Friday, March 31, 2006

Deeply frightening.
The only way to describe the last burst of knitting on the Bazic commission. Yes, yay, I've just about nailed it now, late but not too late for the photo shoot. The killer moment - or many hours, really - was when I realized that the cuffs were three inches too wide. Yes, that *is* rather a lot. There is no way I had time to re-knit two whole sleeves - not without imminent divorce, at least, and while I am certainly crazed, I do have some instinct for self-preservation - so I re-knit the cuffs, snipped the end of a row above the cuffs on each sleeve, unraveled carefully across, and kitchenered the new cuffs on. It was quite scary, but necessity is the mother of refined technical skill, I like to say; the helpful knitter watching in amazed horror couldn't find which row I'd done it on. So there. Tada.

Not quite as frightening was Orpheus X at ART. This was why I missed both the cool spinning and the cool knitting on Wed. night (hi, Lynne! I'm so glad it went well!). I still am not sure whether the "X" in the title is intended as a Roman numeral, or a "Malcolm X" kind of thing, or what. What we definitely have is an Orpheus, and a Eurydice. This is as much an intellectual exercise about the Orpheus myth as it is a piece of theater, and it works as both. There is music, which is both good and used ingeniously. For much of Orpheus' time on stage, he's noodling around with his guitar, and the music sounds like something that would be the result of that kind of process. ART tends to have rather obvious "brochure photo moments" in every season, where you see an arresting image on stage that you just know is going to be in the brochure for next season, and it's almost always completely unrelated to the rest of the production and feels plopped in for its own sake. That didn't happen this time. Yes, the final image is gorgeous, but it flows from what has come before it. Hooray! It made for a fascinating evening. At 90 minutes, without intermission, it was also a hell of a lot less punishing than Some Other Productions This Season. Note: some nudity. Actually kind of a lot of nudity. Hell apparently involves being naked a lot. And not having anything to write with.

Okay, what else...gratuitous cat picture, that's what! This is Ketchup. She kills things for us; in this shot she is looking at another cat and thinking, Moi can not believe moi is the same species as That Idiot.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Still missing but at least I'll be doing something cool.
I will be missing not one, but TWO really fun fiber gatherings tonight - Javaroom (HI and hope to see you next week--you're really fun to knit with, you guys) and the first meeting of a gathering of Spinners at the J.V. Fletcher Library in Westford (hope to catch up with you another time, folks). At least I got to meetup with some knitters yesterday - thanks, Anne! Hi again, Ruth (and, yes, come on over and check out both resources on the Romans and the decorating project).

The Something Else I'm doing is going to the ART to see Orpheus X. I'll let you know how it goes.

Here's what the FLY sock yarn looks like knitted up, so far. I really like it when colors pool - this is doing something especially weird. The puddle of black on the gusset only happens on one side. It's just about done puddling. Can't wait to see what it looks like as it goes back to 62 sts, and onto the toe.

Time to do Latin with little guy - off I go.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Originally uploaded by Liz the Crazed Weasel.

Since I can post pictures again...
I sort of forgot I could. Well, these are my Project Spectrum, um, project, in pink Bazic for Classic Elite, and it's probably not okay to publish any more than this vague shot of it; and the other shot is the New Light Fixture in the Dining Room. Also the wallpaper on both walls and ceiling and the now-famous table. Still no chairs. My plants are pretty happy, though, and any plant that stays alive for me, I just love.

DD#1 just noticed the light fixture. It's been up since Wednesday. 'Nuff said, there. The room had no lighting at all except for candles before.

I'm experimenting with posting pictures to Blogger from Flickr, which is sort of working, except I have no f***ing idea how to change the titles of posts. In fact, I'm sort of clueless on the whole "post title" issue, generally. In html, that is, not conceptually.

Quick one, tonight - time to make dinner. I'm writing a song, though! Never did that before, but I do sing, and I do have a piano (you can even see it behind the Famous Table), and this tune sort of popped up while I was singing in the car. (I do that a lot. Don't you?) So I figured out what the notes were that I was singing to myself and now the damn thing won't go away. I keep humming it. It wants more, now: verses, and more choruses, and goddamit, lyrics, too! beyond the few it already has! Not anywhere near as obnoxious as Franklin's sheep, but still.

Dinner. Right. Off I go, then.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hub and Spokes

Hub and Spokes
Originally uploaded by Big Yellow House.
This is one of my husband's amazingly beautiful photographs. He's got a whole bunch of them. Wow.

It works, it works! Finally!

At last, my laptop has taken pity on me and grudgingly agrees to recognize the USB port into which I have plugged a photo card reader. Aren't you just thrilled? I know I am.

So this is where the progress of the Formerly Known As Olympic project was a couple of weeks ago. It's moved on an inch or two since this. And the other picture is the Socks That Rock yarn that I scored at Rhinebeck last October. Fire on the Mountain, as it happens, along with some solid-ish black. I thought at the time, oooo, stained glass slip stitch pattern, for sure. And that's as far as it's gone. Except I did wind these two skeins into center pull balls on my handy dandy ball winder.

I'm taking a not-for-long break from knitting at this actual moment (not when anyone reads this--then, I'll almost certainly be knitting, no matter what time it is). I'm not sure how stable this new-found willingness to read photos again is for my laptop, especially since it rebuilt all the printer drivers and still won't print. Who knew a Powerbook could be so passive-aggressive? So I sort of think I should be running around taking pictures while the damn thing is agreeing to cooperate and let me view and perchance post said pictures.

I've been utterly hamstrung in attempts to knit with others, scoring a perfect "no group knitting at all" this week. Forlorn hi to everybody. Sniff. I even tidied up a ball of Duchess (well, the really incredible thing is that I was able to find it) for geekpixie, but it's too late to do her any good now. Still carting around the free lace project, though.

I've forgotten a whole bunch of times to post this link, but here, for your enjoyment, is one of the funnier LOTR parodies around: Aragorn and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. This is written by a progressive homeschooling mom in Canada. If you haven't read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Very Bad Day, you aren't going to get it. But the rest of you, enjoy!

DH just got back from taking the oldest to see V for Vendetta, which I assumed was going to suck, but apparently there aren't as many explosions as one would think.

I'm not too late to sign up for this, so I think I'm going to be sewing a bag with sew? i knit! I do need to sew some fat suits for a production of Twelfth Night. But after that, fun sewing can happen!

Backtracking a little bit: I'm doing some design guidance for the costumes for a Shakespeare play that two of my kids are in at our co-op. This means that another much more brave and virtuous soul is doing a huge amount of work, and I am doing things like saying, "The court of Orsino will be reds, and the court of Olivia will be golds." And buying fabric. How many times in life can you have a sense of urgency about wide wale purple corduroy, hm?

Later, all, and happy stuff to you.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Optimistic that I might have pictures soon.

So in utter frustration, I asked dear husband if he'd seen the zippered pouch wherein I kept all my backup disks. Well, apparently he moved all of them. So now I am reunited with my OS backup, Norton Utilities, and Norton Antivirus. This is good! The bad news is that even after running disk repair, I'm still having a lot of issues. I haven't tested a lot of the functionality, because defragging took two hours and then retrieving email for some reason kept hanging. The ease with which disk repair ran was not comforting, because there is a persistent major problem that has not ever been corrected (because it's too deeply embedded) and this time, disk repair neither found it nor fixed it. This is why I am not terribly confident that everything is ok. I'm also both unable to reinstall antivirus and unable to uninstall it.

Anyway, HI. I'm back from Creativity Weekend in the Berkshires. It was at times very difficult, and other times really, really wonderful. Time well spent. I'm not quite as raw as I have been, but this morning has been exceptionally irritating; I seem to be getting into arguments with almost every person who crosses my path. It is likely that the problem is me, rather than a large number of other people. Or maybe everybody else really has gone into full-out asshole mode.

All About The Weekend: not possible to blog it all, really, but here goes: I went with a group of women who all know each other from homeschooling. We stayed in a 22-woman dorm room, on bunk beds. This is as monastic as it sounds. We ate tofu. We did yoga. We rose at absurdly early hours to do writing exercises. We maintained an hour of silence one day. We did not do any naked (ahem, "clothing optional") whirlpooling. We did almost all of the exercises in The Artist's Way that I had avoided (and avoided for good reason! they're hard!). We shared our thoughts with total strangers, over and over and over again. And we also laughed, at the world and at ourselves. I took from it a renewed sense of possibility--which I think was the point. Julia Cameron really knows what she's doing.

And I'm still cranky.

Time to finish the commission, now, so over and out.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Still no pictures.

The crazed weasel is sad. I have not managed to find the zippered disc case with my OS backups, my Norton discs, etc., etc. - no esta aqui. Y es muy triste. Y entonces, no puedo Fix The Frigging Laptop. Ole. (Insert sad Spanish lament) (The Lament of the Crazed Weasel) (aka Cancion de la tristeza del Weasel) If I weren't so lame I'd put a link to a sound file here; imagine one, and pretend I did.

Did you know that one of the Powerpuff Girls has as one of her superpowers the ability to speak Spanish? I'm just saying.

On the bright side...the knitting meetup on Wed. night at Javaroom was great!
Huge thank you, you guys, everybody--I had a really good time. I missed knitting with Ruth and the rest of the gang that morning (which bummed me out, but that's the way it goes some days) so was in need of some knitting with others. So--Yay!-- met geekpixie, again, and saw Lynne, and I honestly have no idea what anybody else's name is because I sat in the corner and talked quietly for a long time. Jena? Hi? Julia? Am I destined to wave at you across rooms forever? Jeez. I promised Lauren I'd carry the amazingly cool free lace piece around with me for a few weeks, and I have been, so Lauren, I have a better chance of getting to Tuesday so maybe I'll see you then? This is what I mean - old pic:

Note: one of the funniest premises ever for a piece of theatre appears to have been presented a few years ago by a group including one of the Javaroom knitters, at the Edinburgh Fringe. It was a musical based on The Call of the Wild. Yes, the Jack London one. Woof. The chorus numbers alone defy imagining. Kind of like Cats, only with way more fur? Apparently there was a scene of wolves mating, accompanied by much barking. Howl! Howl! And Yikes!

Kat (the other Kat)--I will definitely post, update, & generally insert the information when I have a design workshop scheduled. It's solidifying in my head quite nicely. Once I get the current deadline done and delivered, I'll have more brainspace and actual time. Hey! I just planned something based on externally defined notions of time and space! Wow! I must be making progress!

And I'm off to Lenox today, people, for a workshop on creativity for the whole weekend. I'll miss knitting at Borders on Sunday (boo hoo) but it's going to be a Very Good Thing.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Still no pictures.

I'm going to have to spend a seriously large chunk of time attempting to fix my laptop. This is not something I have time for right now! Well, really, when does one have time for such a thing? Roughly never. Other things I have no time for: the creative journey, enlightenment, changing the light bulbs, clipping the cats' claws (there are four cats, folks; guess how many enjoy claw clipping time?), knitting socks.

So I cast on some socks. Wouldn't you? I received my order of hand-dyed FLY sock yarn, on a cone as requested and it's enough for two pairs of socks and the color self patterns into something and I just had to see what the patterning would do. Now I have. (It makes teeny red and black stripes.) Back to the Bazic commission, which is going fine, thanks to some truly crazed weasel knitting I have been engaging in. Awesome progress on Hardangervidda (almost done with the body! whoo hoo!) (no, really, I mean it this time) and on the leaf cardigan (another band of leafyness done!).

When your distraction knitting is Scandinavian fair isle, does it mean you're a wacko? I was just wondering.

Anyway, hi, Ruby and hi Kat and hi everybody. The malabrigo is color Little lovely. I bought all they had. Sigh. Malabrigo. This is seriously wonderful stuff. Even if it is named after an overcoat.

New to me Stitch And Bitch - well, I've known about it but haven't been able to go - is Javaroom in Chelmsford, roughly dinner time. Wed. nights. Be there or don't. My Wed. evening class is done and voila, not enough people signed up for the next block of lessons, so my Wednesdays are free for other troublemaking. I'll be away this weekend getting in touch with my creativity, so I won't be at Borders on Sunday, but have fun, all you folks who're going.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ah, Saturday.
Wrapping up the week: Lucia won the Opal, for the closest guess on how much the absurdly expensive dining table was. Happy socking, Lucia!

I've finished up teaching the latest knitting class, on Wed. night. So any of you from class checking things out over here, hello! I think there's a new session that starts next Wed., but it gets cancelled if there isn't a minimum enrollment. I'm of two minds with this. I like teaching. I really do. I also like having evenings free. So I'm happy either way. Jackie at Wild & Woolly asked if I'd be interested in teaching down there in the fall, and The World in Stitches has always welcomed any class I'd like to teach over there, and Fiber Loft wondered if I'd be interested in doing a design workshop. I think I need to look at actual hours in the day and what I really want to do and figure this out. One-day workshop sounds the most appealing at the moment; I find myself rapidly thinking, okay, three hours, and we'll swatch and go over sketching out schematics and figuring out how to build the pattern...oh, yeah. Sound like fun?

I've gotten some work done on the commission, and need to settle in for a spate of really intensive knitting this weekend so I can get the thing done this week. It should be doable, after all - this is a pretty basic (ouch--made from Bazic) sweater, in big yarn on size 9 US. No problem! Famous last words...

Also have visible progress on the leaf cardigan. Unfortunately, no pics today - my computer is feeling unhappy, apparently, and has decided it doesn't recognize the USB port today. *sigh* Jessica (a stunning knitter in her own right, who I see at the homeschooling coop from time to time) really likes how it's coming, and asked for the link to the yarn retailer; she's probably not the only one interested, so, briefly, I can't say enough times how much fun this is to knit for me right now, and how happy I am with the kit supplied by Sommerfuglen in Copenhagen. The exchange rate kinda sucks right now, but it's still shockingly inexpensive to get the original yarn as specified for these absolutely gorgeous designs--pretty much everything is less than a hundred dollars.

I emailed Ruth trying to figure out how to make a link to a free pattern I want to write and put up, and have had the "duh" moment - sorry, Ruth; I figured it out, I think. So a Noro hiking sock pattern is coming, people. After I reload Norton and figure out what's going on with the sudden inability to print anything.

Have a good weekend, everybody!

Monday, March 06, 2006

In spring, a knitter's thoughts turn to flights of fancy..

Well, these are the buttons about which I am excited and happy-dancing. I'm such a blogging newbie -- stuff like putting up things other than simple posts makes my poor little accountant's heart go pitter-pat--gee, can you tell? DH had to rescue the template yesterday when I (finally) deleted the ticker for the Knitting Olympics and accidentally deleted some very crucial html tag. It took him hours to track down what *wasn't* there. Thank you, dearest. Hope this time I get the buttons onto the sidebar without causing a meltdown.

It was simply spiffing to see people at Borders yesterday - and hi, Lynne, catch you next time. Kat came with her ball winder and swift, and of course there was all that knitting going on, so if we'd had Lynne's wheel, too, it'd be Knitters Taking Over the Whole Goddam Store. Thank you so much for all the kind words about my work, Jennifer and everybody. I'm away on a weekend workshop thing the next time we meet at Borders, so a Javaroom visit may be in order.

Anyhow, I blame the knitting circle for the Project Spectrum jump-on. Somebody pointed out that the work I was already doing was pink, as was part of the Olympic project (still, sadly, in progress) and the malabrigo (sharp intake of breath. malabrigo.), which is the color for this month, so why not make it a KAL? Why, indeed. Presto.
The Spring Forward is a similarly laid-back KAL with no actual start date determined yet. This is good, because here's how far I've gotten with the project: I have the pattern now, and I've decided to make it in Rowan All Season Cotton, and I established that I didn't like any of the colors on sale at Colourway. Um, that's all.

So then I ordered some Socks That Rock yarn from Blue Moon. I think I got a passel of this at Rhinebeck, but can't be sure. It was the most gorgeous stuff. I stood there with a total stranger, patting it, looking at the colors and saying, hm, I think if I get black, too, I can make some totally awesome stained glass socks. And this woman's eyes widen and as if in a trance, she says, oh, wow, me, too. So we both were in the zone, people, and there was no stoppin' us, me and whoever the hell that was. We was on fi-yah. (fsst) (this is a sizzling sound) (just use your imagination)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bad Overcoat?
Birds gotta swim,
Fish gotta fly,
I gotta love one yarn 'til I die.
Can't help
Knitting yet another sweater out of the most recent to die for yarn that I've just bought and can't stop touching.
(apologies to Billie Holliday)

I swoon. Dear, dear husband gave me a hefty gift certificate to Wild & Woolly for Christmas, and I've seen their entire stock way too much, so I waited until yesterday to make another trip down and see what they had. Well.

They had malabrigo. The yarn named inexplicably in Spanish, "bad overcoat." No idea what that's about. But the yarn...oh, the's knitters' crack. I was patting it in the car. While I was driving. Yep, reached around and grabbed that bag and pulled out a skein and...well, let's just say we hid it when a police car cruised by.

I restrained myself enough to wind just one hank on my ball winder and piled the rest on the worktable to take a picture for you. Like butter, this is.

Purring inside, I then knit an inch or so each on the Hardangervidda (which is for dh and he'd really like it while the weather's still cold, and he's wonderful, anyway), also on the leaf cardigan. No pics as the progress is not really visible to the naked eye.

Brown thumb department:
I'm not what you would call a really good gardener. What I lack is stamina, really; I start well, and then eventually forget to water something for a week or maybe two, and then, it's dead. Beyond resurrection, usually. This is why I like geraniums; they actually thrive under this mistreatment.

Last spring, in a fit of inspiration after having visited the orangerie at Saltram, I thought, hey, I could grow a citrus something or other! The children reminded me of the two lemon trees I killed a couple of years ago. Accordingly, I approached this with some healthy caution (which is unusual for me), and explained to the salesperson at Lexington Gardens that I am really, really talented at killing plants, and asked for The Most Explicit Instructions Possible for caring for a lime tree. The tree lives. It gave us three limes last year and it's now going great guns. Behold!

The other weird little picture is my experiment with some turnip tops. I noticed there were little sprouts of fresh green coming out of the tops of some turnips I'd bought and stuck in the fridge for what was probably too long, and I thought I'd see if I could turn them into plants. The result amuses me. I keep watering them, they keep growing. Go figure. (Thank you for sharing that, Liz...) Does anybody know what you do with these next? Do I just stick them in the ground once it's no longer frozen? It'd be better if anyone in the house actually liked turnips, I admit.

Thank you for the holiday suggestions, sep and Lucia and kat; it's really helpful. See, the trouble I always have is that dh, wonderful though he is, is a native of those parts, and gets about as excited about visiting turista destinations in the UK as I do about visiting Cape Cod. Which is, not very. Canal boats! The Orkneys! Oh, yeah!

I've finally taken a look at the March almanac chapter, and it's the fabulous colorwork sweater this month. Deep breath. I'd love dearly to make the whole sweater, but given the other work on the plate at the moment, I think I'll be safe with a swatch hat and probably leave it at that. So much yarn, so little time.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Breathing is good.
Now that the Olympics are over with, I seem to be functioning more or less normally again. This is a good thing, on the whole.

I really hit a breaking point earlier in the week. Between a whole bunch of other stuff, plus financial explosion on the house project, I freaked out completely. It wasn't pretty. It's been a few days now - I thought I was all better Wednesday, but managed to forget that I was teaching a knitting class that night, so clearly I wasn't yet firing on all cylinders. I'm pretty spent, still. Getting it together bit by small bit.

I did finally deliver the stripey project - there was a crazy-making issue with the collar finishing, which was crochet and hence something for which I must slavishly follow instructions (I am somewhat crochet-impaired). As it happens, there's a small but crucial error in the pattern; the collar isn't supposed to be ruffled. Now I have another commission to knit, and it's simpler and in big yarn - Classic Elite Bazic. I've written the pattern and sent it over, there are some tweaks they've requested, and soon it's mindless, near-instant gratification knitting. We like size 9 needles, we really do. I was so crazed early in the week that I didn't spot I'd forgotten to include any instructions for increasing the sleeves at all. Hm...8" so good.

Apparently a project of mine is appearing in Knit Simple, I heard this week. I originally sent the pattern without sizing and am not sure yet if that's what I'll be madly calculating for the rest of the weekend; hope not, but no biggie if it is. This one is a 3/4 sleeve tie front bolero for Caron, in some yarn so poofy and textured that it's nearly impossible to find stitches, but it's surprisingly lightweight and very, very soft.

KIP tomorrow at Borders, dropping in anytime between 2 and 5, people - I'll be there, hope to see people.

I think it's time for me to go down to Wild & Woolly and spend my Christmas gift certificate. Oldest child is away, so I'm not shuttling any of her (MANY) activities, and this spring, we don't have a lot of weekend things scheduled generally. Other than knitting, of course. So the day feels like it's relatively clear.

The skirt for spring sew-a-long, alas, I missed the signup cutoff for, so I'll just be sewing unofficially. In my copious spare time. There's the Spring Forward sweater KAL, the March almanac project to investigate, the February Almanac project to mess around with some more, and the Hardangervidda to finish and the leaf cardigan to keep plugging away on, and a new commission to work. Also some design submittal deadlines coming up.

I think Lucia's the only one who's guessed an actual *number* for the table, so unless somebody else chimes in, she'll be the new owner of some Opal. Don't some Opal socks sound like an appealing project right about now? I know they do to me. Mindless knitting for the mindless.

Another question for you: is there anyplace in the UK that you'd recommend for a vacation? We're trying to plan for the summer and I'm stumped, mainly out of ignorance. We'll be spending some time in Devon with the inlaws, but the rest of the time is wide open. Maybe another trip to the Colinette warehouse in Wales? Maybe up to Yorkshire and the Rowan headquarters for a workshop or just hiking and shopping?