Thursday, October 28

More Momish than Knitterly

I found all these links from BlogExplosion in my site statistics. I guess it surfs blogs for you, and then sends other people to your blog--you earn referrals to your blog by reading others' blogs. I don't totally get "earning" readers, but that's cool, it looked like fun and a no-risk thing to try, so I signed up. I enrolled my blog and the system pealed out into the blogosphere, with me lurching along behind, presumably bringing me to blogs that matched my content and links. The first blog was a whatever. I agreed politically but was not excited. The second was a parenting blog that looked good but I didn't stay long because I clicked here. A field guide to annoying parents. Can I just say...YES! Needed that today, since Sara and Terry, balm to my "yes, I'm human" mom-soul, just left after a very brief visit.

I wasn't going to post today, but um, was it just me last night, having a dream, that the Red Sox won the World Series???? Did that actually happen? In a four-game sweep? Really? It looks like it did. Meanwhile, the Patriots remain undefeated. I have to say, I think this will signal an identity crisis in New England. If we're not long-suffering underdogs who root for the home team in spite of every reason to lose hope and give up, then what will we be? What will we do without a curse on our heads? Do we know how to be a region with a winning team? With two? How will we cope? I really believe this will be a challenge. We need that sense of long-suffering faith, that hope in hopelessness, because despite global warming, I don't think we're going to start having warm winters or anything.

When they were interviewing the Cardinals' manager (I think that's who it was--I'm really not a baseball person; the interest for me is more sociological) he looked like he was about to cry, and he kept saying "we should have done..." and "if we had..." and I was like "DUDE. This was an ACT OF GOD. If it was going to happen, there is NOTHING you could have done. It's like floods or locusts: your insurance does NOT cover this." He should stop beating himself up. Really, St. Louis, it's okay.

Well, I'm out of my depth with this baseball stuff, so I'll stop. But I'm in awe, nonetheless.

I finished knitting on the baby einstein coat (slowest. sleeve. ever.) but have misplaced the buttons. Sigh. I am ready to be done with that thing. Hopefully they are in the "reliable car," which Rhys is retrieving from the Rhinebeck area this morning.

I'm already on the second sleeve of Nick's. I got my GC's to the LYS (30% off, cool), so once I am done with Nick's, I will go get some Blossom to make Eloise. I think I will hold off until I have another FO, probably Nick's. My knitting/spinning corner is looking a little nutsy right now.

Back to work...I find myself saying that a lot on this blog...

UPDATE: Edited to add that, listening to All Things Considered tonight, I found out that Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, has been reading my blog. Okay, not really, but he does a much better and more eloquent job of talking about the identity crisis this sudden winning streak will have on New England. Go listen here.

In other news, I'm quite proud of myself for just calling 15 people and recruiting 2 volunteers to canvass for Kerry in swing states. I have also volunteered to drive people to the polls in New Hampshire on Tuesday, but no one has gotten back to me yet. If you want to make calls (it's so easy, and being on the east coast, it was easy for me to call west coast numbers late at night, after the kids were asleep), click on the Kerry-Edwards banner in my sidebar and then go to the volunteer center on the site. It's easy to do--they give you a script and the names come five at a time and they've all said they were interested in volunteering. All but one were quite friendly. One miracle more to go. Speaking of which, check this out.

Tuesday, October 26

Klara Q & A

Thanks for all the nice comments on my Klaralaundry post. I really appreciate them. There were a couple of questions that I wanted to answer.

First, well, I thought I had a request for a shot of Klara *on*, but now I can't find it in the comments, so maybe I just hallucinated public interest in further viewing of my mug. Anyway, here is the laundered Klara being worn:

As you can see, it really didn't shrink much at all. I would say that the sleeves got a pinch shorter, and maybe the body did too. So pretty much more shrinkage in row gauge than in stitch gauge. I wonder if that is typical for fulling, which would explain my short fuzzy feet.

One commenter asked if I washed it in cold water. The answer is yes. I did everything I normally do for the gentle cycle: cold water, mild detergent (I don't use soap because it's even more alkaline, which encourages felting), and the gentle cycle. I also washed it all by itself, partly because the dye discharged when I hand-washed it so there was a danger of dyeing whatever was in there with it, but also because I didn't want anything rubbing up against it to felt it.

Jody asked if the 5% shrinkage I was looking for was about what I got. You know, I kind of thought that I did when I first laid it out, but after wearing it for a while (and I have worn it a LOT since washing), it has stretched out again, as you can see in the photo above, so I don't think I did get that much--maybe in the length but not in the width. As you can see from this picture too, it really didn't full that much: you can see my white bra through the stitches in front, sigh. Partly this is the stretch factor, but there's room for more is what I'm saying.

While I normally don't re-launder items that are fulled, since they will continue to full and get smaller and smaller, I think I will make this a machine-wash garment. I'll be very careful with it and be sure to wash it by itself, but it does seem to stretch out a lot after a few wearings. I should add that my 2.5-year-old son is very interested in pushing my buttons these days, and he's a pretty smart customer. He has figured out that grabbing any of my hand-knitted garments and PULLING really hard is a great way to get a big reaction out of mama. So I wear sweaters rather hard these days, sigh.

I'm waiting to see how Jenifer's Klaralaundry came out. Then I'll shut up about Klara and go off into the sunset wearing her. Until I knit another one, that is....

Baby Sweaters Galore

In other knitting content, I'm almost done with Baby Albert. I found some very cute buttons, and the manager of the store at Webs made a great suggestion about alternating them, so I have alternating stars and squares. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the buttons, but you'll see them on the FO in the next few days.

Here's the sweater, almost done.

I literally have like 10 rows of sleeves, then weaving in ends and sewing buttons. Any minute now, I swear.

The pattern, from The Knit Stitch (a book I highly recommend, even for experienced knitters), has you knit pick up stitches from the body and knit the sleeves flat, with the seam at the top. I understand why she does that--it means that you really just have to sew one seam on each side for the whole garment, plus it's really the only way to knit the sleeves flat, as the bottom edge is already closed. But I didn't like the way the seam at the top looked, so I'm knitting them in the round. It's a little annoying to be doing garter stitch in the round. You know, if you are working in the round, I feel you shouldn't have to purl. But purl I do. The needles are also annoyingly small, but it's almost done, and I think the parents of its recipient are going to be pleased.

My attention has also been occupied with Nick's Kureyon Jacket. I found an error in the pattern, but Carol Sulcoski, the designer, who also designed this and this for Knitty, was incredibly helpful and responsive in helping me with this and other questions, and got me a correction right away. So now I'm cooking with gas on the jacket. I did rip the whole front right side. It had a provisional cast-on, so I thought I might get away from ripping from the "bottom" edge, since I had already attached it to the back at the "top" edge. It was really only a matter of a few rows and when I tried to rip from the bottom I realized I would have to pull the end through the final stitch on each row, which got increasingly annoying as I went on and the tail got longer. It's good that I did this, too because a) the old front had a really big strip of pink that I wasn't sure I liked, and b) amazingly, the colors lined up perfectly between the front and the back (largely due to me making an effort to match colors when I joined a new ball), so it flows seamlessly now. Here's its current state; note the much-improved symmetry of the fronts compared to this.

Caps and Yarn Shopping Strategy

The timing of Knitty's Fall Surprise could not have been more apt. SIL is one week into chemo, and I think she's going to get all her hair cut off this week, before it falls out. It is time for me to make a chemo cap. I can't really decide whether to make this:

or the hat in this picture:

I have *almost* enough handspun, handdyed silk to make the spin-off cap, and I can probably fudge the edges to make it work (and I can also comb my stash to see if I have another hankie dyed with those colors--I think I might). The silk I'm using is on the right in this photograph. I may just use the navajo-plied dark-purple silk on the left there as an edging, actually. I hadn't thought of that until I linked to this photograph. Hooray for blogging, grin.

I tried to ply those 25 wpi singles last night, though, from a center-pull ball, and ARGH! Anyone who has worked extensively with silk (this was spun from a cap, so it's not the smoothest stuff), will be laughing right now. Tangle city. Plying from a single ball is frustrating with wool. Laceweight silk is just ridiculous. So I have to figure out another solution. I suppose I can try to wind off onto two bobbins. That would be the sensible thing to do, but last night I was just too frustrated so I set it down and went back to work on the kureyon jacket. A little easy knitting for a break.

So probably I'll try to do both caps, but I need to focus on something so that I actually have something to send out to Colorado when Rhys goes out to help her out during another treatment in 3 weeks. Given the uncertainty and complications of the handspun (not enough, plying nightmares, etc.), I think I will do the knitty cap. So, my question is this. Price is no object--what yarn should I use? I want the softest, most amazingly luxurious, completely un-scratchy stuff in the universe. I spent about 5 minutes thinking I would do it in the cashmere MIL brought back from Mongolia, but then I started working on dehairing it, and well, that's not going to happen anytime soon, lol. Any thoughts.

One more thing and I'll get back to work. I'm a total Webs officionado, and that's not going to change, but now that I'm on this Noro kick, I need to branch out, since Webs carries a very limited line of Noro (Kureyon and one other, I can't remember which). There's another LYS in town that couldn't be more different: where Webs is big, Northampton Wools is small. Where Webs focuses on weaving yarns, mill ends, and great-quality yarns that are reasonably priced, Northampton Wools is all about high-end and novelty yarns. Where Webs sells most everything on cones, I don't think there's a single cone in the shop at Northampton Wools. Even so, it's a nice store, and it's kind of a nice ying/yang yarn thing to have going on in your hometown. The point here, however, is that they have Noro Blossom, which Webs does not, and which I need to make Eloise, which I have decided to do, knowing that I need more sweaters I can wear to the office.

I know all about, but they have exactly zero skeins of blossom in stock right now. But I realized that Northampton Wools is on the Save 30 store. You can buy $10 gift certificates to the store for $7. That means that the $10.50 skein of Blossom is just over $7, no shipping charges, and no tax on yarn in Massachusetts. Done. I've ordered enough GCs to get the yarn and pattern book, plus maybe a ball or two of something for a chemo cap (repeat plea for suggestions).

Annoyingly, although I ordered the GCs on Friday, they won't be shipped until today, so while I'll stalk the mailbox tomorrow, I don't expect to see them until Thursday. That's okay, really, since I'll be watching a friend's DS all day tomorrow, so with three preschoolers in tow, I'm unlikely to be doing any good yarn shopping, LOL. And hey, you know, shops are open late on Thursday nights.

Sunday, October 24

Off to Walk!

We're off to walk in the Walk Toward A Cure for Breast Cancer. It should be a nice day, if cold.

I'm not a big baseball fan, but how can you keep from saying


V. exciting. The kids have been really into reading a kids book we have that is based on the Mary Chapin Carpenter song "Halley Came to Jackson" about Halley's comet. We were discussing letting the kids watch part of the series, and I realized that if they win, it will have been longer than Halley's comet. Worth a little staying up late, I think. We have a softball field at the end of our street; a good one with lights and everything, so the serious teams play there; and they've enjoyed watching the games this summer. So they saw a few minutes of the game last night.

In knitting news, I'm working on a kids' Noro cardigan. I've had a few problems with the pattern, which came as a kit from a local (but not to me) yarn store. The designer has been incredibly responsive, writing back to me unbelievably fast when I had problems getting the recommended gauge and then to answer another question. Up until now the problems have been primarily mine (though I do think 5 sts/in is not an ideal gauge for Kureyon, although it is recommended by the manufacturer--perhaps my colorway is spun unusually thick). But now I'm almost certain that there's a problem with the pattern, so the thing is on hold so that when I go to the frog pond, it's only a matter of 10 rows or so, not half a sweater! I'm going to wait to hear back from the designer before I frog though. I might be able to frog from the other direction (there's a provisional cast-on right below the problem), but I don't have a lot of experience with knitting down off provisional cast-ons, so I'm going to try it before I knit a lot more.

Anyway, blah-be-di-blah, here is a photo, even though I've already wasted a thousand words, lol.

And here is a bigger picture of the colorway.

I was a bit surprised when it arrived. It's Kureyon #131, and from the online photo, I thought it was going to be mostly pinks with a bit of jewel-toned green and red. When it arrived I realized that it is mostly orange, with primary tones and then pink thrown in. I wasn't so sure I liked it, but it's growing on me. In my head, I'm calling it the "Albuquerque" colorway: it reminds me of the desert. I've also decided that this will be for Henry. In the world of insanely-gendered toddler clothing, there is NO such thing as pink boy's clothing. So I figure this sweater can be a totally non-girly item that has pink in it. I know I think too much about this stuff.
Here's a pic of the kids having "dinner" with their babies.

For more photos, specifically a photo-essay about the kids first haircut (!), see my new kids' blog. I'm linking from here to there, but not back, because I'm sending the other link to my parents, and well, see the posts below to know why I set limits with them, LOL. Anyway,

Tuesday, October 19

Klaralaundry. Hopefully this will come through clear enough online that you can see how lustrous the fabric has become. I can't seem to get DP to come take a pic of me wearing it, but this gives you a sense of what the fabric looks like now, which is probably the more important question. Nice, huh? I kind of want to make another one.

The real thing. Henry and Eleanor sang "baa baa black sheep" to this sheep. She seemed to enjoy the serenade, but did not offer up three bags of fleece for mamacate to spin. Wonder why?

No festival would be complete without a fried dough break. You can see the sheepy animals the kids acquired as well.

We didn't go to Rhinebeck to see bears or lemurs for that matter. Sheep! It's all about the sheep. Before we got up-close and personal with the actual sheep, Henry gave Bo Peep's sheep a big hug. First time around, Eleanor trembled in terror in my lap while I took this picture, which accounts for the angle. I'm proud to say that the next time we encountered them, she mustered all her courage and waved to the sheep. She's always been freaked out by costumed characters, while Henry has always run right up for a hug. They are such different people.

Lauren at Almost Felted wanted to know why there were ring-tailed lemurs at Rhinebeck. Because there was a traveling zoo there! I have really high standards for zoos, so I was a bit wary, but after listening to the handlers talk and watching them interact with the animals, I was impressed. Here is a handler playing with a baby bear. They clearly both love each other.

Better Late than Never, a photo of the beautiful yarn from Martheme! Thanks for the RAOK! I am mired in Solstice knitting, and tempted to skip the mystery pattern and get another skein or two of the same color to make a sweater for my daughter. This is lovely stuff, a lot like Koigu. Yum!

My Tale of Derring-Do (for now, sans pictures), or, Klaralaundry

I made an oblique reference to my brave, exciting risk-taking behavior in yesterday's post about Rhinebeck. So here it is, my tale of excitement, of danger, of the thrill of the gambler's life.

I washed Klaralund.

In the washing machine.

With detergent.


I was loving the colors, loving the design, but it was just too big, and even though I got gauge when I swatched, I guess I was in too much of a hurry knitting the thing because I wound up 1/4 stitch or so off in the actual garment. I tried to block it so the sleeves weren't too big, so the body had some shape, but with my extra-drapey fabric, the blocking "fell out" after about 5 seconds of wearing. Gravity is a powerful thing. Just ask my bra. You can kind of tell how loosely it's knit in this picture from before it was blocked. Can you see how the yellow design on my shirt shows right through the fabric? And look at the light peeking through the sleeve fabric by my left hand. It wasn't terrible--I could still wear it--but it wasn't fabulous.

I hand-washed it gently, bathing it like a baby as recommended by EZ, and drying it flat. The yarn, which honestly didn't have a gorgeous hand pre-washing "bloomed" slightly, filling out a tiny bit more and gaining a miniscule amount of mohair fuzz. But it was still too big, too drapey, and too loosely knit. What it really needed was to SHRINK about 5% all the way around. And what's the best way to shrink something? Throw it in the washer, right?

Now, someone on the Klara knit-along had washed her too-big Kureyon Klara in the washing machine (and even dried it on low!) and it had worked out well. So I decided I'd give it a try. I had to do it sort of on the spur of the moment or I would have chickened out. So as I prepared dinner on Friday night, I just chucked it in the front-loader, by itself, with some health food store detergent, cold water, gentle rinse.

The hard part was waiting. I have unintentionally felted before. It was not a pretty sight. I recently overfelted a pair of fuzzy feet slippers. I know how bad this can be. And heck, I've already re-knit one piece of this sweater, I suppose I can knit another one. Not that I wouldn't cry about it. So I tried to stay busy, and managed to restrain myself from calling in a prescription for Xanax to get me through the experience. My front-loader does open during the cycle, so I checked it a few times, and though it was hard to tell, it didn't look like anything too drastic was happening. I did sit there a few times, looking through the window at it like Zippy the Pinhead, having this idiotic conversation with myself:

Me: "That water is falling RIGHT on it! This can't be okay!"

Me: "That's why you put it in the washer. So it would get a little bit fulled. You WANT some water to fall on it."

Me: "What if it's turning into a big mass of felt? What if I'll never wear it again? Sure, you said we'd survive, but who do you think is going to have to knit the whole thing again? Me, that's who."

Me: "Look, it's fine. Let's go in the other room and eat oreo cookies and hope for the best. Step away from the washing machine. Come with me. Really. Breathe."

I pulled it out gave it about 2 minutes in the dryer on low, but I couldn't find the sweater rack and I had reached my limit. I laid it out and waited for it to dry....and....

BEAUTIFUL! The yarn completely bloomed after going through the washer. It filled out the stitches and is a million times softer, more lustrous, and has a lovely but not excessive mohair halo. I have heard of yarns that need to be machine-washed to achieve their full potential (heheheh, didja get the fibery pun there?). I think Silk Garden may be one of them.

My lawyers have insisted that I include the following disclaimer. These results may be atypical. Your mileage may vary. If you choose to launder your Klaralund, you hereby indemnify and hold harmless mamacate from any action or complaint stemming from her account of her Klaralaundry. Past performance is not an indication of future return. Contents may be hot. Do not try this at home without a responsible adult present. These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA. This approach may or may not be safe and effective.

But if you do try this (and I'm not saying you should, really, I don't want anyone blaming me for their felted $100/30-hour sweater, really!), please tell me how it goes. And if you like yours as much as I like mine, I'd like to know. Jenifer is going to do something rather more sane and wash hers "vigorously" by hand. She's probably smarter. As usual.

In other news, Rhys and the kids and I are walking in a local Breast Cancer Walk toward the Cure this coming weekend. As I've mentioned here before, Rhys' sister was just diagnosed, and most of the women in Rhys' family have had it. Today is SIL's first chemo treatment. So if you'd like to donate to our walk, click here. And either way, if you pray or send good vibes, send them along to SIL.

Photos of the Klaralaundry, plus Rhinebeck, tonight, promise.

Monday, October 18

It Wasn't Boring: The Short Version

Blogger ate my post. It has been such a comedy of errors the last few days that I don't know why I was surprised. Trust me that the lost post was witty, amusing, detailed, and full of knitterly interest. Sadly, you will get the bulleted version. Blame blogger.
  • I went to Rhinebeck.
  • We had a wonderful time.
  • I practiced restraint in purchasing, getting only a 3-lb bag of lambswool fleece and a book of top-down toddler patterns for me, and two toy sheep for the kids.
  • My restraint was due solely to the fact that I was there solo with two kids and I frankly couldn't shop because a) I had two toddlers with me who needed to keep moving and b) the double stroller is kind of *wide* to go into booths with.
  • Where, you ask, were my parents, who were supposed to go as an easy, meet-them-more-than-halfway-grandchild-access opportunity? Not there. Last-minute (and I mean I was already in the car) cancellation. We will now lower our expectations even further than they already were. My mom has a decent excuse. My dad has no excuse. They suck. Glad I've had a lot of therapy. Trying to make sure my kids don't need it too. Grrr.
  • The kids were amazing. We all had a lot of fun together. Photos to come. It was one of the first times I really felt like we were hanging out together, and I wasn't just desperately trying keep them alive and content. It was a lovely day together in the sunshine, under the leaves, and fiber was involved. Phooey on my parents. They missed a great time with some really cool kids.
  • Met a few bloggers sitting at the next table at lunch. Saw the famous Rhinebeck sweater in the flesh, and resisted the urge to call out "Hey, Harlot, you finished it!" I remembered her actual name. Smart me. LOL. Chatted with some other blogger types. Felt a little like the dorky kid at the dorky table but hey, I was with the cutest guy AND the cutest girl so it was all good. The blogger table was full of friendly people, though in my 30-seconds permitted by the Two Year Olds for adult conversations, I did not get any names other than Harlot's, I mean Stephanie's.
  • The adventure actually began when I LEFT the festival, and the car blew up. On the Taconic Parkway, which is officially in the Middle of Nowhere. I would like to add that I intentionally took The Good Car (DP's 98 Ford Taurus Wagon), not The Beater Car (my 93 Subaru), because it was more roadworthy. Insert ironic cackling here. Highlights included a smoke pouring from the hood; waiting an hour for a state trooper to show up and another 20 minutes for the tow truck (it could have been MUCH worse considering I was, as I mentioned, in The Middle of Nowhere with no idea what part of nowhere I was in--did you know they have a "map room" at AAA?); not being able to find DP at her scrapbook crop, the host of which has an unlisted phone number, or at least one Cingular wireless is incapable of finding, so having to call my mother to get her to look it up on the Internet (clever gambit on my part, knowing the host is also a LLL leader and has her phone number on the LLL web site), especially enjoyable was the part at the beginning of the call to my mother when she thought I was calling to see how she was feeling (yes, I'm a bitch); holding two shivering children in the front seat of a tow truck; paying over a hundred dollars for the privilege, because supposedly AAA does not cover "the parkway" (whatever, he had my car, I just signed on the dotted line at that point); waiting an hour in a diner with two overtired toddlers for DP to drive the perfectly-operating beater car to pick us up; and then paying $500 to find out if the car is worth fixing (is it "just" a head gasket or do we need a new engine--it's never a good sign when the word "just" occurs in close proximity to "head gasket." Trust me.). I am proud of myself for staying calm (actually to the point where I think I freaked the trooper out a little bit) and doing a good job of being the calm, strong, reliable mom my kids needed when they were cold and scared. And I'll leave this with the image of a 6' state trooper walking into a diner carrying a stuffed animal he fetched for me from the car. Two children, one stuffed animal=worth asking a big favor of a big cop. Nice guy. Good sport.
  • So now I'm tired. And annoyed with my parents even though they wouldn't have been there for the Taconic debacle. But now I don't have to feel guilty about this year's excuse for refusing to schlep my kids into NYC t0 my parents' non-childproofed home for the traditional vegan thanksgiving feast. And I have a bag of lambswool to spin. And a book. And Klaralund looks great and I got lots of compliments. I did something dangerous, took a gamble, and it paid off. I'll post about that tomorrow.
  • The kids were insanely overtired today, and Henry didn't nap for the second day in a row. And I taught my friend Jen to knit while drugging my kids in front of the TV. She's a natural so it was easy. I do think some of remember it from a past life. She's clearly one of those.
  • I missed my deadline with Einstein but only have one sleeve left so that's on hold while I start the Kureyon Jacket kit that came in the mail today (ordered late Friday night--what service!). Still trying to get gauge. Color 131 is orangier than I expected. Hopefully this will be quick. I can't really make head or tail of the instructions, so I'll just knit them and see what happens.

PS: I do understand why Blogger's spellchecker wants to change "bulleted" to "billeted," but why does "knitterly" want to become "janitorial?" Is that some sort of a comment? What is it supposed to mean?

Thursday, October 14

Knitting Content, I Swear

Knitting Goddess
You appear to be a Knitting Goddess.You are constantly giving and are unconcerned with
reward, you simply want others to love knitting
as much as you do. If someone wants to knit
miles of novelty yarns, you are there for them.
If someone wants to learn short row shaping,
you can help. There are no taboos in knitting,
only opportunities to grow. Everyone should
have friend like you around if they want to
learn to knit, and there's a good chance that
your passion has rubbed off on a few others.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I don't usually post these Quizilla things (though I often do them when I see them on others' blogs), but hey, if you're going to call me a Goddess of anything, most of all knitting, I'm not exactly going to keep it a secret now am I? Since I spent most of my time dealing with the strong objections to my every move made loudly by my 2.5-year-old twins, I can use a little bit of being called a Goddess. Thank you very much. There. I feel better.

For more good news, I'm GOING TO RHINEBECK, I'm GOING TO RHINEBECK! (Picture me doing a little nah-nah-nah happy dance in my office chair as I type that.) We've worked it out. My parents, who live in NYC, are going to meet me there to help wrangle the kids, which will be a nice outing for them and a chance for the kids to see their grandparents. We've had some trouble figuring out how to make it work, especially for them to see my dad, who is not the world's most enthusiastic grandfather (he just doesn't know how), so meeting them halfway, in some "get-out-of-the-city-for-the-day" kind of location, seems to be working. Last time they rode on Thomas the Train with us in Western Connecticut. We're planning to head down Sunday morning. Rhys is doing a scrapbook crop that evening, so we'll stay through dinnertime, then hopefully (praise the goddess--no not that one!) the kids will fall asleep in the car on the way home and all will be peaceful.

I'm working away on the Baby Albert for my friends' new baby. They have twins the same age as mine--I'm in awe of them doing the infant thing in addition to 2 x 2.5. Or perhaps I should say 2.5-squared. Yes, definitely squared. In looking around at my friends, I seem to be approximately as aggravated as my friends who have 4 kids, and I can barely relate to the people with two different-aged kids. Totally different thing. Anyway, having spirited kids doesn't help. I was saying--knitting--yeah--the sweater is getting a bit boring. I've been on this garter stitch kick (I can do cables, I can do fair isle, I can do lots of stuff, I swear), and I think I've hit my limit. Too bad I have 3 skeins of novelty yarn set to be garter stitch solstice gifts sitting in the queue, huh? It doesn't help that it's Wool-Ease--not bad as acrylic blends go, but the sensory experience of knitting is not what it would be with silk, merino, etc. The good thing is that I have a deadline. We're meeting the baby (and her brothers and parents) for a playdate on Saturday morning, and I plan to give it to them then. I'm about halfway through the top parts. I'll need to make some progress tonight, that's for sure. No more blogging for me.

I have photos, including one of about a mile of acrylic garter stitch (the bottom part of albert) I thought might send me to knitblog pergatory, plus a picture of a lovely RAOK I received from Martheme of Inspirations Yarn. It's a mystery project. I think I know what it is, but I am eager to make it up and find out for sure. The yarn is YUMMY. Check out her site for some really great colorways.

Think I should do some actual work today? I suppose my boss does. Ciao...

More on Sinclair

There have been some great resources on the Sinclair situation that have popped up on the web in the last day or two. I have just spent the last half-hour calling local businesses that advertise on my local Sinclair affiliate, WGGB. I have had some productive conversations, including one with a marketing director at Rock 102 who agreed completely about our situation, and says that the marketing director at WGGB is "sick about it" and that the staff at WGGB has been told they will lose their jobs if they do not air the film. He has not yet decided what to do about it, but he has made it clear to WGGB that he is being innundated with calls and emails, and he is going to decide whether to pull his advertising on Monday. He also called it "a violation of the public trust." Nice guy. :)

Here is a place where you can pull up a list of major advertisers for the Sinclair station in your area, or if you don't live in a Sinclair market, you can call the national advertisers to complain:

Great information about Sinclair and the whole situation are available at

If you call, be friendly and take a stance of "finding out if they're aware of the situation." Remember that we're trying to win them over to becoming activists on this issue, a potentially risky professional stance. If they say, as they probably will "are you kidding, how could I not be aware?," tell them you hope they'll decide to support the democratic process and pull your advertising, and that you will make buying choices in the future with local companies' actions on this issue very much in mind. I am planning to get a minivan in the next 6 months, and I made sure to mention that to all the car dealerships.

Also, and none of the sites are telling people to do this, I'd recommend asking for the marketing department. Nobody screens calls to marketing, LOL. These are the people who are actually deciding how to spend their dollars and the ones who are used to spending lots of money to hear public opinion (trust me, they give it to me to do focus groups and surveys!), so they're very much open and oriented to listening when public opinion calls them up on the phone. Offer to provide them with resources to learn more and sympathize with their situation, but remind them that they are an important member of the community and you hope they will take a leadership role in supporting democracy.

I hope you can take the time to make just one or two calls, especially if you are in a Sinclair market. Advertisers need to know that they have a responsibility in this situation.

In other news...

Good debate last night, huh? I love that Kerry opened with the gaping holes in national security like unscreened cargo containers coming into major ports, etc. He had a few good sound bites too.
Being lectured by the president on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like
Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country.

Knitting content to come. Promise. Go take back our country. I will too. Oh, and if the Sinclair thing doesn't piss you off sufficiently to focus on it, that's cool, check out all the great new resources at Mainstreet Moms Opposing Bush, including a new letter-writing campaign to registered single moms in swing states, called Adopt A Swing State. Give 'em heck.

Tuesday, October 12

The Following Is An Unpaid Political Message

I saw this over at Absinthe Knits, and while she may have other outlets for her political rants, I am surrounded by like-minded lefties who are all bombarded with the same emails I am, so here's my chance to spread the word. For me, the personal is political--they are talking about rolling back MY civil rights (as a lesbian who lives in Massachusetts, I will LOSE the right to marry if the current administration gets its way, though I am not sure that my partner of 12 years and I will use that right, I believe strongly that we should have it). So it's part of the package--friends don't let friends vote Republican.

Since I'm talking about politics, there's a rather urgent situation going on at the moment. The Sinclair Media Group, with arch-conservative owners, is forcing its ABC affiliates to air a highly partisan anti-Kerry movie (documentary is not really an accurate term) called Stolen Honor, right before the election. This is the same group that refused to air the Nightline where they aired the names and photos of all the fallen soldiers in Iraq, saying it would be "inflammatory" (yes, that's becuase it's TRUE, and since when is honoring and memorializing those who died in battle "inflammatory?"). Here is a story from AP about the current situtation.

I wrote the following email to Sinclair and my cable company, Comcast. I found the email for the media contact for my area through very nifty googling, if I do say so myself; the Comcast website makes it very difficult to find anything. If you're local, you can email Jennifer Khoury (Jennifer_Khoury (at) --I'll spare her from the spambots) at Comcast, like I did. Here is my email, do something like it yourself if you're so inclined:

If you are going to air Stolen Honor, please also air Fahrenheit 9/11. I don't pay my cable company to receive Republican propaganda. If you are going to show the extreme right-wing view of Kerry, let's also see a different perspective on Bush. I expect that Moore would make the film available for such a viewing, or if it is not available, I expect you could get the rights to show "There's Something About W" or "Uncovered: The War on Iraq" . If you think Bush truly is the right choice, then equal time for the other side should not be something that scares your organization.

I request that Comcast, my cable company, whom I have cc:'d on this email, drop my local ABC affiliate, WGGB-40. There is an ABC affiliate in Hartford, CT, only 30 miles south, WTNH, that would do just fine in serving its viewers, not the wealthy and powerful who are trying to control what we see.

Cate, Florence, MA

I also emailed Michael Moore's website to ask him to make Fahrenheit 9/11 available to Sinclair to air as equal time.

Please write your own letter to Sinclair at, and if your local station is owned by them (and therefore, you will be affected--find out here), please call and complain. They will tell you to contact Sinclair directly, but I think it's important that we let our local stations know that we, right here, in the community they purport to serve, are angry about this. When I spoke to the person at my station, she said she agreed with me personally, but that they had no control over Sinclair's decisions. They'll tell you to call 410-568-1780, but do call locally as well; we need to ring their phones off the hook.

Just one more thought. This is not an issue of free speech. I think it's fine to air this kind of film, even though I think it's terribly distorted. Check out the clip here to see how dishonest it is: they interview this bearded hippie who looks a LITTLE like Kerry, without making clear that it's NOT Kerry, but just a member of a group that they claim Kerry was linked to. I have no doubt that is intentional. What I think is wrong is the ONE-SIDED hijacking of public airwaves to air only one side of an issue. These are not cable stations like Sundance or MTV or pay-per-view; this is ABC, one of the core broadcast stations that reaches a mass audience. By unilaterally pre-empting the Nightline segment, they have already shown themselves to
be devoid of respect for journalism, but this is as much of an outrage. To learn more, and to follow the story through the blog, check out .

I'm mamacate, and I approved this message.

Edited to add that there must be something in the air. Other knitbloggers are talking politics today: Jenifer is blogging about politics, and she linked me to Creazativity who's doing some pretty sound thinking herself. Nice to know that I'm in good company!

My Sky

Knitting bloggers are sharing their skies (thanks to Sandy) so here is ours. You can see the maple trees in my yard in their full glory. Fall is just spectacular here, and it's at it's height right now. It's so fleeting, though. It's almost over before you've caught your breath and taken it in. There's something precious about that, but something sad as well. We need the glory of blazing leaves, brilliant skies, and crisply cool breezes to get us through the icebound winter. I'm trying to enjoy it as it slips by too fast.

Klara, still unblocked

Here is Klaralund. DP left on a week-long business trip this afternoon, so I got her to take this pic this morning, realizing that it might be hard to get a flattering picture if the 2-year-olds took it (though they would be thrilled to oblige). I am blocking it tonight (wet blocking, and some more vm came out when I washed it, oy) and I'm hoping to get rid of some of that ripple down at the bottom. It was feeling a bit too drapey and loosely knit so I'm hoping that the mohiar blooms a little bit when it's washed and fills things in a bit. Otherwise I have questions about whether it will hold its shape.

I cribbed off Jenifer of Knitting at 5337 (I can't seem to get Hello/Picasa to process links, though other html code seems to work--she's in my blogroll)and made little slits (I'm sure there's a better word) at the lower edges. You can kind of see the one on my right hip. I like the detail, though I worry that it contributes to the rippliness. Jenifer was much more clever and designed hers to eliminate the selvedge stitches, which she cast on at the point where she would join the seams, but I wasn't so clever. Anyway, the blocking looks like it has firmed things up a bit so I'm optimistic.

I'll try to post yet another picture (you'll be sick of looking at me in this thing, as will all my IRL peeps) when it's blocked. And I'm having some ideas for the Lana after browsing through EZ books. How about a NALGAR? Hmmmm....

I'll Have My People Call Your People

Just had to share the extra cute pink cell phone silliness we had yesterday. They love the camera now, and Henry likes for me to take his picture smiling, laughing, etc. and then look at it. What did they do before digital cameras?

Note Eleanor's tiara and boa. She's going to be "a princess, a pink princess" for halloween, and we're raiding her costume stash for those items, at least the tiara. Henry is going to be a black & white cow. Rhys scored a used cow costume at the consignment store up the street, and I got a cool pink satin dress at Gymboree when I went to get my new glasses, so surprisingly, we're all set. Knock wood that nobody decides they want to be a dragon or something between now and then.

Sunday, October 10


See how hard I am concentrating trying to take a picture of myself wearing Klaralund, LOL? It's looks a bit less flattering in this picture because of the angle, but I'm really happy with it and I think I made the right size. Yes, the sleeves are floppy, but that's okay. They actually roll up surprisingly easily. Oh, ignore the mess behind me. We cloth diaper and the changing table is an interesting place. Let's just say that fiber addict+cute cloth diapers+post-partum insanity=a huge stash of--erm--cute cloth diapers.
We spent the day at MIL's, which was fun. She just got back from a three week trip to Asia, including Mongolia, China, and Tibet. I asked her to bring me back some cashmere to spin from Mongolia (it's the world's biggest producer of cashmere), and she got me--wait for it--A KILO! I have a kilo of raw cashmere sitting in the car! It still has guard hairs, so I figure worst case scenario it will be about a pound of fiber. But a POUND of cashmere. OK, pinch me.
I do kind of feel like I'm not a good enough spinner yet to be worthy of this stuff (I also have a small bag of Quiviut that Impetua sent me, and I feel the same way about that--I need to get way better to be able to make yarn as amazing as this fiber).
So what is the next project? I am going to make felted slippers out of Kureyon for Henry and Eleanor, knit on the sweater for the mystery baby, and spin Henry's Einstein sweater yarn. I also have 30 skeins (110 yards, worsted weight) of Lana D'Oro--20 in one color and 10 in a mix of colors that would go nicely together--8 of a main body color, 2 of a contrasting color and 1 of another cc. I was thinking some kind of a ski sweater like EZ makes, using her techniques, but then I realized how totally out of style those are right now, LOL. I might make it anyway. Then I was thinking maybe something with a boat neck or modified boatneck, a hemmed--uh-- hem (lower edge), and a strip of fair isle along the bottom. But I'm not sure Lana D'oro is really the right yarn for that--probably a 100% wool, maybe even Cascade 220 (cousin to Lana). I think maybe I'll do some browsing though my patterns. Of course I also got three balls of a novelty yarn for gift scarves at my last Webs SEX day (just last week), so I can work on those. But it just doesn't feel right not having an adult sweater on the needles, you know? Yes, it's a little insane. I know. I'm used to it.

Friday, October 8

One Kind Day

I've been RAOK'd!

What a day for kindness! I'm loving all the comments on my blog lately, and today, Annie RAOK'd me with an invite to I've thought of joining them quite a few times before, and I think it would be an awesome and highly improved alternative to staying up late watching bad tv (more specifics on that in a minute). I get to download two books. I need to figure out which ones; this is going to be a challenge. I have a deadline at work today (of course that's why I'm blogging right now!), so I will make that my reward for getting this report out the door.

I also got a wonderful card from Gracie that she sent to the entire RAOK list. It was a really nice way to start the morning. I still haven't used the gc Lisa Y sent to Adagio teas. I'm thinking a proper teapot. We have one but it belonged to Rhys' beloved grandmother, so I'm frankly afraid to use it even though Rhys' mom gave it to me. A nice, cheap, mass-produced one, made in China and NOT hand-carried back to the US by an in-law would be a good thing, lol. The RAOK is such a nice group, and I'm really glad I had the chance to join. Fun!

As for bad TV, despite my attempts to pretend to be an intellectual, I love the Survivor and The Apprentice. I watched The Amazing Race religiously, but I have to say that it didn't make me cry, unlike two of my blog buddies, I might add. Then, after all the other shows are over, I settle in to watch Bravo: first The West Wing, then Celebrity Poker Showdown most nights. I do love the poker, though I recognize what a goofy habit this is, and I will now confess that I have a small crush on Phil Gordon. I know, weird. Really, that's a dorky picture, though. Hey, I'm a lesbian, I never said I had good taste in men, please! I also watched the World Series of Poker on ESPN a couple of weeks back, and then the World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel this week. I know, you had never guessed this bizarre aspect of my personality. Back when we used to go to casinos, I was always too chicken to sit down at the poker table, which is probably good because I really didn't understand Texas Hold'em until Phil-baby explained it to me. But of course now that I have kids the chances of me going to a casino in the next ten to twenty years are pretty slim. Guess I won't be joining the world tour any time soon. Probably for the best, LOL. So between the poker thing and the reality tv thing and the insomnia thing and the knitting thing, there's a lot of bad TV going on in my house and some nice books that I can listen to and knit might be just the solution to keep me from running off to join the poker tour!

I have a lot of random and not-so-random acts of kindness that I *want* to do, but haven't had time yet. I meant to deliver my post-partum care package (tylenol, chocolate, dark beer, lansinoh, breast pads, and tucks) to a friend who delivered two weeks ago. She won't need it anymore and I've been driving around with it in my car! My friend who is laid up after her hysterectomy is still waiting to learn to knit. I have her yarn and Stitch n Bitch book, but no time to drop it off and actually show her. Next week, I swear! And then I have a few RAOK packages to send out, but haven't had a box, the stuff, and a free moment all at the same time to put it all together. Business trips always throw me for a loop. I have cut down work-related travel to one project per year (two this year), and it's still too many. I hate to be away from my nurslings for that long.

Okay, back to the other major distraction from the FUN stuff in life: work. I WILL get this report done today, I WILL!

Oh, Brit asked what yarn I am using in Klaralund (picture below). It's Noro Silk Garden #37. As a spinner, I admit to getting crabby when I hit knots, thin spots, and ridiculous amounts of vm in this rather pricey yarn. But the dye job is just so brilliant, I can't complain. I got it from Jenifer's ebay store--she's great and ships QUICKLY! I wanted to start Klaralund ASAP so buying from her was perfect for me.

Wednesday, October 6

Part 3 of 2

Here's the rest of Klaralund. I got my one extra ball of yarn from Jenifer today. I would have had two plus extra balls after knitting the 40" size if I a) hadn't left the first body piece on a damn plane, and b) I hadn't gotten all OCD about the sleeve tops. Note that I am not getting OCD about the front and back.

The finished piece has green at the top; the second piece will not have any more green. Which do you think I should make the front piece? Hmm. I'm expecting to finish knitting this tomorrow night (I had hoped for tonight, but we were napless and two today, so very little knitting was done). It may be optimistic, though. I always think seaming will be quicker than it ends up being, plus did I put time in there for blocking? No. Grin. I think I'm allergic to blocking. I will end up blocking 3 sweaters at the same time (diagonal progression, Klara, and an alpaca turtleneck I finished years ago but have yet to really wear--oh yeah, and Haiku!).

I also meant to mention in the post below that I ordered some groovy fimo buttons for Haiku. They only had one in stock. I had planned to do those silver claspy things, but they didn't have any and I thought the pink fimo would be right up El's alley.

Haiku, (almost) FO

Here is Haiku for Eleanor. Well, it's still HUGE on her--so it's kind of for Eleanor in two years, sigh. My spinning teacher warned me that handspun sometimes expands after it is knit. Or something like that--I had trouble understanding exactly why, but I got the gist that your swatch might be on and then your knitting might be off, and that is what happened. Heck, it happened with Klaralund too so maybe it's not the handspun. Anyway, it's lovely, soft, and will be very warm if she can ever fit into it. I like this pattern a lot, and if knitting this hadn't been such a bloody trial, I would do it again. You'll notice that the right side is smaller than the left. Perhaps you'll notice it, but I'll do my best to ignore it. I have another half a body piece in an even bigger size, lol, so this is an improvement, and it hasn't even been blocked so I should be able to make it mostly disappear.

Sunday, October 3

My Tale of Woe, and a Great Weekend

I'm back from Milwaukee. And I've knitted four complete pieces of Klaralund, and I've just spent the day sewing up a sweater. But it wasn't Klara. Because I left the first body piece, the one you see partially completed below, on the plane. Yes, that's right. Sigh. I was being totally OCD and looking to see if the stripes were matching up, even though I wasn't trying to control it (really! I swear!). I had it in my lap, and as the flight went on, it kind of moved off to the side, and then, I guess, got wedged in the side. I got into a nice conversation with the person next to me, even though I rarely chat with strangers on planes, and that distracted me further. So when I got up to get off the plane, I LEFT IT ON THE SEAT. I didn't realize it was gone until I was boarding my next flight, and it was on the other end of the airport, which was literally about a mile away, so there was no way to go back. The airline's lost items person was unsympathetic, and said that if my name wasn't on it, the chances were basically nil. Even if they do find it, I have to go back to my airport, an hour away, to pick it up as they refuse to mail it (apparently other airlines will mail things--this is the first time I've flown Northwest in almost 10 years, and I was not impressed with their sympathy or interest in helping me). Big sigh. And I thought my problem would be security! In fact, the inspectors were very nice and the woman was very concerned about damaging my knitting when she hand-searched my bag. Little did she know I would do more harm myself!

I've mostly gotten over it. I've finished the other body piece, and I cast on for the, well, third, body piece, and even though I have a full ball of yarn to work with, I am just taking a break from it. Why is it that practically everything I knit lately (or maybe forever) has some sort of snafu? My Haiku debacle where I didn't spin consistently and the sides of the garment were completely inconsistent. Overfelting the fuzzy feet. Now this. Sigh.

Well, lemonade, and all that. I found a home for the fuzzy feet. Turns out they weren't even a 7, they were a SIX. So they were too small for Aileen, but my friend Sue fit into them great, and she was psyched. We had a sort of a lesbian-mom Cinderella session at Aileen's Sukkot party, and the fulled slipper fit on Sue's feet. Sue's partner, Leigh, has just gone through a scary cervical cancer incident, which involved a recent hysterectomy (like SIL, she is in her early 40's, sigh). She's laid up and going crazy. I was wondering if she'd like to learn to knit, but she's one of these people who already knows how to do, like, everything, so I wasn't sure if she didn't already know how. Well, she doesn't, and she was very interested in the whole felting concept, so at naptime tomorrow I'm headed to Webs to pick out an easy first project for her and a book. I've never read that Stitch n Bitch book, but it has gotten a lot of people started, and I think it has some beginner felted projects in it, right? Well, it's between that and The Knit Stitch, which I have and have learned a lot from as a knitter of 20 years.

In other news, I went to my first meeting of the Nutmeg Spinner's Guild, which was great. There was a presentation from Still River Mill about their mini mill business. I had kind of tossed out my yarn manufacturing idea due to my lack of interest in the actual manufacturing piece of it, but based on what they said, we might be a great team. I had to leave after two hours (of a 6-hour meeting, boo hoo), so I didn't get to talk with them, but I need to finish up the freelance project I'm working on (almost done!), then do a little research on my end, and if it all looks promising I'll see if I can talk to them about working together. I think it might be a great deal all around.

The guild seems great. I generally found the people to be friendly, a nice mix of experienced folks and beginners, and a lot of knitting content. Oddly, when I went to a local spinning group, many of the people there didn't know how to knit or were barely beginners at it. This group did "show and tell" at the beginning and had some great stuff, both mill and handspun. That was great to see, since I felt like I could learn some stuff about knitting as well as spinning, and I prefer to keep the border between the two crafts rather fluid, as they should be!

One woman had knitted a vest from Debbie New's book Unexpected Knitting. I had heard of this book after reading about her "better mousetrap" socks in Interweave Knits. The Guild has a GREAT library, and I checked that one out, and I can keep it until the next meeting, in December. It's almost as cool as the Semester-long checkout I get at the college where I work! Anyway, the book is just fascinating. I've been reading a lot of knitting books lately, and actually it's getting frustrating because I don't have time to try all these patterns. Many of the patterns in New's book are over my head as a knitter, but it really makes me think about design, construction, and knitting, and makes me think of what I can work up to. I don't think I'm too far away from doing these, but it is definitely a case of breaking out of my "two body pieces and two sleeves" thinking. I may try out a pattern or two, certainly the mousetrap socks. I was even wondering how they'd do felted. Hmmm.

In other news, I finished Eleanor's Haiku, FINALLY, except for the buttons/fasteners. It's my first finished handspun sweater! Yay me! I've already got a bobbin full of yarn for Henry's semi-matching Einstein sweater. So I'm feeling on a roll.

Jenifer is sending me another ball of Silk Garden so I can finish Klara, so I'll work on that when it arrives. No promises, but I do hope to be wearing it by the end of the week. We'll see. If things go well this week and I don't have to work late Thursday, maybe I'll hit the knitting night at Webs.

That's probably enough silliness. It's late, and I need to sleep so I can keep up with the short people tomorrow. It's amazing how fast they can go on those little legs, LOL.

Oh, one more thing. I'm part of the RAOK ring now! How cool. I have a lot more blogs to read, though. Thanks for the sweet comments, and the card... I've already sent a birthday card to someone on the list. This is fun! I'm generally a pretty cynical type, but I do love the grace in RAOKs. I think we all need to remember more how much kindness there is in the world. Sometimes it's easy to forget.

Blogging and the online knitting world have really pushed my limits in knitting, and I feel like I've learned more in the last few months online than I have in a long time. I've been doing lots of garter stitch, but I'm really improving my techniques and understanding. Very cool.

Okay, really bedtime. It's one o'clock in the morning!