Saturday, December 31, 2005

Friday, December 30, 2005

First Project of 2006!

Gift certificate in hand, and rationalizing at full speed (hey, my brother paid for half, so it's not really a $100+ wrap, it's only a $50 wrap), in the time it takes to say, "Happy New Year, hand over the Silver Thaw," I had purchased my luxurious (i.e., outrageously expensive) yarn, Noro's new Silver Thaw, a Wool/Angora blend, (ok, we did hit a minor speed bump when I thought Rosie's was out of the colorway I had my heart set set set on, but, sigh of relief, it was tucked away in the tomb next door), and had wound up the four skeins I needed to make my next project:
Obviously, I needed to cast on within the hour, or I was going to have a knitter's stroke, so I began furiously swatching under Lisa's careful eye (because at this point, we all know I'm not the best swatcher/gauger). Honey, she said, I hate to tell you this, but I think you're going to have to wash your swatch. In one ear and out the other - crazy lady, I MUST CAST ON TONIGHT! She went on about the fiber's settling, angora blooming (there she goes with that Edelweis song again!), blah blah blah and some other angora nonsense. I wasn't listening, only to the click click click of my needles. So, we compromised, and wet the swatch down in the sink in the back room. See, look, it has no problem taking in water, look at that . . . she marveled. Yeah, whatever whatever, hurry - just tell me what damn needle to use. Then, huh, she's right. It looked completely different:. So, while I was at gauge on a 9, we went down to an 8 to compensate for the post blocking effects.
And, then, of course, after the initial frenzy of casting on was over, I got distracted the next day. When I was at home, my mother had a, what else, synthetic scarf, that wasn't too pretty, but it had a neat pocket to pull an end through and wrap snuggly around her neck. I remembered that Rosie's had a similar pattern for a Koigu neck cozy, so I picked up the pattern on Wednesday, and started playing with it. Wouldn't it be nice, I thought, if I could use up my angora along with my Koigu scraps? So, I swatched a honeycomb pattern with the Koigu doubled, but while the jeweled tones looked so pretty with the ochre, it just wasn't working out. Entranced with the honeycomb, I swatched using a pink kid classic - here's the result.
I'm pretty sure I hate it, and I'm going to rip it out - so what a waste of a knitting day - should have stuck to yummy Silver Thaw!

Monday, December 26, 2005

I am so flummoxed, I might as well have developed a stutter. First, she steals my shoes. Then, she cleans my toilet with my toothbrush. And, finally, she knocks over my spinning wheel, breaking the thing that holds the flyer in place. Ready to fire her . . . and then she gets me freakin' flowers for the holidays!
I was in such disbelief, that I called all of the people who have my key, hoping that someone else left flowers while I was gone for the weekend, anyone but cleaning lady - I even called my dogwalker. She laughed. Only one person left, cleaning lady. When I called her, and she said she had indeed left them for me, I wasn't even pleased - I was pissed. I couldn't fire her now, and I felt compelled to get in the holiday spirit and leave her a small holiday bonus. I am sorry ass sucker.
But, now it's time for our favorite game - what's in mom's knitting bag? Yes, I had to peak while I was home for the weekend, and to my delight:
Yes, finally, it's the Anne/Kidsilk Haze Alison Scarf. Of course, I got the nasty job of picking up the fifty billion stitches on the side edge, but I was just so pleased that the plastic scarves had been replaced by pretty pretty Anne. I offered to show her how to pick up stitches - you can never make a collar unless you know how to pick up stitches, I told her. That's what I have you for, she replied. I'm too old to learn anything new - I just want to knit, I don't really want to make sleeves - I think I'll make a vest next. And, of course, my holiday bubble was burst when my sister-in-law walked in wearing the plastic scarf - uch. I guess I should just be grateful that it's not the Dead Dog Scarf, sigh.

But then, I blew a new holiday bubble when I got my Hanukah present - a $50 gift certificate for Rosie's. Good job, bro! Keep up the good work!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Fini for the Holiday!

Ok, so I had a margarita at lunch - I still managed to get it done - a little GH, a little Oprah, and we have a finished cardigan - although I've been told its more ochre than chartreuse. Whatever, it's still tres festive! Happy Holiday's everyone!
Next up on deck - I think another garment needs to be reincarnated . . . to be continued . . .

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What A Little Sobriety Will Do for a Girl

I'm exhausted! I knit an entire sleeve, sewed up the shoulder, side seams, and set in one sleeve - enough! Penance for my wicked ways (yep, drinkin' again last night - office Xmas party and friend's birthday). The pattern says to knit the collar, then sew it on -- I'm not sure why it's not picked up, I'll figure that out tomorrow. So far, while our office is closing early tomorrow, I have no plans for any drunken behavior (although PD's and early dismissal usually make for a liquid afternoon into an ugly evening, that's probably why our office had a lame-o party on a Wednesday night, with only 3 bottles of wine for 300 people), and I should still be on schedule to finish the thing for the holiday weekend.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

This is so me, isn't it? Demure, sophisticated, yet a touch of Donna Reed. I can see me wearing this to the prison on any given day.

But, I just couldn't resist sale Angora, and while petting this decadent yarn: I had visions of Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day, and Gidget, in their tight little angora/mohair sweaters. And, since I've always wanted to be a cute, buxom blond in an angora sweater, I pulled out my vintage pattern mag from ebay, and added a twist of chartreuse:
Of course, picking a size was as wretched as ordering a bridesmaid's dress - yes, I'll get that big pink one with the bow in a Size 20. The pattern is sized for a 12, 14, 16, 18, and according to their chart, I am a 16. Well, so was Marylin Monroe, so I guess I'm ok. Then, I had to figure out how much yardage, when of course, you can't get Bernant brushed mohair on your local shelves anymore. A little google here, and a little google there, and I came up with 9 skeins, with one for good measure. Time to cast on - I cast on quickly on Merril's five's, knit four rows, and had Grace measure. Wendy, you know you don't have enough on there . . . I know, I know, so she shook her head, and measured anyway, and said it looked right. Wrong - I knit half the back when I realized I was knitting a cardigan for a five year old. So, I ripped it out, cast on on 7's, and knit up again. Then, I did the front. I don't know what I was thinking, but the first time I picked up the ribbed border, I picked up all the way around the side to the armhole. Oopsy. Out that came too -- I was clearly drunk from anyone one of a number of Xmas parties, on any given night.

So, I've now finished both fronts, and I'm onto a sleeve. So, if I stay sober, I should have this finished for the holiday weekend!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Dirty Little Secret

Voila! C'est fini! And, not a moment too soon - I have a new project on the needles, that involves a load of chartreuse angora falling off the back of a truck at Kensington and Allegheny, but you'll have to wait for those shots tomorrow. The angora feels like budda, and I can't can't can't put it down.

Anyway, I went to block the friend with benefits scarf, and pulled my blocking board out from its hiding spot behind the t.v. I didn't have to block Silk Garden Reincarnate, and I didn't block any of that baby stuff, so it's been a while since I've used the board. I wet the scarf down, positioned it on the board, and began pinning. Then, I noticed a smell. I looked around - and noticed this very faint stain on the board - I pulled the scarf up - the dog had somehow, sometime, managed to pee on my blocking board. Uch! Uch! Uch! Hopefully, the wood underneath the mat and the grid is ok, I couldn't even deal with it last night. I just threw it in the backyard to be dealt with at a later date.

So, I blocked the scarf on a futon, and, well, let's just say I really need those grid lines - the ends are definitely wider than the middle, but not so noticeably so, that I felt the need to do it again - I mean, really, angora awaits and that would take away from knitting time. I think it's just something I'll always know - my dirty little pee-board secret. Hopefully, Mr. I Only Want Black and Grey, will know better than to open his trap if he actually notices the scarf's trapezoid tendencies -- you never know when those benefits are going to run out.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Yakety Yak

Geez, as soon as I open my trap and make a grand prouncement - NO HOLIDAY KNITTING - I'm forced to retract my statement (hmmm ... you'd think I was president or something) . . .

Just when I thought I was in the clear, no presents, ba humbug, my friend Pete did something incredibly sweet. As I think I've mentioned before, Pete and I have brunch every Saturday. This past Saturday,we went to see Walk the Line at the Riverview Movie Theater (which, by the way, is no better than going to that er, shop, on 13th Street -- no one's bothering to run the projector there either, and you never know what you're going to walk in on in the bathroom), and we walked home via South Street. We past a framing store, and he asked to pop in. I went to the counter with him, and he said - could you, and he pointed to the other end of the store, shooing me away. What? Did you frame porn for your brother? Yeah, that's it, he said. I shrugged, and walked away. He picked up his porn, and walked me home. And, low and behold, it wasn't porn (I didn't really think it was), it was a present for moi!

He had my front pager framed! How could I not knit him a scarf, damn him! So, I whipped up the Rustic Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts:

The book categorizes it as a four to six hour gift. I'd say it's on the four end side - just 33 rows of garter, 3 different colors of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky -- stout (brown), olive oil (olive oil? what were it's parents thinking?), and string (tan). Did you fall asleep reading that, because I almost did knitting it. But, I think it looks nice, and it's done.

Now, naturally, at the same time, my friend with benefits started to complain that he needed a scarf. I let him try on the Rustic Scarf - too itchy. And some have the nerve to call women whiners, sheesh! So, I had him look through a few books, and he picked this scarf, sharp, he said, that's sharp. Sharp? Boring, so boring. But, at least its not ugly. That would really be a dilemna - what if he had picked a poodle scarf???? Well, there never really was any danger of that - but I just don't know what I would do if I friend asked me to knit something so hideous that it should be burried in the backyard with the rest of the traif. Gifting should be an attempt to avoid regifting, actually buying someone something they want, and if a friend of mine wanted a poodle scarf . . . I guess I would just have to convince them they wanted something else. Anyway, here it is:

But, it has to be in black, because my coat is black, and my gloves and hat are grey.

So, I trotted over to Rosie's, like a good beneficiary, and attempted to fill the order. I wanted to use Debbie Bliss's Alpaca Silk, yummo as Rachel Ray would say. But, the closest thing she has to grey is kind of a pale olive. So, I called him, how about . . .? . . . grey. Black and grey.

I ended up picking Karabella's Superyak (50% Yak, 50% Merino), a.k.a., the Boyfriend Yarn, because it solves that itchy owey whining. I guess it counts for the friend with benefits, as well as the boyfriend, they both complain the same (although, the friend with benefits stands no chance at receiving cashmere). But, black? He clearly is trying to make me go blind. I cast on a swatch, on 10's, and the fabric seemed to be holey -- like I was doing yarn overs as opposed to tweed. Lisa took a look, and opined that with blocking, it would probably grow and expand. I don't know what switch she flipped in my head, but from that point forward through the evening, I had Edelweis stuck in my head - "bloom and grow, bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever." It's not really a toetapper -- thanks Lisa.

I went down to a nine, and it's better:
Not that you can really tell in the photo - because it's black . . .

Aunt Sophie, We Hardly Knew Ya

Don't ask me (because I'll take the 5th) why or how (let's just say it was on a whim and a dare, not necessarily in that order)I ended up in a Store of Ill-Repute (to put it politely) on 13th Street yesterday. While in this porn palace, I struck up a conversation with the register clerk - who happened to be crocheting, behind a display of condoms, rings and things, and bullet shaped vibrators. She admired my Kersti scarf, I didn't quite admire, but I appreciated her crochet. And then she asked me if I was Sophie. Sophie's Yarns? I asked. Yeah, Sophie. No, not me.

Regardless of who has what store where and how, my understanding was that Sophie's got it's name because everyone had an Aunt Sophie who taught them how to knit, or something to that effect. I looked around, and tried to imagine under what circumstance Aunt Sophie would take her circular needles and bop on down to your local head store. The visual of Aunt Sophie admiring dildos, butt plugs, and vibrators that come with remote controls was just too much blashpemy for me to bear. When I think of Aunt Sophie, I see Elizabeth Zimmerman, not Jenna James. I immediately left the store, and dove headlong into Lord & Taylor to wrap myself in something cashmere, and wash away that nasty little visual.

Then, I started thinking about knitting at work. And this woman behind the counter, crocheting, gives a whole new meaning to whiling away the hours, conversing with the flowers. When I knit at the courthouse, I'm biding my time, waiting for things to get started. She's presumably, waiting for things to, eh hem, wrap up. I've always thought of knitting as an excellent distraction, but I've never really thought of what I needed distraction from, other than a little stress, a little chaos. This woman, when it comes to distraction, is in a whole other league. Uch, I don't even want to think about what she uses those gauge swatches for.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Chicken Soup, Part II

So, before I get to the recipe - another toilet horror story, since that's the theme this week, soup and toilets. I got a call from a friend of mine to meet him at the courthouse for lunch, but to hurry, because he wasn't sure when he was going to testify (ssshhhh - don't tell anyone, public defender's and cops occasionally break bread) - so I quickly went to the bathroom, and dashed out of the office. I walked down Broad Street, cut through City Hall, and waited for the light across the street from the Criminal Justice Center. I turned around, and the crime scene officer from the La Salle case was smiling and walking towards me, and I thought we were going to joke around again about him fishing the condom out of the sink, yadda yadda. He put his arm around me, and whispered in my ear "You have half a roll of toilet paper hanging out of your butt." I turned around, and yes, indeed, I was trailing toilet paper -- down to the back of me knees. This is so not my week!

But, here's the end of the recipe for anyone else who needs a little comfort!


Ok, I've been stewing about this since Monday (yes, I sense a theme going on, broth on the brain) . . . I came home from Poolside Knitters, which is now Coffeeside Knitters as Chaucer's lightening didn't do it for us, so we moved to Tuscany on Rittenhouse Square, and my cleaning lady - you remember, the one who stole my shoes - was just finishing up my house. So, she was coming down the stairs with a bucket of cleaning products, and my toothbrush in her right hand. Eh, she said, I forgot toothbrush. Just put it on the table, I told her, anxious to scurry her out of my house so I could watch t.v. in peace. But, she would not be hurried, she went on to complain about how sick her husband is, in the nursing home, out the nursing home, yadda yadda . . . and finally, just in time for Prison Break (Note to Robin - my phone kept ringing during the show - Blast! - I caught most of it, but you're gonna have to fill in some blanks for me - like why Michael didn't think about that last thing in the first place???), she left, and as she was closing the door behind her, she reminded me that I needed to get a new toilet brush (what happened to the old one, I have no idea, since I certainly don't clean toilets, that's why I pay her even though she stole my shoes. Maybe she stole my brush to clean other people's toilets while wearing my shoes). So, I went about my evening routine - t.v., knitting, putting together the chicken soup extravaganza. Put my jamies on - brushed my teeth. While brushing my teeth, I started to wonder what she was doing with my toothbrush in the first place. And . . . I looked over at the toilet . . . I thought about the missing brush - I dropped the toothbrush - this is G-d's punishment for talking about blow jobs in front of a jury - I now truly have potty mouth! Please say it isn't so! But what else was she doing walking around with my toothbrush????

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Matzo Ball Soup Part I

My friend Beth calls patterns recipes, and while my mom didn't exactly pass down the family knitting technique, this weekend, she did try to preserve the family chicken soup recipe. Anyway, clearly, I have too much time on my hands, but my Hanukkah plan this year (note to Rosies - I'm not doing any holiday knitting - all for selfish little me!) is to give everyone I know, and want to pass on a little Jewish Penicilin to, a copy of mom's medicine. So, here is Part I - Preparing the Chicken and Getting the Soup on the Stove.

Tomorrow: Making the Matzo Balls!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Free John Travolta!

Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you - just one word.
Ben: Yes sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Ben: Yes I am.
Mr. McGuire: 'Plastics.'
Ben: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Ben: Yes I will.
Mr. McGuire: Shh! Enough said. That's a deal.

Clearly, Warminster, PA took this advice, and ran with it. Not only did they run with it, they scored with it, soared with it, taken plastics to completely new heights. Yes, folks, I have spent four days, four whole days in the suburbs, the land of strips malls (and yes, there's even a knitting store in a strip mall, but you can't touch anything because everything is covered in plastic) plastic covered living room furniture and you guessed it, luxury Christmas decorations - that are now, plastic! By day, your neighbor's lawn looks like an innocent place, a pile of leaves here, a pile of leaves there because this year's suburban toy of choice is apparently the leaf blower which everyone powers up at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, but when the sun goes down, you suddenly hear a whooshing sound, air. Are we drowning? Is there a flood? Do I hear the sound of an inflatable raft? No, of course not! It's Santa. Santa growing to 8 ft., 12 ft., 22 ft heights - leaping from the ground, lawn by lawn, until there are plastic snowglobes, and snowmen, and snowwomen, and Santa's looming down the street, scarier than any Macy's Day M&M balloon:
Has anyone seen this gigantuan monstrosity? The next thing you know, I'm going to see John Travolta rolling down the street in a blowup plastic snow globe!
And, if that's not bad enough . . . before I get to the tragedy of my mom's knitting bag, let me remind everyone what her birthday present looked like: Does everyone remember this photo?

This stylish bag, this beautiful yarn? Can you imagine my heart stoppage when I saw this: And, I opened it to find this! And, when I asked what had happened to beautiful Anne and Kid Silk, my mom said that she had to get this second scarf done. Second scarf???? I choked. There are two of these out there? Oh yes, I'm made one for Laurie, and now I'm making one for Danielle. Mother/daughter puke scarves??? Say it isn't so! And, when my niece saw it this weekend, and she couldn't her 2 1/2 year old hands off of the plastic yarn, I knew I had better get knitting. She needs saving, and needs it now! As much as I hate to knit kid things, it must be done, for the sake of her future.

And mom, well, she did finish Lion Brand seed stitch coat. You'll recall mine, done in Noro:
And here is hers, which although it weighs 5,000 lbs, and I did have to sew the whole thing up, after she somehow sewed the arm up the length of the back, is actually pretty nice, and shows what promise mom truly has
So, what was a girl to do, surrounded by synthetics? Finish Silk Garden Reincarnate of course. Warminster is also the land of Blockbuster and late night t.v., so after sitting around the t.v. watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the evening news, etc., whipping up those last five blocks was a snap, then . . . picking up the 700+ stitches for the garter border in a pretty jewel toned pink a la Grace. That was fun. But, what was even more fun was sewing in the 110+ ends that I hadn't bothered to weave in while I was knitting: And, sometime around 2:00 a.m. this morning, the last little end was tucked away, and I was able to put my feet up: And here is finished Silk Garden Reincarnate, definitely definitely a higher caste than that silly suit:

And, coming later in the week, making Chicken Soup in the 'burbs with Barbara (which of course, I brought home in little plastic containers!)