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.