Saturday, August 30, 2008

In the Knitting News

I've had another reading binge, so it wasn't until this last week or so that I've picked up my needles. I finished another couple of charity hats tht had been OTN for a while as well as my Woodland scarf. And, in an attack of startitis, I cast on for another few projects. I joined the Fashionably Late KAL of smoke rings and found a pattern that was a really fun and fast knit, so I finished it in a week. The brown hat is Needle Beetle's Seaman's Cap in James C Brett's Marble acrylic yarn; it's lovely stuff to knit with. The pastel hat is from some old (2004) Encore Colorspun, just a simple roll-brim pattern.

Last weekend I decided to have a Lord of the Rings video marathon. Since I didn't have any truly mindless projects going, I started a simple V-neck vest for the A4A youth project. I got to nearly the point of dividing for the armscye while watching the extended versions of Fellowship of the Rings and The Two Towers; I'll continue with it today while watching The Return of the King. This is the first time I've watched these on our big 42in TV (Christmas present). I am again in awe of the wonderful work that Peter Jackson, his cast and crew did in making these epic films.

The Woodland scarf is my 'Elves' project for the 'One Shawl to Rule Them All' KAL at Ravelry. It was supposed to be a stole, but I found that the 2nd skein was so much different in color that I had to frog the entire thing and re-knit as a scarf with just one skein. The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in the 'Beach Fog' colorway; it made me think immediately of Galadriel and Lothlorien. Unblocked it's 6.5in by 54in.

The Smoke Ring is the Wavy Feathers Wimple, knitted with 1.5 skeins of Jojoland Melody, a superwash fingering weight yarn. Although the 2 skeins had the same dyelot and were bought at the same time, the 2nd skein is lighter, but I think in this case the slow transition is acceptable. Unblocked it's 15in long by 16in around.

Both of these patterns are easy and fun, well-suited for light TV watching or SnB knitting. The Wimple, in particular, is a doddle; with the purl stitch every 11st stitch, it's easy to catch any mistakes fast. I did find that using a row counter - in my case, a row-counter bracelet I bought at Hide & Sheep - helped to keep me on the correct alternating row of the 28-row repeat.

And for a bit of cat-love, here's a shot of Midnight lounging in front of our big TV, which radiates a lot of heat; she's not really a Stargate SG-1 fan, but we are, lol!

Let Us Be Thankful

DH goes to the local farmers' market early every Saturday, to get the best selections. The last few weeks I've been musing about the gorgeous fruit and vegetables that he brings home. Today's is typical of the beauty and variety of the fresh food we enjoy. I know this isn't Thanksgiving, it's Labor Day. But it is the labor of our farmers that provide this, and I am thankful for it. I hope you, too, have a farmers' market nearby and have a chance to appreciate the goodness.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cindy, This One's For You

I don't usually 'get' La Cucaracha, a Latino-themed comic in the LA Times. But this one had me nearly ROFL. You'll have to click on the picture to read it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

There Are No Words

I found out today that one of my dear friends in my seniors' group lost her husband on Monday. Heart attack. He was only 66, and he had been just fine. Last Friday she said they planned to clean out their garage over the weekend, his idea.

I looked for a sympathy card, and I finally chose one and will send it. But really, what can you say to someone whose husband just suddenly died, something that isn't a well-worn platitude? I've been thinking about my friend all afternoon; my heart hurts for her.

But I'm also being thankful that DH just had a major physical and everything, everything is "normal." I guess that's a bit selfish of me, but even after only 20 years together, I can't quite imagine life without him.

May the gods help my friend to bear this grief and eventually to be able to re-make a life on her own.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Counting my Bles... Er, Bags!

Recently there's been a ton of chat among my knitting friends about the Namaste Cali collection handbags/knitting bags. Elann and Dreamweaver Yarn, in particular, have a decent selection of the colors. I'm a total sucker for the 'Me, too!' bandwagon, and I've been grinding my teeth trying not to hit the 'buy' button. So today I decided to inventory the totes I have. The total is somewhere in the vicinity of 2 dozen plus.

So, to remind me what's in the Bag Stash, I've photographed the really nice bags I have. This first bag, from a gorgeous Laurel Burch fabric, was made for me last year by my dear friend U, with whom I've stayed in Sidney, Vancouver Island, BC. This has 3 nice-sized pockets.

The rest of these bags I purchased over 15 years from Dancing Cat Bags, a woman-owned business which produced the bags here in Burbank. All of these bags are the most amazingly durable totes you can imagine, made with lovely tapestry fabrics, heavy satin linings and never-fail zippers.

First is what I call my 'seniors' bag; this holds all the stuff that I take to my seniors' charity knitting/crochet group, so any patterns, ideas, FOs, etc. that I have for the group during the week just goes into this and I'm ready to go. It's big enough to hold a baby-ghan either finished or in process, with all the yarn that takes. This is Dancing Cat's 'El Grande Tote', and it's huge: 24in x 17in, though there's only one zip pocket.

Then there's my 'Multi-Purpose Bag', the one that I usually take with me to my Friday night knitting group. This was my first Dancing Cat Bag, bought back in 1991; it was my briefcase-equivalent for several years of daily use, and it's gone on many trips as my in-cabin tote. It's a messenger bag, really, and there are small pockets, medium pockets, and 2 dividers in the main section.

These days, I'm carrying a 'Deluxe Zippered Tote' as my handbag/small knitting project bag. I have 2 of these, one a deep red with black/white/silver patterns; the fall-colored one will probably rotate in after October. These have a zip compartment and 2 nice big pockets, right-sized for sunglasses, cell phone, etc. There's plenty of room for a knitting project bag, on top of all my purse-type things. I have a small cosmetic bag that holds a small set of essential knitting notions as well as lipstick and so forth.

Not in use right now are 3 'Essential Totes'. These are plenty big to be project bags or unstructured handbags; there's only one zip compartment in these.

Here's where I quit counting: This drawer and this cubby are jammed full of other totes, from Barnes & Noble, from Lands' End and from all sorts of other sources. I've culled from here once or twice already, and I suppose I should do it again.

Midnight is exhausted from helping me consider all the options. She's 90-leven to our zero when it comes to getting her medications down her; she's gotten much better at spitting and foaming them out while we've used up all our ideas - kitty burritos (wrapping her mummy-fashion in a towel), smashing them into powder to be mixed with her canned food, pill pockets, pill pusher-thingys, etc. But she's got a good appetite and doesn't seem to be drinking too much, so we have our fingers crossed that she's having a good bit of life right now. She's spending more time grooming herself, which is also a good sign.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Moving Slowly, but Moving

I'm still here, still recovering, still very little stamina. But there is a tunnel and I'm seeing some light way down there. DH and I have been walking around our (very long) block at night, after the temps drop out of the 80s, and I'm getting faster.

I've read my way (for the 2nd time) through most of Dana Stabenow's 'Kate Shugak' books, up to about pub. date 2000 - I'm missing a couple of books at that point, and neither Amazon, Borders, nor B&N has them in stock. These, and her 4 'Liam Campbell' books, have meant a lot of nose-to-page extreme close-up examination of the big AAA road atlas of Alaska (bigger than our world atlas pages). Yeah, not many roads in Alaska, but still, AAA has good maps. DH is a very good source of info on Alaska; he spent 7 years working for a major CPA firm in Anchorage, and did financial audits all over the state, including around Nome and Barrow.

Yeah, I know, Stabenow's 'universe' isn't quite the same as ours, but it's close; Kate does live in a version of Wrangell-St Elias park, and there really is a Bristol Bay (Liam). Has anyone besides me noticed that there are significant similarities between the 4 Liam Campbell stories and Nora Roberts' Northern Lights? Cop falls to bottom of his world, moves to back-of-beyond in Alaska, has hot-but-complicated love affair with local female air-taxi pilot, finds decades-old murder to solve.

Haven't had the attention span to knit much; trust me, reading is easier to stick with. I also haven't done much blog reading, though I've been checking in at the Elann Chat Center as well as my emails.

I have to spend some TV time, though; I'm behind 6 episodes of Doctor Who. And 4 of Stargate Atlantis. TiVo is getting full.

More later, and thanks so much to all of you who have commented and sent warm, healing thoughts. Mwwahhh!