy bindings-off of the Elann Crop Cardi. I like them.



I am making great progress on LadyLungDoc's socks. I expect to mail them off after work tomorrow and to resume work on the cardi as soon as dinner is out of the way. I have no idea how long it will take me to laboriously tack in place all the flailing ends of ribbon that are trying to escape their weavings-in, or to do the pearl [and hematite?] embellishments. I hope to be wearing this sweater in a week to ten days.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Speaking of Sock Wars [First Target is *Gone*]

I signed up for Yarnmonkey's Sock Wars. 700+ of us have signed up for it. I bought my yarn on Friday (the 15th), even though it's designed to be a stash-busting exercise and "everybody" has surplus DK weight.

Everybody but me, that is. I scored this yarn at 25% off, and it's gaudy enough to make a neat pair of socks. I have no idea what the label says. I think it's Swedish???

Haven't swatched it yet. Am thinking that I'll need to gear down to 4's or 3's to make gauge.

Specified gauge: 22 sts & 30 rows = 4" on size 5's.

9/19/06:Gauge on Clover 4's: 22 sts = 4.5"; 30 rows = 4.5". Well, at least I'm consistent. Potage a la grenouille ~ it's what's for breakfast!

9/20/06: Gauge on Quicksilver 3's: 22 sts = 4.5"; 30 rows = 4.5". As in no discernible difference. As in I am very confused.

Knitted in the round on Crystal Palace 2's: OK, this is on 36 sts, and I'm getting about 23 sts per 4" but the vertical gauge is correct. So I carefully slipped this tubular swatch onto my 11-1/2" long circular 3 and after only 2 rounds I can see that it will be too airy.

I guess my choices are to knit it on the 2's while listening to reggae, or on 3's while listening to salsa [to slow down my hands, or speed them up, respectively].

9/21/06: Biding my time, waiting for the pattern and my target.

9/22/06: 5:17am on my computer and still no pattern, no target. What is going on, over there on the Emerald Isle?

I learned/realized this morning that I had not set up a profile on the official Sock Wars website. Wrestled with that for awhile. Also realized while checking my primary email account that the tub was still running. Thank goodness for the overflow drain!

9/24/06: What is up with Blogger? I can't get the spacing right on this, and I just obliterated all my notes from yesterday. Harrumph! So I guess I'll give you the Reader's Digest Condensed version. I cast on the first sock right after I got home from work on Friday. I took it with me to LittleBit's play cycle at the high school (she was on the costume and makeup crew this go-round) and knitted through the entire production. I only had to repair three splitty stitches once I got home. When I went to bed on Friday night, the first sock was ready for its heel flap.

I woke up yesterday morning a little before 6:00 and cast on the second sock. When I went to my church's annual workshops and dinner before the General Relief Society Conference broadcast, I had completed both heels and was finishing the gussets on the second sock. When I went to bed last night, both feet were halfway done.

I finished grafting the first toe before leaving for church. I was afraid, three-fourths of the way along the foot, that I would run out of yarn and would have to make a frantic dash to the yarn store tomorrow on my lunch hour.

When we got home from church this afternoon, I got busy with the second sock. By 6:30pm, I was nearly ready for the toe decreases.

It is now 11:05pm, and the second sock is done, including the EZ sewn cast-off. I have threaded the needle to do the EZ cast-off on it, when I wake in the morning. I'll take it to work and have my friend take photos. It will go out in the mail on my way home from work.

I have my target's snailmail addy, and she's mailing her socks and her target's data to me tomorrow as well. I wonder how many socks I'll complete before my assassin's socks reach me from Down Under?

What I learned on this project: (1) first top-down socks; (2) first heel flaps and gussets; (3) the Rib of Doom is fun to knit; (4) socks in DK on size 2's go really fast, compared to socks in fingering weight on 0's; (5) EZ's sewn cast-off.

[PICTURE OF COMPLETED SOCKS WILL GO *HERE*, IF I CAN EVER GET THEM UPLOADED. I HAVE THREE SETS.]

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In Which "Lorelai" Has Her Nose Out of Joint

9/22/06, very early:
Small fender-bender last night, a couple of blocks away from picking up Fourthborn and Fiance from their work. Nobody hurt, not much visible damage on my car, slightly more on hers, but my dear little red Lorelai has her nose distinctly out of joint, and her fan is much more audible than when we left the house in the morning. Now we will learn if Other Driver's insurance company is as johnny-on-the-spot about claims as their commercials say...

9/26/06, rather late:
And it would appear that they are. I received a call Friday morning from their claims adjuster, accepting liability. We made an appointment for me to bring Lorelai in for vehicular Botox. I dropped the car off at 8:00 this morning and drove to work in a Ford Taurus, which is large and slow and quirky. It accelerates slowly. It decelerates slowly. Both important facts to remember while driving into BigD and back, until Lorelai warbles, "Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup."

I received a voicemail saying that it looked as if she would be out of pocket for six business days, and they would call me on Friday with a progress report.

The moonroof on the rental car is nice, very nice. LittleBit opened it on our drive home from Knit Night. And the sound system is impressive. But I have to yank the steering wheel right and left, hard, in order to start the engine. "Park" doesn't like me. The car just sits there and flashes its anti-theft idiot light at me and refuses to start unless I wrestle it into submission. That's not a quirk: that's a design flaw.

I Do Not Like This Car.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Yipes! Stripes!

Anybody besides me remember the old ad campaign for Beechnut Fruit Stripes Gum? "Yipes! Stripes! Beechnut's got 'em! Yipes! Stripes! It's Fruit Stripes Gum! Yipes! Stripes! They gotta lotta flavor ... something, something", it's been about 40 years since I heard it.

You'll recall the minuscule ball that was leftover from Sock the First and its mate, and BittyBit's Bitty Socks. About 2-1/2" of gently-wound striped Cherry Tree Hill gorgeousness. I was in the LYS on my lunch hour a couple of weeks ago and found an overdyed skein of Nature's Palette Fingering (185 yds of superwash merino that was originally a pinky beige reminiscent of, forgive me, upchuck. It is now a lively warm darkish coral, and there was only one skein. A few days later I went back for more stitch markers ~ this Elann Crop Cardi is a marker-gobbling fool! ~ and found the same yarn in "Zinfandel". And last week when I went back for the last size of needles and yet more markers, I found it in "Chocolate".



Obviously, I've been carrying those colors in my head for weeks now, because each yarn individual goes well with the striped remnant, and together they are amazing. I haven't decided how I want to use them together, but use them together I will. I have enough yarn here to justify buying the Fair Isle book from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Check out those bobbles on the ankles!
http://www.bluemoonfiberarts.com/

I'm not sure that cankles like mine, which ebb and flow with the tides, the moon, my hormones, my salt intake, my level of hydration, and how much or how little sleep I've gotten, are the best canvas on which to display über-bobbles. I'm also not sure that I'm going to let a little thing like generally-accepted notions of good taste [why am I suddenly reminded of the accounting term GAAP: generally accepted accounting principles? or the FDA term GRAS: generally recognized as safe?] get in the way of continuing to wear what I please.

Firstborn and I have had discussions on this. She has been, among other things, an assistant manager at a now-defunct triumvirate clothing chain that served, respectively: petites like Secondborn, skinny-mini's like Firstborn, and regular people like me. And she has thoroughly absorbed the "no white after" and "no patent leather before" rules that separate the Us's from the Them's, and which I collectively call [with apologies to the Book of Mormon] The Foolish Traditions of the Mothers. And she has been known to say -- with amazing tact for anyone who came out of my womb -- "I'm not being critical, but I am very curious why you're wearing that top with that skirt." Particularly if I am wearing a black and plum silk charmeuse kimono bought from the first incarnation of the J. Peterman catalogue over a skirt I made from neckties, where the predominant color is red. Which reminds me: I haven't worn that skirt in three years, because I need to edit out two ties that have become "holey-er than thou".

I have reminded her, equally gently, that there is fashion, and then there is *style*. And any woman of my age who has not developed a style of her own, is far beyond help from the "thou shalt nots" of the fashionistas. I was putting red and purple together before the Red Hat Society (of which I am a member, thankyouverymuch) was a gleam in Sue Ellen Cooper's eye.

All I need now is to decide if bobbled ankles are part of my style, before I spend the better part of a month designing socks to prove it.

Note to self: after finishing the construction of the sofa table this Saturday, haul that skirt out of the closet and hie thyself to the thrift shop for more gently-worn ties.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Like Unto the Yarn That Doesn't End

It wasn't until I set it on the table next to a stack of Finished Objects that I realized why this yarn seemed so familiar. The colors are almost identical to The Yarn That Doesn't End. But this stuff, instead of being Chenille from H*ll, is a lovely 50-50 silk/wool blend.



A Knit Night friend ordered it online, hoping for Subdued, but got Jeweltones. She had been musing for several weeks that she'd like to try overdyeing just the turquoise part. When she brought it to Knit Night and laid it out on the table, several of us gasped. Apparently I gasped the loudest, because she let me buy it from her at a ridiculously low price.



Comments on this yarn have been (A) outspoken and (B) wildly varied. One of the women I work with said, "That's the ugliest yarn I've ever seen." Another coworker thinks it as drool-worthy as I do. Secondborn, while photographing it, said, "This is absolutely gorgeous." And I'm sure others of my kids will proclaim "hideous". All three of these photos are much darker on my monitor than they are on Secondborn's. We will blame it ~ conveniently ~ on Blogger.



I'm thinking this wants to be a smallish Clapotis when it grows up. Would that make it a Clapot-ette? Cla-petite? Something between a scarf and a shawl, more dashing than most capelets I have seen. Not ready to have an extended conversation with it. Just very happy to have played Rescue Ranger in saving it from a fate worse than frogging.

Some things are just not meant to be overdyed.

On a completely unrelated topic, now I know why I don't want to be a famous author. Kudos to the Harlot for her Iron Woman Tour. I give her a weary but totally impressed sitting ovation from here at my keyboard.

I flew to Houston and back today, for the job that feeds my kid and my yarn habit, and I am *whipped*. Nearly ran out of gas in the parking garage at Love Field, looking for a place to stash Lorelai for the day. (Lorelai is my car, named after one of my two favorite TV characters, because this car just isn't a Rory. Not even a falling-stupidly-into-bed-with-Dean-Rory).

Nearly wept at locking the Elann Crop Cardi and the Sock War Swatch into the trunk. Nearly fell apart with helpless laughter because my seat on the return flight had swallowed up one end of my seatbelt, and it took two big strong men [my seatmates] and one small feisty flight attendant to extract it. Nearly fell asleep in a business meeting in front of the Poohbah to End All Poohbahs because of the carb rush from lunch. [A very nice man; it would have been a shame to have hurt his feelings.]

Happily home, full of leftover tortilla soup -- homemade, no less! -- and barefoot and in my exceedingly modest jammies. This is the part where George Burns would have said, "Say goodnight, Gracie."

Goodnight, Gracie. [And goodbye, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are...]

Monday, September 18, 2006

What to Do When You Can't Sleep

Took a nap about 6:30 last night. Woke up just before 11:00. LittleBit was back from visiting her dad and sound asleep. Working on the sofa table that I'm building was out of the question, LOL.

Made myself a bowl of apple oatmeal (old fashioned oats cooked in apple juice instead of water, with a smidgen of cinnamon and/or freshly-ground nutmeg). Poured myself a mug of milk. Went through my inbox.

Decided to organize the 50-drawer plastic cabinet I acquired over the weekend. Nearly full of seed beads, bugle beads, sequins, and pearls in assorted colors. I thought it would be useful to print a label for each little drawer, using my return address labels, and to color-code the labels to roughly match their contents.

A more far-sighted person would have carefully removed the drawers and arranged them in color families before beginning to type the labels. Not me! First drawer: black matte bugle beads. Type label. Go on to next drawer. Red shiny bugle beads. Type label. Third drawer: black seed beads. Swap drawer #2 and drawer #3, type label for drawer #3, renumber drawer #2. Obviously the previous owner of this collection was not mildly-to-somewhat obsessive about having her colors whoop through the rainbow like the Grambling marching band.

And so it went, combining drawers occasionally when I could see no distinction between their contents. I think it took the better part of four hours to peer and decipher and play musical chairs with the drawers and their labels. Four hours of happy puttering for a job that would have taken half an hour, tops, if I'd let my inner mathematician be in charge. When I was done, I cut-and-pasted to a fresh label form and printed them up.

And now it is an hour until my alarm goes off. Suddenly I'm sleepy. Go figure!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

BittyBit's Bitty Socks, Revisited



This is a severely cropped photo of a sock-in-progress and a wildly waving foot. Unless you've dealt with a 20-month-old, you have no idea how difficult it is to keep said sock-in-progress on a foot that would rather be bare, much less photograph it and not reveal the chaos that was my dining room table while the socks were underway.

This is all that is left of the yarn after one big pair of socks for me, and one somewhat smaller pair for BittyBit. The ball is a little less than 2-1/2" in diameter. I think -- I hope -- there is enough for a pair of toes for a third pair of socks, and maybe enough for a pair of heels. I bought three new sock-weight yarns over the past week, each inspired by a color in this Cherry Tree Hill. But that is a subject for another blog entry.

I am amazed at the speed and variety with which my stash is growing. My Knit Night friends? Enablers one and all, but I mean that in the nicest possible way.

These are the finished socks, dancing a little jig. I was dancing a little jig, myself, at having finished my second pair of socks in less than a week, when the first pair took just over a month.

This is one finished sock on a foot only temporarily at rest. Thank you, honeys, I think you both deserve another batch of brownies!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Lace, Lace, Babyyyy!

Since BittyBit's Bitty Socks are *done*, I'm knitting the Elann Crop Cardi with my Denim Silk. I was so impressed with Jo's sweater http://celticmemoryyarns.blogspot.com/2006/09/finished-finished-finished-and-knits.html that I went to Elann's website and printed off the pattern.


Conventional wisdom says that you don't make lace with a tweed yarn, and I do realize that most of the lace detail will disappear into the texture. I didn't just fall off the yarn truck, you know! But I like the shape of the jacket, and I like the feel of the fabric.

This will also allow me to make a sweater from ten balls of discontinued Berroco without incorporating other yarns. Sometimes I don't want to tarantella with Signor Fibonacci.

And then there is my stash of pearl beads left over from Firstborn's wedding gown, for beading the bottom. Pearls and tweed: a classic combination!

At this point, I'm on my fourth ball of yarn, my final size of needles, and probably at the underarm; I've been so busy with non-essentials that I haven't had time to slip the live stitches onto a narrow ribbon and try this baby on.

Needles I have used: I started with my old Quicksilver 5's, and after four rows I realized that no way was this going to fit around my neck. I got the right swatch on 5's, but when I began the real thing, the Swatch Muse got the hiccups or something, so I frogged back to the first slip knot and started over on my Quicksilver 6's. Some improvement, but still too small. Back to the slip knot for try #3, with Quicksilver 7's. Bingo! When it was time to switch to 8's, that's when I realized that all my size 8's are gone with the wind. I had just enough time to hit a LYS in Fort Worth and then make a 5pm appointment at my church. They had Addi Turbo's, but no Natura's. So I reluctantly bought the Turbo's and tried to knit with my fingers crossed for luck. I really didn't enjoy that part of the sweater, though I might like the needles just fine with another yarn. I borrowed Student Coworker #1's size 9 Holz & Stein's in some exotic wood that I'm too lazy to lookup online. Cherry? Rosewood? Very pretty, and the perfect antidote to 4" of the knitting equivalent of a skid on black ice. I'm finishing on Natura 10's, and I love them. I bought 8's while I was at it.

I am really enjoying this sweater. I can't believe how quickly it's knitting up, and I think I will have just enough yarn to do the sleeves and the body and the gallop of crochet around the neck and fronts. It may end up being the Elann Non-Crop Cardi if my yarn holds out. Am really hoping that I don't end up sitting on a bajillion little pearl beads, not to mention the teardrop pearls that I think will finish the points.