Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Quick and the Dead

Today tastes like peanut shells, ballpoint ink, and fog.

California is sending us a huge weather mass that has been dripping down on me all day. The clouds are pregnant with water and leak as they plod across the sky. One of the partners called in to touch base and asked what was going on. Nothing, I told him. Nothing, but the fog has rolled in and squatted down like it means business.

Some projects whip up quickly; so quickly that by the time it enters your mind to drop a progress post, well, they're done. This scarf is one of those; the pattern should move like hotcakes. The points of the scarf stand up and flare like a collar when it's on, and hang in interesting zig-zags down the torso. The bias of the mesh means it crushes down admirably, and it's a weekend project.

Good honest merino, trimmed with Muppet merkin. Posted by Hello
But then there's boogers like this project.

Third . . . no, actually FOURTH time's a charm, right? Posted by Hello
A list I'm on is having a Zen Shawl Exchange--you select a pattern, select some yarn, create a shawl. No limits, no guidelines. I've had really good experiences with this list before; we are a bunch of geek fiber enthusiasts. I am not afraid of knitting something in lacey in cobweb weight cashmere and getting something in sloppy garter in garish Red Heart in return. If anything, I'm a little concerned my stuff won't measure up when we do these!

So, I found a fingering/sport weight yarn in an ice blue/cream marl; and it's one of those yarns that lends itself to lots of slashes. It's a cotton/wool/nylon/acrylic blend (see?) that feels like mostly cotton and wool. It'll be warm, but not too warm, and pleasantly rustic; not the kind of thing that "ought to be put away for a special occasion." It'll be a sit by the fire drinking cocoa, swing on the porch swing with mint lemonade, let the grandchildren borrow it for a tea party kind of shawl.

I liked this pattern, and thought I would work it as a split shape--you cast on some stitches for a collar, knit about an inch in a non-curling stitch, then keeping some border stitches in the same non-curling stitch, you work the pattern you're after.

Looking at the Pafugalhale (Peacock's Tail--thanks for the English translation, Nurhanne!) I noted that on row 12 you have 96 stitches, plenty for a collar. Perfect, sez I, casting on 96 plus my borders and whipping it out while watching the extended editions of the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy. It's great wag-around knitting, with one row of moderate concentration for every four rows of pattern, then three of mindless stockinette.

But after a couple of pattern rows, it started acting funky. Nothing lined up. Does anyone ELSE see the boneheaded manuever? (And if you do, please keep it to yourself. My ego is a delicate blossom of the Orient.)

Yah, you have 96 sts AFTER COMPLETING Row 12. I had to rip the whole thing out 'cos I plain and simple had way too many stitches. Hokay, I was in a sugar coma when I cast on--too much good stuff, hanging with the foodies.

Tried again--cast on enough for the collar, tweaked the pattern a tich to keep it lacy enough, started at a different place. Humming right along till I hit another snag.

I realized I was about 8 rows from the dead center of the pattern--and the article looked more like a muffler than a shawl. I like my shawls mid-thigh, and have been known to knit them over six feet square to get them big enough for my liking. (Think Spawn and the closing scene where the superhero is wearing his posing cloak. Yeah. Like that.)

Now, I had planned to cut this one down a bit, since not everyone likes to be able to blanket the neighborhood with their garments while they're in them. But, er, not like that. Not a Barbie Zen Shawl exchange.

I checked gauge (what! Now? Not BEFORE??? I know, I know [hangs head, shuffles feet]. Hey, do as I SAY, not as I DO, right?) and realized that even if I stretched it to flinders before blocking, there was no way this would reach an adult woman of roughly average height's waist. Sigh.

Cast on again, on a bigger needle. Knit a couple of rows before discovering I had just the right number of stitches--but of course the gauge had changed again, so the collar was more like the right size for a waistband. Siiiiiiiigh.

So--retinkered the pattern to start sooner on fewer stitches, and it looks like we're back on track again. So why does the photo above show the thing on two needles?

Revenge. Rather than pull the whole thing out and give it a swift and merciful death, I'm going to let the miscreant bit watch in horror as I knit up from the other end, slowly consuming the unknitted yarn, then sliding its loops off the needle, and ripping it bit by bit as I knit it up on the larger needle.

Muwahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaa. Do not thwart me, for I am subtle and quick to anger.

Monday, December 27, 2004

What Would be Missing . . .Part Two

Today tastes grey and thin, like stale cookies and dusty ribbon candy. And those raspberry manque candies, the ones that are a hard candy (boiled sweet) shell over a nuggest of chewy red goo. Someone may have thought berry thoughts in the general vicinity, and another person may have whispered the word "Raspberry" on the factory floor, but that's the closest connection between the flavors and the name.

Is this year OVER yet? This week always feels like the leftovers of the proceeding year, after you've made soup and hash and croquettes and tetrazzini . . . and are still facing a mountainous carcass to be et through before you can make something fresh.

Speaking of recycled ideas, here's the second installment of the list. (You can look at part one here.) I may actually GET to one hundred.

26. Solace during the bad times
27. The joy of endless research
28. The pleasures of the obscure
29. Shawls—the grown up version of the woobie blan
30. Wool socks that fit perfectly
31. Bright colorful socks for winter days
32. A yoga practice
33. Friendly stranger acquaintanceships wherever I settle
34. Hope for the future
35. Equanimity
36. Having enough—and knowing it!
37. I never would have called Australia to get a certain book
38. I never would have stopped at the store in Scotland that sells the yarn Harris tweed is woven from
39. I never would have know why Harris tweed was such a big deal, except it’s a name, like “Missoni”
40. I never would have know why Missoni was such a big deal, ‘cos all I would have seen is their Target junk
41. Beaded stitch markers—exactly the way I like ‘em!
42. My willingness to jump in and get my hands dirty while I build skills
43. The fish yarn end bags—too much fun to make and use!
44. An appreciation for what can be done just a few minutes at a time
45. A non-food related source of joy
46. Cool pens
47. A desire to decorate my world
48. The wool-silk blend purple lace scarf I’m wearing as I type this
49. The laughs at particularly horrid in jokes (“Llama’s llama, taste of llama; Llama, llama, duck!”)
50. The newest coolest timewasters!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Fewer Chickens in the World

The voodoo chicken dance has worked, and now there is one more picture on the Net, and one less chicken in the world.

Anyone have a good recipe for chicken and dumplings?

Off to wrap prezzies--last night was spent with First Consort Gareth's mother's side of the family, tonight we're going to the annual Christmas Eve party with friends, and then the whole weekend is mine all mine.

Planning to finally bind some books (I have three sets of pages and six sets of covers waiting for me to sit down and Just Do It), try to finish a scarf and whip up the pattern for Terpsichore, and translate from Spike code write the pattern for Blue Bateau. If I get half of this done I'll be a happy camper.

Boooo-yah! Pics at last! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

We Know What You've Got . . .What Would Be Missing?

Today tastes like eggplant, garlic, and sugarfree chocolate Velamints.

If you didn’t craft, what WOULDN’T you have??

This question was posted on one of the many fiber lists I’m on. The original author was wiggling her toes in a brand spandy new pair of handknit cashmere socks when she realized that if she didn’t knit, no way would she own cashmere socks. Never mind handknit cashmere socks.

And as she continued to think about the other things that would be missing from her life (books, experiences, people) she began to wonder what else would be gone—kind of like one of those ghastly 70’s educational filmstrips, where they posit a world without some element—zinc, the electroweak force, chocolate—and show how interconnected the whole web of the world is.

This really struck a nerve for me. I thought I’d just start with a list, and then in future posts discuss the exact six degrees of separation—‘cos some of them get pretty tangled. Crafting for me is simply a note in my creative symphony. If I didn’t wanna make physical stuff, I can’t imagine that I’d wanna make essays, fiction, food—anything else where you start with ingredients and turn them into a product.

1. This blog
2. An interest in journaling
3. Handbound books
4. Rubber stamp collection
5. An interest in solid geometry
6. Excellent spatial relations
7. An audiobook subscription and MP3 player
8. Many favorite recipes
9. My husband
10. A cool sidebar job
11. A sense of community
12. A room of my own
13. Half my work wardrobe
14. Confidence in my inner voice
15. Large chunks of my soul
16. Touchstones of memory
17. My fearlessness
18. Mother’s mother’s collection of steel hooks
19. The stash that ate Chicago
20. Memories of sitting and discussing stitching with father’s mother – common ground at last!
21. Father’s mother’s vintage crochet leaflets—with notes in her handwriting
22. Any connection with the Linus Project; and Ghandi’s joy of spinning to spin
23. Swaps and their fruits
24. Digital cameras and an interest in photography
25. An appreciation for the esthetics of the world around me

Hmmm . . . three more lists of 25, and I’ll have one of those infamous “hundred things lists.”

Monday, December 20, 2004

One of those days

Today tastes like a rubber balloon--the thin bitter laste of latex, and unending chew. My jaws hurt and my lips are dry and puckery.

So--finished the blue tank with the fun fur bandeau collar I was working on. Still needs to be sewn up, but certainly enough to show.

Except the Scandisk is verklempt. And so, at this point, am I.

Don't even have the heart to pull up a writing exercise. Am off to play Bejeweled. I don't just waste time, I obliterate it.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Quality of Friendship

Today tastes like those jelly nougat candies with the fruity pectin pebbles buried opalescent in the matrix of vanilla bland chewy.

A number of things came together for me; and while I know I promised progress pics of the latest tank, if you're very good and patient I'll be able to complete the thing this weekend and show you a finished foto right off.

It's Hallowthankmas, after all, and one of the traditional topics of conversation is about the celebrations of the triumvirate/trinity/hydra-headed holiday. How many little SpongeBobs showed up on your doorstep this year? What did you eat for the feast--we had turkey, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, pineapple, walnuts and brown sugar.

So in keeping with that, may of the lists I'm on are chattering about the final celebration, when presents are opened, lights are strung, and families reunite one last time (we only do this twice a year, after all, for the last two blow-outs of Hallowthankmas). Why only twice a year? Why, because we can't stand each other, that's why.

That's been a recurring theme, and finally someone took up the gauntlet and asked why. Why, if you can't stand each other and are miserable sitting there while Aunt Ethyl slugs down martinis (Ethyl's real name is Katrina, you see) and picks everyone to shreds; while Uncle Bob waxes lyrical about his latest surgeries and big plans if only an inimical universe will stop punishing him for daring to dream big; while Cousin Audry whines and wrings her hands and wet-blankets any sincere suggestion that might help her pull herself out of the pit she insists she's trapped in--why on earth do you feel obligated to put yourselves through that? Would the world truly end if you sat this year out and spent Hallowthankmas with people who nourish your spirit? Who eat with you instead of feeding off you?

And this discussion really strikes a nerve, because earlier this year, I had to ask myself the same question regarding the people I hung out with in real life--my meat friends. The meme and paradigm have been shifting slowly over the past few years. I'd seen it going on and put my shoulder to it a couple of times to try getting it out of the rut I saw coming. But come the fall (yes, before election time--August of so)I had a really powerul insight, and once something is seen, I can't unsee it.

Hanging with one bud one on one (a rare and marvellous thing with this bunch. It's gotten so a party of ten is an intimate gathering. It sounds like the height of cool to throw a party and get 300 through the door in a night--without property damage or theft, mind you. This is a gang that polices itself in the main, and everybody knows everybody else.) So anyway, hanging with Samwise and she happens to mention something she and Lynchpin were doing.

Lynchpin is the one everyone knows, her and her husband Hub. They organize a lot of group activites, they founded the Moveable Feast, they're respected and liked by many in the gang. Everyone wants to be close to or very much like Lynchpin and Hub. Which is not necessarily a bad thing . . . in some respects.

So as Samwise was talking (and it was about bookbinding; not meant to be a show of status, "I'm close to Lynchpin and you're not. I'm higher in the pack than you are." It was in relation to the SCA, though, and I am not a member and do not wish to be. Not at this time, thanks.) she happened to mention something about how Lynchpin was balked by someone at the latest event, and how Lynchpin flew into one of her infamous temper fits, and how everyone had to tiptoe around her while she sulked. And Lynchpin will be the first to tell you that she can't lose gracefully, and likes to win more than anything else--tho' she's not too good at doing that gracefully either. Whst's the point of winning if you can't crow and gloat, after all?

And unfortunately, I realized that I knew a set of people Just Like That. Three-year olds. Prone to unbridled little egos, temper tantrums when things didn't go their way, and in need of constant validation--"Look me, mama! Look me, look me!" Just like Lynchpin.

And that made me wonder if I wanted to be a part of a group where the person most admirable was basically a very tall three-year-old. Yes, building castles of blocks is cool and fun, and hearing the stories of white unicorns with purple manes who stole the cookies is amusing--but when you get to be the endless giver of support and validation and don't get anything back ('cos a three-year-old doesn't yet grok that other people are just as real as they are) and have to be careful to allow them to ALWAYS win to avoid the inevitable tantrum afterwards . . . well, there's a reason I don't have kids and don't have a job where I can work with them for the majority of my waking hours.

So. Holiday parties are upon us. I've made a point of not attending Great Pumpkin Night, nor TaleSpinners Night. I'll be going to the Three Days Past Solstice Celebration because I have goodies to pass out to some of the other friends. But the annual Tolkein celebration is upon us.

We're such fantasy geeks, this gang of mine. When they released Return of the King on the big screen, we were there in the line party for the screening where they were running the whole trilogy back to back to back. Every geek's dream, to see them all that way. My butt was numb for a week!

And being foodies, directly after Fellowship a small contingent of us were endlessly repeating that line about "What about second breakfast? And elevenses? And nuncheon?" "I don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip." And daydreaming about how cool it would be to watch the movies and have second breakfast. And elevenses. And nuncheon. And tea. And dinner.

So when they announced the release of Two Towers to DVD, we planned a Tolkein celebration. It's not hard if you pace yourself, and have a bunch of couples so each pair makes one dish. No one has a lot of work to do.

But you see, it's held at Lynchpin and Hub's house. First Consort Gareth really wants to go--he loves to cook, and has an idea for gingerbread with cream and dried apricot butter. Not too sweet, but spicy, fruity, and interestingly textured. And he's not happy going if I don't go. He'll stay home, and he's good about not doing the passive-aggressive thing where he hisses and glares while claiming nothing's wrong (that's my game, thenk yew) but at the same time, he won't be the playful merry otter-boi he is.

Sigh. So I'm sitting here on the one hand, clamoring along wondering why anyone would go to a celebration when there's nothing festive for them there. When it's going to be sitting there feeding the psychic vampires a drop at a time. I'll have my knitting with me, but I've trained this group not to treat it as a shield. More like a nervous twitch; so I can't really get away with, "Just a moment please; I'm counting and I really do want to hear what you have to say."

And at the same time, I want to answer along with the chorus of, "It's just not that simple." Nothing is.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

All the Flavors of Sorrow

Today tastes like rosemary, lemons, violets. Resinous, sour, bitter, cloying.

I just received word that a friend's husband had died in a farming accident.

A mutual companion spread the tidings to let everyone who knew them know the bad news. Being shepherds, I can imagine that it wasn't uncommon for Jimmie and Quill not to see each other for hours on end, on a large piece of property where you could lose track of time and each other.

Quill dropped a line to the list about calling for Jimmie in the December night, under the canopy of stars. Of going out and searching, and finding Jimmie; of performing CPR without a shred of hope that something could be resucitated (but that is what you do; you do what you can right then and there while those who need to be called are called, and come to the scene with noise and light to tell you that it's over). Of wrestling with an angel for a cold dark half hour, of an angel who had to tell the stars to move over and give her room to take Jimmie away.

I only knew them through their writing, and what others had to say. But it was enough.

The heart knows what the heart knows, and sometimes all it knows is to weep.

Monday, December 13, 2004


Today tastes like cheap chocolate--the greasy kind that always seems to be on the verge of melting, oversweetened, highly decorated; flat minty candy canes that are more about sugar and bright red stripes than about mint; and mistletoe, bitter, green, and splintered.

Is it over yet? Has the fat man seen his shadow; can I stop drinking odd-colored alchoholic liquids; has the turkey dropped a gaudily colored rabbit?

Hallowthankmass always looks so good from the heat of August--cool and lovely and soft grey or hard edged light, not the crushing haze on the Anvil of Ghod. Winter festivals, harvests, a time to knit when you're not huddled around the air conditioner vent in a thong bikini while you pore over a lapful of wool. Or knitting socks socks socks and making them as technically interesting as possible while you yearn for a project you could be married to for weeks on end; a project that spills off your lap and rolls onto the floor, that blocks to three (or four, or five) feet square and comes with its own little herald.

You forget you can't breathe properly 'cos the air is so dry and filled with smoke from fireplaces (because after all, it's below sixty!) You forget about the tail end of the cold that turns into bronchitis that has you coughing until your ribs and belly muscles hurt. You forget about the orgies of food food food and stuff stuff stuff that are waved before your wondering eyes until you are dazzled and overwhelmed with glittering trinkets and bulging with sugary goo.

The habits of nine months drop to the wayside, 'cos it's hard to get up in the dark, hard to stretch cold muscles that would rather be sleeping, hard to turn down a bite of cake, and just one cookie (well, okay, one of each KIND of cookie) and a smidgen off the cheese tray, and a sip of that over there . . .

And the wanting. The more you want, the more you acquire, and then the more you want. I do some paper arts stuff,a little bookbinding, and thought it could be cool to make hang tags this year--you know, the "TO: Snookieookums Wonderpuss FROM: Toastwaist" tags that go on gifties so we know who to fuss over and send a thank-you note to. So I wanted to get acrylic blocks for my unmounted stamps so I could finally use them.

Oh, but look at the other cool alphabet set that goes with these blocks! There's a solution to the lettering of the poem for the star book for First Consort Gareth! (click click)

And then working with paper and paint, found a couple of really fun techniques that require long flat stretched drying time. So I could only make one sheet at a time, unless I get a tool to help me out there . . . and I need some water soluble varathane . . . and they have sets of foam brushes like I like for not too much . . . (swish swish)

And acrylics are on sale, including the metallics (which I often have to argue over to get the sale prices) so I'd better stock up on those . . . (swish swish)

And while shopping for others I found books I wanted but had not told anyone about, because they're not" special" books; books that I will turn to often and remember the giver. Just esoteric little books, available at good prices from the sites where I was ordering books and videos for the ones I buy for . . . (click click)

Now I find my little monkey mind insisting that we need to replace the favorite colors of acrylic 'cos we're running low, and we need COLORED cardstock cos the manila won't be as "kewl". Really, it's not that I can't afford the supplies; and it's not that I'm over budget for Xmas; and it's not a case of actual NEED--I can make what I want to have happen by Christmas happen with what I have. I can gift Gareth with the bitty book at Adverb (and it will probably go over better there) (moral of the story: Never give pieces of your heart to or in front of people who don't understand the gift.) and can charge the supplies I WANT in order to make it happen smooth and easy to January's budget. No biggie.

But I want. And wanting is itching in places too delicate to scratch without drawing blood.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Tis the Season (or the Seasoning?)

In this family, we celebrate Adverb in January with my parents, about 24 days after Christmas. We send out Adverb invitations, pile our gifts on the Adverb table, and open them up all together. We'll probably hold the traditional Adverb barbecue outside on the porch--after all, this is Arizona.

The cats really really wanted to write the Adverb invite song this year. They had a lot of fun posing for the photos last year. You see, usually we'll parody a Christmas carol to make it more appropriate for Adverb. Last year, we did "I'll be Home for Adverb" with photographs for each line. I explained to the cats that we'd already set a date, so we weren't doing formal invites this time. They were very disappointed.

Then they asked if they couldn't write the song, at least. I told them that they could, and set out a roll of newsprint and some poster paint, as well as a saucer of eggnog to get them in the holiday spirit. Perhaps I shouldn't have put on Madonna's Christmas album, becuase this is what they came up with . . .

Santa Monkey, we've been hearing all about you, lately
You puffly stranger monkey
Santa Monkey, with the big bag of treats on your back.

Santa Monkey, we've been very good cats this year
Only threw a couple of parrrrrrrties
Santa Monkey, with the big bag of treats on your back.

We hardly ever drove the car
(And when we did it wasn't far)
Only down into Mexico
And then right back, nice and slow
Meow meow, meow meow meow

Santa Monkey, surely we could have some shrimp toes, I s'pose
We've been at least that good
Santa Monkey, with the big bag of treats on your back.

Santa Monkey, we'd really love to have a big bag, to drag
Filled up with jerky
Santa Monkey, with the big bag of treats on your back.

Santa Monkey, you know we love tuna water, we gotta
Get thumbs to open the cans
Santa Monkey, with the big bag of treats on your back.

We've been good for minutes on end
All for you, our stranger friend
Please now make it worth our whiles
We'll show you our Cheshire smiles
Meow meow, meow meow meow

Santa Monkey, did we mention that we also like cheese? Don't tease
And kindly skip the crackers
Santa Monkey, with the big bag of treats on your back.

Hurry through the cat door tonight
With a big bag of treats on your back.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Party Post-Mortem

Today tastes like egg nog and espresso and petis fours. Really good petis fours, not the cheap nasty kind that feel like sand in the mouth.

Nice party last night--ran into an old friend from years gone past who took up knitting. She's such a new knitter, she hasn't learned to bind off yet!!! So I see her making this fifty foot long scarf . . . hopefully someone will give her a hand soon.

Terpsichore loved the twinset and especially loved the idea that it was worked to fit the wearer instead of an aribitrary range of sizes. We'll see how it goes when it comes time to estimate yardage. I guess I'll note here that for a 12-14 it took 12 balls of Bamboo to make the set.

We got to talking about photographing it, and she asked if I'd be willing to be the model on the pattern, since I made the prototype to my measure. What could I say, but "sure?"

So Sunday I'll meet with their house photographer, and we'll probably go to the park where First Consort Gareth and I had our wedding photos snapped. There's a big blue tile structure like something you'd see in the old Star Trek TV show being used as an alien sacrifical altar, or with a scantily-draped green stuffed bikini lounging throatily upon it, waiting for Kirk to make his entrance and enact the love scene. Much more of an interesting backdrop than the functional warehouse or blue screen.

Next project--an electric blue tank with a fun fur collar. It'll be almost off the ahoulder, with waist and bust shaping. Pictures Monday.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Holy Cow, a Progress Post??

Today tastes like salt and that awful fake wild cherry medicines use to cover their foul essence. I'm going to make up a batch of Hot Buttered Mix, and use hot buttered rum to wash down antihistamines and aspirin. Same effects as Nyquil, but would taste much, much better.

Finally took photos of self wearing the Queen Anne's Lace cardi and Shell Squared. They look goofy lying flat, but fit the model body well.

Writing the patterns was a trip and a half. The cardi takes about 4 pages, and the shell takes 2. With some creative editing we may be able to get it smaller. The deal is, though, that they're written not to specific sizes--cast on x number of stitches for a size 10, y stitches for a 12, z stitches for a 14; so long as you're working to gauge, you'll get this. Instead, I have you measuring the intended victim wearer and working to fit their bodies. Half the words involve explaining where to measure and what to do.

Thursday the local Stitch 'n' Bitch crew has a holiday party at Southwest Trading Co., the company this twinset was designed for. So I'll wag it over there and get Terpsichore's take on the garment, and drop it off to live its life with her.

Finished at last! Posted by Hello

Monday, December 06, 2004

Joe Ito Moment

Just a quick post in real time before I shuffle off this mortal coil to bed with a miserable dose of some virus or 'nother.

The Penelope Project is complete! The jacket has the ends woven in, the buttons sewn on, and is blocking on the floor as I type. I finished sewing up the last of the seams on the shell squared, so now all I need to do is weave in the ends and that's over.

But now the Nyquil is kicking in and gfredb ln fhi uee yuhsm anfju ehtn. Good night.

Friday, December 03, 2004

So Much Depends Upon a Writing Exercise

Ten minutes. Go.

So much depends upon a grey polarfleece jacket, missing one of its zippers and the drawstring from around its waist. I could swear I zipped it up last night at the gym, on the way home, talking with First Consort Gareth about the minutiae of life; the type of conversations we swear we'll never have because we are NOT our parents-- we are immortal and will speak of nothing but romance and starshine and significance (and what would YOU like for dinner? Dunno. Fast food's ok, tho' it seems kind of silly to be talking about fast food with all the fat and sugar and bloated wallowing evil when we're just coming out of the gym. Whatcha doing over there? Zipping up my jacket.)

But I couldn't find it this morning, even though I know in my heart that I laid it on the bed last night after we came in and ate boxes out of the fragrant paper bag. I see it still in my eyes, next to the jumper and long t-shirty slip. I looked in the laundry, I looked in the drycleaning, I looked in the washer and the dryer in case I started a load with my old fuzzy friend (it's missing the zipper in one pocket because that zipper broke one wintry sullen day with my wallet zipped tight inside, and the only way to get to my cash and ID was to take a seam ripper and remove the zipper entire, teeth still locked tight. I ripped out the drawstring around the hem out within a week of buying the thing because the locking beads tucked inside the pockets called to my fingers; I was constantly twiddling them till my index finger tips were sore.)

Stupid jacket from Target. Stupid glorified soda bottle. You were less than twenty bucks when I bought you years ago--off a rack with dozens of others. You're nothing special.

You're grey and fuzzy and like a security blanket without the satin trim. You've gone camping with me and I know the little patch of burned fuzz where the ember landed and melted your material before I could brush it off. You've gone with me to Mexico and walked on the beach in the salt spray. You've gone hiking with me in Greer in the rain.

I finally gave up hunting around the house (in the garage? No. In the office? No. In the workshop? No. Under the table, in my closet, in the hall closet? No, no no.) and called the gym to see if anyone had turned it in. They had--it was waiting in lost and found under the front desk. I hurried over in Friday rush hour traffic to reclaim my touchstone.

So much depends on a grey polarfleece jacket that's seen better days.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A Dim Capacity, Sir, But Mine Own

Today tastes like paper. Wet gooey newspaper with pineapple Life Savers, Red Devil wing sauce, spiked with chilled vodka. It started out boring and dead, but now it tingles and sings.

In Dickenson’s words, “a dim capacity for wings degrades the dress I wear.”

I met with Terpsichore tonight after work, to pick up the yarn I had forgotten, and I left with three new projects in my head. Have I mentioned she does that to me? She gives off sparks of inspiration, and I helplessly follow. (Ok, tell the truth—I prance merrily alongside and occasionally dash on ahead, guardian angels spinning madly in my backdraft.)

So now I have the shell to cast on the back of and complete, and it would be a Very Good Thing if I could get this bateau-neck top cranked out by January so it can go in the summer magazines, and by the way, the lace stole I designed for her is being featured in the January issue of “Creative Knitting Magazine.”

And I want to work up the pattern for this wonderful flippy crocheted scarf another designer worked up before life wound around her ankles and tripped her in the dark; plus I have some material for a lace scarf that’s worked from a faggoted center out (and it is so amazingly soft and wonderful—I taste Valrhona chocolate with lavender, warm and melting (lick it off the wrapper) when I touch this yarn. Swoon.)

And being me, I’m torn. I would love to get a resume of articles and projects and designs together sufficient to make my knitting resume impressive enough to make this, my sex job*, my sole job—but on the other hand, I have a ton of stuff I wannado for me me me.

I crave the Rogue and want to find out if the cabling works where I finessed it into a v-neck cardi. I found a site with tons of magnificent cables to deconstruct and rearrange—I don’t want their sweaters, not even with a switch to a cardi—but their cables are way cool. I have wool for a sweater for me—a simple 2 x 2 allover rib, v-neck, zips up. I have sock yarn enough to last three lifetimes and a desire to make enough socks to wear handknits every day for a month (or three!) without wearing the same pair twice.

And books! I love my Hugin books**, and seem to have one on me nearly all the time. I have a ton of paper to be processed into frippery pages that I love to write on, and I have two books, covers and all, waiting to be bound. Maybe this weekend.

The neighbors have put out their decorations, and I have a blog entry in mind regarding what they do each holiday, and some commentary on stuff and the way it moves in and takes over. I have photos from Mexico that need to get sucked off the card and cropped and massaged and posted.

So while I thought I had nothing to say a few minutes ago when I realized that it was Wednesday, and time to update the blog, I now realize I have plenty to talk about—except talking won’t get me any closer to doing!

So—closing it down in relatively good time. Will have progress photos come Monday to show what I actually did this weekend; though it may be nothing more that a shot of my semi-cleaned workshop.

*Sex Job—a job you’d do for free. You might even pay money to do this job, and the fact that you make a living at it is a source of amazement and wonder. Thanks to Hugh McLeod of Gaping Void for this term.

**Hugin books--In Norse mythology, Odin had two ravens, Thought and Memory; Hugin and Munin if you're a Viking. I find that my thoughts are not complete until they have been articulated, and incomplete thoughts clutter up my mind and lead to swirly obsessions.

Hence, I started carrying small notebooks with me, but having found that I didn't like writing on plain lined paper, I began binding my own blank books. I found I could do artsy stuff with the pages that made the process more fun--paste work, bubbling, other absent artist techniques that take very little input and look great.

I find the energy generated by working with the pages, creating the covers, and fiddling with the books generates more and draws me to keep pushing even when I get discouraged with the composting work that is a part of the process. When the books are filled, I can sort through the content and see what there is to be gleaned--then toss the book, because holding on to something like that is a lot like holding on to fingernail clippings. It served its purpose, now let go. You can't grasp with full hands.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Back Home Again

Today tastes like flat peppermint, oily and cold.

Listening to George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, the first book in his Song of Fire and Ice series. I don't know if I like the narrator's voice much in this--at times, he's so perfectly what I heard in my head it's spooky; and at others, well, my disbelief has left noticeable dents in the ground from where it fell.

I know several people who don't like the world Martin set up--it's feudal. Women have no power save what they can grasp and wield in the shadows through thier influence on the men in their lives. The arguement I've heard is that if you're going to create a world of fantasy, why not fantasize that true equality between the sexes has been achieved? Why place such a premium on inherited power, and male succession, rather than on the capabilities of the individual?

Because the interesting characters are the girls/women. They can't hack and slash their way to victory--but they can work behind the scenes to mold their world. They can choose to be the dutiful daughter, marrying a stranger for the political alliance the match brings, bearing trueborn children to inherit their father's lands and manage that particular chunk of the country--or they can choose to cuckold their husband for ego's sake. One of the girls becomes a tomboyish hero within the limits imposed by her youth and strength, another is a pawn of the court still peering through scaled eyes and believing in romance and fairy tales. I'm looking forward to what happens when the latter gets her act together and figures out that she's NOT actually a little frail paper boat; that she has a rudder and oars and can steer herself. She can't completely ignore the wind and waves of the world she's in--but she could very much learn to tack into the breeze and ride the swells.

If the world were fair, I'd have three-four pairs of socks and photos of both the Queen Anne's Lace Cardi and its companion shell to show off. Unfortunately, the Shell Shell (Shell Squared?) turned into a Penelope project--I worked on it all day some days, then ripped it all back at night. Two rows forward were countered by three rows back.

Most of the front is done now--but it's at a really awkward point. I don't have enough yarn to finish the front completely, and will not have more till Wednesday evening. Sigh. So I'm going to punish it by not taking photos till the front is complete.

Of course, having met with my muse the week before I left, I have all kinds of ideas to follow up on, and I'm feeling stymied because I don't want to get started on more more more.

I have an idea for a lace moebius scarf that's started in the center with faggoting and then knit to the edges in long long rows. Terpsichore showed me a crocheted scarf that another designer made--but that designer had to go take care of two seriously ill family members before she could write up the pattern. I think I've got a handle on how it works, and Terpsichore is dying to be able to offer it--but it too has to wait till Wednesday.

I'm dying to realize the Arizona shawl that's been kicking around in my head since I first laid eyes on Schroder's Oregon shawl. I have the materials, I have the charts, but I have to clear my magnet board first. Grrrrr.

And did I mention that I'm running out of handknit socks? Slowly, slowly, holes are being worn in them, and frankly, I have zero interest in learning how to darn them. Love to knit them, hate to mend them, so they never have little thin worn spots. No, they have great gaping voids which would require real mending skills, not just grafting, but nalbinding.

Wolf, cabbage, goat--banana, cat, mouse, pipe organ. I need a bigger boat, dammit. Or more hours in the day.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Today tastes like . . . pineapples, limes, and unripe bananas, with a touch of cream and the texture of meringue.

It’s Friiiiiiiday, gracias a Dios, and in a very little while I will be out of
this office (spelled H-E-L-L) and off to be shamelessly pampered at the salon, meet with my knitting muse/head pusher Terpsichore, and pack for a trip to Mexico. Hence, this very very long post will have to keep you happy for a week. Decide now if you want to gobble it all down RIGHT NOW, and emerge with words smeared on your chin and behind your ears; or if you'll savor it a few paragraphs at a time.

But I don't want to hear it if you give yourself indigestion. You have been warned.

The Dowager Empress Odie-Bird shared a prose poem earlier this week, in which the narrator talks about rituals and holidays, and trying new things especially for holidays. Of playing with the traditional Thanksgiving recipies to make something uniquely your own, perfect and special.

And then ends the poem by suggesting making reservations.

So that’s First Consort Gareth and my Thanksgiving this year. We’ll be in Cabo San Lucas, eating the traditional Thanksgiving seafood enchiladas. I remember a Thanksgiving where I was in my early twenties and Brother Splunge was a teen, and the Dowager Empress and Papara decided that we were going to the horse races in Ruidoso for Thanksgiving. No turkey. No trimmings. No family save the absolute nuclear one.

Speaking of nuclear, Brother Splunge and I almost melted down. You would have thought that the winter holidays were celebrated in Rockwellian fashion, with Grampa tucking napkin after napkin into his shirt, Gramma putting the last touches on the homemade mince pie (no shortcuts from a jar for her, nosireebob), and row upon row of kids with fresh-scrubbed faces all waiting for their chance at the turkey.

But, well, none of us care much for turkey. It’s fine for a meal-- maybe two, if you count the heart attack on a plate that is tetrazinni. (How can something that is mostly a cheese and cream conveyance device NOT taste splendid?) But after the full-blown meal, and then a plate of tetrazzini, there’s still half a carcass left taking up real estate and slowly drying out.

But of course, it’s the fitting in that counts. For a while, after I had gradually realized that leftover turkey holds the same appeal as a slow root canal for me and the ‘rents; that the price of reporting that yes, we TOO had had turkey for Thanksgiving was a nasty repeat of turkey for a week; and concluded that fitting in that way just was not worth it, we were able to convince Brother Splunge that Cornish game hens were actually little turkeys. Yes. We lied to a trusting, naive child.

That worked for about three years. Then he was old enough to be cynical and read the labels for the “little turkeys;” talk to his classmates about how he got a whole turkey to himself for Thanksgiving; and deduce that we were feeding him a line along with dinner. So, back to a big brown bird that took three days to defrost, a day to cook, and one meal to get tired of.

So off to Ruidoso we went that year--and had a most excellent time learning to handicap the ponies.

Having discussed yoga in a previous post, it must be time to chat about mara, illusion. And taking up the theme, here's a couple of thoughts on the illusion of perfection.

When I started thinking aboout blogging, I had in my head an image of exactly what I wanted to show. I'd have progress posts every Monday to keep me honest, "window on my world" photos and essays on Wednesdays to keep me looking around and noticing what there was to notice in my world, and essays every Friday. Each little week in perfect order, three posts of opalescent wisdom and humor. Each one oh-so-very timely, with holiday posts in appropriate places, and amusing vignettes.

Thankfully, that crumbled before it could really get in my way.

Writing has always been a top-down experience for me. You start at the top of the page and work your way down. Maybe you have a basic outline in mind (boy finds girl, boy and girl fall in love,monster eats girl, boy seeks vengeance and is turned into a monster himself) but I never worked out of sequence, writing the easy parts first, or drafting the skeleton and building on it. Any time I started to listen to the shoulda's, the center could never hold, and mere anarchy was loosed upon the page.

I was reminded just today that while I've filled lists extolling the virtues of the TKGA's master program, I haven't said a word about it here. I replied that it had been a couple of years since I passed Level I, and I was slogging through Level II. One of the requirements is knitting an argyle sock in the flat, another is knitting a vest.

And I just realized why the program has stalled itself, and may require the push of a new year to get rolling again. I shoulda'd it to death.

I wrote out a list of all the requirements, with deadlines for each one--reasonable deadlines, mind. I've knit argyles flat before, so I know how long it takes, and I know how long it takes me to knit a vest--but I flubbered and the project died about five months in because I don't have colors that turn me on, and I haven't come up with a vest pattern I like. You aren't required to knit a pair of adult socks in fine-gauge yarn; nor are you required to design a vest yourself. But when I missed the first deadline because I was uninspired, I let the project drop because I SHOULD do the work in this particular order. Pffffftt.

I'll say it here, so I can hold myself accountable--one of the wild card projects for next year will be the Master's Program. (As mentioned before, I like to have five going so as to always have something appropriate to the situation. I plan to use Linus Project; Southwest Trading design; socks; and two wild cards as my categories in '05.) And I will work on whatever piece of the thing strikes my fancy--whether it's the swatches, the research, the vest or the socks. Maybe I'll make the argyle socks one of the sock projects.

Some of the women in the local guild are working on their Level I projects. The sad part is that we all started at the same time. It's not that they haven't finished the requirements--most of them have at least one set of swatches completed--but that they're afraid of sending in something that isn't perfect. So they'll re-knit, and re-do, criticizing their efforts and never ever actually putting them forth to be judged. It has to be perfect the first time.

And that's sad because the levels are set up as learning experiences. You do the tasks to the best of your ability at the time, then send them for evaluation. just like in school, the last learning experience most of us had.

Except that after the test is marked, you're handed back your work with information about how to fix the bits that weren't up to par. You didn't fail, this doesn't go on your permanent record--you clearly needed some information you didn't have. And now here's where to find it, so read, learn, and try again. You have nothing to lose but your lack of knowledge.

But no, the gals say they've learned enough knitting up the last batch so they don't feel good about sending off that sub-par bunch of string, and therefore they need to do it all over again so that it's PERFECT.

I can't imagine what they'll do when they actually get a batch off if errors are found. Will they give up? To have done so many four inch bits of knitting, over and over, to have wrestled to read the judges' minds and to have spent so much time only to have to do bits over AGAIN (wailing, tearing of hair, rending of garments) would be frustrating indeed. Especially because more might have been learned with less angst if they had only said--these aren't perfect, not in my eyes. But so what? I'll get feedback regarding what they think isn't right, and I'll re-do the swatches that don't pass muster. More importantly, I get to find out what I'm doing that is just right as it is.

And sometimes, that is indeed the most important part. See you in a week.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Insatiable Monkey Mind

Today tastes like chai and hot chocolate, graham crackers and cardamom.

Lately, it seems that my sig line should be that Lovecraft quote about "the greatest kindness of the universe is the inability of the human mind to correlate its contents."

I’m grumpy at having to get up in the dark, do yoga in the cold, leave at sunrise and return at sunset. Lack of heat and light leaves me scattered and groping. And it’s only going to get worse until late December. Bah! In a civilized society, I’d be able to come to work early (the sun comes up at 5:00 in the morning, here in AZ; my eyelids poink! right open at 5:01 a.m. Even on a Saturday, when I’ve been out painting the town fuschia.) And in summer, I’d leave late, after some of the heat dissipated—say, around 8:00 p.m.

In exchange, during the winter months, I’d drag my leaden limbs through the door around 10:00 a.m., and leave at the reasonable hour of 3:00 p.m. Ah, but no. That is Not the Way the World Works. Or at least, not my world, not right now.

This has been an interesting year—a year of doing things I actively said I would never do. I’d never take up yoga. Freezing in position makes my joints hurt. I’m not flexible enough. I have the tightest hips in Christendom. Never never never . . . say never. You only tempt the gods.

And, of course, when I take something up, I don’t do it by halves. When I learned to knit, I learned on a baby sweater. (Yes, I had a fantastic teacher. I was also lucky enough to be the only one who signed up for the class, so it was a one-on-one experience. ) So by the time I was through the class, I had the basics down and could follow a pattern knit flat in pieces. I knit myself a sweater, teaching myself about cables and fixing errors in cables as I went. At one point, I dropped 12 stitches down six rows to correct some mis-twisting, and then laddered them back up to the body. I can only plead that I didn’t know that was an advanced move, I only knew that I didn’t want to rip more than I had to.

My next project was socks, because I had fallen in love with lace . . . but you see how it goes.

And it’s no different with the old yoga than with “the new yoga.” I get interested, then went to the library and pulled every book on the shelf I could find. I was just interested in hatha yoga, the stuff with all the poses, done for fitness/flexibility. (The first taste is free . . . )

So just recently I was back in the library, feeding the insatiable monkey (AKA the 900-pound baboon). One of the books I picked up was Rodney Yee's _Poetry of the Body_.

Yee is a big name yoga teacher, and what I found refreshing about the essays were his comments on beginning and doing yoga. It goes along with a recent conversation about different bodies and different abilities with the Dowager Empress Odie-Bird. IN an amazing moment of parent-child synchronicity, we took up yoga within a few weeks of each other, with no prior discussion of the subject.

_Poetry of the Body_ is one of Yee’s books. I get the feeling that he’s aiming at the beginner—there’s nothing flaky here regarding meditation, advanced system cleansing, and the poses are arranged in series. I appreciate that very much—I find it easier to learn when there’s some flow to it, when there’s a series of do this, then do that, instead of having to learn about a hundred different poses, then figure out how to arrange them, then . . .

But the part I enjoyed the most is Yee’s essays and interviews with his less-renowned co-author (whose name has slipped my feeble mind.) It’s refreshing to hear someone who makes what appears to be a very nice living talk about his experience as a beginner in the field he now works in. It feels good to have a yoga teacher explaining that no, actually, he left ballet because he was so inflexible, and now he does yoga because he’s still naturally tight.

And to read it now, while I'm feeling like toffee that has cooled (when it was warm, I flowed in ribbons and mounds of satiny shiny smoothness. Now that it's cold, I'm brittle. I flex a tiny bit, then snap.)--well, it makes me feel better and encourages me to just be with it now. Not to worry about what was a few months ago, how it will be when summer returns, just to take deep breaths and do what works for me right now.

Additionally, Yee has another book worth a flip through _8 Weeks of Yoga With Rodney Yee_. It has routines laid out like the book I am leaning on, and I snitched his restorative routine. I do some poses from that on the mornings when "my bed is warm, my pillow deep" and it's hard to drag myself to the mat. I set a timer, so if I drift off, something will bring me back in time for shower and breakfast, and then settle in. Ahhhhhh, it's like 2 hours of sleep in fifteen minutes.

I plan to obtain materials to build some props because I can't see spending the kind of money supply shops want for bolsters. I priced the materials out, because we all know that fallacy of being able to make it cheaper than you can buy it. It looks like the cotton batts will be the pricy part. Polar fleece (which is what I'd want to cover the things with [ohh so soft and cushiony]) and plain weave for the pillow forms is cheap, especially this time of year.

Anyway, build some props and then establish that Fridays when I get home, I do a full restorative routine to pinch off the workweek and get ready for the weekend. Right now, it seems like I finally get relaxed and weekendish, then look at the clock . . . and it's 7 p.m. On Sunday. Ahhhhrrrrrgh!

I also said I’d never start blogging. I have multiple physical journals, and also do a little bookbinding, so have enough blank books to keep me going forever. I had started a couple of private, eyes-only web logs to get the really vituperative junk out of my head and off where it wouldn’t have repercussions. So why would I want a public diary?

But then, as a constant knitter, I would get asked by friends whom I see monthly if I ever finished anything. I knit primarily for charity—Project Linus in particular. Blankets are good easy social knitting, especially in garter stitch. But since I was knitting to give away, no-one ever saw the fruits of my labors. And I don’t have much use for sweaters in the low desert. That which is not seen is not, after all.

That, and I’m prone to startitis. (“Hi, I’m Spike, and I’m a startaholic.” “Hi, Spike.” “I’ve begun four sweaters, a yoga mat bag, two pairs of socks and three blankets in the last week . . . I’m running out of needles.”) So it seemed to me that beginning a diary of projects would let me tell people who asked where to look to find pictures of what I’d done, as well as keeping me honest about the progress (or, ahem, lack thereof) in my knitting.

Then a group of pixel pals (who uses pens any more, I ask you) from an e-mail list all began blogging, and reading through the little bitty ring that was formed to let all the members find and read their virtual (and in some cases, meat) friends’ words of wisdom and look at the projects being chatted about on the list finally inspired me to get going on my own. And now that I’ve been here a couple of months, I’m really pleased with the side benefits.

It’s easier to write. I ran across a comment in my trolling the web, where the person writing the commentary put forth the idea that there are four types of writers—prolific facile; prolific agonized; scanty facile; and scanty agonized. I belong firmly to the agonized school of writing, which is why my first drafts are so clean—I’ve gone back and revised even as I type the sentence out. (By the time you see these words, I’ve already gone over and revised it at least twice.)

But now I have to face the blank screen three times a week (yes, it’s a self-imposed schedule. Aren’t they all, to some extent?) and bang out something I’d want to read regarding where I’m at in this uber-project we call life. And sometimes I score a big one and hit the mark on what I’d want to say, with authenticity and flair. And other times, well, what’s floating in the punch bowl is not a Baby Ruth bar.

On top of that, in order to get what I want insofar as the visuals on this site, I’m having to learn to navigate my way around photoediting programs, learn some baby code, figure out where stuff gets stashed when these programs do what they do . . . and I can see a lot more ahead.

At least I’m enjoying the journey.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Loading Buttons to Blogger Via Hello

Having confessed my pathetic computing abilities to certain fellow bloggers, how much harm can there be to confessing to all the people who read this? I had read the directions for loading a button graphic and making a link; but the problem was finding a spot on the web to place the graphic. That was the one hole in the process.

I don’t have a web page. After all, I’m running a free account through Blogger. So I needed to find a way to figure out where Hello put my pictures.

I loaded a picture that I planned to delete anyway, so if something happened and it vanished into the ether, then nothing of any importance would be lost. After loading and posting via Hello, I reopened the post.

Up popped all the HTML coding, which I copied and pasted into a Word document. Suspenders, and a belt, and a pair of pants underneath, I know.

I located the source code, and copied that information, since the only thing that would be different is the name of the object. Just like any other file with multiple documents in the file. I uploaded the button with Hello just like a picture.

I then went to the template page, cut and pasted the source code I had copied, and changed the name of the object. I added the code to make the link live, et viola! (And cello? Maybe bass viol? Heck, the whole chamber orchestra.) It worked.

Monday, November 15, 2004

My button - I hope. Posted by Hello

Vita Brevis, Texere Accelerante

Today tastes like . . . pomegranate juice, cream soda, and cinnamon.

Listening to: John Grisham’s _A Time to Kill_. Can you say “eclectic reader?” I knew you could.

This is a grimmer Grisham with more gore and pain than he usually dishes out. Most of my experience with him has been white-collar problems—inheritance woes, long-standing legal issues regarding dueling businesses. This is gritty, and begs questions regarding racial justice and vigilanteeism. Heavy dose of ethics, here, and no simple solutions.

Progress report:

Spent another weekend on the Queen Anne’s Lace Cardi. I pulled out my knitter’s bag o’ tricks to see if I could motivate the article into wanting to be done—I’m certainly inspired to get it finished!

I tried punishment . . .  Posted by Hello

. . . Enlightenment . . .  Posted by Hello

. . . Wine, women, and song.  Posted by Hello

I finally tried chocolate. Posted by Hello

And the cardi finally co-operated with sleevy goodness.  Posted by Hello
Now all I need to do is throw an end-weaving party, write up my notes in logical format, and this project will be ready to deliver!

In other news, I’m headed to Mexico later this week to attend a family reunion (family of choice, they’re my in-laws). I’m trying to convince myself that I only need to bring along one or two pairs of socks, that I won’t actually knit and knit and knit until my hands fall off. Choosing the couple of pairs, though, that’s the hard part.

I have one self-striper almost complete; I’m shaping the toe. Clearly that and its zygotic companion need to go along. I have a sport weight sock with both cuffs knit, so I need to haul the yarn for that one, too. (And decide on a pattern for the leg. I am lusting dreadfully over the Bavarian twisted stitch patterns --- but can’t justify hauling the pattern books with me. I may take the Bavarian style pattern from one of the hats in the latest _Cast On_ [yes, the patterns are nothing short of dreadful, but they have some good technique and a few nice elements to their patterns] as it would be easy to chart out on a index card, or type into my PDA.)

And then what? Well, that’s where I get stuck.

I could bring some Encore, and notes on Bordhi’s turned toes, and someone else’s reverse Dutch heel, and a little chart for stochastic cables using a coin, and work a pair toes-up in rehearsal for self-striping socks. I do like the self-striping yarns, and don’t care if the sequence isn’t perfectly matched—but I like my socks at a finer gauge than they’re calculated for, and so am often concerned about running out. Hence, I’m working on a blue box toes-up recipe so I can have all the features that matter—a deep enough heel flap, arch shaping, a heel that looks good in the self-striping yarn—and not be nibbling my lip as I work frantically toward the toe, knitting faster like the Texas Aggie painting faster as his paint supply ran low.

I could also force myself to make some choices, and bring some sport weight acrylic and a couple of Bavarian patterns, and knit me some clocked socks with contrast toes and heels. That would take the worst of the itch off until I could work some of the WIPs off the list.

Then again, I could take along the aforementioned notes and some self-striping yarn, and go ahead and do my trial knitting of blue box sox in the actual yarns and on the actual needles.

On the third hand, I could take one of each. (grin) Clothing? Who needs clothing? I’ll have socks.

I think I really should just opt in for the pharonic plan and have everything buried with me so I’ll have all eternity to work on them.

Friday, November 12, 2004

A More Personal View

“In Flander's Fields"
By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

My grandfather, who turned 98 years old this July, is a WWII vet, the last of his division. Those of you counting on your fingers, with a grasp of history, are probably shaking their heads about now.

“Pearl Harbor – the incident that caused America to involve itself in World War II—was December 17, 1941. Your grandfather would have been in his forties by the time America began drafting! Didn’t he have a family started by then? He should have been able to back out honorably due to age and familial obligations.”

Well, yes, but instead he chose to accept the responsibilities that accrue to adult males in America, and answered his draft summons. My mother, the youngest of his five children, was old enough to remember her father before he left for war.

And of course, she was old enough to remember when he came home, suffering from what would later be called “shell shock” and then “post-traumatic stress disorder.” He literally was not her father any more, and for some time, my grandparents lived apart in order to preserve the marriage.

Now, as mentioned, he is a 98 year old widower, and time has assumed a particular plasticity for him. Someone will say something that sparks a memory, and for the moment he’s back in whatever time it was, and relates to the speaker as if they were someone back there with him. Now, if you float along beside him, he’ll tell the stories that hurt too much when they had to go through conscious filters.

My father was lucky, he served time in the Navy just after Korea, and just before Viet Nam.

However, neither my husband nor brother have put in their hitch. Neither has children. Neither is over 35.

Do I worry? Yes.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Insert Country Joe and the Fish Chant Here

While surfing blogs yesterday, I came across one by a young Canadian (today is Remembrance Day up north) and he was commenting that although he made an especial point to pick up and wear the poppy in his lapel, he wasn’t able to support the current war.

I’m in touch with that. I’ve had exceedingly mixed feelings about the war. Kerry asked during the debates “How can you ask someone to be the last man to die?” Well, Senator, the same way you ask someone to be the first. With a clear and steady voice that belies the writhing knot in the pit of your stomach.

As I recall, we were in a hell of a bind at the time. Schroedinger’s Cat was chairing the foreign policy committees. Hussein might and might not have had WMD or the facilities to create them. He was certainly posturing as if he did. He had committed atrocities against his own people. His sons were just as bad. And we were certainly not on his Duhl Hijja card list. Go, or no go?

It costs big bucks to maintain military alertness. For one person in the field, there are ten people at desks making sure stuff goes where it needs to be when it needs to get there. And ramping up and rattling sabers does not achieve permanent results. (Libya is a glorious exception—and even then, Qdaffi did not shut down until we actually mobilized into Afghanistan.) Go, or no go?

Now, the point has been made, and I will reiterate, that Afghanistan came to us. We chose to go to Iraq. It will not surprise me when the memoirs come out if there is something mentioned about taking care of unfinished business from back in the daze of Desert Storm. I only and sincerely hope that leaving Bin Laden in Afghanistan does not come back to bite us the same way that leaving Hussein in Iraq did ten years ago.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Terminal Startitis

Today tastes like . . . clay and chalk. Not the sweetish modeling plastecine—this is the nasty gritty stuff clawed from the ground, cold, clammy, stale.

I have startitis so badly, they’re going to break down the door and slap me on life support soon. Tubes up the nose, incomprehensible but scientific sounding labels flying thick as bulky cotton cables, medical codes and abbreviations shouted at leather-lunged volume. Someone will undoubtedly yell “Stat!” often.

It all began with the deep disappointment over the weekend spent wrestling with the sleeves of the Queen Anne’s Lace. I’ve been pointedly ignoring it as it snivels in the Carry-me Bag o’KIP, pleading that it’ll be good this time, that no one understands me like it does, that baby if I’ll only come back things will be different this time. It hasn’t yet sent flowers. I haven’t yet filed for an Order of Protection. We may reconcile yet.

But right now . . . oh, right now I’m cruising the singles bar of my stash and the knitting blogosphere. Hmmmmm . . . that Ribby Cardi on Bonnie’s blog looks mighty hot. Ooooh, look at the lovely smoke ring patterns at Heartstrings. And I’ve been deep (o so very very deep) in lusting love with Jenna’s bad boy, that Rogue. I’ve gone to third base with him, recharting his cables so they run . . . all . . . the way . . .down. He’d be so, so lush in rayon chenille; all I need to do is knit a swatch and re-gauge him (and nobody can re-gauge a sweater like I can, baby. Nobody.)

And the other night, as I kicked the Bag o’KIP to the curb (ok, by the front door, work with me here) I got a bit too close to the bookcase, and fell into my copies of _Bauerliches Stricken_ (gesundheit!) where I began paging through all the wondermus Bavarian twisty cables. And I recall in _Folk Vests_ that they’ve got a nice one where the triangular clock pattern runs from the waistband up to the shoulders with a neat little fill pattern in between . . . and I’ve been reminded how much I adore cardis . . . and how neatly cables pop in chenille . . . and now I need a cold shower. And a cigarette.

Hoo. So I guess it’s about time to go sink an hour into the Queen Anne’s Lace. And about halfway through that hour, I’ll see once more the vision she was when she came to me in that coffee house, and that memory will be enough to see me through this project. We have a history after all. I’ll just have to chuck Rogue under the chin and say, “We’ll always have the workshop, kid.”

Monday, November 08, 2004

Vanity Fair and Sleeve Island

Today tastes like . . . axel grease and cotton candy, dust and hot dogs, iron railings and curly fries. It’s been a helluva day thus far—and it’s not even over!

Listening to: Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. I love the classics, I just find them hard to sit and read. Reading for me is reading in bits and bites—fifteen minutes here, fifteen minutes there. It’s tough for me to focus on long and intricate sentences or mannered plots in short spurts.

However, I love to have them read to me. The narrator’s voice brings me right back to where I left off (ah, yes, she’s just found out Mr. Rochester is still married to the madwoman in the attic, so she got up in the middle of the night—and I had to turn the player off and go to work. But now, here I am in the car, on my way home, and Jane is slipping out the wicket gate, off to who knows where.) whereas if I were reading this back at home while making dinner, I’d have to back up a page or three to get back to where I was.

And yes, the player Audible used to flog (I don’t know about the MuVo) came with attachments to allow you to play it over your car stereo, so you could listen hands and ears free. Just like radio without commercials, jabbering DJ’s, and with a program you were really interested in—all the time.

Progress report:

Here’s the ups part of the roller-coaster ride. I mentioned I had created Hagatha for an on-line list of folks-- the good people at Knitting Beyond the Hebrides. Part of what the list has been doing to promote excellent knitting (knitterly knitting, with an emphasis on finishing technique and knitting skill) has been to hold Virtual Conferences, where the focus is on certain knitting techniques. Fair Isle and stranded knitting, Aran and other cables, that sort of thing. The conference mascot has always featured an evil looking witch, with hooked nose and bulging eyes, toothless maw agape in a wicked grin, holding her knitting needles in the stereotyped way, wrapped in a swath of her own knitting. “Hagatha” is based largely on this cartoon.

This conference was “Way Beyond the Hebridies” and featured frippery knitting—knitting sculpted items, knitting with trendy frou-frou yarn, knitting at its simplest level without esoteric techniques.

They ran a contest for knitted items, and in the process of the conference, the deadline for entry was moved to allow for a little more time to take photos and post. I was working from my old notes, and when I went to post Hagatha—I thought I was too late. So I put her here, and dropped a note on KBTH, since this was her intended audience, after all. I was hoping for a mention on-list, and maybe to be able to post a picture on the website.

Well! Due to an enthusiastic write-in campaign (Nader should have been so lucky) Hagatha was awarded the “Way Beyond the Stratosphere” award! I’m beyond psyched.

And now for the plunging crash of the downs. When I sat down to work on the Queen Anne’s Lace cardi this weekend, I was halfway through the sleeves.

After spending the whole weekend working on the cardi, I am . . . halfway through the sleeves. Grrrrrr . . . sometimes process is incompatible with progress.

I thought I had a good idea with how the sleeves should be worked and attached. And they looked great . . . until you actually put the garment on a human being. Then they bagged and bulged strangely. So, rippity rippity rippity. Try another way. Nope, just as bad. Rip, rip, rip. Try again?

Finally decided that while it would have been really cool to work them attached as you go to avoid anything like sewing (‘cos the really cool thing about crochet is that you can take off in any direction you wish, to cover a 3-d object smoothly with an essentially 2-d covering without the limitation of needing to work in rows, like knitting) it just wasn’t going to do. Well, ok, if this were a one-off, it would be no problem. I would just drape as I went, and the whole thing would be just fine. On me. Maybe on people who were shaped very much like me. But no way would this work in a pattern.

The response I’ve been getting from other crocheters is that the garment is gorgeous and wonderful and oh my gosh I could NEVER do that—and to this last, when I explain that it’s nothing more than a chain partially filled with double crochet and then topped with chain picots, they stop and stare and say, “Is that all? I think I COULD do that . . .” Which is after all, exactly what I’m after. A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, after all.

So—no pictures till this is done, I think. All there is is one big purple glob with two little purple rectangles. See previous shots for stitch pattern and texture. The picture in your mind is probably better than the actual shot would be.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Slip Me Some Tongue

Today tastes like cornmeal, chiles, cheese, and tongue.

I've been playing with the Dowager Empress Odie-Bird's Revered Relleno Recipie (TM), and the results have been . . . tasty. Scroll down for the actual instructions, then pop back up for the modifications.

For the first itiration, I wrapped the Monterey Jack cheese straws in smoked turkey slices before slipping them into the peppers. That worked nicely, smoky salty turkey with the gooey cheese and the sting of the chiles.

Today I tried adding beef tongue. Oh my.

Bink, First Consort Gareth's father, would make tacos de lengua for special occasions. It's a good deal of (hot, nasty) work -- first to obtain the tongue, then to cook it and let it cool overnight, then chop chop chop the meat into little nuggets of rich beefy goodness. THEN, you can heat the oil and stand over it folding and frying tacos; which have to be eaten while they're hot, so the cook ends up feeding everyone else first, and then making one more serving for himself.

And of course, one tongue makes about four dinners for four people. We are two. There's lots of leftovers.

This would not be a bad thing, except that tacos are a lot of work, and even with the tongue prepared, you still get to stand over the vat of boiling oil for an hour or so.

But rellenos--that's a five minute dish. And the tongue and the cheese interact to make a wonderful buttery flavor, spiked out of its rich dream by the chiles.

Here's how it works.

You'll need whole roasted chili peppers--Big Jim is the common variety. They're four to six inches long. We're lucky enough to be able to buy them roasted, stuff 'em in baggies while they're hot, then toss 'em in the freezer.

So, thaw, peel, and seed one chile per person for a side dish, three or four for a light meal.

Take a block of Monterey Jack, and cut one narrow slice of cheese per pepper. Wrap the cheese with a thin slice of the chosen meat. The whole bundle should be about the size of your little finger, or a breakfast sausage link. Stuff the chile with the bundle.

Scramble one egg, and lay out some cornmeal--about three tablespoons per chile. Swish the chile through the egg, roll it in the cornmeal, and fry the chiles in about two tablespoons of oil until the cornmeal is golden brown and crunchy.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Iggy Pop Said It Best

I’ve noticed something in the past year, and will undoubtedly keep noticing for the next four.

Liberals tend to talk, conservatives tend to act.

After the results of this last election, surfing the blogosphere, I find the Kerry supporters issuing statements of shock, awe, and dismay, blogging about how they haven’t stopped crying since November 3 at 1:00 p.m. EST, moaning about how they can’t understand why people didn’t vote for Kerry; promulgating stiff upper lips in the very best self-help feel good style (or whispering about picking up and moving to Canada).

Blah blah blah. What are you DOING about it?

What is knitting in the dark movie theater so no one can see you cry DOING about making the social/political changes you see as necessary? What is talking about it on your electronic public diary DOING to move your agenda forward?

What is printing T-shits that proclaim “52% of Ohio SUCKS” doing to convince the people who voted Bush into office that your point of view is correct, reasonable, and respectful? How are you winning friends for the Democratic party with “Moving to Canada/New Zealand/Russia” parties?

The contingent where Kerry had the most votes was the 18-29 year old demographic. These are your grassroots. These are the people already on your side. This is where the focus needs to go, and needs to go now, while you actually have some passion. However, approximately 20 percent of the eligible (registered) voters in this group got off their butts and cast ballots this last November 2. Why aren’t you mobilizing them? They’re already sold on the Democrat platform.

But no, blah blah blah is easier and less risky than determining where your market is and taking proactive action. Parody is easier than creation. Putting time and effort and energy into moving the wheel and getting momentum rolling with an eye on 2008 is hard work, and detracts from time spent looking ever so clever and punditry.

And, of course, it makes you look like a conservative, since you’re actually doing instead of talking.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Hagatha ----Wayyy Beyond the Hebrides

Hagatha, the witch enthralled, sits knitting a sock. 299 and one-half more pairs (when she finishes this one) and she'll be free to begin work on the sweater that will unravel the enchantment. Posted by Hello

Hagatha takes a well-deserved break, little suspecting that this candid may end up in Wicked Witch of the Week . . . Posted by Hello

Whoops! Never turn your back on a mischievous cameraperson! Posted by Hello

Brownian Stillness

Today tastes like peanut butter taffy in the black and orange wrappers, streamers, and confetti.

Listening to: Stephen King's Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower. Have heard through the grapevine that this is the last book King intends to write, that he will, in the words of somebody or another "Write no more forever."

Not sure if that is more comforting (it's good when players we admire retire at the top of thier game instead of being forced to quit by failing bodies and falling market share); relieving (it's been a long time since any of his works seduced me, lured me into spending a day and night compulsively reading as the dishes pile up, as my joints get tired and stiff from inactivity, but like a relationship that's entered a fallow period, I can't give up on his writing entirely. In part, because I remember the days when I headily giddily swung as he pushed me with his words and his characters and it seemed like we'd be together forever in an unending summer evening); or depressing (I hate to see anything end, even when it hasn't been satisfying).

Progress Report: Have been working on the Queen Anne's Lace Cardi, and have reached the point where it doesn't photograph well. Both the fronts are finished, and the sides have been worked up. Have begun (but not attached) the first sleeve--so all a picture would show is a big purple blob with a little purple strip lying next to it.

The Castle Blanket has a couple more little squares done, but you'd have to know exactly where I stopped to focus on the cardi to see the difference. Ditto for the sock--I'm a little further along on the instep (having taken that along tonight to work on at the guild meeting) but, again, nothing blog-worthy.

Hence, the title of this post. My creative universe is not moving at this point in time.

Here would be where I'd be tempted to put in the results of some little fluffy whatcha from Quizilla--"What Kind of Procrastinator Are You?" However, I swore to myself that if I ever did that, I'd give up blogging entirely. I love the quizzes--every time I see one on someone else's blog I click the link and go play along--but somehow, they always seem like the breadcrumbs of blogging. Filler, not binder. I couldn't find anything else to say today, but in order to keep my hits up I have to post something, so, uhm, here it is.

Instead, I'll keep a promise to some on-line folks, and post photos of a particular finished object. I'll even post them AFTER this long essay, so they can find the meat more easily, assuming they come to this party. See you up above!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Weight and See

Today tastes like . . . canned milkshakes and empty promises.

I have always found it painfully ironic that women’s magazines will present a hot new diet and decadent desserts in the same issue. Presumably, after consuming the desserts, one will need to follow the diet to remove the poundage. And I’ve been sufficiently Ayn Randed to realize that it’s all about pushing product, baby. If we can’t hook you with promises of a slimmer more youthful you, then we’ll getcha where you live, fatso, with a new chocolate strawberry shortcake recipe.

And now, with Kirstie Ally in “Fat Actress” where she plays herself, essentially, as an actress who has gained a bunch of weight (aka “she’d be so pretty if only she’d lose that weight) (sidebar—it helps to be pretty BEFORE you gain the weight) and the starfucker magazines are going great guns over her refusal to take it all off right now and try for younger, slimmer roles. They chide her for not repenting and dieting back down to a “healthy” weight and a more “normal” size (is that a 2 or a 4 this year?)

Mary Kate Olsen is taken to task for being too slim, however. Much is made of the revolving rehab door, and she’s encouraged to for God’s sake, EAT something dear child. Hmmm, wonder where the obsession with slenderness came from? Wonder if the stress of being in the goldfish bowl has anything to do with this? And heaven help her if she gains one ounce over the recommended weight for her height (“recommended” by the mainstream media, of course, the same people who made much of a supermodel who was a “voluptuous” 136 at six feet two.)

Perhaps she could give Oprah a run for her money in the weight gain-loss merry-go round.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Sweet Charity

Today tastes like . . . birthday cake, lasagne, and quilt batting.

Last Saturday, Judie, the local Project Linus co-ordinator held a Blanket Bee. She does this three-four times a year.

107 blankets when I first walked in. By the time I left, we were at 137. This includes blankets donated that were made prior to the Bee, as well as blankets actually created/finished on site. Posted by Hello
This particular one was special, as we were celebrating the 5,000th blanket donated. Project Linus provides hand-made quilts and afghans to children in the terminal ward and the ICU, as well as blankets to preemies and "angel afghans" for stillbirths. I've been involved with Project Linus for four years now. They're my chosen charity.

The energy at the bees is fabulous and restorative. Not only is every participant self-selected, the degree of creativity and original thinking is high. Quilters selecting squares and rectangles of fabrics that relate to each other—different prints of sports, cars, cats, space themes of rockets and aliens; crocheters fitting granny squares together in melded colorways or finding ways to make stripes of scraps blend pleasingly; knitters trying new stitches or techniques—entrelac, counterpanes, intarsia, fair isle, modular knitting, lace. And everyone is working on something to be given away.

Judie hit on the idea of holding contests to increase the parts of the stash that go quickly or are chronically low. This time, the contest was for blue and purple blankets. I didn't have time to get a dog in that fight, but the winning knitted/crocheted blanket made me want to go grab my hook and figure out how that was done! (Done in granny squares, with the featured motif being little hearts in the square. Baby afghan sized, sport weight yearn. Too cute!) March's contest will be "boy" blankets, since boys are the sex more prone to illness (just structure) and injury (just nature).

I participate because for me, a blanket is a great huge canvas for me to work with. No fitting issues, no worries about a carefully chosen motif vanishing into an armscye or being bitten into by a seam. I can play with color, I can doodle with technique, and in the end it will go to be someone's woobie, thrown in the washer and returned to be chewed on, drooled on, cried on. I get the fun part, the planning and the making and a chance to give directly to the people in my community.

I have issues with groups like the United Way—I've seen their plush offices! Every time they advertise, I recall a meeting I attended in their office—we were just using their space, mind, we weren't affiliated in any way. I recall the oak table all fifteen of us sat around, how there was room for another ten without getting cozy, and oh, yeah, the wet bar. So now every time I see them shilling for bucks, the first thing that comes to mind is "Bud or Coors? Or would you prefer Dewars?" How much of my dollar is going to support flummery like that so they can wangle the big bucks from corporations?

Yes, just like getting a loan from the bank, you have to look like you don't need it in order to get it—but my ‘nads still get frosted thinking about it.

But the economics of a blanket are in MasterCard's "priceless" category. You can't sell it for booze or trade it for drugs. It gives someone in a distressing, disorienting place an anchor to hang on to—and hospitals are distressing, disorienting places for a healthy adult. For a very sick kid, whose bottom line is that strangers come in and stick you with needles, make you swallow vile concoctions or make you take pills, all while you don't feel well at all—yuck. Anything to make it a little better.

And also, to some extent, I feel that charitable contributions should be made in private. If you don't, is it for the sake of your fellow man, or for your ego? "Look at me, everybody, I give and give and give! Aren't I SWELL?" "Look at me in my fur coat, jewelry, and designer dress! I'm only going to wear it once, to this dinner which costs $300.00 per plate! All for charity; aren't I magnificent?" "You should thank me for taking a whole day to come here to the soup kitchen to ladle out stew for you. You should be grateful for your bowl of brown, which I am helping to provide. You SHOULD thank me for contributing my time and effort this one four-hour shift per year." And what about the 364 that aren't Christmas Eve, the day after Thanksgiving, or the Annual Black & White Ball? What is the Great Giver doing then to improve the lot of other people on this mudball?

Nothing. Giving at the office, maybe. Or at least saying he does when a United Way rep comes calling. Because after all, he shoots his wad where it can be seen ands exclaimed over. For him, the reward is primarily in the reaction of others who see him doing his annual good deed.

I prefer to take my reward in the act itself.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Things the Guru Never Told Me, Part One: It's the Second Step That's Hard

Today tastes like . . . sugared nails. Jordan nails? Which begs the question, do you suck the coating off and then chew, or bite down from the very beginning?

Listening to: Stephen King's Dark Tower VII: The Tower. Another reviewer called it indulgent, and I agree. King has a tendency to put plot aside while he focuses on character, and this time, he's divided the party and is telling the story from each point of view, so we see it through Jake's eyes, then through Callahan's; though Eddie's, then through Roland's. Hence, the action moves very very sloooowly. Also, as fans who have read his more recent material know, the Tower has been coloring many books, most notably Black House, and the Bobby Garfield story in Hearts In Atlantis. Now these stories (and others) pop up in the Tower series.

Additionally, King also often ends up going for the E.C. Comics gross-out, mixing horror with, well, just icky. Horrific, perhaps, if you are of the mentality that is "horrified" at blood, snot, and other effluvia; but the only thing that comes to my mind when the author writes of pus on the mirror or blood on the floor is, "Great. Something ELSE to mop up."

And this is a pity, because at his best, his villains' voice resonates with the voice of my shadow self's shadow self--the darkest, bleakest, most destructive part of me. When his Really Bad Thing is whispering to one hero, "Kill the boy; cut his throat and wash me in his blood. Then, throw yourself out of the window. If you do this, if you please me well, I will let you sing my praises all the way down." and the RBT's voice is low, and melodic, and reasonable. Ever so reasonable. I can understand the hero listening, nodding along; and the boy who can hear the RBT too is nodding. Whispering back to do it, just to do it, that they've come a long way, but who cares. It doesn't matter; the quest doesn't matter, they'll all end someday, so why not here and now, serving the Really Bad Thing?

And then later we're treated to a round of exhibitionistic phlegmophagia and cutesy euphemisms for sex, and suddenly I'm transported back onto the schoolyard. The part where as an adult, I recall what was REALLY funny then—the scat jokes, the horrified fascination with bodily fluids and excreta—and all I can do is sigh and roll my eyes.

I'm enjoying it, don't get me wrong. But for me, it's kind of like the last half of Tolkiein's Return of the King, right after Strider/Aragorn heads off through the crack to negotiate with the specter kings and enlist their aid. It took the movie to get me to read past that point, because by that part of the story, I pretty much lost interest. I'm holding on because King done give me his gotta—I gotta know if Roland makes it to the Tower, and what he finds there.

Progress report:

Scroll down to last Monday and look at the wimple and castle blan. Haven't knit a stitch on these since they aren't easily carried, simple to work, or under a deadline. Knit happens, as they say.

Carrying on and on and on . . . Posted by Hello
However, the jacket is coming along swimmingly. One side front and one side back down, the reverse to go, then I can either join the sides with strips, or work the sleeves. I'm thinking it might just be wiser to work the sleeves with the garment flat, then do the last sleeve strip to make the sleeves round and the final side strips to make the sides round.

It’s a band heel, and I’m a groupie! Posted by Hello
Past the heel and into the instep. Used a band heel, and I like the way it works with the self-striping yarn. However, am nibbling my fingernails and wondering if I'll have enough yarn to get a sock out of each skein without having to patch at the toes—or having big scraps left over. I found a reverse Dutch Heel for toe-up socks, so after I complete this pair, I think I'll make the self-striped socks from the toe up to avoid this situation.

Yes, I know you can short-row heels and those look good with the self-striping yarn, too. However, they don't fit my feet very well. I have tall heels, and NEED that flap to keep my socks from feeling like they're going to be sucked down into my shoes. Both the band heel (which would be great to put some patterning on, methinks) and the reverse Dutch heel (would that be a Hctud Heel?) have the heel flap thing going.

The shadow grows! Posted by Hello