Monthly Archives: February 2008

Feline Foto Friday

Hey, Foto’s a valid spelling [in some other languages]!

I envy Chris the contrast between her black cats and tan carpet. (Though I do know it is NOT easy to photograph black cats!)

Me, I have a rather lumpy orangish cat who generally lays around on orangish floors, thusly: camouflaged-cat.jpg

Sometimes his eyes are open, sometimes they’re closed.

But the other day, I caught him unawares in a photogenic pose.

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Quick, the camera!

(I’m not sure if this is the cover shot for Cat Fancy or Victorian Homes Magazines, however.)

The Perfect Knitblogger’s Mom

The perfect knitblogger’s mom: The day before she gets her humungo first cast (aka Robert Jones dressing) off, she takes a picture to prove that her hand-knit Casbah Toe Sock actually fits over it. And has it delivered over on a flash drive to her blogger daughter.

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I told you she was cool!

She’s happier that her subsequent cast is significantly smaller and lighter (also more colorful!), though it’s still a l-o-n-g time before weight can be borne.

Eventually, she’ll be able to wear the toe sock in its smallest configuration, however, inside a surgical boot, as below (imagine the boot):

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K2 P2 rib is truly an amazing feat of engineering, n’est-ce pas?

If anyone wishes to recreate the amazing expandable Toe Sock, loosely cast on about 64 stitches in a sport or DK weight yarn (if you used fingering weight, I’d try 80), and join circularly using your circular knitting method of choice. Knit in K2 P2 rib on needles that are on the bigger side of the recommended range for your yarn (for maximum stretchiness), for about 6 – 8 inches, 15 – 20 cm (depending on the size of the recipient and the cast — the bigger the cast, the longer the sock needs to be).

Then decrease as follows:

Round 1: *k2, p2 tog, k2, p2* around (56 stitches)

Round 2: *k2, p1, k2, p2* around

Round 3: *k2, p1, k2, p2 tog* around (48 stitches)

Round 4: *k2, p1, k2, p1* around

Round 5: *k2, k2tog, k1, p1* around (40 stitches)

Round 6: *K4, p1* around

Round 7: *k3, SSK* around (32 stitches)

Round 8: *k2, k2 tog* around (24 stitches)

Round 9: *k1, k2 tog* around (16 stitches)

Round 10: *k2 tog* around (8 stitches)

This makes a ’round’ top like a hat, which makes whichever way the sock is put on, the correct way!

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Break off yarn, thread yarn through stitches on needle, pull tight on inside with a single overhand knot, and weave in ends. Voila — a extremely adaptable toe sock.

And, if you don’t need a toe sock, it makes a great preemie hat!

toe-warmer-as-preemie-hat.jpg

Wheere Be Dragone?

Did you notice what wasn’t there in my epic weekend account?

I had planned to cast on for the intriguing and complex “Heere be Dragone” shawl, for the Gothlet, on her birthday.

The sad truth is that, not only was the day just packed (as several of you commented! and that was leaving out skiing with the church group as the Gothlet also wanted to do!), but I awoke with a migraine which got worse with the day and the driving, so by the time the birthday dinner was done, all I could do was lay down with even more drugs on board. It hung over into the next day too, part of why I feel so far behind, I suppose. (I didn’t miss work, but I left all things that did not HAVE to be done, undone. But they have to be done sometime!)

Perhaps I’ll start the shawl next weekend, when I have a knitting weekend planned (yes, yes, I know, didn’t I just have a knitting weekend? Well, not really, it was a talking to knitters and talking about knitting and letting the Gothlet play at the MOA and driving around weekend! Very little actual knitting happened, unfortunately!)

But I can show you the yarn, having finally gotten a decent picture of the result of overdyeing (which I’m happy with).

First, before:

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Kind of a muddy purplish-brownish-reddish color.

After:

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This is just what I hoped for, a semisolid saturated purple, so dark that it’s almost, but not really, black. I’m happy, and I should have more than enough of this lovely suri alpaca laceweight. Now — all I need to do is start the shawl!

In other breaking news, liquid water was spotted in the wild yesterday.

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Alert the media, if you would be so kind.

Whoosh, another weekend gone

. . . and I still haven’t caught up from the last one. (Excuse me while I go move the laundry from the washer to the dryer.)

So much to say/show, so little time (I’d planned to go into work tonight to do a little catching up, but here I am instead).

Well, let’s start with last week’s Saturday Sky: As seen through the window of the Country Inn & Suites, a stone’s throw from the Mall of America, venue of Knit Out & Crochet 2008!

saturday-sky-through-the-screen.jpg The night before had been a wonderful evening (other than me leaving town three hours later than planned). The Gothlet and I met up for dinner with Kmkat and Deb, along with Deb’s daughter (she and the Gothlet immediately put their heads together and, I think, were commiserating about having yarn-obsessed mothers). It was a blast; it was hard to stop talking long enough to eat! Bad blogger, no pictures; I was frazzled from being late (not three hours late, only half an hour, but still!).

Then the morning pictured, I woke up with the sun (a luxury for me, it’s usually still getting up in the dark), and since I knew the Gothlet wouldn’t be awake until I dragged her out of bed, I got to knit – and read – in blessed peace and quiet. And I finished something! Which I then had to wear immediately because it’s way cool —

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The Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf scarf in Twisted Duchess yarn, the Ravelry colorway. I love it! (I did get lots of compliments on it that day at the Knit Out & Crochet 2008; which I accepted on behalf of the fantastic yarn.)

So, eventually, I forced my night-owl younger daughter (it was just she and I, as my husband had too much to do at home, and my older daugher had been invited to a friend’s birthday party) out of bed, into clothes, and down to breakfast, then to the shuttle to the Mall of America. If it had been just me, I would have walked, but her legs are still kind of short, and I thought it would be faster. Faster, ha! The power of knitters and crocheters — the shuttle bus was already full and on its way, and coming back for another load; but it took a while. On the way over, the Gothlet and another birthday girl were serenaded by the entire bus, as I mentioned; too cool. Eventually, we arrived at our destination, a little later than I had planned to meet my aunt (the story of my life this whole weekend): off-the-shuttle.jpg After the rendezvous, we saw this sign mall-directory.jpg and this line: one-line.jpg which went as far as we could see. (This was, owing to our lateness, about half an hour after the event started.) So, knowing there were giveaways and booths, we found the end of the line, and I cast on: line-knitting.jpg Well, we were in that line for over an hour and a half; and didn’t get to all the booths; most of it was just waiting (and knitting on my part) and chatting with the people in line by us, who were entertaining. (Seeing the lines as we got closer to the swag explained the wait; people were reaching in and cutting in, and joining their friends right and left; no wonder the lines moved so slowly. There must be a better way!) Anyway, the woman ahead of us in line had something to share:

Yarn breeds at night. Don’t you wind up with more yarn than you think you bought? And — have you never wondered where BLENDS come from?!?

With linemates like that, time went fast! I never got a good picture of the Paton’s guys having fun tossing yarn into bags, but I do have a picture of the wrong side of the Lion Brand Yarns Lion: the-dark-side-of-the-lion.jpg (The Gothlet hid behind me as we went by.) There were some very confused muggles at the MOA, may I say; I love the expression on the guy in green’s face! Then there was the guy who asked me and my aunt what the line was all about: “Yarn.” “They’re standing in line for yarn??” “Yep.” “YARN???” Total incomprehension.

Anyway, we then tracked down Deb who had hung out her shingle as a Knitting Doctor the-doctor-is-in.jpg She will have to tell you what the gentleman said about twisted stitches; it was really cute, but I won’t get it quite right if I try to.   see her comment below for what he’s saying!

Then lunch, Deb, the Gothlet, my aunt Kathi and I; talk, talk, talk! We missed the canine knitted/crocheted fashion show, which would have been fun, but all of us needed food at that point more. And more talking! Eventually, however, Deb had to go do a shoe thing, I too had to go find (different) shoes for us people with less-than-common feet , and my aunt needed to go home. And besides, the Gothlet had been very patient (I did buy her a book to read in line….) so we went off to wait in lines for rides (there are amusement park rides in the center of the Mall of America, for those who haven’t been there) — since not only a good whack of knitters and crocheters were there, but I swear, every child and teen in the Twin Cities were there too, and all wanting to ride the same rides as the Gothlet! (Here she is:) gothlet-on-the-ride.jpg

We did take a ride break for a little selective shopping, portrait-of-a-weekend.jpg

and for a stop at the Storey booth (publishing home of the Yarn Harlot, which was the main reason I stopped by). But while I was there, I filled out a contest entry; and since you had to be present to win, I planned the afternoon to end up back there at 5 pm, along with a slug of other crafters. storey-before-the-drawing.jpg

And a tired Gothlet. tired-gothlet.jpg

But she perked right up when I won a prize!

gothlet-perks-up.jpg Not that I don’t already have that book, but I know people who don’t, who would like it. And there was more along with it: winnings.jpg

My Lucky Day! So: a few more rides, and then back to the hotel to collapse (or swim, depending on whether you are a parent or an almost 10-year-old).

Sunday, you saw most of on the Gothlet’s birthday post: no Knit-Out for us that day. A few more St. Paul Como Conservatory pictures, though next time I’m wearing my contacts if it’s winter:

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(that banana leaf must have been over five feet long)

fern-reflections.jpg the Fern Room

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the Sunken Garden again

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the orchid-growing room, such a contrast to the outside world

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and a knitting tie-in in the Palm Dome, even if they got the name of the stitch a little wrong! Not nearly enough time here, partly because (surprise, surprise) I was late.

Well, this time, besides the usual morning slug aka Gothlet, and single parenting, and getting all our loot & luggage out to the car by myself (husbands do come in handy as pack mules, as he says); there was also another factor. (Digression ahead!)

First, I have no innate sense of direction. None. If I come out of an unfamiliar building by a different entrance than I came in, chances are very good I will go 180 degrees from the way I should be going. So I rely on maps, which I’m quite good at. Though I used to live in the Twin Cities, it’s been 18 years (wo!) and I didn’t drive everywhere much of that time. Especially in suburban Minneapolis — just no reason to, except to visit my friend in Plymouth. So, imagine my dismay when I realized that my husband’s car, which I had borrowed for the trip because it handles better in snow, had no maps in it. I meant to buy one sometime this weekend, but never carved out the time.

Thus I’m heading from the MegaMall to the Como Conservatory; I know the general area I’m going, but the highways are not necessarily cooperating with the way I want to go, with me winging it. (As in, you can’t get there from here.) And the highway salt and dirt is leaving my windshield filthy, at which point I find that my husband’s car has no windshield wiper fluid (well, you don’t need it much when it’s subzero!). So, exiting rather later from a different highway than I’d planned to take, I decided to stop by a gas station to a) buy a map, b) buy windshield wiper fluid, and c) put gas in for the trip home (gas was a lot cheaper in the Twin Cities than back home, in any case).

Well, they don’t have a map for sale (small service station) but the guy there assures me I’m exactly where I thought, and very close to my destination. And I fuel up and buy windshield washer fluid. But — the hood won’t open. I’m pulling the little handle inside the car, I’m feeling around under the hood, nothing’s budging. I call my husband (should be between services at church, but there’s choir rehearsal) — no answer. I ask the guy if he has any idea; he says he’ll help me when he can, in a moment. In the meantime, my husband does call back and tells me, “It sticks sometimes — you just have to give the hood a whack.” So picture me out there, crazy middle-aged knitter lady on a Sunday morning, pounding and pounding on the hood — whack, WHACK, WHACKWHACKWHACK! — no result. Finally, the service station guy comes out and has me pull the inside lever out while HE pounds at the same time. BINGO! The hood opens, and finally I can pour the vision-restoring elixir in and be on my way to the Conservatory. Where my brother has been patiently waiting for, oh, an hour now. If I had gotten there when I planned, or even in a timely fashion from when I left the hotel, I actually could have parked closer than three blocks away; this is the place to be on a Sunday if you have kids, apparently, now that they have opened up their new Tropical Encounters room with animals and birds in it. Next time — get there earlier, allow more time! Then, there was the little fact that I said I’d meet him at the entrance. When I lived there, there was only one entrance…. Anyway, eventually we did find each other among the greenery.

After that, brunch at Day by Day Café with said brother as well as my brother-in-law and his wife (their anniversary too! Happy Anniversary!) , which was great, then to Café Latté for a birthday treat to import across state lines to Wisconsin (so good, I think it might be illegal, look at the look on that face!)

yum-cafe-latte-chocolate-cake.jpg BTW: Cool hat, $5 at Ragstock. Her choice. Good taste.

Also BTW: Jeanne, move away from your keyboard. I don’t want to be responsible for any moisture damage. Leftover Cafe Latte Chocolate Chocolate Cake:

cafe-latte-chocolate-chocolate-cake.jpg

It came with a whole dissertation on how to keep and how to cut it (Hot Non-Serrated knife; and No Refrigerator, please!). And it tasted even better than it looks.  (Looked better before it got attacked, but I wasn’t about to get between the cake and the hungry hordes with a camera, I’d be run over!)

Then, after my husband called me with the news that it was SNOWING SIDEWAYS back home (which it was), right about the time I took the blue-sky-smiling-with-cake-Ragstock-hat picture just above, we hopped into the car (now newly equipped with windshield wiper fluid but still no map; that’s okay, I know the way home) and headed downriver. We saw eagles, but I didn’t stop to take pictures given the potential for slow driving ahead. Here’s a picture of the stormclouds down south, though, looking down the frozen Mississippi:

storm-down-south.jpg Not a day to linger by the riverside, evidently.

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It had already snowed here some, but stopped already and the plows had been out. We lucked out; we followed the storm, and the plows, all the way, and the sideways snow at home stopped about 45 minutes before we got there. Then birthday festivities as before, and gratefully into bed. Whew. I get tired just typing about it. But last weekend was a blast. Well, since I’ve been back, I’ve knit several stealth projects (one went with me to vote in our state’s primary Tuesday), one of which I guess I can unveil since apparently it made it to its recipient yesterday:

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Tiny booties for Cara’s baby-on-the-way! I don’t know Cara personally, just a regular and appreciative reader of her blog (and viewer of her lovely photography); but I had the opportunity to send along a little something to her surprise baby shower which happened yesterday, so I did. They should be about a newborn size, and the yarn (elann.com esprit, a cotton/lycra blend) makes them very comfy and stretchy. I figured this baby will get a plentitude of wondrously colored hand knit items, and might need something that doesn’t clash! My modification of Fleegle‘s modification of Saartje’s baby booties (pdf here). I left off the ever-so-cute buttons, because a brand new mom perhaps doesn’t need to be trying to button four tiny buttons on two waving feet, and worrying about whether her dearling is going to chew the buttons off (frankly, with well hand-sewn buttons, I’m not worried at all, but there the warnings are, so with this stretchy yarn, I just sewed the straps on; plenty of give to put the bootie on, I promise). The fingering weight yarn makes it newborn-ish size rather than 3-6 month. Boy, there’s more to tell you, but this post is already of epic proportions, so I will leave it at that, with just yesterday’s Saturday Sky as a fitting bookend:

sunrise-february-23.jpg Another blue sky, hooray!

 And a surprise for those of you who have made it this far: I just noticed that this blog is approaching its thousandth comment. Be that lucky thousandth commenter, and a lovely skein of yarn will come make its home with you! If you win, I’ll find a special skein of yarn for you in the Stash of Stashes, based on how close I can get to the yarn of your dreams. Thanks for reading, and for commenting! It’s been awfully fun writing.

Eye Candy Friday – Flowers Out of Season

I have had no time to put together my photos from last weekend to show you — but here’s one to tide you over, a breath of fresh air and color from the Como Conservatory again, the Sunken Gardens room.

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I could have spent the whole day here, I think. When I got tired of wandering around and taking photos, I would have just sat down and knit. And breathed in the green growing smells.  Mmmm.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

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Sorry, no tripod; I think the blur was my heart beating.

 (ETA: Total lunar eclipse as seen from a Wisconsin back yard, 9:30 pm on February 20, 2008, temperature – 12 °F [-24.5°C].  Clear and cold makes for good viewing.  Also makes for funny views of the photographer; I was lying flat on my back in the squeaky cold snow, in the shadow of the neighbor’s garage to try to avoid his security light, with the camera on my chest; and timing photos by how long I could hold my breath and how long before the fingers of my right hand went numb.  The man I love was laughing at me through the window….)

Double Digits!

No, not the temperature — it’s not a weather post for once (though we’ve had our share of weather, check out Wisconsin knit-bloggers galore).

No, the Gothlet turned the big 1-0 yesterday!

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Now, there are likely only a few who have had a busful of knitters and crocheters sing them “Happy Birthday”, but the Gothlet is among those select few, having had that honor at the Knit Out and Crochet 2008 this last weekend! We had a great time (more about the meeting up on my part, and I’ll tell you all about that in my next post), but today it’s all about the girl!

This is one of her favorite T-shirts, and it kind of sums her up:

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Cute on the surface — but dark, and enjoys taking people aback. Deb, seeing her Saturday, commented that she was hiding her Goth tendencies well; but here she was that evening, showing more her true colors!

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(T-shirt says “Born 2 Knit”! Skull with flaming needles through the eyes, if you can’t quite see. Plus cool skull ballet flats with bows. Accessorized with the shiny puppy pajama bottoms, of course.)

So the birthday kind of extended over 48 hours, as she got to ride the Mall of America rides,

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(wearing her new Snoopy sweatshirt, “Boogie Down”), go swimming, sleep in (very important!), visit the Como Conservatory,

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where she got a slightly eerie message:

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(“Seek”)

then went to brunch with two uncles and an aunt, then to Café Latté

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to pick out a scrumptious chocolate chocolate birthday cake, then back home to a birthday dinner, Chinese by request, with a birthday ‘cocktail’

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complete with candle!, then to Grandma (who’s recovering day by day) and Grandpa’s to enjoy cake and ice cream and presents. Wow, what a weekend!

Happy Birthday, no longer my Baby!

You totally rock!