Thursday, February 28, 2008


It is 9 outside. There is snow all about. My foggy brain is in cold weather hibernation. The phone rings at 7:10 a.m. The automated voice speaking for the superintendent of schools tells me that schools are closed today. The fog relaxes and spreads knowing that it has permission to stay the rest of the day. There might be an FO in my future.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

And then there were four

Only four tonight, but what a fine four we were. Mr. Sophanne and I got home early because of inclement weather so it's a knit night post hot off the press.

Tonight's knit night story comes from a discussion of Liza Jane's impending spaying.

I said, "She's a girl dog. Why is she humping pillows?"

KNQD: For the same reason boy dogs do.

And then came the story of the lesson KNQD learned when she didn't have one of her dogs fixed. Said dog dug a hole in a bag of clothes in a closet, stole the t.v. remote, and the cordless phone (and possibly other things I didn't hear) and growled when the items were retrieved. Come to find poor puppy thought these items were her puppies and she had to undergo some medical treatment to relieve her of this stress. Can't you just hear it now- phone rings, Scooby Doo puppy voice on the other end says "Mama." Confused would be mama-dog looks at the remote and says, my little puppy, what a red eye you have. (all the better to change your channel with mama) After some guilt and a few weeks of re-training no one was permanently damaged in this incident. (unless KNQD indicates and or elaborates in the comments otherwise.)

One of the greatest parts of knit night tonight is that I got some knitting done. Halfway through the second Bird in Hand mittens. EXCEPT (and now comes THE best part of knit night) along the seam, where there should have been a brown stitch, there was a white one. Just about 14 rows down. On beyond my only amateur skills of picking up and fixing stitches. KNQD says "give it here", and in a matter of seconds it is fixed.

As a girl who's had to do everything for herself in the big picture in life, this little act of "Here, let me help you." was just about the greatest thing that's happened to me in a long time.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I've got issues

and I'm not even counting those. Gifts are shown because I probably would have purchased them at some point anyway. Magazines are not- for no good reason. Not pictured are the 2 books on Latvian knitting I ordered from Amazon last week.

First the Big Picture

Books for the Designer

I'd like to report that these are recent purchases, but no. Instead, once I go the hang of knitting and purling, I was fairly sure I'd be off designing in no time. After all, I read Knit and Tonic. I feel pretty good that I have read or used everything pictured (except the 2007 calendar-which was a gift.) at least once.

Books for Help

The Vogue book has been the go-to book since day 1. The knitting basics book- not so much- it was purchased before I paid attention to anything. The top four are purchases I don't regret but I use sparingly. Why look at a book for help when it's so much fun to try to figure it our yourself or take it to knit night. The book of finishing techniques was an especially good buy for the girl trying to seam a sweater.

Books of patterns/techniques

Love the Ann Budd Books.

Haven't done one damn knitted toy but it's a cute book.

The Interweave Knits was a purchase to prevent me from purchasing every last back issue there ever was since I've only been knitting fro 3 years or so.

Simply Beatiful Sweaters, Silk Knits, Freeform Knitting and Crochet, and Module Magic are up for grabs. MAKE ME AN OFFER. These looked so much like something I'd be interested in and then I discovered various facts about myself that make them useless.

Smaller Project Books

These were mostly purchased when I was looking for something inspiring while working on boring stockinette of some larger project. The only one I've actually made anything from is the Messenger Bag in Knitting for Peace (and we all know how that worked out.) The top one (bad photography) was a recent acquisition Scarf Style. Not pictured was the Folk Hats purchase from a few weekends ago. Nope haven't knitted anything from it either.

Stephanie, Socks and one trashy-a$$ed novel

Yea, I succumbed to yet another yes, you too can knit too socks with the magic loop temptation. That was a recent purchase. I've used two of the sock leaflets pictured. Mostly just one, I have it memorized and I grab patterns from the sensational socks book except wait- I mostly use only one pattern from that book row 1 k3 p3 row 2 k1 p1. Not sure I needed the book to figure that one out but there lies so much potential in it.

No need to explain the Yarn Harlot books ( I have the meditation one hiding around somewhere too.) Has anyone read the one on top- Cast on, Bets off? It started with a sex scene that seemed to be written by a horny man and I haven't gotten past that.

The EZ collection

Also included is a book on scandinavian knitting and one by Meg Swansen. I've made a moeibus. That's about it. I watched the first episode about making a hat on the dvd but haven't followed through. But I feel like I can't be called a "real" knitter if I don't own those.

It's refreshing to relieve myself (somewhat) of the truth in my books. I've used more of them than I thought I had. It's the ones that I haven't used that nag and laugh at me every time I buy a pattern on-line or look for the latest book at the LYS.

I know I'm preaching to the choir when I suggest that these all were "MUST HAVES" at the time I purchased them. Feel free to reassure me. Also if you have a successful FO from any of them, tell me about it. I'm a copycat mostly.

More Importantly- If there are any "MUST HAVE" books that are missing from my collection, PLEASE DO SHARE!

ETA~ As if all of these weren't enough, KNQ Debbie just sent me THIS link guess I'll spend some time printing today.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

stay tuned

Having just had one of those PMS, I have a $100 bill, I think I'll stop at Barnes and Noble moments, it suddenly occurred to me that it might be interesting to find out the "knitting books to items knitted from them" ratio. (kbtikftR) I'm feeling a CMUNS (crack me up not Saturday) post in the near future.

wip saturday

Nothing much to crack me up this Saturday- except maybe I was a little embarrassed every time I clicked and saw the wee willie warmer and thus have avoided the blog since Wednesday.

Pictured- Bird In Hand (in cashmere) sans thumb. I figure my odds at a decent thumb will improve if I do them together.

The start of Karendipity's marvelous mitts in Lorna's Laces. The main color will be "china blue" the other is a variegated Lorna's Lace.

The first round of the Lettuce Leaf Scarf done in Stitchjones' Dark and Divine. Reading the chart has become easier- especially with the color coding. I didn't make any mistakes until row 17 (of 18) and I'm going to make sure I have the called for 60 stitches and try the next repeat. Mostly becuase I'm tired of frogging this thing every time I make a mistake I can't find.

This chart reading requires a different kind of attention but I'm starting to find some tricks that work I'm loving the challenge of something new.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

the answer to the knit night riddle

This is not a sock- it was one of the shared moments at knit night. (not in action)

There was some discussion of Flight-Attendant-Mary's airline employer who's motto we believe is now "We're not Happy until you're Unhappy."

There was also talk of a knit night KAL a great idea from Claire. (possibly one with the above motto involved-but maybe not)

There were three Mary's there. Flight Attendant Mary, Make Me Laugh Mary-Mac, and I Am Going to Demand Every Second of Knit Night Queen Debbie's Time Mary. (Mary Queen of Debbie as opposed to Queen of Scots?)

Is it just me, or do the voices of the talking yarns get louder when you have fewer wips? I resisted because there are several possibilities in the stash but I fear they will get louder still.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

why yes, there was knit night

but it's too late to post- instead I'll give you a teaser-

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town
Upstairs, downstairs in his nightgown
Rapping at the windows, tapping at the locks
"Are all the children in their beds? It's past eight o'clock."

Your job? Take guesses as to how that could relate to knit night. More after the pix arrive.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Morning Puppy Musings (with deference to Romi)

I believe that with her limited knowledge of human vocabulary (don't eat the cat being the newest acquisition) the puppy, when she hears the Amy Winehouse Rehab song, believes that rehab=collar.

In addition to the paw raising and the tail pointing, there is further evidence that the puppy is a bird dog- she pulled the needles and a row from the Bird in Hand mittens. Fortunately I was able to save them.

I must say that this is an excellent pattern for stranded knitting newbies (as opposed to the stag bag I thought I could knit and which now lies in a puddle of green.) Any frustrations caused by holding some yarn in the left hand are immediately eased when said hand comes into contact with the cashmere. If you happen to click on the stag bag link, you'll see the blueberry handspun- it's a sleeve and a half away from being "Wicked."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Grinch

The forces of nature coming together to make this happen: Misti Alpaca Bulky green, Ann Budd book of sweater patterns, 365 stitches a year slipped rib stitch (the "wrong" side), garter stitch, size 10 needles, 4 stitches/inch, Boris Karloff, Dr. Suess.

I can now see why people who live in cold mountainous areas with alpacas can remain warm and without frostbite. This is the warmest fabric I've ever worn. The sleeves are turned up for those wondering about the sleestack effect.

Friday, February 15, 2008

CMUS-only it continues to be early

If the expression on my face alone doesn't crack you up, then the fact that I'm making it at 5 year olds should.

If that's not enough then how 'bout that Lion Brand Homespun Granny Square Poncho I've got going on because it was so flipping cold that day.

This is a picture of a picture- hence the flashpoint. I swear kids are smiling at me (and not just in fear)

Somehow the drum adds something to it- maybe because I try to imagine kmkat having one in her accounting cubicle.

Feel free to inser your own LOL ICANHSCHZBGR caption in the comments.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

and then there's this

I started those bird in hand mittens by Kate Gilbert and some yummy cashmere

That Mr. Sophanne

He sure knows how to turn a day around. Then he said, "I have nothing but good thoughts about you, no matter what you think of yourself." There's a guy that knows his wife.

Grinch be done and S&M K Meme

Don't let your mind go there. I'm starting a meme. It has no rules. S&M K stands for Sid and Marty Kroft. You don't have to play. I won't be tagging you. But, as always, it cracks me up a little bit. Here is a partial list of SMK shows I found on Wikpedia:
Red = loved 
Yellow= hated 

Gray=don't remember the details help me out.

The Bay City Rollers Show (1978; aka The Krofft Superstar Hour Starring the Bay City Rollers)
The Krofft Supershow (1978)
Bigfoot and Wildboy (1977)

The Brady Bunch Hour (1977)
Wonderbug (1976)
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (1976)
Dr. Shrinker (1976)

Donny & Marie (1976; aka The Osmond Family Show)
The Lost Saucer (1975)
Far Out Space Nuts (1975)

Land of the Lost (1974)
Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (1973)
Lidsville (1971)
The Bugaloos (1970)
Pufnstuf (1970)
H.R. Pufnstuf (1969)

I can't believe that Shazam and Oh Mighty Isis weren't on the list.  I wonder who thought of them. (loved them both)

Grinch is resting ends will be woven soon and photos to follow.  Don't want to rush things.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

me allergic? not so much.

Unless you're talking about that itchy thing you get in the back of your throat when someone has gone overboard on the perfume or say when your working with alpaca that has been steamed.

I've attached one sleeve to the Grinch and while it's a little early to predict, that delusion idea I had about using the slipped stitch ribbing to add stability to hopefully decrease the vertical stretch also added a good bit of weight to increase the vertical stretch.

What started out as just below the waist may turn into one of the robes the Grand Sleestax from Land of the Lost might wear if there were such things. Look ma, no hands.

And yet- it's going to be soft, warm, and green. It may be that rare fo that looks terrible but that I like anyway. If it's really really terrible, I may gently shrink felt it.

What with a snow day and all today, I may just finish it up- if I can face it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

PGH k&c the haul.

A swift that's not an umbrella. It "disassembles" and doesn't need clamped to the table. It's like a lazy susan. Pretty ingenious. Maybe a little not as "perfect" as an umbrella swift but it may be user error.

A Royal ball winder. I wound some cherry tree hill from my stash and have a yarn cake. I think there's a bit of a learning curve in that as well.

400 yds of brown cashmere and 400 yds of white cashmere- Yea, if you're a LYS and you have cashmere under $30, I'm your resident sucker. I'm thinking I'm going to follow some EZ directions for hat and mittens. I still have some unused green cashmere so I may be on to something. (I'd like to point out that I had enough sense to christen the ball winder with something OTHER than this cashmere in spite of every inner voice calling me to do otherwise.)

A "fiber sampler" from a shop that is relatively close and will be at the Waynesburg S and F festival. I don't know what I love yet and this will be a good way to find out.

Some not green (red-ish) sock yarn called "Melody."

Underneath the blue tag is a "yarn keeper bracelet" made by Humes of Delaware. Another ingenious invention (this one more reasonably priced) I'll get a better picture when Mr. Sophanne is around. Mostly the yarn cake can hang from your wriste by way of latchy things and wires with wooden balls at the end of them.

I also purchased the Folk Hats by Vickie Square. I think the hat that Mr. Sophanne wants is a sort of pillbox/cossack design.

The festival itself was overwhelming for this newbie. So much yarn, so many possibilities. So not a clue as to what I wanted to look at or where I wanted my knitting to go after the purchases. I guess that's why I went for the luxury. Then I didn't end up getting as much. I've learned that when negotiating quality and quantity, my tendency in stash enhancement is on the quality end. I'd rather have 4 skeins of cashmere than ten skeins of cascade.

The space itself was very crowded. But that will change as the location is moving next year. I was secretly hoping for a giant ballroom where there would be tables and tables of knit night like knitting to check out. This happened on a small scale but not as much as I had expected. It kind of felt like a missed opportunity. If you're not taking a class you pay $15 to be allowed to buy stuff?

This did not put a damper on knit-night like conversations. As I passed one store I heard a woman say "I'm going to blow up her house, it's all I can do." Passing another booth I heard "How do you catch a unique rabbit? U neek up on him." Now I've heard that joke plenty of times but not so much in passing at a festival.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Just when you thought

Just when you thought you had CMUS(F) wrapped up, life happened and there was a double dose. After an afternoon of whacked out kids, I spent the 25 minute car ride home trying hard not to be cranky. I came home to this:

Totally impossible to get my crank on.

This Is My Job. CMUS(F)

2nd grade teachers are doing a unit on American Scientists and inventors. They came to me and asked me if I had any songs about inventors.

me in my head: Yea, let me just dig up one of those Wright Brothers or Thomas Edison songs written for 2nd grade abilities. It will be so hard to choose which one to use.

me out loud: hmmm. Peter Paul and Mary's The Marvelous Toy might feel like an invention. We could also build our own invented beat machine.

In honor of good old American Ingenuity- (both mine and the Masters') I share with you Mrs. Stiles's Beat Machine Invention. Please realize that I get paid for this job. Kmkat how I envy your cubicle. If it takes too long or is a pain to load- skip it. You can catch it in reruns. HEY! With my new non-celebrity celebrity I wonder if Hollywood Insider wants a copy of this? Or maybe Letterman for stupid pet kid tricks.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

further developments

Knit'nat's knit night discussed why skunks are the banana peels of the animal kingdom. This seems to me comparable to discussing Wiccan lumberjacks. She's also looking to share a ride to the MDSW so it looks like I'm making a plan.

It's a little scary making plans with friends you haven't met yet but if she's meeting up with Yarny Old Kim another blogger at the top of the list of MUST MEET BLOGGERS, it's got to have some potential and yippee for not driving alone.

I'm skipping an Orff workshop (usually most awesome professional development opportunity) this weekend to go to Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. This makes me so happy. It feels like "skipping school" only not and I am so guilt-free about it. It's good to be over 40.

So this Portland fan club gathering-I'm thinking that an easy access public place on the evening of July 8 would be ideal. Not being familiar with the area I'll leave it to someone wise to set a time and place.

I wouldn't be pursuing it so much but then QuailHillKnits said When are you going to be in Portland? My home in Washington is 3 1/2 hours up the road. Maybe a bunch of the bloggers could figure out a way to meet up.

I may be dragging some family along- (hopefully not kicking and screaming) but it seems to me that I'll be spending the next week playing grandMOther so a little "me time" before it all would certainly be appropriate.

And Olga suggests that I print a few books (not sure what I'd put in them but how hard is it to make something up) and sign them to make it feel like a book signing. Uber- it does sound fun!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008



Does it really matter who said what when you have a conversation like this?

What is Wicca?

M calls them "treehuggers."

I don't feel comfortable having a conversation about something none of us know anything about. There are probably right wing wiccans and left wing wiccans like anything else.

Some people call it a religion. Others think it's more about spirituality. It depends on how you look at it.

Yea, there are probably some Lumberjack Wiccans out there.

Oh how I love knit night.

Knit Night Debbie has an African Gray Parrot. K.N. Jennifer also has bird(s). Riley (Debbie's bird) says this to her husband "I like that shirt." Then when he's just far enough away it says "You have something on the back of your shirt." Jennifer's birds have learned to make the kitty feeding time noises. "Here kitty kitty."

There was also some discussion on restless leg syndrome, Parkinsons Disease, Bells Palsy and something to do with the 5th nerve ending and the terribleness of nerve pain. Because Claire, the pharmacist was counting, we referred to Darla for all things medical. Darla's medical background is limited to her personal experience but she's very reliable so far.

Come to find a toilet paper roll works for ball winding as I had experimented with only you're supposed to stay on the sides of it, (not cover the tubey ends as I did) and then take the roll out. I knew I was on to something but somehow got lost in the mechanics. This should surprise no one.

When I came home I found a comment on my travel post from the most recent yarn wholesaler Sharon who noticed that I would be traveling to Portland OR this summer and said, Sophanne is coming to Portland this summer?! Girl, let me buy you a drink! At which point I became giddy and delusional and decided that maybe I could have a fan club and that I could meet all my west coast blog friends this summer and we'd start out small and eventually it would become the most famous Chickenlips and Sophanne Fiber festival and people would flock from miles around.

I also began to wonder if, like the knitting cruises, there could be knitting train trips. There's no better place to knit than on a train. A pile o knit-bloggers reserving business class of Amtrak on certain days knitting their way across country and back.

All it takes is a little knit night action for this brain to start sparking.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

odds and ends

Compulsive on-line buying and refraining from fiber purchases landed me at Joanne's buying one of these. A Namaste Jetsetter (for under $50-I'm guessing it's a discontinued color)I am such a bag-ho. I figured with upcoming (o.k. 6 months from now) travel, it's never too soon to find the perfect bag.

Did you catch Puppy Bowl IV? What serious puppy fun with a kitty half-time. It was a cracking me up and convincing me of the amount of Jack Russell in Liza Jane.

One sleeve is done. One to go

'member that other time when..

the Sophanne vacation (look at some July posts if you care to) involved a plane to Seattle, a train to Portland and back, a train to Vancouver and back and then a plane home?

One of the truths about life here is that vacations very often involve various forms of transportation. It would seem that getting there is half the fun (at least for half here in this house.)

One Thanksgiving (because of family obligations and a need to go to the National Archives) we drove to Baltimore, took a train to Charlottesville VA, took a bus (because we thought it was going to be a train) to Washington DC, train to Baltimore and drove home from there.

This summer is gearing up to stretch the limits of planes trains and automobiles as we've thus far known it.

1. Train to Portland
2. Rental car to Seattle
3. Rental car on a ferry to a condo on San Juan Island for a week.
4. Return on ferry.
5. Rental car to Portland
6. Airplane to the 'burg.

The hows of travel to the train station and home from the airport will be figured out later on but thems the plans. Mr. Sophanne still thinks a train ride with the grandchildren somewhere in there is possible.

This all came about as a result of the "free tickets" we got from US Air on the last trip home from Seattle. Don't even get me started on how "free" can be reinterpreted when you're an overbooked airline.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Remember that time when...

Those of you who have been reading my ruminations for a while might remember this conversation about the knitting terms "after every 4th" vs. "every 4 rows." as in:


4th inc

That little puzzle has revisited the Grinch sleeves in a Knitting Goddess Vengeful Laughing sort of way.

Ann Budd's directions read Then inc 1 st each end of the needle every 6 rows 9 times.

Based on the last sweater's mistake (going 1 2 3 inc instead of 1 2 3 4 inc) where I ended up with shortish widish elephant sleeves, I looked VERY closely at Ann Budd's directions and knit 1 2 3 4 5 6 increase (several times-as well as 1 2 3 4 increase which happened earlier in the directions) I have finished the row of increases and not even started the cap and have 22" instead of the suggested 18". The cap is going to make for at least another 2" if not more.

But Sophanne, why didn't you measure the sleeves along the way? Because I was in the Knitting Black Hole and didn't want to jinx myself and make it go slower.

Common sense says to save this frog project until knit night and find out if there are alternate solutions. And yet I'm off to frog.

Maybe the reason I can't quit green is because I do so much frogging. Next thing you know I'll be addicted to African Tree Frog colors.

p.s. this is Not a CMUS post. Did I mention that I was knitting 2 sleeves at a time?

Groouuund haawwg

Dear Jill Trinka, If you happen to see this and are opposed to it being posted, contact me immediately and I will remove it. Otherwise, I believe that there is a vast audience of bloggers that do not know about the existence of this song and I like to have an informed readership.

If you can't read it if you click it or don't care to, I'll just tell you that verse 9 is my favorite. "Up stepped Sal with with a snigger and a grin x3... Groundhog grease all over her chin."

To some of you this may be CMUS. To the music teachers, it's just another day at the office!

ETA If you don't need the melody or you can't embiggen-here are the words.

Whet up your knives and whistle up your dog (x2)
We're off to the hills to catch a groundhog
Whack-fol-did-le ol-ly day.

Too many rocks and too many logs x2
Too much trouble for an old groundhog
Whack-fol-did-le ol-ly day.

Over the hills and through the brush x2
Boys, I see that hog sign fresh
Whack-fol-did-le ol-ly day.

Up stepped Barry with a ten-foot pole x2
To roust that groundhog out of its hole
Whack-fol-did-le ol-ly day.

Work boys work for all you can earn x2
Will skin 'im in the loft and tan 'im in the churn
Whack-fol-did-le ol-ly day.

Work boys work just as heard as you can tear x2
The meat'll do to eat and the skin'll do to wear
Whack-fol-did-le ol-ly day.

Took 'im by the tail and laid 'im on the log x2
Swear to my soul he's a very fine hog
Whack-fol-did-le ol-ly day.

Put 'im in the pot and the younguns gonna smile x2
Ate that groundhog 'fore it struck a bile
Whack-fol-did-le ol-ly day.

Up stepped Sal with a snigger and a grin x2
Groundhog grease all over her chin
Whack-fol-did-le ol-ly day.

So whet up your knives and whistle up your dogs x2
We're off to the hills to catch a groundhog
Whack-fol-did-le ol-ly day.