Sunday, August 27, 2006

And Now Another Word

Today DOES INDEED taste like artichokes and used motor oil. For years I've been saying "Don't say it or I will see it," and now it appears the same goes for flavors of the day.

It's the ass end of summer, when you're finally warm enough (plenty warm, thankew, looking forward to winter even though it shivvers us something fierce, it does)and it's not only hot but muggy and thick. You're swimming in bisque without seasoning, gluey and dull.

So the weather has a lot to do with the ennui. (What is it like to be on whee? Not as much fun as you'd think; it's a draggy low rather than a high. Put down the whee pipe and get moving already!)

Working on the last couple of projects of the year. I had some dull neutral yarn that needed to become the centers of some blankets--
--and that became a project in and of itself.

The motif was too sugary-girly in white . . .
. . . so I decided to do counterpane centers instead.

Then I remembered why I hate counterpane centers--they're quite fiddly as written, especially this one, which has you increase via a yo at the beginning of each row. Additionally, there's a bunch of sewing, and when you stripe the plain knitting, you have a bajillion ends per quarter square to weave in. It's almost as much sewing as knitting, which is why this project is a tour-de-force.

I can't reduce the number of ends when I knit the striped parts, but I for sure can reduce the ends in the white and the fiddly sewing bit. I've been knitting the squares in the round, casting on for four of the quarter-squares and working a p1f&b in the increase stitches.

Start with 12 sts on DPNs, work the four leaf motifs, work the flanking leaves and move the square to a circular needle as soon as practicable. Keep it on the circ until the white part's done, then knit back and forth on the circ until the first striped part is done.

Cast off the last stripe, move one to the right, and do it again until the whole square is off the needles. Et voila! One painless counterpane square.

The monsoon's breaking once more. Off to go knit on the covered porch, in the rain. A moment of cool in a long summer of hot.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The News from the Salt River

The Dowager Empress herownself sent me a wonderful poem, one that’s a keeper, so I’m putting it up here for all the Tonstant Weaders to viddy--


The moon thumbs through the night’s book.
Finds a lake where nothing is printed.
Draws a straight line. That’s all
it can. That’s enough.
Thick line. Straight toward you.
-- Look.

Rolf Jacobsen
Translated from the Norwegian
By Olav Grinde

That's lovely. The only problem is I hear it read in Garrison Keillor's voice, and then a monologue about Norwegian poetry ensues . . . and how Norwegian is such a frugal language that the poor guy didn't have enough vocabulary to title the poem without using one of the words in the body of the poem . . . and how Rolf stayed up night after night after night . . . and how he asked his friends Sven and Oley for help, and they contributed the only two words in Norwegian he hadn't used yet--"Pig," said Sven, and "Turnip," suggested Oley.

And you can probably hear the rest of the monologue contained in the air conditioner's hum, so I'll spare you that.

Some days it does not pay to be one of all the children who are above average.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thursday's Post Has Far to Go

Good lord 'n' butter. (No, that's not what today tastes like, today tastes more like . . . honey. Pure raw clover honey, so sweet it's hot in your mouth, like the sunshine that made the flowers and nectar.) Is it really August already? That means it'll soon be September, and then the two year blogiversary.

Where does it all go? It was May just a moment ago, I swear. I was jumping rope on the patio, and then all of a sudden the monsoon rolled over the Valley and it was hot and wet, and in two shakes we'll go back to the dry heat of autumn. Two breaths after that and it will be the dry coolth of winter, when you pull out a sweatshirt in the morning and layer up in a coat over the thin turtleneck and finally pull your wool trousers out and really wear them.

The year of me me me has started four months early. During the chilly air-conditioned summertime, as I sat shivering in the office (I sit under a blower, so while my hands are numb and blue, my bunkie by the window is dying from the heat, and the office next door is positively tropical. I hate the building we're in; I've worked in it for four . . . no, FIVE years and have never never never been in an office where the temperature was moderate.)

Anyway, as I sat shivering under the freakin' blower, I started thinking about a shawl I'd knit for the Dowager Empress Odie-Bird. It was chenille. Great big worsted weight chenille in midnight blue, soft as a Muppet pelt, and warm as a mug of coffee. I should know, it was August as I finished the darn thing with the whole heavy pelt across my lap. And I knew I had a whole 'nother pound of the stuff in my stash.

So I pulled out the needles again, cast on my six for the neckband, and went right to it. Garter stitch, nice mindless garter stich in a Faroese shape so the thing will hang on my neck and shoulders and I won't have to clutch it to me every time I reach for the printer. A simple knit, a few weeks of work so I won't fret about leaving it in the office--if someone kipes it, they obviously really needed it badly.

And I still have two pounds of emerald green waiting to become. Heh.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Dutiful Meme

Today tastes like peanut butter and muffin tin liners. The weather is a wet flannel blanket just out of the dryer. When you can’t think of anything to say, but know you should say something, surf the web for inspiration.

So you’ll just have to imagine the posts I was gonna write about the walk this morning along the canal (insert shades of Ray Bradbury here, both the sci-fi and the Doug Spaulding) where I talk about the hordes of black bumblebees dangling on their wings and droning among the glories pastel fields of Russian Thistle blooming mellow pallid violet among the grey-green leaves, with the fireworks of yellow stamens in the early morning light. Too bad, I’m going to do a meme theme here.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet and current street name)
Taffy Verano (obviously I do Spanish cross-over like Shakira)

2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/grandmother on mother's side first name, favorite sweet)
Bonnie Gelato

3. YOUR "FLY GIRL/GUY" NAME: (first initial of first name, first two or three letters of your last name)
Eree (hmm, rather goth to be called a name that rhymes with “Eerie.” I like it.)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite animal, name of high school mascot)
Alpaca Matador (that’s almost like a superhero name)

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Llewellyn Albuquerque (goes well with the rock star name, no?)

6.YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (first 3 letters of your last name, last 3 letters of mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet's name)
Ree’ettvis (ok, I just had to put a glottal stop in the middle of that screech. Wow.)

7.JEDI NAME: (middle name spelled backwards, your mom's maiden name spelled backwards)
Nyllewell T’terrag (looks more like Dragonriders of Pern, doesn’t it?)

8. PORN STAR NAME: (middle name, street you lived on)
Llewellyn Jen Tilly

9.SUPERHERO NAME: ("The", your favorite color, last product advertised that you remember on TV (or favorite)
The Chartreuse Attorney

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

All Bound Up

I’ve grumbled about this before, but here we go again—the life examined sometimes is difficult to live.

Right now, I blog here about knitting and whatever comes to mind, I blog there about the new company that I’m involved in building. I journal my shadows under cover of darkness to keep them from creeping into the daylight hours and tangling about my feet. I share a mail project with a virtual friend (as opposed to an imaginary friend—imaginary friends don’t send you stickers or write replies to you) in which we share a journal, adding art and whatever to the pages as we go.

It feels live I live with keyboard and camera in hand, a bandolier of Sharpies slung across my chest, writing life rather than living it. There’s a lot to pick and choose from; I’m drowning in material and writing it all in my head because, of course, the perfect spot to put all this in is always in another place.

I’d like to talk about my post-project depression a little—I just finished watching the last season of Six Feet Under. The benefit of waiting for TV shows to come out on DVD is that you can fill the six disc carousel and watch until your eyes fall out of your head, knitting madly all the while. No commercials! A pause button for snack and bathroom breaks, and you can see “that” episode again and again with only a little hunting (as opposed to on videotape. I used to note the numbers for the beginning of each movie/show on the spine of a videotape so I could find them reasonably quickly. Yes, Virginia, this was back in the Dark Ages.)

Of course, the drawback is that by the time you see the shows, the rest of the world has moved on. “That was soooooo 2005.” Tra la.

So I have no one to blame but me—I knew this was the last season as I plugged it in. I knew that with a show that is predicated on death and the world going on without you as you remain only a memory blah blah blah would kill off everyone eventually and close the show off so that there was no more. No “I wonder if they ever . . .” No “Maybe those two get their act together and marry . . .” Nope, no fuzzy endings, all of it fade to white in signature style.

I just hadn’t counted on finishing a project at the same time.

I’m a process person. Big time process person. That’s why I blog rather than writing novels (although Tonstant Weader will probably chime in here and claim that each and every post is at least a novella. Pooh on you, Tonstant Weader.)

I couldn’t live with the characters, know their backstory, know their frontstory, know what they like for breakfast, then live with them and tell the slice of their life in which you get to know them—then end it all. Type my three ###’s at the end like a press release and walk away from them. Blogging, well, blogging goes on and on and on and has little bitty endings (at the end of each post) but never really stops until the day you decide to go out and live life rather than writing about it.

You see, I was working on a blanket that I’ve been knitting on for a little more than a year now (off and on; off and on since February 2005. There’s a six-months photo in the archives—October 26, 2005.) I just happened to finish it the same night as we watched the last of the show. Now it’s all over except for weaving in the ends.

It doesn’t help that I just finished another blanket that I started shortly before that.
All my long-term projects are winding down and closing off, getting ready to go out and live their useful lives.

On the one hand, I’m glad to get them done. This closes out the last of the original projects from the “Stressed Monkey Project-O-Rama” (so what do you call your “git r done” list?) It’s a good thing to finish projects because that means you can start new stuff. I limit myself to only five projects on the needles at a time, because otherwise I spread myself too thin during manic bouts of startitis, and when I come down, I come down hard, and can only sit and stare at all the things surrounding me. Lovely ideas with copious notes, and no energy at all to pick it up and proceed.

But on the other, well, they’re over. Like when a childhood friend moves away—you need permission to call long distance, and in the days before the Internet, you had to come by stamps and envelopes and stationery. You both swore you’d write every single day, and maybe you did. For a week. Or two. Where are all your friends from high school, where you inscribed “4 EvR” in each other’s yearbooks on that last day of senior year?

I don’t miss the items, not a bit. I could always make another very much like it if I took a notion to have something like that for myself. It’s the process I miss. I miss watching an idea take form under the needles and solving the bugs that always crop up.

Just like I miss getting to know the characters for the first time, watching the story arc unravel and spool out to the final scene