Monday, December 31, 2007

Courtesy of Anna-Liza

Marin said you were the kind of person who loves holiday sweaters. Really loves them. Like you would wear a fuzzy felt reindeer on your chest in July with a pair of khaki shorts and sun visor. Get your holiday sweater fix, create your own and see what Marin knitted up here.

I think the sense of circle and symmetry in this sweater truly speaks to the rounding out of the holiday season.

And I love that the website is "we love holiday sweaters.we hate sheep."

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Do You Know What Time It Is?


But we'll get back to our blogtitle in a moment. Now it's time to do something we haven't done in a long time: Lick the Pig!

[SUMMARY: You are so excited right now.]

Let me tell you a little car tale: my little car has expired plates. Like, four months worth of expired. I didn't know. Usually, the City and County of Denver will send a notice and I can send a check and they will, in turn, send my new stickers. Turns out they're "running really far behind" this year.

So I went to pick up Genius Sarah at the airport Wednesday night. Through a series of hilarious mishaps worthy of the three stooges,§ I had to circle around three times before actually connecting with her.

On the final approach, one of the police officers stationed at passenger pick-up to keep terrorists from loitering directed me into an empty space by the United door.

"I need to go down to Air Canada," I yelled out the window.

He directed me again.

"No... you see, my friend is waiting for me at Air Canada."

He pointed at the blank spot by the curb.

"Air Canada! Way down there!"

He gestured emphatically with both arms.

I huffed and probably rolled my eyes and swerved into the space.

The cop came to the window and said, "Why were you yelling at me?"

"Because I didn't think you could hear me."

"I pulled you over because your license plates are expired. Could you hand me your registration and proof of insurance?"

"Oh. Yes."

Because everything except the license plate was in order, he let me go with a warning and a lecture about how very inconvenient and stupid it would be to get a parking ticket for expired plates.

"Now tell me, young lady, why didn't you pull over when I told you to?"

"I didn't know you were pulling me over. I thought you were directing traffic and directing me somewhere I didn't want to be."

"Go pick your friend up at Air Canada."

"Thank you."

Yesterday morning, about six blocks from the office, I noticed a cop behind me and a lane over. As I was operating outside the law, I started to get nervous. Sure enough, like a raindrop to a freshly-waxed car, he pulled in behind me. And followed me for six blocks. And pulled me over right in front of the office.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"

I briefed him on my airport trip and he let me off with a warning and his business card.#

Y'all may have noticed we (until yesterday, I thought it was mostly just me) spend a certain amount of time gazing out our giant office windows at cranes, billboards, fashion disasters... the dinner theatre that is downtown.

Can you see where this is going?

When I finally stumbled in to the office, Hans greeted me with a cheery, "So what happened out there, you hardened criminal? Doesn't look like you got a ticket."

Of course, the client was watching out her window and said to Hans, "I can't believe this cop is going to pull someone over in this weather."

"Hey... that's Marin's car!"

[SUMMARY: All the world's a stage, all the Mini Coopers merely players.]

Speaking of quotation marks, I found a doozy of a sign in the Kaiser Permanente pharmacy Wednesday. I wish I'd had my camera, but I had to settle for taking very careful notes so I could share with y'all.

Yeah, you don't get any weird looks% at the clinic when you start copying instructional signs.

Punctuation, format and capitalisation [sic]. Very [sic]:

If your Name is "NOW" on the
"Name Board"
or you are "Handicapped"
Please "WAIT HERE", Until
"CALLED" to the Counter for Service
*Thank You*

[SUMMARY: Spectacular!]

Speaking of window-watching, this billboard showed up a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving.

We didn't get to watch them put it up, which was bad enough, but it's still the same old billboard now for over a month.

Apparently Keystone has more money than M&M/Mars. At least I'm not craving chocolate every hour of the day anymore.

[SUMMARY: Advertisers have my number. I am sucker, once again.]

And speaking of window-watching, it must've sucked to be this guy yesterday:

I told Hans it would suck even harder if the parking lot guy came along with his clipboard and enforced the "no free parking EVER!" rule and gave him a ticket.

Funnier, too.

[SUMMARY: Seriously, a LOT of Comedy Central over the weekend. I think in punchlines.]

Partly I just like the composition of this picture, partly I find it a fine segueway into my next piglickable subject, which is the Return of the Snow Guys.

You may remember the Snow Guys from last year.

This is either a new crew or new methodology,†† but not much less annoying.

[SUMMARY: Here it comes, friends: the Bitch of the Day!]

There are no machines this year, so I don't get the joy of listening to the snowblower run for two straight hours up and down right in front of my house, only to look out and see a guy plodding along behind a creature blowing absolutely no snow off a perfectly dry sidewalk.

Last night, there were at least two crews of four guys on this job for upwards of eight hours.

I first heard them scrape and clang at 10:30, just as I was turning off the lights to go to bed. And they woke me up at 12:30, 2:10 and 4:30. I finally got up at 4:30,‡‡ madder than all get-out. They were still puttering around when I left at 6:15.

I want to stress here that our little neighbourhood is less than nine square blocks and less than seven blocks of sidewalk. No driveways to shovel.

I would also like to stress that I could clear the whole fucking neighbourhood with a garden trowel in eight hours.

At 4:30, I peeked through my blinds in classic "you kids get off my lawn!" preamble and saw four guys standing right at the foot of my stairs, talking. When people talk in that loud, laughing social way in the street, I can hear it in my house.§§ One guy was twirling his snow shovel on one point of the blade. Sometimes, he'd lose control and it would clatter to the ground.

Then the supervisor, who had been driving by every half-hour all night to inspire a round of, "Hey, Manny!" drove by and there was a brief, shouted exchange. The shovel ballerina got bored and began BOUNCING THE SHOVEL ON THE BOTTOM STEP, which sounded like a slow jackhammer.

I was trying^ to put on sweats, practice my irate phone call to the management company and compose the story for blogging when they stopped breaking and started shoveling. Again. They shoveled my stairs and porch for the THIRD time.

It WASN'T SNOWING last night.

Can you tell the level of perturb by the number of capital letters? Oh, yeah. I'm a lot of fun when you wake me up at 4:30 in the morning.

[SUMMARY: Breezy.¶¶]

Let's lighten it up,## shall we?

Hans and I went to Wahoo's for lunch and I spied this on the light over our table:

Let's zoom in:

[SUMMARY: Funny on so many levels.]

Finally, I'd like to share my entry in Cheryl's Holiday Cheer Christmas Lights Contest:

I saw this on my way home one day last week.

View from the left

View from the centre

View from the right

I didn't actually go in and browse around their yard, at least partly because the letter posted above that sign asked that donations be made to their mission in lieu of giving money to support their light show. I can think of about a dozen ways a meeting in the Kisling's yard could go haywire for me.

[SUMMARY: Christmas if for the light of heart.†††]

I'm going for coffee.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): I think I'm clever.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): That's quotes as in "quote," not quotes as in "euphemism."

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): I'm Larry, Moe and Curly all wrapped up in one bungling package.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): I know I shouldn't. Sometimes I can't help it. My inner teenaged brat is too strong.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): And by, "you," I mean, "I."

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): I had the fleeting moment of self-flattery when I mused he might be hitting on me. I had the more practical moment of self-preservation when I decided I'd flash his business card in case I got pulled over again, hoping the evidence that I'd just been warned would inspire another cop to leave me alone. I'll let you know how that works out.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): I fancy the management company may actually have listened to the myriad complaints (and death threats... more importantly, threats of lawsuits) about last year's snow removal debacle.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Hence, the blogtitle.

§§FOOTNOTE (snakey!): And your thumpy, thumpy car stereos, oh you kings of Chihuahua perpetrating the stereotype.

^FOOTNOTE (careted): It was so walking-while-chewing-gum.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (two snow shovels, bouncing in the night): Brother is laughing. See, years back I put a very brief message on my vmail -- I maintain that a lot of the standard, "I can't take your call, leave a message, I'll get back to you, have a nice day" is understood and a waste of time -- and Brother told me I sounded bitchy. I was truly crestfallen, because, as I told him, I'd been going for "breezy." Now every time I get snappish, he looks at me and says, "Ooooh. Breezy."

##FOOTNOTE (pounding like a two-day migraine): Ha! Pun!

†††FOOTNOTE (triple threat!): Seriously. I think I'm funny. Because I think puns are funny.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Very AntiM Christmas

First, because this is still, above all, a knitblog, some knitting:

The top three are graduated bowls, based on Leigh Radford's pattern in "One Skein."

The pattern is written in two sizes, one with a cast-on of 45 stitches and one with a cast-on of 55 stitches. That would be the yellow one and the purple one, respectively.

For the red one, I cast-on 65 stitches.

On the bottom, you may recognise the Lint Bowl, felted and felted again. It was 75 stitches. Some of the blue flecks became part of the bowl, some still hung around in the halo.

As you can see, they weren't nearly uniform. In a perfect world, Leigh Radford would have told me which Glad bowl to buy to block these suckers on. I settled for a sort of frankincense-gold-myrrh look I think is appropriate to the season.

I nested them, still damp, and stuffed them in a box for eBeth the SIL for Christmas. I told her that she could shape them any way she wanted while they were still wet -- could even soak them and do it all her way to start with.

One of them is now a very oblong napkin holder.

[SUMMARY: Do-it-yourself presents. Brilliant.]

I won't make you wade through the roughly 200 pictures I took of the nephews, but will treat you to a random sampling of the weirdness that is the family of AntiM:

That's me on the bottom. Brother said, "Can I write my name on your forehead?"


"Can I write my name on your nose?"


"Can I write my name on your cheeks?"


"Can I write my name on your ears?"


"Can I write my name on your arm?"





Five days and four showers later and I still have little blue ink flecks on my arm.

[SUMMARY: I am one with the Lint Bowl.]

The smallest bowl became B-Cat's house of pain. B-Cat was adorned, then escaped, only to be hatted again and sadly resigned to the hellish prison that is her life on Christmas:#

I got several lovely gifts, of course, but the one I find most blogworthy is this:

Yeah, look closer:

Brother tells me the Deluxe Skull has a lot more dissection capability. Mostly, this one spontaneously loses teeth.††

Brother also tells me it's made in China, so I probably shouldn't lick it.

[SUMMARY: Listen to those who know and love you.]

I have to relate a little my-nephew-did-the-cutest-thing story to you.

Dr. Doom was so excited watching me open the present he gave me. Before I even had the first flap of wrapping paper loose, he said, "It's a frame I picked out myself with a picture of me..."

"Really? I can't wait to see..."

"...a naked picture."%


And sure enough. Little naked Dr. Doom paddling his feet in the water. It's all very tasteful and the salient bits are out of view, but definitely a naked three-year-old.

eBeth had picked out one where he was apparently roaring at the camera and tried to talk him into that as wholly appropriate, but he was having none of it. So she put her version behind the naked picture in case I should want to maybe rotate them.

I don't know that I ever intend to rotate them.¶¶

[SUMMARY: The most Marin gift of all...]

The nephews had a pretty good Christmas morning in their new AntiM shirts.

And I love my nephews, but the best thing about Christmas morning before the drinking began was Retarded Hand-knit Superhero Puppet Theatre:

Batman: "Dude, you're wearing a skirt."

Spiderman: "At least I have a spider on my chest. You have a scary, mighty triangle. Ooooooh..."

B: "And where are your arms?"

S: "One of your ears is floppy."

B: "And your legs?"

Spiderman didn't really have a leg to stand on,‡‡ so Retarded Hand-knit Batman turned his witty wiles to Big Yellow Grappling Batman.

RHKB: "Yellow? What kind of colour is that for a superhero?"

BYGB: "Is that a triangle on your uniform?"

RHKB: "Uh... Yellow?"

BYGB: "Shut up."

[SUMMARY: Theatre of the Absurd.]

I got many tiny bottles of alcohol in my stocking, and this small bottle of what I hope is champagne, and not -- as it may be -- champagne-flavoured soda. Which sounds ghastly.

Then Brother and eBeth and the Nephs left for Pennsylvania and I stayed in bed and read almost all day Sunday and Monday. I was going to clean house. Really.

[SUMMARY: The best-laid plans of mice and Marin...§§]

It snowed on Christmas. Really, really snowed. This may not impress you, but it has never, ever in the history of Marin really snowed on Christmas. I even looked up the statistics, and, while there have been times in memory when there was snow on the ground on Christmas, those years brought only 0.2 inches of snow.

Prior to 2007, the deepest snowfall ever recorded in Denver was 1.7 inches in 1912. One-point-seven-inches, 19-fucking-12.##

So, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

WEATHER UPDATE: It's snowing like the Third Circle of Hell here, so Denver is closed.

[SUMMARY: I'm goin' home.]

FOOTNOTE (crossed): I really wanted to make the purple one the big one, since purple's my favourite colour, but I decided to go with what eBeth might want rather than my own selfish taste. It's another Christmas miracle.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): And I will insist to my death that I *meant* it to be that way. I'll do that right before I whisper, "darjeeling" and gasp my last breath.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Wondering how long this can possibly go on.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Wondering whether to risk life and limb on a possible bluff.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Don't let her fool you too bad. She ate her own weight in kitty treats that night.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): Which is mostly OK because it came with a baggie of bonus replacement teeth.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

§§FOOTNOTE (like implants on a porn star): A line I used some time last week and Brother accused me of waiting all day to use it. Might as well get some mileage out of it.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): My father, not too long ago, while watching Dr. Doom do something weird, turned to my brother and said, "You don't deserve this. Your sister, maybe, but you don't deserve this." Weirdity* and exhibitionism may skip... sideways? in the gene pool.

*FOOTNOTE WITHIN A FOOTNOTE: Because Brother is so, y'know... normal. (Where is the eye-rolling emoticon?)

¶¶FOOTNOTE (two of clubs): And I would so love to share that picture with you, but if I didn't get taken down on To Catch a Predator, I worry I'd become a very popular NAMBLA target. Once again, the line between art and pornography is blurred and trampled.

##FOOTNOTE (gaining pounds all the time): For emphasis, you know.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Spice Up Your Christmas

Oh, another provocative title from the elves here at AntiM Industries.

Y'all are going to be so disappointed. No sex AT ALL under that banner.

[SUMMARY: I'm a tease wielding a hammer of doom.]

No, I'm mostly leading in to an anecdote designed to bridge the long bloggap, because I'm mostly still on vacation here in my head and I have no idea where my camera is, so I can't provide you with the pictures you so rightly crave.§

[SUMMARY: I'm a psychic wielding a hammer of vivid imagination.]


Brother and I, as I mentioned, have created a tradition of cooking and drinking on Christmas day,# providing our family with nourishment, entertainment and more than a little fear.

Certainly there is fear enough of two drunkards whirling around the kitchen, singing Sisters of Mercy songs and brandishing paring knives and hot oil, but we realised Saturday that they have one more -- possibly greater -- reason to fear us as chefs: we are clearly out to harm them.

Oh, it's *probably* unintentional, *most likely* subconscious, but a clear pattern nonetheless.

The year of Jamaican menu, I have a vague memory†† of Brother and I saying, "Half a teaspoon of Scorchingly Hot Island VooDoo Death Spice? That doesn't sound like much. Let's use a quarter-cup."

And so a tradition is born.

[SUMMARY: I'm a sentimentalist wielding a hammer of fire.]

We also had last year's Thai fiasco, which I distinctly remember‡‡ came because we didn't use the recipe to make our own Thai red curry paste, so we didn't know how much of the little Thai curry jar to use.

"Hmmm," I said, sticking a little blob of Thai red curry paste in my mouth, "try this. It isn't all that hot... what do you think? Three tablespoons?"

I used the leftovers as a sort of Thai curry concentrate to add small amounts to new, unspiced batches. It was perfect all watered down like that.

This year we made a sweet potato-jalapeno-chile hash from Fine Cooking magazine.

Now, you may say, "AntiM, whyever did you make something with the word 'jalapeno' right in the title, given this propensity for torching the mouths and sinuses of those you love?"

Well, children, the answer is simple: we didn't really put two and two together until after this year's inferno.

But, really, even if we'd noticed, I think you have to take into account that two points of reference just draw a line. You need at least three points to draw a conclusion.§§

[SUMMARY: I am a philosopher wielding a hammer of geometry.]

We couldn't quite trace what went wrong this year. We agreed that we removed almost all of the seeds from the jalapenos. And, really, with the seeds gone, a jalapeno is just this side of a bell pepper.

Later, I realised that at some point, SIL mentioned that the smoked chiles we were using were equal to twice fresh. In other words, the recipe called for 3/4 cup of fresh chiles, so we should be using half that¶¶ in our recipe.

I vaguely remember Brother saying, "I think we just throw all we have here in. Are you with me?"

[SUMMARY: I am Muninn, completely failing to wield a hammer of Huginn.##]

Good grief, I'm chatty today. Maybe tomorrow will bring more pictures and less words.

Or at least a fair share of simple sentences.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Elves who have spent the better part of a year talkin' saucy, pushing your prurient buttons and apparently setting you up for this little holiday disappointment.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): And as Ron White says, if I'd known the difference between anecdote and antidote when I was a kid, my friend Bob Snyder would still be alive. I watched a LOT of Comedy Central over the last four days.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): This is my mental image, anyway. I figure for every picture, that must be a thousand less words you have to slog through.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): The self-referential linking is getting a little ridiculous, don't you think? I mean, just look down a few lines and there you are at the linked (and now footnoted) mention. I'm going for the record here, folks.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Or whatever passes for Chrismas day -- this year, it was Saturday, the 22nd.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): They're all vague when you go through two bottles of Bailey's and assorted tiny bottles of stuff in the cupboard.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Yeah, I know what I said in the last footnote. Maybe it's the time element more than the rum element.

§§FOOTNOTE (a veritable whirlpool of curvy): And next to the word "equivocate" in the dictionary, there's a picture of Brother and me... probably looking startled and more than a little warm in the face.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (a pair of clubs): Or 3/8 cup, for those of you scoring at home.

##FOOTNOTE (pounded like a chicken cutlet): Yeah, I'm showing off. It's one of those darjeeling-means-land-of-the-thunderbolt trivia bits I'll probably be spouting on my deathbed. It'll be very Citizen Kane.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Short-Timing in a Big, Hard Way


I'm twelve -- I not only posted the mildly provocative title, it made me giggle.

So the office will be closing shortly and I will be free for a few days. Oh, I'll probably post a couple of FOs that I couldn't show you until the Christmas recipients had a chance to see them, surprises unspoiled by blog revelation, but it'll probably be pretty quiet around the AntiMiverse for the next four or five days.

Well, except for tomorrow, when Brother and I will be doing our annual Drunk Cookfest. It used to just be about the drinking, but we added cooking for the family as a sort of community service element that could buy us some good behaviour time with the lush police.§

I only wish y'all could've seen us when we were on Antarctica, siblings alone in the wilderness, drinking Bailey's by the gallon and doing our now-patented Mom-and-Dad Dance to Robert Plant's "SSS&Q."

Merriest and warmest and happiest and healthiest of holiday seasons to you all.

You know I love you all and I couldn't be bothered to keep doing this so... prolifically... if it wasn't for the inspiration, compliments, laughs, support, checks and balances y'all provide.#


FOOTNOTE (crossed): Well, provocative if you're twelve.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): I know it's self-centred and stuff, but I kinda love that word.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Nowadays we have right up until the point where we're actually scaring the children.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): A dance to honour Mom and Dad. Not an interpretive dance about Mom and Dad or, heaven forbid, a spoof dance to make fun of Mom and Dad.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): And the ongoing support of my ongoing twelvehood.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Have an Early Christmas Present for You!

So Sarah asked if my Loveable, Furry Ol' Pal Scarf has superpowers, so I had to Google just to see what the scarf may have in common with its namesake.§

Guess what I found?


Use it in good health.

And Merry Christmakwanzukkahstice to you and yours.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Super Grover, dontcha know.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Because this is a heavily researched, journalistically sound blog. Except when it occasionally isn't. Besides, my vast need for research is what brought me to the very interesting fact that you can spell this word either way: lovable or loveable. You're welcome.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Also, where I might find a Super Grover helmet to embellish the scarf.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): a Wikia Wiki. Wacka wacka wacka.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WIP It Good!

How many times do you suppose that's been used as a blogtitle?

I may not be original, but I am knitting.

[SUMMARY: Still a knitblog!]

I am knitting convertible fingerless gloves for a Christmas present. As I think the recipient doesn't read the blog, but may be inclined to Google themselves on a regular basis, I'm not mentioning names.

This is the Brooks Farm Duet I got a Rhinebeck. But, y'know... as gloves.

Note the two-at-once action. I am such a rock star.

Sylvia, far more the rock star, has been whipping up project bags in her vast spare time. I got one of the first. To prototype. And let her know how it all works out.

She's so kind to let me think I'm product testing when we all know I just got a bonus prize.

And note how nicely it matches the Brooks Farm gloves.

Actually, now that I think about it, I was going to title this post, "On Beyond Dick Warmers,"% but I forgot. In any case, here are the ongoing Father's Day socks, ready to start the Arrrgyle pattern that will keep them from being just another pair of fingering-weight, men's size 12 teal socks with purple toes.

[SUMMARY: Niche knitting.]

I also have some fibre acquisitions I thought I'd share.

First, this Chameleon Colorworks, which I don't really like. It was part of their sock club, then the were offering limited quantities for sale along with a pattern. I *really* like the pattern, but couldn't buy it by itself, so I had to get the gross yarn.

It's very soft, as Chameleon Colorworks yarn is wont to be, but these colours? I can't imagine a grey and yellow combo that will ever trip my trigger.

And here is another sock club bust, this one a sock club to which I actually belonged: the Fearless Fibers Seven Deadly Sins sock club.

Out of seven, I'd say there were two colourways I simply didn't like. One, Gluttony, was the weird faded Milky Way colour that was supposed to evoke rich caramel and tempting chocolate. I think a little judicious overdyeing can make it palatable.§

Actually, this one is remarkably like the Gluttony, but with more yellow. More yellow is rarely going to trip my trigger.

Besides, this is Greed. What about this says "greed" to you?

As the final shipment in the club, it came with a pattern... an acorn lace sock. The explanation was that squirrels are greedy for acorns and this sock has acorns and the yarn is reminiscent of squirrels and acorns, therefore the yarn is Greed.

Yeah, I thought that was stretching it too.

[SUMMARY: Maybe AntiM should dye her own damned yarn.]

There is some nice yarn I've purchased recently, though.

After fondling the Hacho# at A Knitted Peace for weeks, I finally broke down and got a couple. The colour is called Coral Reef. The yarn feels nice -- a lot like Louets Opal -- but the put-up is only 137 yards, which means it's a short pair of socks.

I think this is an error in marketing on Mirasol's part. Put-ups this small require, at minimum, a lot of joining and end-weaving and most knitters I know are notoriously averse to joining and/or end-weaving.

But the yarn is pretty. I can wear short socks for pretty yarn.

This just in! Last night at Sylvia's House of Fuzzy Crack, I discovered this new yarn:††

It's Plymouth Happy Feet. It, too, feels a lot like Louets Opal.

My reason for buying it? "I don't have this colour yet."

Yeah, I'm a sock yarn whore. It's true. Not as much as some people, but I definitely whore to the side of sock yarn.

Besides, this is very reasonably priced vis-a-vis what I normally pay for sock yarn, so it's actually saving me money. Heck, if I buy another ten or twelve skeins, I'll have saved enough for that pony I've been wanting.‡‡

And, finally, a lonely little FO that's been F'd for weeks:

It's my Lovable, Furry Ol' Pal scarf knit of three skeins of Schulana Feeling, knit on size 11 needles in garter stitch.

This would be one of those purchases (like the Hacho) that was doomed to be. I fondled it, I nuzzled it. I asked Sylvia, "Syl, what would you make with this?"

"Syl, how do you think this knits up?"

"Syl, how many balls would you use for a scarf?"

"Syl, what would you make with this?"

After several repetitions, Sylvia said, "You know you're going to buy the yarn, Marin. Why don't you just get it?"

[SUMMARY: Home is where they know your foibles.]

It does knit up pretty cool, doesn't it?

FOOTNOTE (crossed): At The Family Christmas Party, my cousin Mike was shocked to find I actually knit. He thought all that "still a knitblog" stuff was just part of the schtick. It was then I realised how long it had been since I'd focused on knitting for a post.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Lest you think I've lost my humble little self, please note I am self-snarking because I've seen me trying to figure out which end is the pinkie and which is the thumb. And I've seen me trying to untangle the pile of circs and fingers and yarn tails with my brow furrowed, my tongue sticking out and the damned cat chasing the two circs around my lap. Oh, yeah... so very rock star.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): Based on a true story: the quote from my brother that he loves heels... not for the same reason I love heels (magic!), but because once you have a heel, the piece ceases to be just a dick warmer.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Ha! Pun!

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): And heaven knows I need my trigger tripped right about now.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Which sounds kinda dirty, but that's not why I brought you down here. See, I have a very specific method for yarn-buying. Either I know exactly what I'm going to knit and I go in search of the yarn that will fill that bill or I fondle the yarn, sniff the yarn, talk about the yarn, ask questions about the yarn, frequently carry the yarn around the store for an hour and put it back, but eventually buy the yarn. Weeks later. After several visits to the yarn. Once I've invested myself in several of those steps, it's well nigh inevitable that the yarn will be coming home with me. Just maybe not for a couple of weeks. It's not efficient, but it works for me.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): Well, new to Sylvia's shop... maybe not new to the world in general.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Have you seen the pony commercial? Where some of the girls get cool cell phones and The Network and the other girl gets the rabid pony? I love that commercial.

The management of the Rickety Blog would like to assure you there is other knitting going on that can't be revealed in the interest of preserving the Christmas surprise. Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The AntiM Family Christmas Party

Saturday was our Family Christmas Party.

Thirty years ago my grandfather died right around Christmas. Legend has it his wake was the advent of the Family Christmas Party.

There was probably tequila involved.^

There was definitely Mom involved.

These two factors in conjunction would generate a predictable outcome: when irresistible Christmas force meets unmovable margarita object, far-ranging traditions are born.

[SUMMARY: Your family does it their way, my family does it Mom's way.]

Besides, the family group had been a nice, manageable dozen or so, but branches of the tree were coming back to roost and Christmas presents for everybody would be prohibitively expensive.

Besides, Mom *really* liked Christmas.$

So they% came up with the idea of (basically) an heirloom generator.

Each person would make a set of ornaments or a wreath or some such, then we would exchange them. Mom had been to a white elephant party§ and was champing at the bit to perpetrate that brand of chaos on someone else.

Over the years, people have lost hair, sleep, dignity, humility and/or ego over their contributions. Four-letter words are the order of the day.

[SUMMARY: What goes better with Christmas than a little profanity?]

This year was no exception, since, as you may also remember, Father and Brother knit their projects.& And, as y'all know, knitting fully embodies the joys of lost hair, sleep, dignity, humility and/or ego and four-letter words.

And I helped.

I learned a lot about the male portion of my family this year.

Brother would misstitch, try to fix it, try to fix that, try to fix the result and finally put it down thinking, "I should probably stop before I fix it so much Marin can't fix it."

Father would pick up the knitting, think it looked wrong, place it carefully in its bag and call.

"Daughter, something's wrong. I can't figure out what it is, but something doesn't look right."

Brother would say, "I need you to fix my shit.

Father would email under the subject "@#$% knitting."

See? Four-letter words.

But they figured it would be worth it for the disbelief and awe when the rest of the family found out they'd *knit* their Christmas projects.

[SUMMARY: Is better to look good than to feel good, darling.]

Here's the actual true story -- in pictures@ -- of Dad's stocking at the Christmas Party:

He has a friend whose wife quilts and has one of those fancy embroidering sewing machines. She made the label.#

I came back from San Diego and Houston expecting, "Daughter, something doesn't look right," but when I called Dad upon my return, he said breezily, "I'm just about done with the leg. I'm just going to knit a couple more rounds, then I'll change colours and I'll be done."

[SUMMARY: I couldn't be prouder.]

And Brother... ah, Brother. The curse of the tight stitch is apparently hereditary. I got it from Dad, and Brother got it in spades.

As I've always told y'all, though, the only finite point in gauge is the tightest possible stitch. Everything else has room for variables, thus may not be so even.

How much more even can you get than this?††

He finished the thumb, felted it and embellished it with no Seester supervision whatsoever.


[SUMMARY: Knitting talent abounds.+]

Then there was my project.

[SUMMARY: Then there was my project.]

It was going to be a poinsettia, based on a watercolour of Mom's,* needle-felted to a lovely white felted bowl.

Waylaid by the felting incident, I decided to just take my practice piece from the needle felting class I took in November and frame it.

Only it's a wonky size and wouldn't work in a frame.

So I went total cheese and just strapped it to a bit of wood,‡‡ added a loop of yarn and called it a wall-hanging.

Don't adjust your monitor; it's felted. It's supposed to be blurry.

[SUMMARY: Fuzzy. In so many ways.]

As for the original felted bowl, here it is in all its blue-lint glory.

Bet you never dreamed you'd be looking at close-ups of lint this holiday season.

[SUMMARY: You're welcome.]

I believe my plan is to felt the hell out of the bowl, lint and all, and see if it will take on a nice, pebbly, seemingly-deliberate look.

Then I will give it to my SIL, who expressed a strong desire to own such a bowl.

Maybe this will be next year's Christmas card.

Bet you never thought you'd see someone get all artsy over a big ol' mistake this holiday season either.

[SUMMARY: Merry Chrismakwanzukkahstice to all, and to all a good knit.]

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Yes, that's capital Family, capital Christmas, capital Party.

^FOOTNOTE (careted): And Mom didn't drink so much (I don't know where I got it), so the tiniest hint of tequila would send her into a twinkle-light-and-tinsel fantasy world. Why that didn't disappear along with the margarita hangover, I'll never know.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Mixed metaphors can make for interesting mental images.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Y'all know -- where the gifts are placed in the middle of the room and everybody draws a number. The first person opens a gift, everybody oohs and ahs, then the second person is up. That person can either open a new gift or take the gift from the first person. Down the line, you can spend a half-hour or forty-five minutes trying to get back to the numbers while people steal from each other and go for replacement gifts.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): And by, "they," I mean, "Mom."

$FOOTNOTE (moneyed): Like some people *really* like to breathe.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): People go feral, sentimental dreams are crushed, small children cry... the quintessential Christmas spirit. When a gift has made its full three trades and is deemed a "keeper," the new owner does a keeper dance, ostensibly to express joy, but clearly to say, "Nya-Nya-N-Nya-Nyah." If nothing else, the Family Christmas Party raises thick-skinned kids.

&FOOTNOTE (ampersanded): Funny side story: I was worried that once Father and Brother had a chance to knit their own items, they'd realise how relaxing and easy it really is and all mystique and awe would go out of Seester/Daughter-knit gifts. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

@FOOTNOTE (atted): Some of you expressed some doubt as to the existence of knitting pictures. Some of you may think you have reason to doubt, but some of you exhibit shockingly little faith. Stacey. :P

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Note the very clever obliteration of the last name.

+FOOTNOTE (plussed): For the record, complete virgin knitters executed a magic cast-on, colour changes, short rows, heel, i-cord bind-off and i-cord (Father) and ribbing, stitch holders, thumb gusset, decreases, thumb (Brother).

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): The answer you're looking for is, "None. None more even."

*FOOTNOTE (asterisked - imagine!): Thus:

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Lovingly but incorrectly identified as a knitting needle. It's a bamboo shish kebab skewer.