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March 31, 2005

What was I thinking?

My mom came to read this site which is cool, but now I have to cut waaaaaaay the fuck down on the cuss words. Whooops.

A few nights ago I was thinking how much I want to make another hat. Because out here in Los Angeles, you always need a hat, like if you're Johnnie Cochran (rest in peace, brother) and you need to illustrate to the jury why OJ didn't do it, you need a knitted hat. That is what freed OJ, and you know it. Or, if you're going to go rob somebody or do some carjacking and evade the po-po, or if you plan to join the Crips, or the Eighteenth Street Playboy Homies, you need a hand-knitted hat. Only maybe without a pom pom on top.

So, I have this back issue of Interweave Knits with a cool fisherman's hat pattern and I pulled some of that grey Patons I like so much from my stash and I was all set, with some help from Frankin Delano Rosencat on the bamboo circs:

frankiehelps-circs-beer.jpg
Frankie likes circular needles, too.


But ... uh, Beavis ..... this pattern calls for some yarn about half the thickness of my Patons bulky. And it calls for US size 6 needles for the little tiny yarn. My Patons lopi wool stuff knits up best on size 11 needles, and did I mention this hat starts out with the double-pointed needles instead of the circular needles? How does that work?

Yeah.

But I was having a beer, and all set up with my supplies, and thinking, "I can modify the pattern!" (Author's note: This is where I get into trouble every time. "I can modify the pattern!" either means "I am making a scarf that may or may not become nine feet long," or "I am already sitting here and drinking and if I have to get up for different size needles, that will ruin the feng shui.")

I started casting on with this giant size 11 dpns -- and this pattern calls for a 4-needle cast on -- and I got about this far:

dpns-madness.jpg

And I said to myself, ARE YOU CRAZY? And, being crazy, I answered myself back with "THIS SUCKS! NEED MORE BEER!"

So, anyway, my mohair scarf is coming along real nicely. And I put the dpns back in their little drawer, and pretended like the whole thing never happened.

mohair-scarf-halfway.jpg
My pain-in-the-butt mohair scarf, as seen basking in the 19th floor light of my office window.


Posted by laurie at 7:09 AM

March 30, 2005

Another time I embarrass myself

I haven't been sleeping. AT ALL.

Six months of not-sleeping can make a person insane. I can actually feel myself aging from the stress. Today I decided to take some time off work and go see my doctor to ask for medicinal help with the not-sleeping. I never really go see my doctor because I'm not sick very often, or at least not sick enough to require me schlepping all the way out to Woodland Hills where Dr. Feelgood is and where, coincidentally, LOTS of other sick people are. You have a better chance of getting sick from all those coughing, wheezing, oozing people than you do just staying home and watching Oprah.

Anyway, I made an appointment for a checkup.

After waiting with the sniffling, germy masses for about 15 minutes, I get into an exam room. I promptly break out the wet wipes and hand goo and sanitize as best I can. Ten minutes, wait wait.

Then, finally, Dr. Feelgood comes in.

Doctor: So, you're here for a check up.
Me: Um, not really. But I didn't want to discuss My Issues with your whole staff.
Doctor: (closes door.) Yes, sure. So what's up?
Me: (feel the tears starting) (OH SHIT, I'm going to cry in front of my Primary Care Physician who I have not seen in over one year. Shit shit shit.) Well, I am having trouble sleeping.
Doctor: Hmmmm. Why is that, you think?
Me: Uh, my husband is filing for divorce and I smoke a lot now.
Doctor: I see.
Me: (sniff sniff)
Doctor: Well, let's try some Ambien for sleeping, for the next month or so.
Me: (sniff) mmm okaysoundsgood (sniff).

As Dr. Feelgood is writing out a prescription and looking over my chart he begins to initiate chitchat. CRUCIAL MISTAKE.

Doctor: So, was this ...ah... situation ... completely unexpected?
Me: Uh, well, you know. There were signs. Maybe it's a midlife crisis?
Doctor: Ah.

DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER.

Me: So, Dr. Feelgood, did you go through a midlife crisis?
Doctor: (silence)

(silence)

(more awkward, uncomfortable silence)

Doctor: Well, Laurie, I'm a little offended you think I'm mid-life already.

Me: Oh shit.

(dies of embarrassment)

The end.

Posted by laurie at 5:48 PM

March 29, 2005

I. Am. So. Embarrassed.

I never post comments on blogs because I'm afraid someone will think I'm a weird nutty stalker or something ("I'm being stalked by this spinster with four cats and a drinking problem!") but then I was talking to a friend who said that all readers should comment so the writers know they get readers. (Of course I get no comments ... except for Jennifer and Crystal who love me and my no-comment self.)

So I have a few sites I read faithfully, mostly knitting stuff. And I decided to take this big plunge and COMMENT, but just on the three blogs I love the most. So I broke through my comment-a-phobia and did it. Except that on one of them, I was trying to leave a comment and the internet was being stupid and it kept saying "proxy error, try again" and I kept hitting the back button, and none of my comments worked. Until the one time it *did* work, and, um, this really nice person who I never wrote comments to before because I didn't want her thinking I was a stalker got SIX of the same comment from me.

Smooth.

Posted by laurie at 2:10 PM

Mohair bus knitting

Now that I've finished my hat, I want to knit another hat and another and another. Breaking free of the rectangle was like moving to France to become a circus performer: liberating and full of cabernet. But I promised Jennifer I'd make her a Noro basketweave pattern scarf like my Kureyon monster (only hers won't be a nine foot long scarf because, you know, I'm not crazy) (oh wait, am I?), and so I'm working on her Noro scarf. But then there was this sale, you see, at a local yarn shop and they had all this great yarn marked at 30% off, and how can you afford NOT to buy yarn at that price?

I have a bad habit of buying shit on sale. This applies to all sorts of stuff -- paper plates, T-shirts, lamps, shoes, furniture, anything on the clearance aisle at Target, sunglasses, you get the idea -- but lately it's been all about yarn. So I'll buy two little tee tiny balls of something (it's on sale! I'd be a fool not to buy this!) but I'll have no pattern in mind or any plan for the yarn, and there isn't enough of it to make an actual garment, so whaddayaknow I'm making another scarf.

So, anyway, I'm making a mohair scarf from some yarn I got on sale.

I'm doing some bus knitting! [click for big pic]

It started out as a swatch (like so many of my scarves do) and after about five rows I decided to try a drop-stitch and it looked pretty cool so I kept going. Only can I just tell you knitting with mohair is a lint disaster. Carry a lint brush if you don't want to look like a magenta cat shed all over you. Fur real.

Fuzzy, gorgeous, pain in the butt mohair. [click for big pic]


And how bummed am I that I can't take the 8 a.m. bus pretty much all week? I have meetings lined up all early and I have to get in before the butt crack of dawn to prep and get my caffeine time in. Now that is just sad. Because you know how I love a man that drives a big bus. I do I do I do.

Posted by laurie at 8:39 AM

March 28, 2005

Of knitted hats and bus drivers

hat-side.gif

I finished my hat! It is my first official knitted hat, and I do love it. I made this little pom-pom for the top while I was on the bus, but just like that time I made fringe on the bus, it turns out the only thing I had for winding some yarn into a somewhat pom-pom shape was a pack of cigarettes and that seems wrong. But hey, it worked. Then I liked my pom-pom so much all loopy like that that I decided not to cut it and make it fluffy, so it's sort of a flower pom pom, which may be dorky, but hello! How much dorkier can you get than having a pom pom on your hand-knitted pink hat anyway?

But let's get to the part about the bus. Last time I wrote about the bus I believe I was being dumped. This is a better story.

Usually I take the bus around 7 a.m. each morning. Everyone at the park n' ride is just a working schmoe like your Aunt Purl, and we all stand politely in a single-file line and wait for the bus and we see each other every morning but we all have the good sense God gave us to act like we don't know each other because the last time you want to be friendly is at 7 a.m. on the bus.

This morning I missed the 7 a.m. bus due in part to some exploration of fine California wines last night and I just barely squeaked in for the 8 a.m. bus. As we all stood there in a nice, polite, single-file line I noticed that everyone waiting was female. Every last person. Usually there's half men, half women, a few kids on their way to the magnet schools downtown.

This morning there were at least 25 women all standing there with lipstick on and hair done up, each looking way more awake than the 7 a.m. crowd on their best day. "Wow," I thought to myself. "Who knew what a difference an hour could make in your getup?

Then the bus came. The door opened and suddenly it all became clear when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a ridiculously hot bus driver of, like, 22 years.

Now. I was just as surprised as you to discover that there is a smokin' hot bus driver on this whole planet. All I can think of when I think "bus driver" is Large Marge from the Pee Wee Herman movie. But this boy is adorable and there was a whole gaggle of women old enough to be his mother waiting in line to ride his bus to work. If you know what I mean. And I'm sure you do.

So, obviously, I've got to switch to the 8 a.m. bus. Even though this gets me into downtown perilously around the 9 a.m. mark, which is a little late to arrive at the office in the exciting world of high finance. But you know it's just for that extra hour of sleep. I swear it has nothing to do with anyone and their big, studly arms or their cute adorable dimples.

More pictures of my hat now. Because all I can think of are adorable dimples, and that will never do. Hat. Think "hat."

hat-top.jpg
How cute is that pom pom? Cuter than a dimple, eh?


still-life-with-hat.jpg

The view from my desk. Still life with hat.


Posted by laurie at 8:17 AM

March 25, 2005

Spoiled Cat Habitat; Bob loves kitty pi

spoiled-cat-habitat.gif

Posted by laurie at 10:37 AM

March 23, 2005

Long ride

All we're missing are the locusts.

Los Angeles is being punished by nature. We have wind, and rain, and lightning, and thunder and we even had an earthquake today. I'm looking for the locusts and the three horsemen of the apocalypse. I'm sure they're here somewhere.

You would think that a few raindrops wouldn't be enough to bring the second largest U.S. city to its knees. Other cities face real weather like snow and hail and tornadoes and hurricanes. But we're just not built for weather out here. I suspected traffic would be bad but I had no idea what was in store for me (in so many ways) when I got on the bus at 4:45 p.m. By 6:30 p.m., I concluded I was a prisoner of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

In almost two hours we had managed to creep about 15 miles. For those of you doing the math, that means we were going minus five miles per hour. Who knew it was humanly possible to go slower than zero? Luckily I had my knitting bag with me, the mindless diversion of endless knit and purl helped me keep from going mad and puddling up in a heap on the dirty, germy bus floor when Mr. X called.

In the six months since he moved out, I have received approximately zero phone calls from Mr. X to check in on my well-being. In fact, after he moved out he did not bother to call me for an entire week. I could have committed suicide, or run off with the gardener, or revived the legwarmers trend of 1986, or become a snake handling born-again Bible thumper and he wouldn't have been the wiser.

When Mr. X is calling my cell at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night it's not to shoot the breeze or talk about the good ole' days. He begins his phone calls with a lot of diversionary chit-chat to get you warmed up, so it can take a while to discern his true agenda. By now I have discovered that the amount of prep work/chitchat he does is inversely proportional to how bad the bombshell is going to be.

About five minutes into our conversation, I could tell we were in deep chitchat, so I finally said, "You know, I'm on the bus, so .... was there something you needed?" More stalling. This had to be a real whopper.

He told me he woke up the other night -- in the middle of the night! -- because he was anxious. (Anxiety? I mean, I can relate, right? I haven't slept through the night in the six months since my husband left me and sometimes I cry for no reason, like when I see a tomato and remember how he hated tomatoes, and I think how I learned to make all these new dishes for him that were tomato-free, and then I think of how I used to make dinner every night but now I eat microwave popcorn from the bag five nights a week for dinner, and then I realize I am all alone in this world and I look at my cats and wonder if they're going to eat my dead body when no one comes to find me and I die by myself, old, and ugly, and yet he has anxiety! It is so hard.)

Mr. X continues. "I really just need to move on with my life and be happy." Translation: He has a new girlfriend. The only way he can be happy is if he divorces me. And he is filing for divorce.

I start feeling like I'm going to throw up right there on the bus because he's basically telling me that happiness means getting away from me. At some point I must have slipped into a weird, spinster-to-be form of shock because it all sounded muffled and far away. The more I tried to hear him, the worse it got, so finally we hung up. Then I concentrated very hard on knits and purls and tried to keep from breaking apart majestically in front of my fellow commuters.

Maybe I have been in denial. I just hadn't really faced up to the reality of divorce. It's almost like when you know someone is dying, but their death is still a sad shock. It's the finality.

Perhaps the death of a marriage is similar. I knew the divorce was coming, but having him tell me he's starting the paperwork was a kick in the stomach. The death of a marriage, my marriage, the disintegration of the years that make up practically my entire adult life... all going to hell on a crosstown bus.

Posted by laurie at 2:17 PM

March 22, 2005

Kitty pi complete with cat filling

Can I be completely frank with you?

I have simply the smartest, most superior cats on the planet. This is an unbiased fact, not just merely opinion. For many of the knitters who created a kitty pi, just as I did, their hopes of an appreciative kitty audience were dashed when their felines refused to acknowledge the hard work and effort put into constructing the kitty pi. (I know this because I read every single comment on the Kitty Pi Gallery page.)

My felines, however, are INCREDIBLY SMART and more than just the average amount of typical feline adorable. Once again, that is fact not opinion.

As soon as I got home tonight, I pulled the kitty pi off the blocking form. I really blocked it to kingdom come, so I wasn't sure what to expect (would it be stiff? a floppy mess? too thin?) but it turned out relatively soft, and floppy but not excessively so. (I do wish there was a way to make the fiber itself more stiff on the sides, but oh well.) As soon as the kitty pi landed on the floor, Inspector Franklin Cluesoe was on the case.

Click on any picture below for a larger view:

Frankie fills up some kitty pi

I had fully intended to spray a tee tiny amount of catnip in the kitty pi if they hesitated for even a moment to appreciate its goodness, but that was totally unnecessary.

Before Frankie could hunker down and get comfy in the new kitty pi, she was joined by the rest of the MOST INTELLIGENT and SUPERIOR cats in the entire world:

Bob investigates the Kitty Pi, Frankie defends her outpost


Bob conquers Kitty Pi, Frankie is banished


Frankie manages to get back into a corner of the kitty pi, Bob takes a layover approach. The Mighty Soba licks her lips in anticipation of busting a move and owning the kitty pi.


What you don't see in the picture above is the horrible beat-down that Frankie got when Sobakowa, a.k.a. Chairman Meow, made her move. It wasn't pretty. There was growling and some serious paw punching.


At last, Soba is in the Kitty Pi. All is right with the world. The general is in her labyrinth, so to speak.

Of course, Roy isn't pictured in all this Kitty Pi positioning, because Roy is a patient guy. He mostly likes to lay on me, and uses designated cat beds only when I'm not around to be his own personal pillow. After the initial hullabaloo over the kitty pi had died down here at chez spinster, I waited until the knitted pi was unoccupied and moved it onto the sofa, right next to me, where Roy promptly got in and curled up for a long night's sleep:


Awwww. The end!

Posted by laurie at 9:55 AM

March 21, 2005

Kitty Pi (lots of pics!)

This is the story of my kitty pi, my first project knitted in the round. (I started a hat, but ripped it out midway through because of my "Pattern? I don't need no stinkin' pattern!" problem.)

This time, I made a commitment to follow the pattern through, no matter what. The only deviation I made from the original Kitty Pi pattern was in my yarn. The pattern calls for two skeins of Noro Big Kureyon, but I have big cats that like to cozy up on each other, so I needed a big bed. Having just completed the world's longest Kureyon (and on and on) scarf, I knew the knitted gauge of that yarn well. Funny how after nine feet of scarf knitting, you get the general idea. So I selected a much thicker lopi-style yarn combo for a bigger gauge and ergo, bigger bed:

[click picture for bigger view]

My contrast color yarn, a multicolor "Caldo" by Lana Grossa, is so pretty! I'm using it for stripes and for the edging instead of the eyelash yarn called for in the pattern (we have enough real fur at chez spinster, no need to add some faux to the mix.)

[click picture for a closer look]

Since this was the first time I have ever used double-pointed needles (dpns), I was sure I would cry midway through. I did not cry. It was fine. I am dramatic at times. The pattern moved along swiftly after I switched to my circular needles. Since I was using a thick wool yarn, the kitty pi was heavy and hefty just halfway through:

[click pictures for bigger image]

Traffic has been ridiculous all week (translation: lots of time spent sitting on a crosstown bus knitting like a maniac) so I moved fairly quickly on the kitty pi. With all the rain on Saturday there was no use attempting to work in the garden or otherwise leave the house, because everyone knows rain in Los Angeles means STAY INSIDE LOCK ALL THE DOORS DRINK WINE.

I happily indulged myself and knitted all the way through several TiVo'd documentaries, including one about fisherman in in the Bering Sea called Alaska On The Edge. I LOVE LOVE love shows about really cold destinations. Especially while knitting up some bulky wool.

By the end of the evening, the kitty pi was ready for felting on Sunday morning:

kitty pi, before felting
[click pictures for bigger images]

Instead of a zippered pillow protector, I used an old pillowcase and safety-pinned it closed. Next time I will just put a rubber band on the pillowcase, all the pinning and unpinning through each load and felting-check was tedious.

After one run through the wash on warm cycle with a capful of Woolite and some towels, my kitty pi had only barely fuzzed up:

kitty pi after one wash/rinse cycle
[click image for bigger pic]

After two(!) more cycles through the wash the grey had felted perfectly, but the stitch definition was still clearly visible on the Caldo. I should mention there was also one accidental spin cycle during the third felting attempt, and yet we still have visible stitches on the kitty pi colored stripes. (!) At this point I decide that I intended all along for there to be some stitch visibility so folks would know the kitty pi was a hand-knitted item, and the stitches add a nice artistic contrast blah blah blah. Honestly, at that point I had washed the kitty pi with all my loads of dirty laundry and I had run out of Woolite and I was impatient to begin blocking. But let's assume it was an artistic "I like the stitch definition" choice and move on.

The final felt -- third time is the semi-charm -- produced a smaller, denser item:

after three wash cycles and one accidental spin
[click images for bigger view]

For blocking, I used the bottom of a very clean Booda cat pan turned upside-down and covered with a towel. (Some cat talk here: I stopped using the Booda litterbox when I moved into chez spinster. Until then, I had never noticed that the round and expensive Booda was just way too small for my ginormous cats, and so I switched to the unglamorous but very serviceable $10 extra-large, plain old rectangular cat pan of their dreams and they love it. Go figure.)

Here is the gorgeous kitty pi, after some extremely zealous blocking on a beautiful (and finally sunny!) Los Angeles Sunday afternoon:

I blocked the heck out of the kitty pi
[click images for bigger view]

Tomorrow the kitty pi should be dry enough to take off the blocking form and throw to the lions. I left it outside to dry for several hours before bringing it indoors, and I think that accidental spin cycle on the final felting attempt helped wring it out a fair amount, too. I LOVE this Paton's Up Country wool for felting, it produced a lovely, dense and sort of fuzzy fabric with minimal fuzzballs. Overall, the kitty pi construction and felting was a breeze. I'm completely happy with the project this far, and apparently so is Sobakowa.

As you can see from the image below, Sobakowa (a superior cat) already knows the kitty pi is meant JUST FOR HER and she stakes her claim on it as it's still semi-damp and blocking on the kitchen table:

[click soba for bigger view]

That's my girl.

Posted by laurie at 4:17 PM

March 15, 2005

The Existential Knitter

I hate math. I prefer philosophy to numerics. But I have had to learn the tedium to fix my hat, which is becoming a constant source of new swear words. You have to multiply stitches per inch by blah blah blah and do some long division and add barometric pressure to wine squared cheese for the final circumference of a hat.

While normal people may not mind a hat with a little decrease path in the back, I myself have stared at the flaw so intently that the flaw, in true Nietzsche fashion, is staring back.

Ergo, I must rip. Therefore I am.

Before ripping, I got out the stitch counter and figured out what my true gauge was here. I'm way off from the pattern -- which, in my defense, I knew already and had calculated for. However, my way of "calculating" was to say, "Hmmmm, I have more stitches to the inch than the pattern. The pattern says to cast on in multiples of six. So, I'm only getting a few stitches per inch more and if a bear poops in the woods and a rooster flies at night, I guess the magical formula would be... cast on 66 stitches!"

I'm a visual person, I figured I'd notice a weirdly sized hat after a few rows. Which I did. So that started the whole decrease pattern which has led me to Dante's seventh circular needle knitting hell:

hat-prefrog-close1.jpg

hat-prefrog-close2.jpg

What the hell IS that?

Oh well. To rip is to always have a new project. Or something like that.

Posted by laurie at 5:23 PM

March 14, 2005

Scarf it up: Nine feet of Noro scarfdom!

I love long scarves. I think they are a formidable thing to behold. However, I have been working on the Noro Kureyon scarf for what feels like ten years. People have asked me, as you ask a slow child, "You're still working on that scarf, dear?" Then I begin pulling the scarf out of my bag one foot at a time. As I show it to the naysayer, the questioner of my abilities, they see with their own eyes that I have gone STARK RAVING MAD and have, at last count, a scarf which measures 8.75 feet long.

And I say, "Yes! I am still working on the worlds largest scarf! I must Kureyon!"

It's taken time, to be sure. Creating a monster scarf is no quick romp in the garter stitch. The pattern ups the time due in part to the you-must-concentrate factor (I am a novice, remember, obsessed as I may be I still lose count). Plus, there's something I haven't told you yet. THIS YARN IS WACKY. It's so thick in some places it doesn't even look properly spun, like it's right off the sheep's back. The twigs and hay really add to the raw wool vibe. In other places, the fiber is so thinly spun, it's practically fragile, like thread.

This is one long L-O-N-G scarf.....

noro-scarf2.jpg


noro-scarf3.jpg


I only have a tee tiny bit more yarn to knit up, so it will end tonight. Then the monster blocking begins. I have NO IDEA how to block something this massive and long. We're talking a possible 9-foot blocking space. In my house. With four cats. Four really helpful cats.


roy-knits1.jpg

roy-knits4.jpg

Posted by laurie at 5:17 PM

March 10, 2005

I'm Kureyon Your Love With Me

I'm Kureyon Your Love With Me
West Virginia down to Tennessee
And I'm movin' with the Good Lord's Speed
Kureyon your love with meeee....

Guess you have to be a country music fan to get that one.

My very first date with a big hank of Noro Kureyon and already we have a tempestuous relationship. I love the Noro, I hate the Noro. It is totally indifferent to me. The texture of the yarn is so earthy and appealing ... I'm using warm, organic color #7 in celery, green, brown, reddish brown, and pale sand. It's nubby and the basket weave/checkerboard pattern I'm using is perfect for it.

But this yarn may be a little too organic ... I cannot tell you how many pieces of hay, twigs, and burrs I have dug out of the strands. At first I thought the miniscule "twig" in the wool was from my beloved Lantern Moon needles splintering and I was not pleased. After the first twig, though, the burrs, mystery clumps and pieces of hay kept a' coming and I finally figured out it was the yarn. Hi, I am Laurie, master of the obvious.

I was almost 3/4 of the way through my first ball when I encountered a knot, something I hate hate hate in cheaper yarn but utterly loathe and feel offended by in expensive yarn, especially something that's $16.25 a hank like el Noro.

I had not yet searched the internet for better ways of joining yarn, so the first Noro Knot became a nubbier row. I unknotted it and sort of double-stranded for a stitch, being careful to weave in the ends (I can't bear a knot right in the middle of a scarf. I don't know how you experienced knitters handle this, especially when the knot just sneaks up on you like in the Noro.)

Close-up shot of the pattern, sans knot:

noro-scarf-close.jpg

My next Noro no-no moment occurred when I realized the end of skein one was completely different in color than either end of skein two. My basket weave scarf was ending on a dark, sage green strand. My new ball had one brown end and one rust colored end, too obvious a difference for me to start a new stripe.

For the record, I do not believe this to be an OCD thing, it's a quality-control thing. An artist thing. A jog from sage to immediate rust would. not. do.

When I bought my second skein of Big Kureyon from a local yarn shop, I saw another dreaded knot just as the hank was being wound into a ball. This morning I found myself carefully unwinding the professionally wound Noro yarn cake to dig out the knot, hoping the sneaky bastard would be tying together two pieces of yarn in different colors, one of which (cross those fingers!) would be close to my sage-green scarf tail.

You may be thinking at this point in The World's Longest Noro Story that I have way too much time on my hands. Oh, the story gets better. Or worse, depending on how your tolerance is for yarn talk.

After some seeking, I found the knot joined two pieces of ivory yarn. No sage green for you today! So, I unknotted the Noro into two pieces. Then, I began unwinding each half of the skein looking for a deep green to match my scarf tail. When I found the nearest sage-y green, I cut the noro -- yes I cut the noro! -- and I felted the green ends together for a felted join. No, I did not use spit because that is gross and I have to go wash my hands just from thinking about it. Gross.

At this point I have theoretically joined a new ball of yarn. However, if you've been following along closely, you would have noticed that I have TWO balls of yarn out of skein #2, plus some leftover yarn from the cut. Not good. We'll call my new Noro children Ball A and Ball B. The bastard stepchild yarn leftover from my Noro cutting expedition goes into the pile of unused bits.

noro-2balls-notes.jpg

Ball A is attached to my scarf, green on green. He is a very small ball of yarn, and he ends on an ivory note.

Ball B is uncooperative. I'd like to give him back and pick out a better, more well-behaved ball. Oh well. Ball B begins with rust brown and ends in the other sagey/brown stuff that I cut to get my green colorway in Ball A. Confused yet? I looked at both ends and decided the best thing to do was find something, anything to join to Ball A. Found some ivory on Ball B a wee bit down on the brownish colorway, and snip! I am a yarn cutting fool! Felted the ivory tail of Ball A to the new ivory beginning of Ball B and voila, the weirdest yarn ball situation ever:

noro-2balls2.jpg

I found a colorway in Ball A that was close to the ivory tail of ball B and hand felted the ends together (no spit! no spit!) for one crazy lunatic Noro ball system. Voila!

What a pain in my ass. Also, upon reflection it appears maybe I do need a hobby to get away from my hobby.

Posted by laurie at 5:06 PM

March 7, 2005

An Unmarried Woman

Knitting in the round is awesome. You're garter-stitching the whole time, so I can watch TV without goofing up. I'm not making mad progress on my Noro Basket weave/checkerboard scarf because I'm only doing it on the bus, where I can fully concentrate on the pattern. I've heard of these master knitters who are able to knit and read a book at the same time, which freaks my shit out. How do you knit and read? Good grief, overachievers! I can barely knit and watch TV. But all garter stitch in the round ... now we're talking.

I got through two TiVo'd documentaries, some old CSI and the best 1978 movie ever, "An Unmarried Woman" starring Jill Clayburgh as a woman whose husband leaves her after 16 years of marriage. She dates and goes to "analysis" and basically lives it up in the freewheeling 70s when, apparently, nobody had herpes or AIDS or body image issues or an aversion to gluten.

As I sat on the sofa in my most comfortable clothes (read: ugly, ugly clothes) with a cat on my lap and another at my feet, and I spent the entire day watching bad TV while knitting away it suddenly dawned on me how peaceful and happy I was. say what? Did I hear the word happy?

Apparently it is possible to have a happy moment when you are the dreaded Unmarried Woman. I was glad I could recognize this aberrant emotion, happiness, because I have been numbingly unhappy for so long.

I wouldn't say I'm ready to pull a Jill Clayburgh or anything freewheelin' and footloose. Herpes and gluten are pretty much everywhere in our wild 2000s. But at least I had one truly nice day all on my own. It's a start.

String a few of those together and it wouldn't be half bad.

Posted by laurie at 5:03 PM

March 5, 2005

Round and round on circular needles

I finally started my first knitting-in-the-round project on circular needles, oh yes I did. It's a pink multicolor hat. I have a pattern (I really do) but of course I decided the pattern wasn't as cool as I am, and once I got the hang of working with the circular needles, I made up my own pattern as I went along.

Or, at least I thought I had the hang of working with circular needles.

Halfway through my completed hat (Yes! I'm making a hat! Breaking out of the rectangle and making me a hat!) I discovered that I was knitting it inside out. Ahem. Luckily it's just a hat and you can turn that sucker right side out no problemma.

The best part of this circular knitting thing... drumroll please... when you knit in the round, in some magical, mystical way you use the simple knit stitch (no purls needed!) all the way around and yet it makes the most beautiful, even stockinette pattern you have ever seen. Magic!

The bad news is my freeform Who-Needs-A-Pattern? ways have made the hat slightly lopsided. I was just decreasing wherever the moment felt right and now there's a distinct, um, ridge in my roll-brim hat. It's only truly noticeable to me, but I think I'm going to rip the whole thing and start over. There's something oddly soothing about knowing you can mess up, rip, and start fresh. There is a metaphor in there for my life but let's just take another sip of merlot and not think to hard, shall we?

My nearly-completed hat before I rip it out and try again:

hat-prefrog1.jpg

I'm making Shannon a hat next, after I finish mine. Hats are amazing. Feel the same pride I would get from curing cancer.

P.S. No class attendance today either because I had to take Roy to the doctor. Will I ever return to class? How can I be the truly obsessed knitter of my dreams if I'm the one teaching myself from a book?

Posted by laurie at 5:00 PM

March 4, 2005

Yarn haunts and Fraggle Rock 'n Roll scarf

Now that I have spent an embarrassing amount of money on yarn and snooped around every local yarn shop in Los Angeles, I have decided on a few favorites. I like the stores that are airier, not so packed in and narrow like little yarn labyrinths. Being that close to someone watching and waiting to see if I will buy something makes me nervous and weird and then I buy stuff I don't need and hurry out. I prefer when no one follows you around or makes you feel you've overstayed your visit or overcontemplated the supply of pink wool.

When Shannon and Karman came over on Thursday for Survivor and pizza I gave Karman a big, furry, striped scarf that looks like a Muppet got skinned and fringed. Hence, I call it the Fraggle Rock n' Roll Scarf.

Here she is modeling it on the sofa. Click for big:


Fraggle Rock 'n Roll scarf: Paton's Divine on size 15 needles, with some fun fur stranded in here and there to make stripes. Very plush and soft and raggedy-chic.

Posted by laurie at 4:57 PM

March 1, 2005

No Poncho Villa for me

Swatched my Noro Big Kureyon. I'm not ready to take on a sweater yet and frankly, between just you and me, I think a sweater in this stuff is a little too Pancho Villa for my taste. The self-striping colors and the nubby fiber remind me of those horrid Mexican anoraks we all wore in school during the grunge period. There are pictures of me somewhere with my big Southern hair and my weird faux-grunge attire and that is all I have to say on the subject.

I didn't want to make just garter stitch out of this, stockinette is so pretty and flat and shows off the nubbiness. Of course, stockinette rolls, so that's out.

Then, coincidentally, I stopped in to a local yarn shop to poke around in the stash (stated purpose: picking up some size 13 dpns for my hat project, since I am a crazy tight knitter and the size 11s gave me too many stitches per inch) and I saw a fancy schmancy basket weave scarf (checkerboard?) done in knit 5, purl 5. Went home and swatched it on the Noro Big Kureyon and ding! ding! we have a winner.

I kept knitting directly on my scarf swatch, and now it's a scarf bottom. The corners roll in a tee tiny bit, but I can block-n-tackle that into submission.

roy-knits-upclose.jpg
Roy gets into swatching the Noro Big Kureyon.

Posted by laurie at 4:53 PM