Friday, March 30, 2007

Nuttin' But Knittin'

Knitting stuff that's come under my radar in the last couple of days. OK... it was yesterday. It just sounds so much better to pretend I had some sort of plan.

  1. Interweave Knits Knitting Daily eNewsletter. You get two free patterns when you sign up (Caspian Socks and Comfort Shawl -- you can see a picture on the home/sign-up page).

    Heaven knows I need the Caspian Socks to do my part for the 5280 Sock Challenge.

    Not to mention I want to knit all the yarn and all the patterns.
  2. Stitch Diva Stunt Knitter Program I got my application. It'll be interesting to see if my "bird by bird" soapbox moment holds up when I'm trying to figure out how to pick up left-leaning increases from purl bumps three rows down.
  3. Bellocq Stockings KAL, and just in time to kill two birds with one stone and get the stockings going (with a little help from my KAL pals) and dive needles first into the 5280 Sock Challenge. Oh, and a third bird to kill with that wooly rock: a gift for my sis-in-law. OH! BIRD NUMBER FOUR!** My brother is almost as psyched about thigh high lace stockings for his wife as he usually is about ugly socks for himself.**
  4. And for Secret Pal 10, we have our first contest.

    My favourite yarn is anything I'm working with right now that doesn't split, shed or hurt my hands. At the moment, I'm going to have to go with Cascade 220 (I'm knitting my Heathers** [actually Knitty's/Sarah Smith's Wavy pattern] in the Cascade 220 Heathers... hence, the name). It's smooth enough to work the needles well and slip through my fingers. It's sleek enough to provide great stitch definition (OK, the Heathers doesn't have a lot of call for stitch definition, but I *know* it would be fabulous for cables). It doesn't shed. It's a little springy and a little bouncy and I wish I knew what "hand" is so I could tell you what a fabulous hand it has. It comes in all kinds of colours, so you could do almost anything you want with it. Whatever else comes up (alpaca? qiviut? cat fur?) I know I'll be using the Cascade 220 again.

    For the record? I *LOVED* knitting with buffalo yarn, but it's so very expensive and way too warm for any but the smallest garments or most serious climates.

    Least favourite? It's a toss-up: Lion Brand Microspun is so soft and so shiny (machine washable, too), but it splits like a banana and I wanted to put my head through a wall knitting chemo caps with it. I actually have the warped idea in the back of my mind to make a pattern that INCORPORATES split stitches so I can make use of the 20 or so balls of various colours of Microspun in my stash.

    The other in the toss is Berroco Cotton Twist, which comes in beautiful colours and I thought it would be great for a baby blanket (not realising cotton isn't necessarily washable/dryable). So I knit a checkered pastel rainbow for Jeanne's daughter, Katy-did, and wanted to put my head through a wall. It split some (not as bad as Microspun, but worth mentioning), but the unforgiving, unbouncy, unstretchy nature of cotton made my hands ache. I'd be up in the night with the sort of pain I associate with my growing pains days. I'm 40. I shouldn't have growing pains. And I suspect the hand on the Berroco Cotton Twist sucks.

    Now, both yarns were lovely knit up, but I hestitate to work with the Microspun or any cotton because of these experiences.

[SUMMARY: Hey! Who put all this knitting here? Where's the vodka? Where's the sex? Where's the soap opera shit storm? WHERE IS KELLY? When did I sign on for KNITTING?]

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): OK, these four birds? They're not related to the bird-by-birds at ALL, see, 'cause the four birds are dead birds killed by a single stone and the bird-by-birds are a device to connote the taking of a task one step at a time. Dead birds. Rhetorical birds. Totally different breeds of birds.

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): If you'll visit the comments from yesterday, said brother has eloquently expressed his love of ugly socks, offering yarn and presents of all sorts to the cause of sock knitting... I imagine in the hopes that some of the 5280 pairs of socks will come his way.

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): "Grow up, Heather. Bulimia's so '87"

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): I wanted to put a little four-letter word in there to hold you 'til Monday, but it seemed so... contrived. I suspect you think this generally isn't a problem for me (given the Gnu Herd schtick from yesterday), but even I have my limits. Anyway, I promise to distill the drama of the weekend Monday. Oh, yes, there is drama. When is there not drama?

I don't just knit socks, folks, I can knot up multi-act human relationship extravaganzas given the right pointy sticks.

Thought: the pen is mightier than the sword. Where do knitting needles fall in that spectrum?

Here Now, the Gnus

Did you know a gnu and a wildebeest are the same thing?

Yep, it's one a them educational Fridays. Maintain your brain.

We got gnus, we got news and we got knews. Two kinds of knews.

First, because it covers two bases and MLB opening day is Monday, so in honour of, um, second base... do y'all ever get worn out with the stream-of-consciousness of AntiM World? Anyway...

News: Kelley is not speaking to The Boy. In the fifteen years they've been best friends, they've feuded more since the Male Lady hit the scene than in the rest of the time combined.

After she called me the other morning, she decided she'd had enough of his passive aggression; not just that, but that he relies on her to provide the aggression and gets mad when she doesn't.

This is my interpretation. Her version goes more like, "I've had enough of both of them. I just said, 'Have a nice summer.'"**

I figure anyone who won't take action on a stalker, expects his best friend to provide the bitch in the equation (not to be anti-feminist, but what kind of man asks a woman to do his wet work for him? He's either enlightened or a pussy. Guess where I'm placing The Boy) and asks a friend to give a girl his phone number (OK, that's the self-centred portion of our program. It still nibbles at my innards that he couldn't just give me his number himself or -- heaven forfend -- get my number from me. Or even Kelley. And call me his damnself)... well, that Boy is a boy and not much of a man.** Until The Boy grows some sack, he's without his Kelley.

This also counts as knews, as in, "So long for now, Boy, we hardly knew ye."

Gnus news: The plural of "wildebeest" is either "wildebeest" or "wildebeests."

Knitting Knews: Joanne Conklin, who sells lace weight qiviut (I feel that should be capitalised: Qiviut... or perhaps there should be a chorus of angels embedded in the link somewhere) and is on my Denver Knits Yahoo group (yes, I'm just that kind of dork), has started a Mile High Sock Challenge (my title, not hers). The text of the challenge is at the bottom of the post, for those Denver knitters who are interested.

Since I have the sis-in-law Bellocq (hereafter known as "Lacy Racy Bellocq") stockings (if the yarn ever comes), a pair of toe-up (just because I've never done it before) sparkly socks (hereafter called "Sparkle Socks") for Lorree in NYC and a pair of Knitty's/Aija Goto's BMP socks (hereafter called "Invasion of the Socks") for Jeff in NYC (Jeff and Lorree are enabling... um, FACILITATING my pilgrimage to Rhinebeck this October. They deserve socks) on deck (ha! Baseball reference!), I'm all about contributing my two socks' worth to the 5280** cause.

[SUMMARY: In keeping with our theme (one of them), links are very educational. Maintain your brain. And remember: if the gusts of words leave you weak, you can always skip the stuff in the parentheses. This public service announcement has been brought to you by the number four.]

More Gnus: The name wildebeest originates in the Dutch words "wild" and "beest" which, together, mean "wild beast". (Can I just say here: duh?) Although the name is derived from the Dutch, the name wildebeest doesn't officially exist in the Dutch language. Gnu is from the Khoikhoi language, in which they pronounce the G, much like I do when I think I'm cute.

Weird News: Did you see this?

It's a giant cane toad, purported to be "the size of a small dog," or in Knitter's Measurement, the size of three hanks of Interlacements Toasty Toes, the eight ounce kind.

Personal Knitting Knews: In my ongoing vendetta against the number four, I erroneously reported that I was more than halfway through the Heathers ("Chaos was what killed the dinosaurs, darling."). There are nine repeats on the pattern and I finished the fourth last night, proving once again I can't count to five.

I also did FIVE rows (maybe. Could be four. Could be six. Can't trust your ol' AntiM to count to five) on the Stupid Blanket. It seems the Stupid Blanket and I are coming to terms just in time for me to finish it and miss it terribly when it's gone. This is familiar territory, being how I work with most of the guys I date.

Did I mention I still don't have my Gloss from Knit Picks? Did I mention this makes me crazy -- not just for the normal reasons** -- because I have the worst mail carrier on the face of the planet?

Last Little Bit of News:
The boy from last week? The one that caused the highly unnecessary sex post on Sunday? Shall we call him Sex Toy? He got my number from Kelley and called last night. I do believe I have received my first booty call. Points for me!

For those who need to know (and possibly to ameliorate the "This is NOT little brother approved" comment winging my way), I said, "Not tonight dear, but don't count me off your list."

I do have *some* self-control.

Last Little Bit of Gnus:

"Did you see that herd of gnus?"

"Heard of what?"

"Herd of gnus."

"Of course I've heard of news!"

"No... a gnu herd."

"A gnu?"

"Yes, a gnu herd."

"So what if a gnu heard? Who's he going to tell?"

[SUMMARY: I still think I'm funny. And I think homophones are funny.]

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): And she said I'm a breath of fresh air in her life. Poor girl. More like a hurricane. Hurricane Marin.

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): Yes, I still kinda like The Boy. But Kelley's here with me and asked for my phone number her ownself and talks to me and stuff, so I tend to be a Kelley Supporter in this battle. Besides, if she hooks me up with hot tamale Jason, I suspect I've traded up from The Boy or my Sex Toy. More than you needed to know? Maintain Your Brain!

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): Two socks' worth. WAHAHAHAHAHA! Get it? Two socks? Like two cents' worth? I crack me up.

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): You know, normal crazy, like Obsession, Compulsion, Nymphomania, Senility and Fourophobia.

**FOOTNOTE (unasterisked): While I'm a little better than I was yesterday, I forgot this morning how I like my coffee. I got the coffee, got to my desk. Realised there was no cream. Went and got...

...wait for it...


Went back to my desk. Considered drinking coffee black. Took a stand against Juvenile Onset Senility. Got cream. Drank lukewarm coffee.

**SPECIAL BASEBALL FOOTNOTE (unasterisked): As Kelly-with-a-Maren so adroitly pointed out in the comments, SUNDAY is opening-opening day. Monday is the ROCKIES' opening day.


5280 FEET

OK, technically, we're looking at 10,560 feet, but you get the gist.

This is Joanne's message:

Here is a long-term project and challenge for you. How long will it take for DenverKnits knitters to make 5280 pairs of socks? One year? Two? Five?

Let's find out. And, I'm going to see if I can get donations from a number of sources so that the person who knits the 5280th pair will get a great gift basket of goodies.**

Here are the rules:

1. Knitting begins on April 1st, 2007. You can NOT count any socks that were started before then.

2. Each time you finish a pair of socks, send me an email: with the word 5280 Challenge in the subject line. Tell me 6 things about the pair (note that I said PAIR, not single sock!!)

- Size (e.g. women's medium)

- Needle size used

- Yarn

- Method (toe up, toe down, magical loop, etc.)

- Who are the socks for (self, friend, family, charity, etc.)

- Date finished.

Only entries with answers to those 6 questions will be counted in the final tally and entered into the contest.

3. I will keep a spreadsheet and will report back to the group from time to time. At the end, I'll tell you the results of the survey questions.

4. Please DO report to the list any time you like about your progress and current finished sock. Tell us your blog name if you'd like us to check out progress and/or pictures.

5. I've created a database on our website where you can list your name and your blog so others can visit from time to time.

If anyone here is good at making blog buttons, please let me know. I'm sure that bloggers would like to be able to find you. The link can be back to the DenverKnits web page, or I'm open to suggestions.

Store owners, dyers, or anyone else who would like to contribute prizes for the final gift basket, please let me know. Keep in mind that the prize may not be given out for sometime, so if you're offering a gift certificate, make sure that it can be used far into the future. Prizes should be knitting related, but don't necessarily have to be sock related. Be sure to include something that will tell the winner who was kind enough to donate the prize. I will purchase a basket for the prizes... hopefully a very large basket!!

You might print out this email for future reference... just a suggestion.

Okay... dive into that huge stash of sock yarn. You know that you have one. Get out the needles.

On your mark.............


**FOOTNOTE (it's funny 'cause it's socks and feet like twelve inches... see the funny? And it is asterisked): Last I looked, Joanne had gotten Blue Moon Fibre Arts to donate some Socks That Rock yarn, so we're off to a good start.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lost and Flounder

-Bought the Book Club book a month ago. Lost it.**

-Bought it again. Read half. Lost it.

-Called Knit Picks yesterday over "missing" yarn. Gave wrong order number. Confused hell out of nice CSR, particularly when I continued to argue for a good three minutes over the dates involved:**

"But it couldn't have reached Denver on the 22nd -- you just ordered it on the 23rd"

"I don't know what you're looking at. Mine says it arrived in Denver on Thursday. And delivered yesterday."

"But the order was just placed Friday."

"Why you wanna fuck with the HKIC?" (no, I didn't really. Good thing since I was so thoroughly wrong.)

-Was knitting (Pink Magic) in the blank spaces at work. Made the same exact, stupid mistake EVERY FLIPPIN' ROW. Had to tink two stitches EVERY FLIPPIN' ROW. Have been working this pattern for weeks, almost a whole ball of yarn and still made the same mistake EVERY FLIPPIN' ROW.

-Got home last night at 5:00. Found book. Went to Book Club. Left book at home.

-Decided to knit/TiVi until an hour before Book Club. Planned to leave at 6:30 to allow that hour to stop by grocery store for provisions and travel to Book Club destination. Was smug and pleased when leaving at 6:20. Realised en route to grocery store Book Club at 7:00.**

-Went to Book Club. Took pictures. Left camera.

-Got in the car this morning. Got to parking garage. Had no wallet. Had to go home.

-Realised en route never went to bank for boss yesterday as promised.

-Went to drive-thru bank. Drove off without receipt. Had to go back.

[SUMMARY: I'm losing it, whatever it is, literally and figuratively.]

And it's snowing like a mother (I know that phrase doesn't make any sense) in Denver-ish, so the Snow Guys will be out in full force tonight.

*brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.scrape.scrape.scrape.* "Hey, Manny, why do you bang a blonde in the cab of a backhoe?"

[SUMMARY: And it doesn't look like I'm finding it any time soon.]

please send vodka

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): If you look back, last month's book was also purchased twice. I purchased this month's book at that time, and have yet to find either original copy. Some people's socks go into another dimension. I apparently have book trolls.

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): By the way, if you order from Knit Picks and obsess over your tracking information (*ahem*), when it says "DELIVERED" in big, scary letters (scary 'cause I know it *wasn't* delivered when it says DELIVERED), it doesn't mean delivered to you, it means delivered to your post office. There will never be an indication that the post office actually thinks they delivered your yarn to you. Yeah, I don't get it either. And I still don't have my yarn.

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): Book Club has ALWAYS been at 7:00.

**FOOTNOTE (unasterisked): I did knit seven rows on the Stupid Blanket at Book Club (in the midst of the traditional book shower for the mother-to-be for whom the Stupid Blanket is being constructed). I made a mistake on one end that I have decided to leave. It won't be that noticable, it will save Bert (the baby) from the wrath of angry perfection gods and it will save me from frogging four rows of 150 stitches and finally putting my head in the oven.

or chocolate

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Titian ROFLHAO in His Grave

Once upon a time, when I was a theatre rat, I was in a play with a woman with a nine-year-old son. His name was Jakey Lee (like Jake E. Lee, the Ozzy Osbourne guitarist. And, yes, that was deliberate). Jakey came to rehearsals when his dad couldn't take him for an evening and we got to be pals because I get along with little boys in a totally non-creepy way.

One night, Jake announced he had to do homework, then went to find his backpack... which was missing. He came running to me, "Where's my backpack? I need my backpack? It's not funny! Where did you put it?"

"Jake," I said, "I don't have your backpack. I haven't seen it tonight. Why do you think I had anything to do with your backpack disappearing?"

The frantic, near-tears Jake wailed, "Because the redhead ALWAYS steals the backpack!"

Still one of my favourite phrases ever.

I still don't have my yarn and I didn't do a lot of knitting last night (two rows on the Stupid Blanket and four on the Heathers**). But I did gift you with the redhead saying. Use it! Love it! Amaze your friends!

[SUMMARY: Is this a record? Shortest. Post. Ever.]


For those in Denver-ish, two events at the Tattered Cover:

I know y'all know about the Yarn Harlot's maiden voyage to our fair city (KNITTAS REPRESENT!) on April 5th (LoDo Tattered Cover), but I just noticed Anne Lamott (of Bird by Bird) is going to be at that self-same TC on April 4th. I suspect she's amazing in person. She reminds me of a literary version of Ani DiFranco. And it's not just the hair.

[SUMMARY: Oooooh! Look how Linky!]

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): "Now Tracey, let's not rehash the coroner's report. Let's talk emotions." Still funny after all these posts.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Amphetamines Give You Wings!

Yesterday, my tallest, hairiest nephew (older, wiser brother to the inimitable Dr. Doom and son of my only brother**) learned the joys of french fries dipped in caramel sauce. He also dipped his McNuggets in caramel and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I hesitate to use the word "joys" with that one. It looked gross to me.

And the indulgent aunt? When he said "A ten-piece McNugget meal, an apple dipper, a yogurt parfait... is that too much?" said, "No, of course not. Whatever you want." Darned if he didn't eat it all, too, leaving only a bunch of fries behind.

He did some tree climbing

Then we went to Wings Over the Rockies, where my dopey nephew spent five minutes following a ladybug when there was outlandish aircraft to be perused. Ah, well... it was his day.

He was very impressed with the X-Wing and told me all about how Luke Skywalker flew it. I just let him talk. Why tell him his ol' AntiM was cool enough (or dork enough) to have seen Star Wars in the theatre the first time 'round?

We got all educational in the Radio Room, what with the telegraphs and the trainer (just so y'all know, the plane nearly crashed moments after this picture was taken, but Tallest Hairiest Nephew pulled it out just 12 feet from the ground. I know because he told me so).

Then I got all educated my damnself when I learned there were phones with memories in the SIXTIES. Is it weirder to see that plug-in punch card or a dial?

[SUMMARY: Wings Over the Rockies can be a really good learning experience, 'specially for the otherwise-indulgent aunt who spent all afternoon reminding exuberant nephew not to touch the planes, then woke up, bolt upright at 4:00 this morning realising... why the hell not? It's a flippin' airplane, not a Van Gogh... Don't touch the giant fighter plane? What was I thinking?]

We washed the MiCo. Before you call Family Services with tales of child labour violations, I'd like to stress that *he* made *me* wash my car. I did *not* make him wash my car. I tried to explain that my car wants to be a Jeep and really loves the mud and he solemnly informed me, "She does *not* want to be a Jeep. We should have a snack, but we should find a car wash first."

The middle shot of the before-during-after series? He is trying to lift both legs up, hoping the pressure of the hose will make him fly.

[SUMMARY: A nephew who proclaims the little car "probably the coolest car we'll pass all day" can still be embarrassed by an abundance of dirt.]

Then I went home and crashed, because kids are exhausting, even when you don't have to literally chase them all over the place.

Just wait 'til I take Dr. Doom to the zoo in the next couple of weeks. I may need a steady infusion of vodka and amphetamines for that.

In other news:

The Boy had a long talk with the Male Lady yesterday. Kelly called early this morning to impart the news. OUCH.

You know why that hurts so horribly? Because I was good to him. I was laid back and honest and receptive and warm and not pushy. I asked very little and demanded nothing. I drove all the best people in my life up a fucking tree with my neurotic obsession with him, but I left him out of it, and he just stopped talking to me (even though he promised he'd never do that to me). She's a fucking freak show stalker psycho bitch and he *talks* to *her*. He WORKS THINGS OUT with her.

Do boys really like psychos better?

Kelly's pissed 'cause he told Male Lady, "Kelly didn't want to be your friend, she just wanted to be civil," which was totally true, but it smacks of betrayal, Boy to Kelly, and... well, Kelly's pissed. A little hurt, too, if I'm reading her tone of voice right.

Kelly and I are going out Friday night. Do you think it would be too much to ask her to invite her hot tamale friend Jason along?

[SUMMARY: When I'm not just plain crazy? I'm boy crazy.]

I knit (well, *finished*) SIX ROWS of the Stupid Blanket last night watching Top Model. Now, I technically knit seven-plus rows, but something got wonky and I had to tink, then I found it wasn't wonky, it's just the way the linen stitch looks close to the needles and I tinked for nothing and almost gave up in disgust but pushed on through another two completed rows because that's JUST THE KIND OF FOLLOW-THROUGH I HAVE.

I'm so pissed about The Boy I'm yelling about my fucking knitting.

I'm halfway done with the Heathers ("Now I've seen a lot of bullshit... angel dust, switchblades, sexually perverse photography involving tennis rackets...").**

Get this: I ordered Gloss yarn (the Cocoa -- I think I'll use a pink ribbon) for the Bellocq Stockings from Knit Picks, where they provide package tracking numbers for your obsessive convenience (OK, my obsessive convenience) and I checked Friday and it said the yarn was in Denver! Hallelujah! And it wasn't in the box on Friday. And it wasn't in the box today. And I checked the tracking today and this is what it looks like:

March 26, 2007 - 3:00 AM - Sortation Center Departure - DENVER, CO
March 22, 2007 2:55 PM Sortation Center Arrival - DENVER, CO

You know the old saw about those who love law and sausages? Well, I'm pretty sure no mail-order afficionado needs to know her freakin' package gets to her house five days (or more; we'll have to wait and see if it actually shows up today) after it reaches her city of residence. Maddening! From now on, I don't think I'll look at the tracking unless something doesn't show up for three weeks. My new Gloss yarn is so close I can taste it... and nuzzle it and sniff it and...

[SUMMARY: Obsession can be an ugly thing in all its myriad forms]

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked. No, seriously -- way at the top of the post. You go look. I'll wait here.): Yes, brother, I noticed you added me to your bio (and for those of my loyal readers out there, don't y'all believe him -- I wasn't in the slightest bit ruffled when I WASN'T mentioned, he just wants to expand the myth of my lunacy that much further by saying I'd be very, very angry not to be part of his capybara-laden bio). I also noticed I'm now a link on his link list. The knitblog is a powerful tool in sibling relations.

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Still funny....

**SPECIAL BASKETBALL FOOTNOTE (unasterisked): You'll note Tallest Hairiest Nephew is wearing a Kansas shirt. When I dropped him home, Dr. Doom was also decked out in Rock Chalk gear. Turns out the brother (he loves Kansas the way I love Duke, though he is less likely to sleep with one of the coaches) ordered shirts for the family with an eye to wearing them during Final Four activities this weekend. It's a perfect time to quote Sir John Vanbrugh:

"O, Fortune, Fortune, thou art a bitch."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sex and Sticks and Strings

Oh, my goodness. That last post was a little unnecessary, don't you think? All the sex and the gambling and the drinking and the sex... unnecessary, I tell you.

Now let's look at pictures of my pussy.

F'r cryin' out loud, Mom...

Are the jokes worse or the photography?

[SUMMARY: I am channeling old, stale Steve Martin.]

On a more graceful note, there is knitting news (pictures at 11): I joined a knit along! I'm a dork!

Seriously, I want to knit Print O' the Wave so very much (hey! Remember last week when I had no interest in lace and didn't like shawls? Good times, good times...) and it scares me a little, so I figured I could use all the help I can get. I think we can all agree on that.

Let's start with my weird math on the pick-up stitches: I figured 240 stitches over 204 rows. Well, the math was halfway there. Almost. See, you do two panels of the thing and graft them together, but I was thinking they were grafted together side-by-side (which would give the hapless knitter 160 stitches x 204 rows). If I had looked at the handy photos of the finished product, I would have noted that it's grafted together end-to-end, giving me 80 stitches across and a whopping 408 rows to pick up 240 stitches.


*That* I can do.

Of course, I posted my bastardised version of the math on the POtW KAL (it's like being in the military, what with all the acronyms) board. I'm not sure if it's more a bad thing that I don't think before I post or a good thing that someone led me off in the right direction.

Anyway... I wanted to get the yarn and get knitting on the POtW (for which I really would like to find a better nickname, one not so reminiscent of DMZs and Jane Fonda. Unfortunately, the only other thing that comes to mind right now is that I think the town in one of the worst movies ever made, Pete's Dragon, was called Potowatamie) at SnB last week, but Sylvia doesn't have a ton of lace weight and nothing that spoke to me. So I ordered some Shadow from Knit Picks (in the Jewels Heather) and when it gets here... well, I worry about the fate of the Stupid Blanket.

Speaking of... I knit SEVEN rows on the Stupid Blanket during "Grey's Anatomy" alone yesterday (twelve rows in all). For those of you scoring at home, that's a mere 1400% (taking into account stitches per hour and presupposing I did the math right. If you find error in my calculations, please be aware I'm using knitter math) Grey's Anatomy to Top Model Marathon. I was in the zone. I wish you could have seen me (well, not really, I guess. Watching someone knit a single stitch over 1800 stitches would be stultifying).

For a brief while, I dearly loved the Stupid Blanket for letting me get away with so much.

Kinda how I feel about all y'all.**

[SUMMARY: Getting all prurient is mitigated by knit-talk. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.]

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): Without the "brief" part, I mean.

**FOOTNOTE (unasterisked): This is my first Male Lady-free weekend in... months. Or at least weeks. To quote my brother (in re: not filling out a bracket for the first time in 112 years), "Mostly I feel naked and alone." Well, and safe.

**FOOTNOTE (also unasterisked): Short day at work today. Taking the tallest, hairiest nephew to Wings Over the Rockies.

**SPECIAL BASKETBALL FOOTNOTE (so unasterisked): Duke died in November. Kansas is out (Rock Chalk, damnit!). N.C. went down. My brackets and my March-lovin' soul are officially devastated. There should be a Red Cross fund it's so bad.

Hey, how are the Nuggets doing?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Liquor in the Front... in the rear.

Yeah, when I told the beasties at Favourite Bar I was leaving them to play poker, I heard that old line about forty times. Apparently, it never gets old.

Here are my boys, my Elks, they who have kept me going, lo these many years. By the end of this post, you'll no longer wonder why your ol' AntiM is the maladjusted fuzz brain she is.

On the other hand, I'd just left a sort of tense vibe (for me. Remember -- I'm the whacked, obsessive one) with The Boy at Favourite Bar and was in a kinda fuckyouworld mood, and I pulled up to Matt's and my cell phone rang and it was my best boys (that would be the Elks -- no relation, by the way**) calling to say, "Marin, there's a whole room full of guys here wondering where you are."

Tell me that won't warm even the grinchiest of hearts.

[SUMMARY: I can't even have a quick beer before poker without making a soap opera shitstorm out of it, yet there are real Elk boys who love me and want to play poker with me.]


This is the black table, which is actually blue because Braden's sheets (Braden is Matt's son) made it so. It took about three minutes for someone to put a cigar burn in the poor kid's sheets.

Justice, Robinson, Mick-behind-Eric and Eric

I took a lot of action shots because I try to avoid the flash (flash tends to piss people off). Some of them are kind of fun. Note how Matt's beer fairly flies to his face in this one and Jack's middle finger trembles with misplaced outrage.

Jesse, Matt, Jack

All flash, no action, at the red table.

Jesse, Matt, Jack

When Justice left, we combined tables. You may recognise Eric from the black table and Jack from the red table.

Eric, Jack

That's Mick on the right. You may remember him as the guy who gave a 7-11 clerk a hard time over hot dog sauce.

Robinson, Mick

I do believe Jesse may be scolding me (note the action!) and Matt may be drinking beer. Mostly I'm playing the odds here.

Jesse, Matt (with pants, by the way. Don't worry, that'll make slightly more sense after the footnotes)

Robinson, as you see, is not drinking beer. Robinson's action shot is all about him singing and chairdancing along with Madonna (Dress You Up, if you were wondering).

Here's to you, Mr. Robinson

And here he is, not actioning at all, but scolding me over an apparent camera ban.

Robinson, tough on crime

I think cameras were banned over an incident involving Mad Dog 20/20, some skank ho and a wife who got her 50%. We don't do those things anymore (well, at least not so much the skank ho part), so I figure the camera thing is safe.

I doubt Robinson's wife is going to get all divorcey on his ass because he danced to Madonna. It's disturbing, sure, but not legally actionable.

I spent most of the night reminding them that I had SEX the night before (yep. Let my inner child loose and it seems all she wants to do is play doctor). Lots. And had the handprints on my boobs to back it up. I just like to see the looks on their faces when I say ever-so-slightly over-the-top stuff like that.

Line of the night (caveat and disclaimer: this is for the sake of the guys, who will come to see this blog thinking there will be details of my sexcapades even more graphic than what I presented around the poker table [and to that I have to say, "What? The part where I had to bleach my sheets wasn't enough?"] and will be sorely disappointed to find there's a lot of actual knitting and won't get the whole Boy thing and will probably appreciate this brief moment to look back fondly on a moment that made us all snork beer into our sinuses):

[Sorry, knittas. Avert your eyes if you must.]

"If he blew me better, I wouldn't have to beat him so hard."

[SUMMARY: My goodness I'm depraved.]

Again, apologies to the fibre geeks looking for a little yarn comfort or those wanting to hear grand tales of Kelly and The Boy (I almost had a picture of him. Battery died). It was an idalicious weekend (I'm going to have to give my superego a go at cleaning the bathroom just to restore the balance of power) and things may have gone to the dark side there for a bit. But Kelly is spending today with her boy, so I'm going to run a couple of errands and knit a bunch and we'll be all fibre-bound and knitty here again soon.

Until then, though, this weekend's motto: "I drink. I fuck. I knit."

That's it, that's the list.

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): It all starts with "My name is Matt Cook and, as usual, I am wearing no pants," but it's a story for a different day.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

There's a Bar!

This is Favourite Bar.

This is Chris, most Favourite Bartender.**

This is Kelly and Sanza-the-DJ

This is Chris and Kelly and Sanza-the-DJ

This is me and Chris.

Welcome to Friday Night, AntiM Style.

[SUMMARY: You want a summary? There are only 31 words in this entire post! There's more verbiage in this summary than the rest of the post combined. Perhaps I need to refresh myself on the definition of "summary."]

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): You now have three out of five favourite bartenders. Collect them all! Trade with your friends!

**FOOTNOTE (unasterisked): How many chins does one girl need? There are poor girls in the Third World who have no chins at all. I am an ugly American.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I'm almost afraid to ask -- could it really be true? Is it... FRIDAY?

Thought I was going to blow.

I'm exhausted, my friends. I'm just going to give it all to you straight. Well, as straight as my fuzzy little head will allow. But there are knitting pictures, so everything will be alright.

[SUMMARY: uh oh]

Last night was a pretty good evening to be a Marin.

I walked to Other Favourite bar to catch the first halves of the first games and have a beer. Then I walked to Posh, my homeLYS, for Stitch n Bitch. Would you believe... well, remember how the first (last) time I went, it was a bridal shower of some sort? And there was food and wine and stuff? Well, I managed to show up for a baby shower this time. My timing is impeccable.

I got pictures this time, albeit bad ones. I was trying hard not to be obnoxious and obtrusive and just didn't take the time to set up and focus, even for a second, so, say, Mary Kay wouldn't have to be photoshopped with the sharpening tool until she looks like a Vermeer (not necessarily a bad thing, just a thing I wasn't aiming for) or Heather wouldn't have snacks growing out of her head. So apologies, as always, to all but the Male Lady when I dork your photo.

It doesn't necessarily mean I don't love you anymore.

Heather, 39.57143 weeks pregnant, with gift on belly and snacks growing out of head

Isn't she all glowy? Even with the snack-head thing? That tiny little garment on her bump (is it still a bump at this phase? At what point do molehills become mountains? Other than when there's an AntiM obsession involved, I mean.) is the cutest little dress that's ADJUSTABLE (genius!). Mary Kay crocheted it for Heather out of (I believe I heard) sock yarn.

Mary Kay, my new best friend from last time, happy amid the yarn, very Girl With the Pearl

Red and Janet

In re: Janet: Janet was kind enough to introduce herself and her mother-by-proxy (Irma) to me. Now, I had two pictures of Irma that were bad enough that I simply couldn't do it to her, couldn't post them (given the calibre of the photos I *did* post, you can imagine... poor Irma). She's a lovely woman and deserves better.

In re: Red: Red is to a blogdork what Dan Quayle was to comedians. And I mean that in the best possible way. You'll be hearing more about Red. I just have a feeling. If nothing else, Red is our resident Sex Toy Distributor to be.

The Naughty Librarian and Red

All apologies to the Naughty Librarian. She was loads of fun the first (last) time I went and loads of fun this time and I've never managed to catch her name. But she really is a librarian. And I'm pretty sure she's naughty.

[SUMMARY: I may do more bitching than stitching and maybe should take fewer pictures or have fewer beers.]

Huh. I had a picture of Sylvia, too. Not a good picture, and she's probably just as happy I somehow managed to leave it on the home computer, but... I hate getting old and feeble.

Sylvia owns Posh and she's just as fun and lovely, warm and fuzzy as a yarn shop owner should be. I called her before I left work yesterday. It went something like this:

"Hi, Sylvia? This is Marin. I've been in the shop a couple of times... you don't know me by name... I don't know why I even told you my name... I don't expect you to know who I am... I'm a dork..."

(Remember my first phone call to Kelley? Not as emotionally fraught, every bit as fucking painful.)

"That's OK. I'll still talk to you." Because that's just the kind of generous soul Sylvia is.

"Do you have blocking pins?"

She doesn't, really, and by the time I left the office, I realised I had a choice to make: trip to fabric store for t-pins or trip to bar for basketball. Guess which I chose?

I did go to the grocery store and bought regular ol' straight pins. It wasn't the best solution. And I blocked MBBO on a towel, which meant the pins didn't really get anchored so well.

Worst. Blocking. Ever.

Medium Blue Branching Out on to the horizon and closeup for stitch detail

Cat for scale

I think this scarf is pretty forgiving. Maybe most blocking is. Maybe it doesn't matter if you don't end up with a picture-perfect geometric marvel in the blocking phase. I dunno. Never blocked before.

In any case, MBBO didn't fight the pins, so stretching it out and leaving it pretty much did the trick. The pins were just this side of incidental. And would you believe... it's actually is 60" long? I never would have thought it possible. Imagine what I could have done with the right tools. Next time, I'll definitely use a sheet instead of a towel and longer, sturdier pins.

I'll try to get a pic of Kelley with the MBBO tonight. If she's lucky, before cocktail hour. That may be the key to good photography.

[SUMMARY: Blocking still mostly a mystery.]

I also am nearly a third through the Heathers. You know what that means:

"Killing Heather would be like offing the wicked witch of the west... wait east. West! God! I sound like a fucking psycho."

I'm pretty sure I'll run out of scarf before I run out of good Heathers lines.

Daily Boy dose:

Wednesday? When I went out with Kelley? She said, "Oh, yeah. The Boy said to give you his phone number."

"Was he sober?" asked I.

"Oh, yeah."

So I have his number. It sits in my phone as I sit and wonder. Shooby-dooby-doo.

I did the accidental stalker thing this morning. We were 10 miles from our home turf and I just -- pure chance -- ended up behind him on the road, then passed him when he waited to make a left turn. I suspect he saw me. I suspect he knew it was me. I suspect I'm going to obsess about this for *days.*

Sheesh... all these months avoiding Favourite Bar, never going to the grocery store when a Jeep is in the parking lot (This is Colorado. There is a fuckload of Jeeps here), afraid to drive down 38th...

Ah, yes! Let the grand obsession begin!

It was all work-related. I swear. But can you imagine the phone call?

"Um, hi, I'm not stalking you. I was working. I have your phone number."

[SUMMARY: The only thing more important than Heathers quotes is Boy angst.]

My current client is in the middle of sales presentations to potential buyers, and every dog-and-pony show is well-catered. Here is my lunch from yesterday:

Let's see, from upper left corner: well files, Asian salad, I think that'th my thtapler**, Fresca, two mini cookies, a southwestern chicken wrap. Eating good in this neighbourhood. And today? Friday?

It's BBQ Friday. I'm leaving you to go eat.

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): Office Space. I'll probably have to knit something and call it "Office Space" so I can do Office Space quotes once the Heathers ("Transfer to Washington. Transfer to Jefferson. No one at Westerberg is going to let you play their reindeer games.") quotes run dry.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Scenes from a Maul

Welcome to Friday (shit!)

I still haven't blocked anything in my whole knitterly life.

Yes, there was alcohol involved (Grey Goose pear -- totally worth it). I will give you a little teaser with the UNblocked Medium Blue Branching Out:

It lounges on the typewriter in "my" office. The typewriter sees a lot of action because the only other typewriter in the office is some sort of legal typewriter that has a weird, misplaced key that manages to piss everyone off, so I bask in the illusion of great popularity as people traipse into my space to use the only non-pissing-off typewriter.

Seriously, I have to block this thing tonight (after SnB -- I'm finally going back after my Wyoming/Brown Palace hiatus) 'cause I promised Kelly she'll have her scarf when we go out Friday (cocktails, possibly an Old Navy field trip and a viewing of that "Reign" movie with Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler, followed by more cocktails, in case you were wondering).

But last night... ah, last night. Girl time with Kelly and Lauryn (works at Favourite Bar, makes amazing jewelry) and Male Lady...

Yeah, socialising with the Male Lady. And I got pictures.

Lauryn is doing this "Tuesdays with Morrie, Wednesdays with Lauryn" thing where she has a jewelry open-house once a month on a Wednesday night. Kelly and I got there early for the best pickins last night and this is what I got:

The blogcliche (accent! Where is the accent?) Picture in a Bathroom Mirror -- I've been dying to do that -- of the necklace that I can't believe I even tried on, but absolutely love and made it mine

Doesn't that little cluster of yellowy crystals in the middle look biological? There's something... alveoli-ish or ovarian or white blood cellesque about them. My photography wasn't the best, but those green things up from the biohazard cluster are squares. I like squares. I have a weird little thing for squares.


Cat for scale

Yes, I bought a bracelet because it had a kitty that looks like my kitty. What kind of single girl cliche (accent!?) dork cat mom am I?

That was rhetorical.

A couple of other chicas showed up (Kelly knows them all -- Kelly is *connected*), including Male Lady. You know how in Young Frankenstein the horses always go off every time Frau Bruja's name is mentioned? That's kinda the internal reaction I have to Male Lady.

New Girl Jenny showed up, too. Jenny is cool and is really only new to me, since Kelly and Lauryn and Male Lady all know her. Jenny and I probably sat barstool-to-barstool before, but we've never been formally introduced.

Jenny had wicked funny stories to tell of a bad, bad date, so we all gathered 'round the fire and I took pictures. 'Cause I know y'all are itching to see Kelly and Male Lady. They're practically old friends of yours by now.

Cool New Jenny on the left, my beloved Kelly on the right

SIDE NOTE: Lauryn's whole family is apparently wildly artistic. You can't see a lot of it, but that thing behind Jenny and Kelly is this amazing quilt/collage/painting thing that Lauryn's mom and various female relatives made that displays a family history. It's big and colourful and complex and multi-media and just GORGEOUS. I went into kitty toy mode and stared at it for a long, long time.

OTHER SIDE NOTE: Lauryn and Lou Ann (her roomie and the chica that was getting fondlish with The Boy Saturday night, not that I'm still obsessing about that) have these cool little paintings by a Denver artist named Hyland Mather. The paintings are Little Guys, and... well, go see them for yourself. How cool are they? At $20 a pop, I'd even call them downright affordable.

Lauryn tells a tantalising tale of a rugged sex god fireman while the Male Lady looks on

And the Male Lady, in all her Roethlisbergerian glory

That's the photo you need to give to the police when my poor battered body is found in a shallow grave along a Wheat Ridge mail route.

Two mildly funny Male Lady things, then I'll get off that particular obsession and move on to something other obsession:
  1. Last night, someone at Lauryn's asked how everybody knew everybody else, and Male Lady said, "I'm her," pointing at Kelly, "Male Lady." Only I think she probably said "mail lady," but it's my blog so we spell it my way.
  2. Kelly has told me Male Lady would take her catalogs and magazines and sometimes she'd even mark them up before she actually delivered them (can you say "federal offense"? Sure, I knew you could). The next sentence out of Male Lady's mouth after proclaiming herself Kelly's Male Lady was, "Sometimes I even go through her catalogs before I deliver them to her."

I couldn't look at Kelly. I would have burst out laughing and ruined all pretense of being a normal, unstalked human being. Then what would I talk about here?

[SUMMARY: Grrrl Power! Plus Male Lady! And dorkcatmom jewelry! A fine evening, which could only be improved upon by...]

A trip to Favourite Bar for pear-flavoured Grey Goose.

Here are two out of my three favourite bartenders at Favourite Bar (and two of my five favourite bartenders in the world, 'cause, you know -- Cute Christopher and Cute Jim at Other Favourite Bar):

Eric and Sue -- GREAT glamour photography, no?

From the small world file: My brother and his fam used to live in a duplex, which they eventually sold to the owner of the other half of the duplex, who then rented it to Sue. This means my sister-in-law actually knew one of my favourite bartenders before I did. This seems somehow out of character with the universe, but I'm willing to chalk it up to one of those quirky little things. Chaos Theory.

Sue's mom was in town from North Carolina and Sue introduced her to Kelly and me.

"Nice to meet you," said I, "North Carolina? I'm rooting for your team! I have NC and Kansas in the final!" (I'm your new best friend!)

Fortunately, Sue works in a bar with a TV and her mom is... well, her mom is from North Carolina and totally understood and appreciated. But I can see how this may have gone wonky, socially speaking.

So I got home just after nine and there were no pins to be had so no blocking was done.

[SUMMARY: Cocktail, anyone?]

Tie your shoes, hide the pets, I'm about to get weird on your ass (no! AntiM, not you!)

My knitterly consciousness is overcome with lace knitting. While knitting the Medium Blue Branching Out, I started wondering if there was any possibility that I could design a pattern of lacy shamrocks. I can't tell you how insane I think that is. I am not a designer. I knit from patterns. Designing seems... highly advanced.

I'm going to take you on a little tangent, but it'll all come right back to the lace thing. Promise.

I have always been able to memorise information -- lines, verb lists, poems -- quickly and well. But when I've studied languages and music (and I guess acting falls in this too, though I think my process for acting, language and music is the same everybody else has for acting anyway), I tend to spend the first part of the learning curve in rote memory. Somewhere along the way, though, I *feel* the thing. The playing/speaking/acting becomes intuitive and colourful, rather than just straight off the list. Then I'm good at what I do and it becomes a real pleasure to do it.

You see where this is going, right?

I'm wondering how much lace I'll have to knit, how close I'll have to hold my patterns, before I can knit lace by love and intuition rather than bird by bird. Eunny Jang, once and future editor of Interweave Knits, knits so emotionally and intuitively that I'm both jealous and inspired. She has a whole series (check the lessons on her sidebar if you're interested) on learning the feel and rhythm of lace knitting so you can be free of patterns. She says if you know how a yarnover builds on the stitch below it, and how it will grow into the pattern ten stitches above it (kinda like playing chess, but with yarn), you won't need to mark your place in your knitting, on your pattern... lace will take on a pleasant, elegant rhythm of its own and you'll just *get it*.

I want to be there. And I know if I get there, I'll be able to design my own shamrock lace. And my own dragonfly lace (because I want that too). Maybe my own hedgehog lace (because I'm a freakin' dork). But how long will it take to get to a point where I'm off-book and processing the music through my soul instead of my brain? Will I give up before I get there?

In any case, I'm planning on knitting the Print o' the Wave stole almost immediately (must. keep. working. Stupid. Blanket.**), provided someone can get me into even the bird by bird of it and explain the math that looks all wonky to me. If anyone has knit it, could you let me know? I have questions.

I can do it. You can help.

[SUMMARY: Lace knitting makes me all emotional and poetical and shit. I need help. No, seriously, I need to know how the 80 x 204 stitch center panel can possibly be edged with the picking up of 80 x 240 stitches. If I get my sister-in-law the PhD in Applied Mathematics involved, well... I'll end up in a fetal position sucking snot. I need knitter math here, people.]

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): Poor Stupid Blanket. The blanket isn't Stupid, I've made it Stupid. I've fallen in love with other projects and much maligned it, but it is a labour of love and it is pretty and special. It's just so not lace right now.

**FOOTNOTE (unasterisked): Poor photo subjects. I apologise to all the victims (OK... probably not Male Lady, but the people I like) of my camera. My camera's been having focusing issues lately.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fd an O!

Yes, Kelly's Medium Blue Branching Out is done, at least as far as the knitting goes. Tonight I will head into the darkest wilds of blocking. I don't believe the 45" scarf will block to the 59" the pattern says it will. It's too much. But it's not a horrible length as it is, so if I only get a couple of inches of new scarf out of the blocking adventure, it's OK by me.

OK, the O and the C actually really want me to undo that last knot in the scarf and rip it out and add another repeat or two (the pattern says I'll get 27 repeats out of the ball of yarn, but I'd bet my Mini Cooper I'd get at least two more), but the cooler voices in my head will prevail and I'll leave it the hell alone and let the blocking do its magic, no matter how much I don't believe in magic.

In any case, there will be pictures tomorrow -- before and after blocking.

I'm having a weird day. You know it's weird when I'm more or less rendered speechless. Or blogless. I'm having lunch with Laurie-without-a-Link and the Suburban Sedation Crew today, so maybe I'll have more to say tomorrow.

I'll at least have pictures. Knitting pictures too! And we all know knitting pictures make everything better!

[SUMMARY: No pictures, not even a thousand words to make up for it. I sure set a lot of store in the healing powers of knitting pictures.]

Meanwhile, I leave you with these little bits I've been saving up for a snarky, twisty day like today:


One day, I saw a navy blue PT Cruiser one lane over and a few cars in front of me on my way home. In silver letters, oh, I'd say ten inches tall, it said, "Praise Jesus."

The first thought in my fuzzy little head? "Good Jesus! Good boy! And wearing your big-boy pants too!"

[SUMMARY: so. going. to. hell.]

True story:

from concentrate with other natural flavors

Could someone explain what part of 100% "other natural flavors" fits in?


What do you suppose I have against the number four?

I've spent two months tweaking a spreadsheet on which I had to make sure well names (oil wells, gas wells, just how I roll) were correct and in line with what the engineering department (petroleum engineers... don't get me started) thinks they should be and in line with what the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission thinks they should be... so I did a lot of cutting'n'pasting, since well names tend to look like this:


and come in clumps like this:


This is the stuff cutting'n'pasting was born for. Only I (somehow) cut'n'pasted one particular well randomly all over the spreadsheet

(Um, Marin? Hi, it's Sue? I'm looking at your spreadsheet? And where it should say Bob's Big House of Oil and Gas Fun 36-16** it says Kitty Cat 17-2**? And where it should say Metaphysical Rainbow Ranch Federal 14-8** it says Kitty Cat 17-2**? Um... and where it should say Uber Oil 22-11** it says, well, Kitty Cat 17-2**? If I'm wrong, just tell me...).

I am a bigger dork than I ever knew. I can't even figure out why the Kitty Cat 17-2** was my very favourite well and I thought it the alpha well over all other puny beta wells... I couldn't explain. I could do naught but to correct the error of my wells.

THEN... Sue brings a printout of my spreadsheet to me with about thirty wells highlighted. They all have the right names, wrong numbers. Except they're all SUPPOSED to be Something Something number-4 (like the Kitty Cat Federal 15-4** and Bob's Big House of Oil and Gas Fun 22-4**) only they're all Something Something number-5 (like the Kitty Cat Federal 15-5** and Bob's Big House of Oil and Gas Fun 22-5**).

Again, I have no explanation. I don't know what I had against the number four that fateful day. O, remedial Sesame Street, where is thy sting?

What I do know is that I just cut'n'pasted that whole parenthetic Kitty Cat/Big Bob thing to illustrate the difference between the numbers 4 and 5 (Huh. I occurs to me that, given some of my knitting adventures, I may not be real solid on the difference between the numbers 4 and 5) and it seemed to work fine. Was it just that one day? Just this one spreadsheet? Just the number 4 and the Kitty Cat Federal 17-2**?

I'm going with poltergeist.


Boy-Best-Friend Steve and I were watching "Invincible," the Mark Wahlberg movie about Vince Papale. Papale benefited from a 1970s-era publicity stunt in which the Philadelphia Eagles opened try-outs to all comers. It's based on a true story, with Papale being the only schlump good enough to actually win a job under this system.

There is a scene in which Papale is leaving the tryout or his first practise or something and his crappy Camaro-esque car won't start (for the 15th time in the movie. Illustration! Vince is poor!) and Dick Vermeil (yes, that Dick Vermeil, though -- oddly -- he didn't cry once) walks up to the driver's side of the car to give him some good news and his (Papale's) arm moves in what (to some of us, born before the dawn of auto automation) is easily recognisable as the action of a man rolling down a window. Manually. I turned to Steve and said, "150,000 young people across the country have no idea what just happened."


Happy Friday!


Oh, for fuck's sake...

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): I made up those well names. Can you tell?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More Yarn, More Yarns, Less Wine, Less Whine

There comes a time in every knitta's life when she gots to put down the 40 and get on with the bidness of the knitpurl.

Now is such a time. It's a gots ta go knit kinda day.

You know, when I started this thing, I knew there would be certain amount of, say, Mom issues or family stuff or boy stuff... I never dreamed there'd be so damned much Boy stuff. Aren't y'all lucky, getting snugged into the soap opera shitstorm on such a regular basis? But now, let's talk sticks and strings.

Annie was the lucky recipient of all the knitting magazines that I didn't want (remember? Back in post number... three or something? Here. Self-referential linking... gotta love it).

It sounds awful, doesn't it? "Here, take these filthy things. I no longer wish to see them!" Most of them just had projects that were enough like other projects for which I already had patterns that I didn't think I needed two. Anyway, enough of my defense; she said something interesting to me over pomegranate martinis at the Brown last week (note how cleverly I drop names. Marcel will be making a literary appearance any moment now). She said she looked at the magazines and didn't think she could knit almost anything in them.


Knitting Redux:
  1. knit
  2. purl

That's it. That's the list.

My beloved Secret Pal sent an email yesterday in which she addressed the question of socks. I woke up in a cold sweat at 3:00 this morning realising I'd never answered her, because that's just the sort of Calvinistic (all apologies to 16th century theologists) dork I am.

Anyway, I'm going to bring another thread into this little potholder we're knitting here. 'Cause everybody starts with a potholder, right? It may become a scarf, but there is a moment in your early garter-stitch angst when you're ready to blow it off and call it a day. And a potholder.

I do so love analogies.

Anyway, back to Anne Lamott (yes we were): It's not particularly original or revolutionary, but it's too true to misconstrue: Bird by bird.

This is what her father told her ten-year-old brother when he was agonising over a book report on birds. "How am I ever going to finish this?" he wailed (and I'm taking enormous liberty here with the quoting -- totally paraphrasing, there may have been no wailing involved, but the basic story is true to the original).

"Bird by bird, son. Bird by bird."

And that's all knitting is: bird by bird. Stitch by stitch. I could go on and embroider a grand, sweeping equivalence to all aspects life, but we're talking about knitting here, people. Stitch by stitch. Knit. Purl. You can knit the pattern. You can knit the sock. Bird by bird.

There has never been a knitting pattern I've looked at and thought, "I can't do that." There are some that have looked difficult. There have been plenty that looked like more pain-in-the-ass than they could possibly be worth. And I'm sure there are pattern errors and poorly written instructions that make even the Head Knitta want to stick pointy things into her ears until she can scramble the knitpurl lobe of her brain. But it's still all just knit and purl.

My first pair of socks? I got the wrong yarn. I would swear it was an old Mission Falls yarn. I bought a bunch because it was on sale, going out of production. And it wasn't sock yarn at all. It was perfect wool for felting: fuzzy, unplied. But that's what I picked because I didn't know sweet fuck-all about what I was doing, other than I was, by the gods, going to knit my father a pair of socks for Christmas.

I got Sock Wizard software (love me some technology) and a set of DPNs. I did a little research, knit for gauge and plugged in my numbers. Voila! (life really would be more decorative if I could figure out how to put accent marks in on this thing) Sock!

Socks Redux:

  1. DPNs look way harder than they are. They can be awkward until you've joined your circle and knit a couple of rounds, but it's no harder than any other circular knitting and it looks absolutely vicious. People will NOT fuck with you on the bus if you appear to be taming a porcupine in your lap.
  2. But don't twist the stitches. I don't really need to tell you that, but it's worth repeating. Of all the things that could go wrong due to the use of DPNs, well that's it. Unless you poke your eye out. Or drop a needle.
  3. Don't poke your eye out. Or drop a needle.
  4. Try knitting on two circular needles (Cat Bordhi is my hero), which I love, or that magic loop thingy, which I know little about, except that a lot of people have tried to talk me into it.**
  5. Bird by bird. Stitch by stitch. Start with a simple, ribbed cuff sock and just follow the pattern stitch by stitch. You may get all twisted on the heel, but you can always undo it and try again.
I have now knit about a half-dozen pairs of socks (and one lonely, single sock for your lonely, single AntiM. Let the violins play). The very last sock in the very last pair I knitted, I FINALLY knit the heel clean. All the others, I've gotten off-count on the short-row thing and ended up with a wonky heel that took a definite turn for the worse. Or at least the left. (Not a political statement. Just sayin'). Frog it, tink it, bring it on back to ground zero and try again. It always worked the second time.

But really, you learn all kinds of good stuff with cuff-down socks (I don't know from toe-up socks, though I'm about to embark on that adventure. I'll let you know how it goes when we get there): circular knitting, short row work, slip stitches, picking up stitches, kitchener stitches... at least the way I do it you learn all these things.

Socks are very portable and go pretty fast and just when you don't think you can't do one more k2p2 rib, hallelujah! You reach the heel flap!

...and just when you've re-done your heel and finally removed it from that Escher zone where only some sort of mythical beast could fit into that heel, hallelujah! You reach the foot! And you never have to purl again! Until the rib for the next sock!

Yeah, I'm pretty excited about socks. You could say I'm a sock dork. Go ahead. I'll wait here.

So, Secret Pal, that's the sock soap box. Aren't you glad you asked?

[SUMMARY: Annie can knit anything. Secret Pal can knit anything (including socks). You can knit anything. Ohhhhhmmmmm...]

Funny sock story: After the relative success of the first socks (though one of my aunts lovingly washed them in warm water and threw them in the dryer when Mom died and we were all helping clean out the 'rents' house, so the socks are now mine -- tight, felted bottoms and all.), I was ready to go again. I was puttering through a knitting magazine (no, AntiM! Not you!) and saw an ad for buffalo yarn. I told everybody I was going to knit buffalo socks for Dad, so I was honour-bound to do it. THEN I went and looked at the actual *price* of the yarn. Important lesson, kiddies: research first, mouth shoot-off after.

You know those things you did as a kid or a teenager that your parents still don't know about? And you have some mental tickle file on when you can tell them that they'll be far enough removed from the situation that they can actually laugh about it? In another couple of years, I might tell my dad about his $100 socks. Not that I'd be in trouble, but he'd be horrified. Who wouldn't be horrified by $100 socks?

[SUMMARY: $100 socks may very well be horrifying, but are they funny? Another koan for the zen mill.]

Now let's talk USOs, shall we? In fact, these are somewhere in the birthing process before USO. It's just yarn. Lovely yarn, but yarn without a real business plan just yet. Out of the large, friendly stash, these are the yarns I see having the most immediate practical application.

Mmmmm... fibre... *garrrggghhlllggggzzh*

Let's see. That's Lonsesome Stone Alpacas sock yarn in the upper left, the Valentiney-looking stuff. I bought that to make socks for me (I'd knit the mate to the lonely, single sock, but I'm not sure where the yarn is). The yarn comes from Fraser, Colorado (right near Winter Park, for the skiers out there) and is so very (bonus Heathers reference! I win!). It was $25 a hank, but it has more than 400 yards, so... really. Is a $25 pair of socks *that* horrifying?

The green stuff is Knit Picks striping sock yarn in some green colourway. I don't remember offhand and I bought it because it was being discontinued and was pretty damned attractively priced. I have four balls of the stuff and am considering all sorts of mitten/glove options along with socks.

That lovely purple stuff is Textiles a Mano Dublin (90% kid mohair, 10% nylon). Here, take a closer look, and please note my table is not green (and I'm pretty sure the yarn isn't radioactive -- that red halo is computer-generated), that's just my colour adjustment to atone for the lack of purplocity in my camera:

...and cat for scale

I don't know what I'm going to do with the Dublin. It's 1000 yards, so it's too little for a lot of shawls. And honestly? I'm not sure I'm a shawl person. Maybe if I knit one, I'd feel compelled to wear it and I'd *become* a shawl person.

Anyway, I bought it at the Estes Park Wool Market last summer when I was still buying yarn simply because it was pretty and not because I had anything in mind. There's not a thing wrong with that, by the way, except when you end up with 600 mismatched, 100-yard skeins and no project small enough to satisfy them (side note: why is it that when you have 600 mismatched, 100-yard skeins, there aren't even two that approximate each other in texture and weight closely enough that you conceivably combine them to make one multi-yarn project? Nothing makes you more aware of the vast diversity and variety of yarn than trying to get something in your stash to play nice with the other yarns.)

What 1000-yard project should I make with my purple fuzzy stuff?

And, finally, just a moment of zen from your ol' AntiM:

Happy Friday.


You've gotta be kidding me.

Fucking Tuesday...

**FOOTNOTE (asterisked): For the record, one of the things I like about two circular needles (and I use this method for all things that would generally take DPNs -- tops of hats, socks, um... tops of hats, probably when I knit sweater sleeves and gloves) is that you can use the circulars in many applications. I do all my flat knitting on circulars because I don't lose one, as I inevitably do with straights. I don't have to have a circular *and* a set of DPNs for projects like hats. The loop thing? I think you have to buy, like, a 45" or 60" circular to do that. I don't see a lot of practical application in my life for circular needles that long. I'd have to buy like-sized circulars in smaller lengths for everyday knitting and that seems impractical. Unfunny, but true.

**FOOTNOTE (unasterisked): I'd like to point out that we made it to the end of today's post with no alcohol, no Kelly, none of The Boy, no bitching about the Stupid Blanket or bragging about the Mini Cooper. It's a love-fest for the knitting set and I may need to hearken you back here one day when the next 15,000-word shitstorm hits. We *can* talk about knitting. You *can* go a day without Boy drama. Follow your dreams. I'm living proof.

**FOOTNOTE (unasterisked): My new best friend Marcel says so.