Thursday, January 31, 2008

The "Duh" of all duhs!

I was reading Alison's blog this morning, and she had a cute story which involved a "duh" moment. So I thought I'd share the mother of all 'duhs" with you.

Way back when, when elder DD was around a year old, my ex worked in New York, and usually took the train in to work. So, one Friday, we were scheduled to go to the in-laws for the weekend, and I packed us up. Ex would drive us after work, and it was only a 45 minute drive away.

The phone rings about 5:30, and it's ex telling me that he fell asleep and got off in Millburn, which was a few stops away. Would I pick him up? Sure. So I plopped child in car, and picked him up. We got home, and were ready to take his car for our drive. Uh oh. Where's his car? Not in the parking lot of our apartment house. Then he remembered: he had driven into NY. So I said, what about taking my car, and then on Monday you can drive home in yours. Nope, he was afraid his car would get towed, so he had to retrieve it.

Ok, so he then took the next train into NY, and this was in 1971, when there was no mid-town direct train. He had to go to Hoboken, and then take the Path into the city. Getting the picture?

Goes into the city, gets the car, drives back to NJ. We pile in and drive to in-laws. We're all relaxing and having a nice chat when he remembers! He has important work that he left in his office, and he has to work on it that weekend.

So, we say good bye to his family, pile back into that car, and then proceed to drive into New York. DD and I wait in the car while he dashes up to his office. He comes downstairs with nothing, I mean nothing in his hands! Goes to the trunk of the car, and guess what? There are the papers in his briefcase.

So we drove back to NJ, and stayed home for the rest of the weekend.

Knitting moment:

"Oh Gee" is coming along nicely. This is a charming and easy pattern to work. The leg and heel are done, and I'm just going to turn that heel.

Heel turned, and gussets in progress. The little stitch marker is there to mark the middle of the gusset stitches so that I don't muck it up.

Jen: I dyed that yarn to sell, but kept it because I was greedy. tee hee.

Alison: I don't know if it was quality time, but it was very very funny. Not to him of course, but I thought it was hilarious.

Mama May: I answered you on Ravelry.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thoughts on Socks (say that fast 10 times)

I love turning heels. Don't laugh. It's the neatest thing about knitting socks.

You have this column of knitting called the leg. It's fun. This is where the pattern comes into its own. No leg, and you're not a sock. You might be a footie, but you are just not a certifiable sock. This, next to that heel turn, is my favorite part of sock knitting. This is where creativity hangs out.

Then you get to work the back of the heel, which is pleasant. And then comes the moment of truth: Turning the heel. This is the thing that makes the socks fit. Socks without that bit of a triangle just get baggy and don't fit right. Whether you go toe up or cuff down, you have this glorious moment of turning that sock. Easy peasy with short rows, which sound a lot more difficult than they really are. And if you goof, you are only working on a few stitches.

Then comes the boring part (for me, at least): picking up the gusset stitches, and decreasing those gusset stitches. And then you work the foot. Decrease for the toe, finish it up with a bit of Kitchener stitching. And then you put it on and admire it, and make Hubbo admire it over and over. Or else!

And then you make the second sock. Boring, but necessary if you have 2 feet. These are the times when you're glad you're not an octopus.

There are many folks who work 2 socks at a time. I'm not one of them, mostly because I would have to subdivide my yarn, and anyhow I just prefer to do one at a time.

Yarnie moments: In case you haven't noticed, I redid my Etsy thingie on the right of the page. It's called an Etsy mini, whatever that means.

Here are some pics of the yarns in reskeined mode.

Bev, you don't have enough yarn? Don't worry, there's always more. ;-)

Christine, I understand, oh boy, do I understand! Giggle!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Rambling Yarnarian

The Yarnarian is pooped. Please tell me why I'm working harder now than when I was a librarian? Huh? I think that I'm not as young as I used to be. Hubbo says: "So who is?"

I listed 6 yarns yesterday and 3 sold immediately. Someone was ready and waiting. But in this business, you snooze, you lose. So she's the proud owner of 3 pretties, and 3 are left. Then someone bought another skein. Nice, isn't it. Hubbo tells me that I have my Ruthie Groupies. I don't know about that. I think it's mostly luck and a bit of work on my part.

The dyeing part is the best part, naturally. All the rest is necessary if you want to have yarn and sell it. And it's a lot of fun to see what goes right away and what doesn't. For example, I don't get why Miss P, and Princess Rosey, and Venus on the Half Shell haven't run out of here. And yet, eventually they get sold. I do love my new career. Anybody who tells you that this is not intellectually challenging doesn't know what he (it's probably a guy) is talking about.

Didja notice that I'm rambling all over the place. I'm really, really pooped. I was going to dye this morning. But maybe I'll just curl up and knit instead.

On my needles: a neat new pattern that I'm thinking of calling "oh! Gee!" As in the ogee pattern. Here's an early picture:

Fun news: I'm going to lunch today with the mom of a customer who now lives in Australia. Is that neat or what? We're doing a yarn/money exchange for her daughter. We were talking on the phone and decided that it would be fun to meet up for lunch.

I went to the gym yesterday. Yay, me. Put in a 1.75 hour workout. And today I'm not sore. Which is unusual for me. Maybe the mojo is coming back.

Signing off; I think I'll dye anyhow. Who knows what tiredness will do to my colorways.

Note: My colors came out nicely I think. Somehow dyeing revvs me up. And lunch was delightful. And, we're going to Whole Foods to cruise the salad bar for supper.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I'm a steamy babe!

Oh, do I love that steamer. Never mind making dim sum; for that I go out. But for steaming that yarn: what a neat idea. And this idea was mine, not the resident engineer's. He must be rubbing off on me. Um, that's not what I meant, but he is the Hubbo, and he's mine, and I'm not sharing him. So if he wants to ...This is getting worse and worse. Double entendre not actually planned.

Back to being a hot and steamy babe. With my new steamer, I can dye and steam at the same time. Given that I still have hot flashes, aka power surges, I can already dye and steam simultaneously. I like efficiency.

Power surges, for you young ones, are the biggest pain in the butt. The only time they are of any use is if you're out walking in very chilly weather, and a surge hits you. Then a hot flash is quite nice.

Here's my thing about hot flashes. It seems logical to me that guys should get them, not women. We have the periods, the pregnancies, the deliveries, the baby care. Guys should get the hot flashes. Talk about unintelligent design! And now that I've offended someone, I think I should go to sleep. It's ok if you're offended. I do believe in evolution. Although hot flashes are a crappy evolutionary activity. We can live without this. Trust me.

Yarnie news: I dyed up 6 yarns, 1 or 2 of which I'll keep. So there. Fresh, aren't I? It is definitely time to go to sleep.

iabrenda: my steamer worked wonderfully! I have a bottom and 2 tiers. What a neat efficient way to steam.. Hubbo says that your steamer was probably used in Chinese cooking to make dim sum.

Monnibo: I never used to like to wear jeans because I hate that tight waist thing. But now that jeans are worn lower without a waist, I'm a happy camper. I like them better than sweats. Sweats always seem to look weird on me on my butt. Yay, Ravelry! Don't you just love it?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Shameless Yarnarian

Many years ago, in another life, I used to go to the opera with a dear friend. His wife didn't want to go because the opera gets out generally fairly late, and by the time you drive home, it's really late. Anyhow, I was invited to go along on many occasions, and I really loved it. But we did get home late. And then I had to get up early to go to work. Yadda yadda.

So, one night driving in, somehow I mentioned that one of my goals in life was to become a shameless hussy. And we giggled about it, etc. Comes intermission and we ended up in the Met gift shop with tons and tons of superbly-dressed ladies and gentlemen. My friend wanted to tell me something but we were separated by the crowd. So, at the top of his lungs, he yelled: "Hey, Shameless!" The looks we got as we met up were priceless. The Metropolitan Opera does not do shameless. It was so funny.

Ever since then, I dredge up the shameless appellation whenever I need it. And when I heard Car Talk for the first time and discovered the Shameless Commerce Division, I was in heaven.

I have no idea on what this has to do with anything, but it's my blog, and I'll post if I want to. (and that's not from an opera)

People tend to think that opera is stuffy. It can be, but when you're up in the Family Circle, otherwise known as the "nosebleed or oxygen" section, it's anything but. People show up in jeans. The further down you go, the dressier people are.

And some of the Met goofs are priceless. Well, they are to a music lover. At one performance of La Gioconda, the chorus and the orchestra were not in sync. That was interesting. They corrected that pretty quickly. And in Don Giovanni, in the graveyard scene, as the graveyard gates came sliding through on stage, they wouldn't stop moving, and the poor singers had to sing, act, and balance the gates until they stopped.

But the best goof of all was in The Barber of Seville. During the first act, a little donkey comes out on stage leading a cart. The Met has this huge stage and in the middle of it is a large revolving circle, so you can change scenes immediately. Well the poor donkey, being a donkey felt an urge to poop, and did. But not on the revolving part. Nope, he did it on the part that stays put. And the first act is very long, with some revolutions of that circle. The poop of this story is that the poop was in no place to get removed, and so there it sat, for a very long time. And the singers played to it. The sheets of music got dropped on it, lots of bathroom humor was played to it. It was hilarious! The Barber is a very funny opera to begin with, but this brought it to an all-time low. The audience howled and the singers just went nutsy. Which goes to show that the opera is not stuffy. The reviews on the next day were nose-up-in-the-air. But the fact was that both the musicians and the audience knew a good thing when they saw it. Or smelled it, depending on where you were. We were up in nosebleed country, so we just watched.

Yarnie stuff: I'm dyeing tomorrow. I'm down to 11 skeins for sale on etsy, which is pretty sparse. So I'm going to play with more yarns of love.

The only part of the dyeing process that I don't like is the cooking of the yarn. No cooking, no color retention. Kind of defeats the purpose if your color leaves the yarn. I've been using the microwave for this, but it drives me wild. So today, Hubbo and I bought a super duper Chinese stainless steel double decker steamer. There's this amazing Oriental grocery/cooking supply market not far from us. They carry products from China to Thailand to India to Malaysia, etc. Fascinating, especially because I have no idea what 99% of them are. And there was this great selection of steamers. So I bought one and tomorrow I'm going to steam my yarn in it. I'll let you know if I have viable yarn or steamer felt.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Whelmed Yarnarian!

Where is the Yarnarian these days? She's dyeing, writing up sock patterns, dyeing, knitting up those sock patterns, dyeing, skeining and reskeining, dyeing. In short, she's overwhelmed with yarnie delight. That's wrong. She's not overwhelmed, she's just a bit short of then, i.e. she's whelmed.

She will be back soon. She promises. Hang in there.

Signed with love,
The whelmed Yarnarian.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Miss P

I forgot the most exciting news of the day, of the week, of the month, of the year! (Hyperbole, your name is Ruth!)

Run to your nearest magazine place and buy a copy of Fortune Mag., the Jan 21 issue. In an article about major corporations giving back to the community, there's an article about Target. And a picture of Miss P's elementary school,Whittier International Elementary School. AND a picture of Miss P over on the right. You can't see her face, but she has on a red skirt. How's that for fame and fortune for a 5 year old in kindergarten?

Whittier is an IBS (International Baccalaureate) elementary school in Minneapolis.

Grandma Brag. Yes!

Yarns and Odds

I promised you new yarns, and new yarns you shall see. I have been bitten by the love chicken and consequently am merrily dyeing love yarns. Hubbo is convinced that I've lost it.

I think that on my monitor they look rather blah, but it could be the light at this time of day. Anyhow, they are quite fetching, and I hope someone fetches them. By the way, the etsy ones are photographed in original form, the ones right here are in reskeined form.

Yesterday I had lunch with my work buddy, who retired June 1. It was fun to compare notes about families, retirement, etc. Her Honey is also retired and has a regular gig at a local funeral home. He fetches bodies, acts as a pall bearer, looks solemn, etc. He's the nicest guy around (except for Hubbo), and does "kind" very well. I can just picture him directing folks to various rooms: Standing straight, hands folded in front. You get the picture.

Yarn dyeing business. My so-called hobby business has moved into the tiny regular business mode. People seem to like my yarns and are buying them. I thought of advertising on Ravelry, but I don't think I could handle a lot more business at the time. Not that an ad would bring me lots more business, well I don't know. But I'm happily dyeing at a rate that I like. Between dyeing for Etsy, my sock club, and writing patterns, I'm a pretty busy woman. Which I like. I might even investigate selling at a craft fair or festival if the rates were reasonable. But that's a lot of dyeing. Actually, it's not the dyeing that takes long. That's the best part. It's cooking the yarns to set the colors. This is a pain in the ass, but necessary.

Supper: Baked ziti my style. I make a bechamel sauce (white sauce with a fancy name) with no salt (yeah, that sodium stuff). Cook the ziti, mix them with spaghetti sauce, and layer them. Ziti, bechamel, a bit of grated cheese (that's where the salt is), etc. I top with bread crumbs that I've mixed with Italian herbs, and then on the very top, a layer of grated cheese. It's so good, and so easy to make, and I have a thing for it.

Bev: Dinner was great! And guess what I discovered? I use a microplane to grate my cheese. So I get these delicate fluffy cheese fluffs. I scattered that on top of the casserole, and when it was done, some of those cheese thingies became very light and delicate cheese chips That's the only way I can describe it.

Here's what I can do with this: grate the cheese into little circles on top of parchment paper and bake. Then peal off. Holey moley!

Creative: What? Hey, you are the famous one. The awesome photographer, roving dyer, and yarn dyer. Are you kidding? Me, I'm just a humble (pff! snort) refreshing librarian freed from the Reference Desk.

Christine: Uh oh, the pressure is on. I'm starting to dye tomorrow. And I may just dye up one for me. I wonder how many skeins TLE dyers have to produce. Scary thought!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Crazed Yarnarian Dyes Again!

Update: My computer is back. Knit Visualizer, here I come.

Here's a pic of my brand new Mary Janes replete with my foot in it and showing off part of a sock.

Yup, I dyed. Now the yarns are either cooling down of hanging to dry. It's funny how some days I see only certain colors, or I have to explore certain colors. That's what happened this morning. I got all caught up in lime and blue and blue green and limey-bluey green. No pics, of course, but here are very tentative titles for the yarns:

1. Spring Love (yup, those greens)
2. Baby Love (as soft and gentle as a baby's bottom. I might keep this one for myself.)
3. Venus on the Half-Shell (What do you think happened to the other half?)
4. Royal Love
5. Bouquets of Love (some of those greens)
6. Goddess of Love - Isis or maybe Aphrodite or Inanna or some goddess of love

Take a look at this site:
I'm a pretty sedate knitter and I work only on skinny yarns, but this is so mind-boggling that temptation is rearing its lovely head. How to make these patterns using sock yarn, hmmmmm.

And, while you're at it, give this one a look-see.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


First of all, a possible new sock pattern! It has to be field tested (thank you, Caroline), and all the glitches worked out. And then, if the #$@8&^% computer ever gets hooked up, and I get the graph loaded up, I'll put it up for sale.

The picture needs to be redone, but even so, what do you think? Any comments will be appreciated. Thank you as always. And if I don't respond to you, it's because Blogger doesn't let me connect up. But I'll post replies in italics at the bottom of my bloggy moments.

And now on to the main event! OOFING!

Hubbo has a new thing going on in his little head. He says "oof" nonstop. It used to be that he said oof when he got up from sitting, or climbed the stairs, or other movements like that. No more. Now we get gratuitous oofs! There's the walking down the street oof. It just happens. There's the restaurant looking at the menu oof. If you're in a tony restaurant, then it becomes OOPH! Somewhat more refined than the standard oof.

There's the delicate oof, said in a gentle way. There's the loud oof, when you want to get someone's attention. Variations on oof can be "erf", "nerf", "derf". If you want to put some meat into it, you say oof with a serious grunt.

All I can say is "oof!"

Hubbo just informed me that he only says oof on Thursdays. That's a blatant lie. But here's the thing: He doesn't oof when I'm not around. There's no point to it, according to him. It's the old tree falling in the forest thing.

I went off to the post office today to mail off yarn pkgs. On the way back to the car, a certain Hubbo, of whom I will not speak, spread his arms wide and yelled "Roofie" at the top of his lungs. I was about 1/4 of a block away. So what was I going to do? I spread my arms out too, and ran up to him, and he gave me a big bear hug, and, yup, you guessed it, he oofed! What a guy. Other folks on the street probably thought we had gone over the edge. Hah! If they only knew.

I bought a pair of Sebago Maryjanes on sale! My sockies look so cute on my footsies now. Oof!

And I bought 2 different eye shadows to the tune of almost $20! Bad Yarnarian. That was a refined ooph.

And a cute mug for Miss P if and when she comes to visit, and a bulb baster for dyeing, both at the Junior League Thrift Shop. Mini oof.

And, First Love sold! Neat, huh?
Bragging oof!

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm prepared to dye!

Have you seen that old movie, Galaxy Quest? BF's Hubster discovered it on Thanksgiving when my Hubbo decided to introduce it it him. This was in a fog of turkey overload and both guys were in conk-out mode. Until GQ. That woke Hubster up, and ever since then, he walks around talking like the aliens. So today is his birthday. (If he or BF had a website, I'd ask you to wish him a Happy Birthday, but they don't.) BF called me on her cell from the road, and Hubster was merrily doing his GQ imitation. I wish I could find a way to write it, but I can't. Trust me, it's a loony accent.

My favorite movie of all time is, of course, the Princess Bride! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die! I would change that to: "My name is the Yarnarian. You buy my yarn. I'm prepared to dye."

Here are the new yarns. Put on the shades, dear reader. Don't say I didn't warn you!

In order: First Love, Winter Love, Tree Love, and True Love.

Bev: anything available is now on my etsy site.

First Love, Winter Love and Tree Love flew out of here. Don't worry, I have more love planned.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I've got me love.

Oh, the weather outside is cloudy,
And my dyeing is gonna be rowdy,
As long as I've no place to fly,
Let me dye, let me dye, let me dye!

And I did! Dye! Rowdily!

The month of love is hot on our heels, and it makes me want to dye up some lurve!

So here's what's coming: Winter Love, True Love, First Love, and the one and only Tree Love! The "rowdy" one? First Love. This is the brightest yarn I've ever dyed. You and I - we wouldn't wear it on a bet (well, I wouldn't), but make something for a little girl in love with princesses and pink...woo hoo! She'll actually wear it.

Miss P wouldn't wear it, however, because she is not into woolly things. Given that she lives in Minneapolis, it wouldn't hurt to have nice toasty socks, but Miss P is Miss P, and that's that. I'm not nutsy enough to make her socks that will never get worn. And Princessa Rosie? The yarn doesn't have sparklies so she wouldn't wear it either. Fussy kiddles. And the Benster and the Alexer? What, are you nuts? What boy would wear fuchsia pink?

As for the others, I'll let you guess. And you know that there's a lot more love going to happen. Just wait until the green month. I'm on a roll here. Maybe a hard roll, or a mushy Parker roll, but not a bagel. The vinegar has gotten to me, as you can tell. ;-)

If you've nothing better to do, take a look at my link to DIY planner (over on the right on the top). This is so cool. Organization is not my skill,and given that I was a librarian, that's surprising. My idea of organizing something is to make a nice neat pile somewhere. Hubbo does the same thing. Every now and then, we have company which means that the piles get put away, shoved under something, or plopped on the sun porch. So maybe I'll turn over a new leaf. Or not.

Deniasha - That's carrying pile organization too far. Those of us who are disorganized have a duty to others to continue in our downward slide towards slobbiness. Here's the thing: if you're neater than me, you can feel quite superior to me. That's pretty good, no? If you're sloppier than me, you can then look up to me. It's a win/win situation. But, if you are a major pita and entirely too neat, nobody will love you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Mommie eats and other news.

Heigh-ho, Heigh -ho, I've dyed some yarny-o.

That's it, my creative juices have just been used up. Here they are: Chelsea, Painted Desert and Water Garden.

Momster stories: I had lunch with the Mommie today. She looks so good. Happiness is hiring Deborah to get her up, help her shower and dress and get her out to the dining room. Otherwise the Mommie would be in bed forever. And she's eating! She says she has no appetite, but, for her, she's eating a fair amount.

She should really use her hearing aids, but she forgets to put them it, forgets to take them out, the batteries die in a day, and that's that. For someone who doesn't hear all that well, she does very well. When I visit for lunch, I pitch my voice so that the other elderly folks at the table can hear me. Plus, I often have a long distance conversation with people at neighboring tables.

A sad thing, though. One of the residents, a 96 year old cantakerous gentleman died on Monday night. I really liked him. He was always asking the Mommie to run away with him. She turned him down on a daily basis, her excuse being that she would have to get up early to run away, and she wasn't having anything to do with that! I liked his brusque manner and sense of humor. He and other guys at his table always came over to say hi to the Mommie, and ask how she was doing. The Mommie loves that kind of attention. Who wouldn't?

I got my new Jacquard dyes today. Nobody needs so many dyes. Trust me. There are some serious dye snobs out there who proudly announce that they make all their colors from blue, red, and yellow. So? I've done that too. Me, I like to play, and all those colors are play time for me. I figure you know that they will appear in future yarns. Burgundy, Ochre. I have an ochre passion. Emerald, mostly because I'm tired of making this one. And a bunch of others. Be afraid. Be very afraid. The Yarnarian is in dyeing mode!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Notes from a television snob.

The vertigo seems to be moving a bit slower. Hubbo says I'm dizzy enough anyway. Bad Hubbo, but funny. Thanks all for your sweet remarks.

Needless to say, I did no dyeing yesterday. I did get a bunch of blanks skeined up. So if I can manage it, I'll definitely dye later on today.

What's on your TV? With the writers' strike in full motion, the vast wasteland has become more ridiculous. I'm entranced with these gorgeous HD flat screen monitors, and would love to own one. But the thing is, TV programs are going to be just as useless as they are now. We watch almost exclusively PBS. I like any science show, Antiques Roadshow, any Brit sitcom (except for "Last of the Summer Wine"), Bill Moyer's Journal, and of course Masterpiece Theater and Mystery. I also watch our local PBS station's nightly news so that I have some idea of what's going on in NJ.

So, here's our secret vice: we love Deal or No Deal. I don't know why I get so sucked in into Deal, but I do. I mean, here's this premise that if you crouch down, and move your hands lower and lower, the case will contain $1. Boys and Girls, this is pure gambling. The only skill you need here is to know when to quit. Which nobody ever seems to know. You get the coaches, one of whom is intelligent and tells you to quit when you get to $256,000, and then the other two coaches who loudly tell you to keep playing, and when you knock out a large amount, tell you that it's ok. And then the contestant loses all intelligence, keeps playing, and goes home with $5000, which is a helluva lot less than the big offer. And the contestant always "knows" that her case contains $1,000,000. What, he/she has xray vision? Take the bloody terrific offer and quit! And this is why we watch this truly dopey show, because the drama is amazing, and we get to go into our ranting mode. 'Tis a good rant here.

The other dopey quiz show we love is One Against the Mob. At least here you have to answer some really tricky questions. I want to be in the mob.

We love House because House's character is so complex and awful. Hugh Laurie is one talented actor. I loved him in Bertie and Jeeves. Every now and then, in House, he does one of those facial things that are so funny.

And my favorite reality show, ok the only reality show I like, is The Biggest Loser. I'm mighty impressed with how hard it is to lose serious poundage, and how committed the participants are. This is the one reality show which is a win/win situation.

The Sock: I think I'm going to call this the Tink Sock, because I am doing a lot of tinking. But it is soooooo pretty. Clubbies - you're going to love me or hate me on this one.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The brain in my head goes round and round!

I have vertigo. As in, the brain in my head goes round and round! The room doesn't spin, inside my head does. Plus the gut is not happy. This is not a rant; this is a qvetch, a whine, a complain. On the positive side, I don't have to go to work. Oh frabjous day, calloo callay, I chortle in my joy! From Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky.

In the olden days of yore, when I felt like this, not sick enough to stay in bed, but certainly not well enough to go to work, I'd have to go to work anyway. You know, coverage, meetings, schedules and all that stuff. So since I've retired, I've felt quite healthy, and I forgot about the yuchiness factor. Well, today and yesterday, I've been under the weather, whatever that means. How can you be under the weather? Under the covers, ok, but the weather? In my reference librarian mode, I'd look up that phrase, but I'm feeling poorly, so I don't have to do it. This is a reverse qvetch: I'm finding the positives of the other side of grousing. Oh, Piffle to it all. It's mighty boring. There was a point to this paragraph, but darned if I remember what it was.

On the good news department. The computer is ready!!!!! My sweet Hubbo will pick it up tonight. As soon as everything is installed, I'm going to load up my new Knit Visualizer program.

I wanted to dye up some yarn today. If I feel more human, I'll try in the afternoon. I'm thinking of the following combinations:

1. teal, pink, blue and green.
2. yet another stab at recreating Rainbow Brown. Uh huh. Maybe.
3. green, white, brown
4. something with a dark lilac, because I have a new dye that I want to play with.
5. all of the above, none of the above.

Sock Club news: I have #2 of the socks almost finished. This one is a humdinger (do you hum while you ding?). Very easy in graph form. And then you start to knit it. You have to pay attention because the visual clues are not apparent. But whadda pattern! So, all of your non-clubbers get to say: "When do we get to see a pic?" Sometime after the second pkg has been mailed out. I have to tell you that this is a seriously lovely and irritating pattern. I finally had to resort to the scratch mark method because I couldn't tell where I was in the rows. But, wow, is it worth it.

Update: Do you think that my brain has gone south for a bit? I finished the above sock, cast on for the second one, worked about 1 inch when I discovered that somehow I had twisted it. OK, this hasn't happened in a gazillion years, but ok. Cast on again, counted my stitches, joined my stitches, worked the first round only to discover that I had cast on 2 few stitches. Did the same thing again only to discover that this time I had cast on 2 too many. Sigh. OK, it's time to put the needles down and do something else.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Basketweave Socks

New Pattern! Well, a lot of people have versions of this, but I like it very very much so here's my pattern!

Basketweave Socks

They look pretty, no matter if they are compressed or stretched to accommodate the foot..

Cuff down.
Gauge: 7.75 sts/inch
Double pointed needles, 2 circular needles, or magic loop needle – your choice. I use 2 circular needles.

Needle size to get my gauge: #1, 2.5mm. You use what works for you.

Yarn: sock weight yarn, approximately 300-400 yards, depending on how big or how long your foot is. A 4 oz skein ought to do it.

Instructions are for a 56 st. sock. If you have a larger foot, use 64 sts.

Pattern: multiple of 8.

Round 1: Knit this round and all alternate rounds.
Round 2: *K2, P5, K1* Continue in this pattern around the sock.
Round 4: Repeat round 2
Round 6: Repeat round 2
Round 8: *P3, K3, P2* Continue in this pattern around the sock.
Round 10: Repeat round 8
Round 12: Repeat round 8

Repeat these 12 rounds for the leg of the sock.

Cast on: 56 sts (64 sts) on whatever needle method you choose. Cast on over 2 needles held together, so that the sock will easily stretch over your foot. Make sure that you don’t twist the yarn. Join the stitches into a circle.

Divide your stitches so that each needle holds a multiple of 8. It’s just easier to knit this way.

Leg: Work a k2, p2 ribbing for 1 inch.
Work in pattern for desired length.

Heel: Arrange stitches so that half of the total stitches are on one needle, and the other half are on the other needle.
For a 56 stitch sock, you will have 28 sts on each needle on 2 circulars; for a 64 stitch sock, you will have 32 stitches on each needle.

Working on either 28 or 32 stitches only, on the heel side, slip the first stitch, and then purl back.

Heel pattern: Row 1: *sl 1, k1* across the row.
Row 2: sl 1, purl across

Proceed with these two rows until you have worked 28 (32) rows.

Turn heel: Row 1: On rt side, k15 (17), ssk, k1. Turn
Row 2: sl 1, p3, p2tog, p1. Turn
Row 3: sl 1, k4, ssk, k1. Turn
Row 4: sl 1, p5, p2tog, p1. Turn
Repeat these rows, always adding one more stitch to the center ones, until you have used up all the stitches. You should end up with 16 (18) stitches.

Heel gusset: On right side of sock, work across the heel stitches. Then pick up 14 (16) stitches. Knit or work in pattern across the instep (the front of the sock). Pick up 14 (16) stitches. In other words: work the gussets and sole of the sock in stockinette. The instep will either be in pattern or in stockinette. Your choice. If you work in pattern, you'll notice that you are one stitch off at the end of the pattern to make it completely symmetrical. It really doesn't matter, but if you want, you can add one stitch at the end of the instep, and then it will be even. Just remember to decrease that stitch when you get to the toe shaping.

To shape the gusset, you will work alternate dec and plain rounds.
Dec round: Work to 3 sts before the end of the back sts. K2tog, k1. Work the instep. Then, at the beginning of the back stitches, k1, ssk, and knit.

Plain round: Knit, working the instep either in pattern or stockinette.

Repeat these 2 rounds, decreasing one stitch at each end of the back stitches every other round until you have 56 (64) stitches left. You will have half of the stitches on one needle, and half on the other.

Foot: Work in pattern or in stockinette until foot is about 1.5 inches before the end.

If you've added that stitch to the instep, decrease it now.

Shape toe: Round 1: K1, ssk, work until 3 sts from the end of the needle, k2tog, k1. Repeat on the other needle.
Round 2: Work plain.

Work these 2 rounds until 10 sts remain on each needle. Finish the sock by grafting the stitches together using the Kitchener stitch.

Weave in your ends. Make the second sock.

P.S. I know. Graphs are so much better. I have a brand new graphing program but it's too advanced for the laptop. NOW you see why I can't wait to get the new hard disk? Well, it's a brainless pattern which you will figure out in a couple of repeats, so I don't feel too guilty.

Yes!!! We have turned the corner!!! Sunrise today was at 7:21!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yarns and Odds.

I had a yarnie day. I reskeined the yarns I had dyed yesterday, photographed them before and after reskeining, uploaded photos onto computer, downloaded the bloody photos to etsy and flickr, listed them plus a bunch of others on Etsy, and that took me all morning and into lunch time.

Why all this craziness? Because any year now, our computer with its new hard disc will be ready (if we live long enough), and then I'm all caught up with new yarns and pics, etc. This probably makes no sense to you, but when the damned computer died and I had to go to the oldest computer, I lost all the pics I had taken. Then when I switched to this one, our newer laptop, again the picture file didn't transfer. I suppose I could have saved and loaded with a thumb drive, but ye olde computere doesn't have such fancy goodies. Well, anyhow, I decided to list everything and now I'm done until I dye some more.

Two of the yarns were possible reserves, and one got rejected, which was ok. The buyer asked me to duplicate one of my Rainbow yarns, and I said I would try, but if she were not happy with the yarn, she was not obligated to buy. Rainbows are impossible to reproduce because I make them up as I go along, and that includes mixing the dyes. It's all off-the-cuff, and while that's what makes them fun to dye, it doesn't lend itself to duplication. I figured that if the buyer didn't want the yarn, someone else will. That's why I don't mind dyeing up a single skein as a reserve. As long as the buyer lets me know immediately so that I can take off the reserve, then it's fine with me.

BF (best friend) promptly called me up tonight because she wanted one of the yarns. I'm teasing her that she's going into sock orbit, from which there is no return. It's a strange addiction, this yarn and sock business.

So, listen to my dilemma. I want to join The Loopy Ewe's sock club. Why do I want to do this? I have more yarn than anyone needs, and I dye my own at a fraction of the cost of buying it. And, I have my own sock club. I don't need to join a sock club. Where in holy hell would I put the yarn, not to mention when would I knit it?
But I want it! Said with a major whine. nyeh. I must resist. Resistance had better not be futile.

We are heading up to Massachusetts this weekend for a bit of child visiting and grandchildren doting. The weather is supposed to be ok, so we figure that we better take advantage of no snow.

Sunrise today: 7:22 and Sunset was at 4:49.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

He's a guy. That's the bottom line.

Here's a life lesson for all you ladies: Never assume that your husband/significant other/partner will notice that your hair has been colored and cut and that you no longer look like the wild woman of Borneo. If the Other is male, the odds are that he won't notice, especially if he is a guy kind of guy. You can't assume that he will.

A metrosexual male will probably notice, but not a guy, particularly if he is an engineer/geeky guy. Women have been ranting about this ever since the dawn of time. We have ground our teeth in frustration, yelled and screamed that: "you never notice me", ranted and raved, complained to our girl friends, run home to mother, etc. It hasn't changed a thing. A guy is not going to notice. He also won't notice if you're wearing make-up, or a new outfit. He's not engineered to do that. He's a guy. That's the bottom line. This is a moment of Radical Acceptance. You're never, ever going to change him. So? Do you want him to change you? Nope. So why should you assume that you can do it?

Instead of making yourself crazy about this, you have to take positive action, a preemptive strike. Here's what you do. 1. The day before the hair appointment, tell him that tomorrow you're going to the beauty parlor. Tell him to write it on his hand, on his calendar, on his electronic thingy, anywhere where he will notice it. 2. The morning of your beautification, remind him again. 3. After you're once again gorgeous, call him up and remind him. 4. When you meet up at the end of the day and he doesn't say a thing, don't get mad. Tell him to look on his hand, calendar, electronic thingy. Then, if you're lucky, he'll get a look of wonderment on his face because he's actually remembered, and he'll tell you what a nice hair cut you have.

See, now you feel good again. He's made the appropriate comment, you've been complimented, and the world is once again safe for democracy.

A warning: This can backfire. A few months ago, I mistakenly told him that I had a hair appointment the next day. I had the date wrong; it was for the week after. I didn't call him to remind him because I was busy at work. So, I walked in the door, and Hubbo said: "Nice haircut, dear." Um, the hair had not been cut or colored, but he was on autopilot, and automatically complimented me. Did I get mad? Hell, no. I gently told him that I had the date wrong, but that I was glad he remembered. Poor guy, he'll never live it down. But the next week, did I get complimented!

This lesson also applies to birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Remind him. Many times. Ask him if he's gotten your present, card, whatever. Don't give him that female line that he should have remembered. It ain't gonna happen. But that's part of his charm; he really loves you for who you are, and not for your hair, clothing, etc.

New Yarns!: Secret Garden. This one has tiny speckles of lavender dye in it. Sometimes after the dye has settled, it develops these very small bits of undissolved dye. I usually filter it out, but occasionally I'll use it as is. It gives a kind of pretty effect on the yarn.

And Breeze, another speckled yarn.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Yarns for Yarnies by the Yarnarian!

Do you want to see some of my upcoming yarns? The answer is yes, of course, we'd love to see your new and upcoming yarns. Immediately if not sooner.

You are so polite. Well, since you pressured me, here are some goodies to be put on Etsy at various points.

1. Choco-mint Ice Cream

2. Toffee Brickle

3. Delft

Dinner: We're having home-made mac and cheese for dinner, made in the crock pot. And you put in the macaroni uncooked. I have some delicious gruyere and cheddar hanging around. Now to figure out how not to over salt this thing. Impossible, so we'll be extra careful on sodium tomorrow.

Sunrise, Sunset in my neck of NJ:

Sunrise is still 7:22. Sunset, however, is at 4:46. Hang in there, we'll have still longer days.

Tues. note: The mac 'n' cheese was very tasty, but lacked salt. Hubbo and I have gotten very used to no salt, but even with the cheese, it lacked that salty zip. It was very rich tasting, though. And mindlessly easy. I'll do it again, but will put in a bit of salt or some herbs to give it a lift.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Laundry, Sock Gremlins, and a Wonderful Buy

Peach Sherbet! A delicious, juicy peach at its peachiest perfection.

I dyed up 3 yarns today: the previously mentioned Choco-mint Ice Cream, Toffee Brickle, and The Secret Garden. They're drying in my bathroom, and looking mighty nice. We'll see how they look when they're dry and reskeined.

I used some of my new Wash Fast Acid dyes for these: spearment, chocolate, toffee, and mauve. Plus some nifty solutions left after the dye had been exhausted on other yarns. I find that these nameless wonders often add so much to the coloring. They're always fairly light because most of that dye has been taken up by the yarn, but just so pretty. And I feel virtuous not throwing perfectly good colors down the drain.

Coldwater Creek Moment: I should get a commission from them given my free advertising of their products! They're having a huge end-of-winter sale, and we wandered in this afternoon after making our way through our ranting town. I got 2 wonderful jackets for $59.99. List price for the 2 was $207. Is this a sale or what? Tuesday I'm meeting one of my coworkers for lunch, and I'm going to wear one of them. Would you believe that the jeans queen will actually look like a grownup lady? Shock, I tell you, shock and amazement!

I have so much laundry to do that I'm beside myself. Yup, that's me, standing beside me. Where does it all come from, huh? We are 2 clean adults, no kids, no cats, just us. So how come I have mounds of laundry? Do you think it multiplies over night? And this is not including sheets. Just clothing. And half the time I schlump around in my dyeing jeans, which never seem to get washed. Pretty soon they'll stand up by themselves. They don't look dirty, or smell or any other disgusting activity. This is getting to be a barfo conversation. Forget the dyeing jeans.

Back to the laundry. (Hey, I could produce a movie with that title: Back to the Laundry) I'm beginning to think that there's a shirt gremlin that duplicates Hubbo's shirts.

We know about the sock gremlin. He (it can't be a woman, 'cause we're just plain smarter about these things.) makes sure that all men's socks look exactly the same on the surface, but have minuscule differences which nobody sees. Like different ribbing or a slightly different color on the toe. I throw them all in a pile and let Hubbo do the sorting.

The sock gremlin is related of course to the dryer sock gremlin. You know the one: you put 16 socks into the dryer, and only 15 come out. Where does the lost one go? To sock heaven? Or maybe that's the lone sock that you find on a sidewalk, or wrapped around a telephone line. And how does it get to that telephone line?

An aside, dear reader: One year, on our annual trip to the Cape (as in Cod) we spotted a lone dirty white sock on the sidewalk somewhere in Harwichport. The next summer it was still there. What does that tell you?

Gentle Reader, these are questions for which there are no answers. Although I'd be happy to read any comments which further expand on the subject. My Ph.D dissertation: The trials and tribulations of socks. I'll give you credit for any thought on the subject that you might have. You could become my research assistants.

On this loony note, I'll close for the time being. Gotta do that bloody laundry. One further question: Why do the Brits think that "bloody" is not a nice word? Any Brits out there to enlighten me?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

We have pictures! Finally!

Ta Da! I have a computer that interfaces with my camera! OK, it's our sort of old laptop, but I'm thrilled. My main baby won't be ready for about 10 days. But this is just fine. Not as fast, but I am NOT complaining or even ranting. I'm in wise mind, and am just happy that it's working. Yes!

I actually uploaded some yarn pics onto the computer and also onto Flickr, and then I listed 2 yarns on Etsy. With pics. How can I possibly sell yarn without pictures of said yarn? But now we have liftoff. OK, enough of the picture story. I've done this one to death.

The Benster 2nd birthday party was a lot of fun. An entire house of munchkins two and under and their parents. It was pretty wild. You had to keep looking down so as not to step on a kidlet. The other Grandparents were there (there are 3 sets of us), and we all chatted with each other about how cute the little ones were. And then, one by one, the 2 year olds began to disintegrate. It was nap time for them, so home they went. A cute giggly moment.

More non-exciting news: I got my dye shipment from Pro-Chem today. Yes, I can probably produce all those colors myself, but this is sooooo easy. I have new guys like chocolate, spearmint, mauve, etc. I feel a yarn called choco-mint ice cream coming on.

Knittivritti - You haven't lived until you've danced with a niddy noddy in one hand and yarn in the other. Either the reskeining was wacko, or the dancing was confused. I think the treadmill is a lot easier!

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Reskein Queen, aka Wonder Yarnarian!

That's me. I reskeined 6 skeins today. Which doesn't sound like much, but is in fact a bit of time consumed.

At the same time, I listened to a CD of Loreena McKennitt. And, because reskeining is not exactly the most exciting thing on the face of the earth, I danced to the music.
And that's why I'm Wonder Yarnarian! Listening to music, dancing, reskeining all at the same time. Multitasker Woman! Aerobics, culture, and yarn all together. And periodically pausing to imbibe some tea. 'Twas a brillig morning. And I knitted in the afternoon.

Results of the reskeining are final names for the yarns which I cannot show you because of that bloody computer/camera issue. (Complain, grouse.) Here are the names; you get to guess the colors:

1. Cinderella
2. Breeze
3. Peach sherbet
4. Miss P.
5. Mystery one for sock club. I love this one to death. And it's mine!
6. Pebbles and sand

I got a phone call from Miss P. today. She got her fancy soap in the mail, the one shaped like a waffle with syrup and 2 pats of butter on top. She was tickled pink over it, and told me that it even smelled like waffles with syrup. That's one cute little kid. We decided that she would write me a letter (probably a couple of lines), and enclose a picture (she tells me that she knows how to frame it), and I would write her back. She's caught on to reading, and now is leaping forward with it.

Tomorrow is the Benster's 2nd birthday party. We'll probably be put to work dealing with the food, etc. I think they are going to have a crowd, so we are ready to help any way we can. The Benster is madly in love with trains, and especially Thomas the Engine trains. We should have a grand time.

Shameless commerce news: My sock club is sold out!!! I set a top limit of 12, and 14 signed up. Wow! I know what I'm going to do with the first two yarns, and I have a good idea for the last one. The first sock is designed and I'm almost done with the foot. I like it: it's easy but does take a bit of attention, has a couple of patterns. In short, you won't get bored knitting it, but neither will you pull out your hair in despair.

Sunrise: 7:22 am
Sunset: 4:43 pm

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside!

Oh, the weather outside is freezing,
And the winds, they are a-breezing.
As long as I've no place to go,
The temperature can go down low.

Winter has hit New Jersey. Not Minnesota winter, but good old cold NJ winter. And my sock club's theme is Cape Cod, and I want to be there, but in the late spring. OH, I need spring! Methinks I have a long way to go.

I dyed 4 yarns today. Tentative names are: Cinderella (rose and ash gray), fruit soup (a softly blended peaches, mangoes, oranges), a so-far nameless one because I haven't thought of a good one ( in spruce green, blue, a touch of violet,and a bit of white), and a top applicant for one of my sock club's yarns (and therefore to be secret).

Someday my hard disk will come. And then we load it up, and then, maybe, the pictures can appear again.

I also ordered some dyes from Pro-Chem. Washfast in a bunch of colors. I can make most of these myself, but not having to reinvent the wheel each time I want to dye seems very nice to me. And yesterday I ordered some more Jacquard dyes. I'm about to be awash in color heaven. All these colors bring out the kid in me. It's like getting a brand new box of Crayola Crayons.

Sunrise: 7:22. Sunset: 4:22. Notice that we're slowly moving forward. Sunrise has been the same for a few days, but sunset is getting later.

That's all the news that's fit to print.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Rants are your friends.

Do you rant? Hubbo and I do it all the time. It's called "creative qvetching", also known as "complaining for the fun of it". We have raised ranting to a fine art. We rant about politics, religious nutcases, certain stores, towns. You name it; we can rant about it.

Here's our favorite rant. There's a town about 1/2 hour away from us. It's a lovely drive there, there's a Coldwater Creek store just outside the town's downtown (there are NO rants about CC!) OK, this town used to have some lovely gift shops, and interesting stores to wander through. All very small but charming. Well, most of them are gone to be replaced with stores with bunnies with long ears in them, stores with overpowering candles, boring jewelry stores, etc. You get the picture. Hell, you probably like these stores; they're very popular. But we are not amused. So every time we drive through the town (usually on the way to Coldwater Creek), we have our rant: "Blank (the name of the town) is not what it used to be." That's it. The entire rant. And then we enjoy wandering through the town, occasionally ranting, but happily enjoying ourselves. And when we leave, we rant again just for good measure.

Speaking of Coldwater Creek, and I am always speaking of Coldwater Creek, I just love CC! The clothes fit, are pretty, and I don't look like mutton dressed up as lamb (now that phrase requires much ranting). I am, in their clothing, a size 4 in pants, and an extra small in the tops. And I'm petite (shrimpo as Hubbo says). Perfect going-to-work clothing. Get ready, here comes a rant! I'm retired, as in I don't go to work any more! So what am I going to do with all their gorgeous jackets and skirts. I live in jeans, nice jeans, but jeans nonetheless. No sweats, I have NOT gone down to that level. Yet. I have an entire wardrobe of lovely professional wear. I don't need any new CC clothing, but I want some (read that with a whine in your voice). Is this not a great rant?

Sunrise, sunset. Not the song, silly.

Sunrise today was at 7:22 AM, and sunset was at 4:41.

No new pictures until our new hard disk arrives at Staples and is installed. Oh well, hardly worth ranting over.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope 2008 will bring us good health, happiness, financial security, and yarn, and more yarn, and great knitting projects, and more yarn!

We had our usual quiet New Year's Eve: I made a lovely chicken dinner, coconut rice and my favorite veggie, Niblets Corn. It was a monochromatic moment. I tend to make all meal components all the same color. It's a family joke. The chicken was a saute of chicken, garlic, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce, with Penzey's Bangok blend sprinkled on top. Looked boring, tasted wonderful. Here's what I used for the coconut rice: a coconut powder, all dried with not fat, cholesterol or sodium. We buy it at the big Chinese market on Rt. 10. The corn didn't go at all with the rest of the dinner, but I had a yen for it. So there. And Mallowmars for dessert. Don't laugh, that is one tasty bit of junk food. I really should have used soy sauce instead of the Worcestershire, but we ancient folks are at the watching fat, cholesterol and sodium stage. Yes my little chickadees, this is life in the 60's. So? And yeah, sometimes we look for early bird specials. Gasp! Horrors! My kids think this is hilarious. And it really is.

New Year's day, we have our annual dopey movie and dinner at the local diner tradition. We go, of course, with Best Friend and Hubby. The boys behave badly, and we laugh a lot. This year's dumb movie will be National Treasure.

Elder DD, who is entirely too intelligent, despairs of our cinema taste. She likes meaty films that I never quite understand. Although Hubbo and i really enjoyed Pan's Labyrinth. Generally, we have to be dragged kicking and screaming to see cultured movies. We even like good cartoon movies (sigh). Dearest Stepson recommended this flick, and he's usually on the money. BTW, I have the nicest kids and step kids in the world, but that's for another post.

Yesterday's post is whacked out re. photos. For reasons that I don't get, the pics are not showing up on part of the blog. Beats me why.

Our main, wonderful, fast computer died yesterday at 4:30 am. Let's have a moment of silence for its demise. Fortunately our drive is under warranty, so we're in luck here. We should have the new one all installed and happy by the end of the week. So now I'm reduced to the s l o w e s t computer going. With no pics loading up, although Hubbo thinks he can get that going. Yay, Hubbo!

That's it for the moment. Enjoy your day.


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