Monday, October 31, 2011

Of Eggs, Frustration and the Time Change...

See if you can follow me here, because today I'm all over the place. Following are pictures of my eggs. The pysanky aren't working out. Out of a dozen eggs, I got two. TWO.... (sigh) But anyway, I'm rushing to complete some Christmas stuff, which also may include some wristers for the kids, if I can keep my needles clicking.

Eggs from Sock Yarn Scraps
Here are the eggs:

As you can see, I've got 5 of them done already. The two "pastel" ones are actually from the SAME end-of-ball of sock yarn. I put out the call for leftovers from my sock-knitting friends, and they helped me out with some lovely scraps.

It looks like I'll get a baker's dozen easily. I have till the middle of January to get this done.

So, the frustration part? Well, that's a multi-faceted problem.

1.  I'm frustrated because I'm eating myself into a hole today. I'm really, really trying to lose weight. It doesn't help that some of my meds have "weight gain" as a side effect. It doesn't help that I'm in my 50s and have a job that's not very active. But somehow, this weather or hormones, or insomnia, or stress...whatever it is - it's activated my "tape worm" and I've been eating like crazy today. I've written it all down, as painful as it is. And I've journaled the frustration. I've just gotta move on.

2.  Can the Republicans get any crazier? Can we just finally break the news that Herman Cain is NOT running for president - he's just auditioning for the Fox Crazy-Train? And speaking of Crazy-Train.... one of Batty Bachmann's longtime allies is dumping her and accusing her of "dodging questions." Really? Just how long did it take you to figure that out? Bachmann needs to realize that Karma has very sharp teeth.

3.  I really need to get some sleep!!! We even got a Sleep Number bed, which in a lot of ways has proved to be very nice. But the hot flashes??? Oy. I could do without those.

4.  I screwed up the White Chocolate Bunny.... her head is twisted because I increased where I wasn't supposed to. And yarn that's "nearly roving" is a pain in the sit-bones to pick out. She's gotta get done. Luckily, I think I'm about 4 rows from being back where I need to be.

The time change is coming up on November 6. Can't we petition to just not do it? What's the worst that could happen? The entire system goes up for grabs? I doubt it. There've been years where we've ignored it and frankly, I'm thinking the energy savings aren't worth it. And since they've moved it from where it's been for what? Fifty years? The dates are all discombobulated. My car's GPS says I have to change the time. I keep telling her that she has to wait...

Yeesh. I'm gonna go read the Yarn Harlot. She always puts a smile on my face!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What Bugs Me: Wednesday

There are just some things that bug the living daylights out of me. And some days I just have to get this off my chest.

1.  "WE" never get pregnant. It's been women lo these many millenia. Men don't get pregnant. Men CONTRIBUTE to the process. But WE never get pregnant. Please stop using that cutesy phrase. It's annoying and biologically impossible.

2.  President Obama has had a remarkable run on his "terrorist" agenda. He got bin Laden. He got Al Awlaki. He got Ghaddafi. Yet Republicans still insist he's "soft on terror." Wake up and smell the coffee, people! The rest of America can see this, even the blind Teabaggie folks. They just don't want to admit it.

3.  The troops are being withdrawn on request. This is how it was always planned. THEY would tell US when they were ready. And apparently, they're ready.  This is not a "monumental fail." This is the agreement. Apparently, Rick Perry and the rest of 'em don't get that Obama wants to ... stick to the agreement - go figure.

4.  Who cares what Lindsey Lohan does?

5.  There's not enough time to knit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

That Man is an Idiot.

I have not watched any of the Republican circus acts... Oh, sorry, I mean "debates." For one, I've had a really busy work cycle (and yes, I *am* glad I have a job!) and for another, I have only one television. It was my Grandma's.

For the snarky among you, yes, it's a color set. And yes, it works fine, thanks.

Anyway. If I watched the clown-show, I'd toss a shoe through the TV set. And I don't want to have to buy another one. This one works nicely, so I see no need to buy another.

I do, however, look at the internet, and I found the following story about Pizza-Guy Cain. I seriously think this man is an idiot, and I'm going to tell you why.

Mind you, this is the same kind of crowd that cheered the execution record of Rick Perry, said that it was ok for an uninsured person to just die, and who booed an active member of the military because he is gay...

However, I have a pepperoni to pick with the Pizza Guy. Actually, two of them. Here we go. I have 2 kids. Kid #1 is in his late 20s. He's in the trades. He's now (thankfully) employed full time, but he spent nearly 2 years in my basement because his former company laid him off due to a slow-down in the auto industry. THE AUTO INDUSTRY slow-down (just in case you didn't get it the first time you read it).

According to Pizza Guy, it's MY KID'S fault that he spent 2 years in my basement looking for work. Because, in Cain's World, "if you're unemployed, it's YOUR fault."

And here's my other, pepperoni... Kid #2 has recently graduated from college with an education degree. We live in Illinois. If you've followed the news at all, you realize that yet another of our idiot-governors (I think it's a job requirement, but I digress) brought the state to financial collapse and has been indicted and faces jail time. So the state's broke; taxes are high enough, thanks; corporations are leaving Illinois like rats off a sinking ship. Schools are NOT hiring.

According to Pizza Guy, it's MY KID'S fault that he can't find a job in a state where they aren't hiring teachers. Because, in Cain's World, "if you're unemployed, it's YOUR fault."

That man is an idiot. There's this thing in the real world called "The Market." And there's this other thing in the real world called "The Government." And when The Market PURCHASES The Government, thanks to Citizens United and SCOTUS, then things go totally screwy and the "Job Creators" do create jobs. Overseas.

Those jobs are jobs that US citizens used to do. But they don't now, because The Market found that their shareholders and CEOs get bigger checks if they ship the work overseas, making the US a place where we don't make anything anymore. Except for very rich CEOs and very big businesses which don't pay taxes here in the US.

And the people who do "service jobs" are now the fundamental evildoers in our society. That would be the teachers, nurses, firefighters, cops... you know - those who educate you, heal you and help you when you're in a jam. The people who are the backbone of a viable society. The people that the rich don't see.

Can you see the argument? Can you see that if you continue to blame people - the average person who's a worker-bee, not a CEO, not a stockholder, not a lobbyist or politician - but a real working person - you are a flaming idiot? You are blaming the wrong person - the wrong people - and you look stupid.

Pizza Guy is the latest clapper to ring the Republican Tea Party bell. Reason flies out the window just so he can be "the guy" that "the base" likes. Doesn't seem to matter that his arguments hold water just about as well as one of his pizzas.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

On Knitted Eggs and Too Much Time...

So the pysanky are not going well. I mean, they're not living up to what I'd like and so far, it doesn't look like they'll make the contest.

I looked up an egg pattern. Go to and search for it. They have adorable patterns, and also yummy yarns. Dream a bit...

I started Egg 1...luckily, I have friends who have "end bits" of sock yarn, and heck, at $16/ball, I'm happy to have the ends to work with. What would you do with them anyway? Knit rugs for doll houses? Not much demand for that.

Come to think of it, there's probably not much demand for knitted Easter eggs, either. Maybe only on my own little planet. Here's the first half of the first egg. You can see it tucked there next to the end bit of a ball of navy self-patterning sock yarn. And you can also see the gorgeous Kollage square DPNs I'm using.

I'm really liking them. I'm not too jazzed about picking up stitches, since the size 3s feel like toothpicks to me! The eggs are knitted in halves; you do the bottom half first and then pick up the stitches to complete the top half. They go quickly. As you can see, it's an itty-bitty thing, compared to socks. But then again, an egg isn't so big either!

So we're sitting at the LYS yesterday and they're asking me how the egg is coming along; I finished the first half (after having fiber-withdrawal all week because of an insanely busy schedule) at the shop and proceeded to pick up the stitches. Which I did wrong and did backwards. Frog, frog, frog.

Egg hat?
Then we all got loopy. Talked about how if you just did the top half (see here), you could make a little "hat" for a softboiled egg, which would keep it warm till you ate it. Of course, then we talked about putting a pom-pom on it - because every good hat has a pom-pom on it. Then we talked about having egg holders with feet. That way, the egg has some character.

Beading; ribbing; little ear flaps. We were definitely stretching it. We had wayyyyyyy too much time to think about all this stuff! But it was funny to bounce the ideas around as 2 of our Friday Group looked at us as if we had just slipped one stitch too many! Maybe we had. As we chatted, we talked about the LYS owner, and she's doing remarkably well. She's recovering from lung cancer surgery, and the PET scan looks clean. We're all amazed at the power of prayer, and frankly - how lucky she is!

Kollage Square DPNs
So here's a shot of the "scale" of the egg. Yes, it'll fit your average egg. When I get home today, I'll measure it on an egg in my fridge.

As you can see, that's my hand. Holding a square DPN. They were on sale at Patternworks ( if you're interested). I bought some clearance yak yarn, too - making myself a cowl that I also found on the Purl Bee site.

The square needles are easy to hold, the stitches don't slip (well the first few I picked up did, but I have a very strange technique for doing that, so I wasn't shocked), and for such small - for me - needles, they are comfortable to use. I can easily see myself doing socks on these. They do come in a set of 5, but this project only needs 4 of them.

I have about 4 "ends" and they're all self-patterning, so I think I can get 7 eggs out of this yarn. The navy reminds me of the traditional pysanky, often dyed black, deep red or dark blue as the final color. There's an "Easter"-ish end bit, a red/pink/glittery bit, and a "Southwestern" type colorway. They'll be different!

And for what it's worth, the white chocolate bunny? We're up to the neck. Everything's coming along. This week, I'll probably give the pysanky one more chance. I have some smaller kitska (the apparatus you use to put the wax on) and I think that'll help refine the designs. One of these days, if they're good enough, I'll post a picture of them. So far, not so much.

I'll stick with knitting my eggs for how.

Monday, October 03, 2011

What Project List??

I'll admit it. I'm an anal-retentive planner. I like lists. While I don't always FINISH (or start?) what's on the list, having the list makes me feel secure.

And I had a list. Now blown slightly sideways by a request of my mom's. She called me and said, "I have this picture - and I need to know if you can knit this because I need a scarf."

"What about the scarf I made you for Christmas last year?" I asked.

"It doesn't match my coat."

Ok. Well, she wasn't sure what yarn she wanted, but "I don't want wool - it itches." So I told her to come to the LYS and she could feel the yarn and figure out what she wanted. Only caveat was that "I don't do mohair" because if you've ever knitted with that and had a mistake, you will know exactly what I mean. It's expensive. Lovely. A bugger to take apart if you've made a mistake. And anyway, it can itch. I'm not spending that kind of money and time if "it itches" and the scarf never gets worn!

She came to the shop and talked to her friend. They went around and petted the yarn. I looked at the picture. It's from a catalog - where you can buy this thing. It's sort of a cowl, but not really. It's crocheted in cotton. And it's holey. As in "how does this thing possibly keep your neck warm??" holey.

Start of the crochet sorta-cowl
After they cruised the shop, she picked this:

It's wool. Seriously, can you believe this? I was laughing because she told her friend, "I don't do wool - it itches."

Her friend said, "That's because you've only seen crappy wool."

This is Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash - find it at and check out color number 817, dye lot 6974. It's a gorgeous creamy white that has "snow" tones not some of the "cream-to-beige" tones you can sometimes see. The yarn is 100% superwash and has a lovely hand to it. It was around $10 at the LYS (I got the only ball without a price tag on it!) and it's 220 yards - wayyyyyyyy long enough to do this.

So click on the picture and see what I've done. The original pattern was in a double-crochet. I didn't like it. I'm doing something called "Urchin Stitch" using a size N crochet hook.

The "Urchin Stitch" is from The Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery by Mildred Graves Ryan. It's old. Like, older than Kid #1... so we're talking a book that's nearly 30 years old and still something I reference when I want to look up a stitch for a project.

The Urchin Stitch is super-easy. Google it and see what you can find, since I don't want the copyright police coming after me. It's a no-brain, crochet while you wait, crochet while you're bored, almost don't have to look at it kind of pattern.

The original cowl had a button. My mom says she has a button, so I'll just crochet along, wedging this in between the White Chocolate Bunny, the blueberry tee shirt (that almost has one side done and I was planning to wear yet this fall), and the baby afghan I have to start for a March baby. And the knitted Easter eggs I'm trying to get to just in case the pysanky don't work out! And I still have "wristers" that the kids want me to make, since they both have really long arms, and these wristers can be an "addition" to the gloves (why don't they make mens' gloves with longer wrists?).

It'll all get done. It'll all get done. It'll all get done.