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Ceci n’est pas un swatch. July 27, 2007

Posted by marymac in knitting, Me me me!, yarn.

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(This is not a swatch .)

Neither is this:

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And neither is the blue thing I blogged about in my last post.

I might possibly have a case of Startitis.

(And I bought crochet hooks today. None of these projects are crocheted.)

It’s as if I’ve forgotten that I’m a Wicked Slow Knitter(TM). I blame Ravelry and its easy access to gazillions of patterns. I have a habit (pre-dating Ravelry, even) of browsing patterns online when I’m trying to avoid buying yarn (yes, sometimes this has the opposite effect of the one I intend). Fortunately, I am a Wicked Slow Knitter(TM), so mostly I acquire many patterns that I will never get around to making. (Welcome to Circular Reasoning 101.) It’s not often that being disorganized actually saves you money.


This is how it starts. July 21, 2007

Posted by marymac in Adam and Clive, Blondie and Dagwood, gimme gimme gimme, knitting.

My friends Adam and Clive were in town last week and after a loverly lunch where we finally got a chance to catch up on everything that’s been going on lately, they presented me with a little gift.

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You may recall that Adam and Clive are also the ones who gave me Elvis the Penguin. Sensing a theme?

Here’s why. (I think there are some missing.) Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This is how crazy packrat people with houses full of tchotchkes get started, isn’t it?

My other friends are getting in the act, too. This was a recent gift from Blondie:

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I couldn’t get a shot where the writing was legible, but it’s all along the lines of “Where are we going? Are we there yet?” chatter. Because they are Chatty Penguins. Very polite Chatty Penguins. They are British, after all.

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Aaaaanyway, this is what I’m up to when I’m not counting penguins.

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Easy-peasy lace, because that’s about all I can handle right now (and even this project could have used a lifeline in it a few repeats ago when I totally screwed up and had to go back ten rows). The photo below is more true to the actual color, but it doesn’t show the stitch pattern very well.

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Why, no, I don’t have my copy of the new Harry Potter book yet. Why do you ask?

Oh, For the Love of Maude January 29, 2007

Posted by marymac in I'm so deep, knitting, Me me me!.

First, replies to a couple of comments on my last post.

Karen asked: Is there a superseeeecret project that I’m not aware of? Or don’t you guys love me anymore because I”m not in chat as often?

If there are any current group superseekrit projects, I’m not aware of them, either. I have some personal superseekrit projects that I’m not posting about yet because at least some of the intended recipients read this blog regularly and I am trying to be surprising…erm…to surprise them. So no pics until the gifties are in their hot little hands (and that hand comment is not a hint). Also, I think Valerie was supposed to talk to you about how we voted you out of the cool kids club because you’re not in chat as often, but you didn’t hear that from me.

And Laura says: More pink (and more Barbie) please.

There will be more pink soon, because I think you have done something to my brain. Also, Blogging is Hard! (How’s that for Barbieness?)

Okay, all personal messages aside I wanted to talk to you about…the weather. Why? Because that’s what people do here in New England. All. The. Time. I do it too, in spite of the fact that I’ve never really considered myself much of a “New Englander” — Monkee‘s assertions of my “Yankeeness” notwithstanding. I suspect this has something to do with my family’s having lived in the US for less than 100 years (yes, both sides), but that’s another post.
Recently, our weather went from this:

To this:
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No, really!

Okay, maybe over the course of a couple of weeks months. Not more than six, I swear. Regardless, it got wicked cold wicked fast, and I found myself wanting a new hat. (My old hat still worked, it was just kind of itchy, which was entirely my own fault for cheaping out with the itchy wool, I know, and that’s why I put up with the itchitude for longer than I should have. Also, I am lazy about making stuff for myself. Yes, I am deserving. Yes, I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. Still lazy, though.)

!@#$@#&^ freezing cold can be quite motivating, however, so it only took me a couple of evenings to churn out this:

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‘Tis the Sunflower Tam from Knitting Nature, done with Patons Classic Merino in Burgundy, which I have a ton of because I think it was meant for a sweater that never happened. (I am slow as well as lazy — much of my stash was purchased for projects that never materialized.) Anyway, this took less than a ball, so I still have a ton of it. And no, that’s not my head in the picture.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about the finished hat at first — the fit is fine, but it’s a little chef‘s toque-y, and I was concerned about appearing…howyousay…dorky. Fortunately, I am growing too old to put dorkiness over non-itchy headgear, and I decided to embrace the toque-yness. You’re still not getting any pics of me wearing the hat, however.

These give you a better view of the sunflower pattern:

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And lo, my head was warm, and there was much rejoicing. Which continued when I heard this news. When I was a kid I watched a lot of tv, and I associated many of the characters on my favorite shows with people I knew — mostly family members. My Aunt V. was Maude — divorced, tall, brassy, and with a mouth like a sailor. V. is still kicking at the age of seventy*mumble*, and it’s nice to see that Maude is back, too.

…compromisin’, enterprisin’, anything but tranquilizin’,
Right on Maude!

Resolved January 21, 2007

Posted by marymac in knitting, Me me me!, yarn.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I like to pretend that it’s because my eternal quest for self-improvement is beyond regulation by some arbitrary date on the calendar at which time I’m supposed to decide on all the things I’ll want to do over the next twelve months. But just between you and me and the lamppost, the truth is that I hate to be wrong, even if it’s about something as trivial as my ability to get to bed at a certain time on a regular basis, and you can’t break a New Year’s resolution if you don’t make ’em in the first place.

(And what does happen if you come up with a new resolution in, like, July? Do you call it a Mid-Year Resolution? Do you wait six months before trying to follow it? I have no idea what’s going to be important to me in July, kittens! (Hell, I have no idea what’s going to be important to me in February, but I’m working on that — see “eternal quest for self-improvement”, above.))

It has been suggested to me that perhaps I could resolve to update the ‘ol blog more often, because I’m a wee bit behind. Yeah, that’s gonna happen. I have been remiss, though in a couple of things…..

Shortly before The Holidaze, I went on a little WEBS mission for my dear Roxy, and in return she sent me a treat:

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(“Barbie” is one of my aliases. Don’t ask.)

Now, the little pink case would be exciting enough on its own, but when I opened it I found these inside:

Loverly stitch markers! I promise to try not to lose them, Roxy! (I’m kind of bad with the stitch marker losing, but I’ve managed to hold on to these so far. The case helps.)

Also, just to prove that I do occasionally finish things, these were part of my brother and SIL’s XMess gifts:

They’re the Manly Mitts from Knitty, sized down a bit because my brother has “teeny little girly hands” (don’t tell him I told you that). My hands are the same size as his, so getting the sizing right on these was easy-peasy. They’re done in Cascade 220 in colors that I don’t remember because I bought the yarn a year ago and only just got around to giving the gifts. They were my first stranded pattern and I had a lot of fun making them until about 1/3 of the way through the fourth one, at which time I never wanted to see a mitten again in my life. I have since recovered.

Close-up of the stranded colorwork:

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I also made a scarf for my SIL’s birthday gift (her birthday is between XMess and New Year’s, so it tends to get lost in the shuffle). She likes pink, in case you haven’t figured that out:

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That’s Argosy, also a Knitty pattern. It’s made from two balls of Valley Yarns Amherst (a little less than two balls, actually, because I kind of misjudged on how much I needed to finish so it’s a short scarf). This was the first opportunity I’ve had to use Amherst, and I liked it a lot — it has a nice hand (it’s Merino wool) and shows stitch definition well:

I’m not crazy about non-reversible scarves, but I wanted a relatively quick knit (since I didn’t manage to get the gift started until the day before I wanted to give it…oops) and the stitch pattern for Argosy is pretty easy to memorize. SIL said she liked it, but she used to be an Actor, so I’m never sure if she really means it when she says she likes her gifts.

Now it’s time for television and dinner and knitting on superseeecrudprojekt #3432564.5. I resolve to blog again sometime this year….

I’d rather be… December 12, 2006

Posted by marymac in knitting, yarn.

I’d like to be making something out of this yarn right now:

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Or this one:

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The Calmer! It would be so nice to be making something out of the Calmer right this minute:

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But alas, I’m still working on super-seecrud project #23157, and tonight as I was knitting along with my beloved Denise needles, the little connector piece on the cord snapped. Suh-napped. My favorite extra-long cord, too (before it comes up in the comments: I know they have great customer service and have already emailed them). So I dug out another cord and moved the super-seecrud project over, but I must’ve been so flustered that I didn’t secure the needle tips properly and one end came off of the cord as I was knitting along again. No dropped stitches, fortunately, but it wasted a ridiculous amount of time. Also, my darling Kacha-Kacha counter wandered off in the commotion. I’m not sure I can knit without the Kacha-Kacha counter.

At least I have chocolate in the house.

ETA: The Kacha-Kacha has returned! Woot!

The Knittyheads Take WEBS. October 25, 2006

Posted by marymac in knitting, WEBS.

As I may have mentioned here before, I live in Greater WEBSville (pop. all the fiberfreaks fit to knit (crochet, weave, spin, etc.)). So when through the magic of the interweb a plan was hatched for Deb to come up from Debland for a (much too short) visit, complete with trip to WEBS, I jumped on that bandwagon faster than you could say …erm… “Two Weeks in a Row at WEBS.”

I was not the only one. They came from all over.*

When I arrived at the store (a little late, but hey, the post office closes early on Saturdays), I made my way to where all the chatter was coming from — The Warehouse.

l-r, that’s The Debness Herself, Bitterknitter and her camera, Theherocomplex (hiding behind Bluepeninsula), Periwinklepoodle, and the back of Bryghtrose‘s head. (As always, clicking will bring bigging.)

Leaving Deb to wander the warehouse, some of us made our way back to the main part of the store and did some browsing.

l-r, the backs of Ariel‘s and Bryghtrose’s heads, Theherocomplex not behind anybody, Enallagma9, and I think that’s Bluepeninsula’s hand fondling the yarn over on the right.

That’s Ariel in her cat ears (Ariel hasn’t spent enough time in Northampton to realize that cat ears are nothing — last year there was this person who was always riding a bicycle around town in what appeared to be a polar bear suit. And then there was the guy dressed as a lobster….), surrounded by the back of Sunidesus‘ head, the back of Enallagma9’s head (are we sensing a theme yet?), a teeny bit of Bluepeninsula, Lindydiva in her beret, and I think that’s a teeny bit of Periwinklepoodle over on the left.

Yes, I could crop, but then you wouldn’t see the store, right? That’s Bluepeninsula, the front of Bryghtrose’s head(!), Ariel and the ears, and Lindydiva’s back. Note the size of Lindydiva’s shopping basket.

Now note the size of Deb’s shopping basket.

On the left is the lovely Rae, who hatched this scheme with Deb in the first place and I don’t know why there aren’t more pictures of her. I think she was hiding.

But it’s not over yet.

First we have Deb doing some more filling of her shopping basket….

…and then talking on the phone. Oh, but this is no ordinary phone call — someone may have decided to call Monkee so she could share in the fun. Wave to my phone, kittens. (Yes, we caused a big line at the cash register. No, the woman behind Deb isn’t pleased.)

We did all emerge triumphant eventually. Even Deb**.

Sometimes the paparazzi just won’t leave a girl alone.

*This is a lie. They didn’t come from Norway or New York or Texas or North Carolina. We weep, we wail and gnash our teeth, we pine.

(Okay, in this case I believe we are mostly maple-ing, but you get the idea.)

**Click the link for action shots.

Underwire, Part II October 18, 2006

Posted by marymac in activism, knitting, WEBS.

So my last post went over like a lead balloon. Either that or everyone has forgotten that I’m here. Everyone but Laura, of course, who being all science-y and whatnot was so fascinated by my lead balloon-ness that she even commented. Or maybe that was just for Barbie.

Well, I am unoffended. I am undeterred. I am unable to shut up. (But I have pictures. You love pictures, right?)

Anyway, as I was saying last time, giving of yourself is a good thing and blah blah blah high-horsecakes. So a couple of weeks ago (yup, we’re back in the Wayback Machine again — fasten your seatbelt, Sherman*) when I stopped in at WEBS, which happens to be one of my local yarn stores (and the one that gets most of my yarn money), and was reminded of their “Knit For Hope”, I decided to go.

Knit for Hope is an annual WEBS event — they provide yarn, patterns and yummy treats (and lots of coffee), and knitters show up and make scarves and chemo caps for a local organization that provides support services for cancer survivors. You’ll have to take my word for the fact that I started a scarf at the knit-in and managed to finish it in time to drop it off in the collection basket the following Saturday (more on the following Saturday soon, if you’re not tired of hearing about it from everyone else) despite my Wicked Slow Knitterness, because dark purple yarn + 1×1 ribbing + indoor photography + nighttime = photos of a purple fuzzy blob.

I do have photos of the event, however…. (click for big)

Happy, happy knitters! I don’t know why everyone looks so solemn, but I promise that I did have their permission to take the photos and post them here. Except for the guy by the food table. The weird black slash on his right arm is because he had some kind of reflective stuff there or something and I was too lazy to figure out another way to make it less distracting (I think I may have managed to do the opposite, though). Yes, that’s sock yarn. And half of the Wall O’ Needles and Notions.

More happy, happy knitters! The happy knitter on the right is Kirsten, who works in customer service at WEBS but wasn’t working that day except when people kept interrupting her to ask for things or to ask her about the lace shawl pattern she wrote (she’s one of WEBS’ in-house designers, too). She taught the drop spindle class I took at WEBS a while back and is just fabulous, even when she’s pretending that she doesn’t know I’m taking a picture of her. Be nice to Kirsten when you call WEBS, people — customer service is a hard job. Also, yes, that’s the other half of the Wall O’ Needles and Notions.

I didn’t manage to get the photographic evidence, but someone said there were about 50 people at the knit-in. And the following weekend there was certainly a piled-to-the-top basket of completed hats and scarves that people had dropped off.

And to make it all even more exciting, the Monsters of Teen Craft tour was also making an appearance at WEBS that day, so I got to meet Kim Werker and Shannon Okey, who are both incredibly cool and funny and who agreed with me that Ariel wouldn’t complete so many socks if her feet weren’t so teensy.

Kim with Humphrey, the tour mascot. Isn’t he cute? I haven’t crocheted anything but edgings in a while but I totally want to make an amigurumi now because Kim was giving out postcards with patterns for them. (That thing in her other hand is the beginnings of a crocheted chemo cap, in case you’re wondering.)

Kim’s parents, visiting from New York.

After a while, Shannon got out the wheel and gave Kim’s dad a lesson:

She offered to give him a turn, but he said the wheel wasn’t a “power tool” so he just wanted to watch. Shannon tried to convince him that one could motorize a spinning wheel as a do-it-yourself project, but he wasn’t buying it.

Yay for WEBS for hosting such a great event! Yay for Knitters (and Crocheters) for being such cool people!

*I wonder if anyone but Blondie and me gets that reference. I hope so, for it will make me feel less old.

Ten Minutes in My Head September 19, 2006

Posted by marymac in I'm so deep, knitting.

In case anyone is wondering how the penguin naming is going, I’m kind of leaning towards “Elvis the Penguin” because it’s just random enough to make me laugh. And it makes me think of Alice the Camel*. Boom boom boom.

Elvis is currently riding around in my knitting bag for no particular reason other than that’s where he ended up when I was bringing him home from Boston. He’s keeping Starsky company.

The back of Starsky as of Sunday afternoon.

I’ve gotten through another pattern repeat since I took that photo, but I was too lazy to take another picture (also, it got dark — funny how that happens in the evening). Pretend that piece is about 3 inches longer, if you don’t mind. I wasn’t excited about the Banana Tree cable pattern in the photos of the sweater, but it’s fun to knit (yes, I’m one of those freaks who likes knitting cables).

Every time I hear something about that Last Kiss movie, I get the song One Last Kiss stuck in my head. This is normal, right? How about if you were in Bye Bye Birdie in high school? Normal then? How about if you’re listening to part of the soundtrack as you blog?

Never mind.

Max says your ten minutes are up.

*Except those lyrics are wrong, because the last line is just “Because she’s a horse” — I am shocked that there is incorrect information on the interweb. Shocked!

The Wayback Machine was in the shop…. September 13, 2006

Posted by marymac in Adam and Clive, Blondie and Dagwood, knitting, Max, travel.

So grab your spare Flux Capacitor and come back with me to the first weekend of this month (that was Labor Day weekend, if you’re in the US). I decided to ditch this joint (always good to be out of town the weekend when the students come back to Acme U) and visit my friends Blondie and Dagwood*, who live a couple of hours across the state from me.

The not-so-secret special attraction of Blondie and Dagwood’s house?

This is Max.
He is so money.
And he doesn’t even know it.

(Sorry. I’m a little overtired and I’ve been at Acme U too long today because my phone line is busted again. But I promised Theresa I’d update soon, and I don’t want her mad at me. That could get scary. *dissolves into laughter at the thought of Theresa mad*)


Anyway, Blondie and Dagwood and I have all known one another since our days as students at Hippie College and they’ve been together for about eleventy years now, so they let me come over and torment them and their dog pretty regularly. But I can’t leave things be and have to make all my friends be friends with each other, so Saturday night the three of us went out to dinner with another couple, Adam and Clive. Adam and I have been friends since our student days at Acme U (people attend more than one college sometimes — it’s perfectly normal), and he is (unfortunately) aware of some of my obsessions strong interests.

Like penguins. (click for big)

Shut up. Don’t judge me. They’re cute.

And this one is all Elvis-ified with a logo on its back, too:

Penguin needs a name. I suck at naming things, so I’m open to suggestions. Otherwise it will be “that penguin Adam and Clive gave me” forever, and that’s a mouthful.

Yes, you see knitting. I was so inspired by the change of venue that I finally managed to start Starsky whilst at Blondie and Dagwood’s (Blondie is Not A Knitter but she watches some good teevee, in front of which is my preferred knitting location of choice — serendipity!). I was not so inspired that I felt like doing more than starting a sleeve, however, so this is what I had by the end of the weekend:

Impressive, eh? I have since completed most of the sleeve but stopped when I realized that it might be a good idea to see what the sleeve will be connected to before I decide if I need to do extra increases to accommodate my super-chubby arms. So I started a different project. (Yes, I eventually cast on for the back. What is it with you and the judging today?) But I have no pics. You’ll just have to imagine the wonder of four rows of over 100 stitches. In 3×3 rib. Try not to spill anything when you swoon from the awe of it all.

*All names have been changed to protect me — these people have known me for a very, very long time and there’s no way I’m giving you knitting hoodlums access to them. Special thanks to Blondie for the camera assist.

Go away! August 28, 2006

Posted by marymac in knitting.

The fabulous LAURALAURALAURA is a finalist in The Amazing Lace Challenge #6! Go! Vote! Come back later when I can write without using all these exclamation points!