A blog about my life, knitting, and other stuff.

May 31, 2010


I'm all over the place these days. I've been working steadily on my Mondo Cable Cardi and have the body and one sleeve done. Just a sleeve and collar to go.

I've been working sparingly on my Celtic Bunny Hat. I still have one repeat of the cable to go before I join it into a ring to knit the crown and the ribbing. My Ice Fantasia is still only a little bit of knitting. In the meantime I've started a weaving sampler.

I'm using Deborah Chandler's Beginning Four Harness Weaving DVD which is a really excellent--though insanely dated--guide to weaving for beginners. I'm working on two charity hats since I seem to start a new one every time I go to the movies. But I want to get all of this done and out of the way to knit Lloie's Cardigan in time for camp and to knit Que Sera for the Purlygirls/Doubleknit knitalong. And Acer. And Cookie A's Summer Sox. And this cardigan. And, and, and...Add to this sore hands and not a lot of knitting time and I am feeling frustrated and unfocused.

Mud-Soaked No More

After all that complaining about the mud and filth, we have solved the problem (we hope). We paid some nice men to come and blow 30 cubic yards of cedar chips into our yard. Yes, it smells like a giant (clean) hamster cage but not muddy or dusty.

Before the yard looked like this.

You can see all the bits of cardboard coming up from our massive sheet mulching a few years ago.

Here, Isabella shows how bare and dusty things were while having a staring contest with a rock.

Things were shoddy. George was not impressed.

But now, cedar-y goodness!

We are really hoping this keeps the mud and dust in the yard.

May 29, 2010

Rube Goldberg

So long as I'm posting videos. You've probably seen this intensely clever video by OK Go. But have you seen this great version about Mouse Trap?

I Said Hey

He-Man covers Four Non-Blondes. Just 'cause.

May 27, 2010

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

This is little number is called "Leg Fancies." I have a pretty strong sense that no one's legs fancy this.

May 25, 2010

Photography for Knitters

I'm very excited that Gale Zucker will be coming to The Fiber Gallery on June 20th to teach her class on Photography for Knitters. I hope some of you will be able to make it and please spread the word.

May 24, 2010

Silly Things for All!

You've probably seen them already but the Starbucks insulated cold cups that I blogged about last year seem to be very widely available in both Grande and Venti size right now. My local shop had a mountain of them. As I said before it's a silly thing but I love it. I make my cold-brewed iced coffee and put it in one of these babies. It stays nice and cold and it doesn't sweat or leak of the table. I am easily amused.

Vogue Early Fall Preview

It's up. I feel like I've seen these designs and color stories many times before from them. What do you think?

May 23, 2010

My Mud-Soaked Life

On Friday Wes called me at work to see if it would be okay for him to accompany his parents on an overnight trip to LA to see his father's siblings. I believe the conversation went like this.

"Sure, when is it?"
"This Saturday? Tomorrow?"
Long stunned silence.

Eventually I said fine. Then on Friday night I started to get that vaguely I'm-coming-down-with-something feeling. On Saturday I knew I was getting sick. And Wes left. And then I got sick.

The kids are at the age where they can pretty much keep themselves entertained. But the dogs. Good Lord. They want to run out in the yard, get covered in mud, come inside (I wipe them down) then run back into the yard. It was raining on and off all day so they got extra special muddy and gross.

At some point I went upstairs and fell into bed. I dozed for about fifteen minutes while calling out entreaties to the kids.

George barking.
"Please let the dogs out."
George barking.
"Please let the dogs in."
George barking.
"Please throw his ball."

What I didn't realize was that George had brought a mud-soaked tennis ball in from the yard. So while I had a few minutes of rest he covered-- COVERED--the hallway carpet and walls in muddy dots. I wiped off the walls and attempted to vacuum up the dirt once it dried a bit but it's still a disaster. In fact the entire house is a mess of mud and dirt. Every surface downstairs is covered in a fine layer of silt. The yard has lots of bare patches and the parts that aren't bare are covered in wood chips that are a few years old and pretty broken down. So the yard is essentially all mud and dirt. We wipe down the dogs when they come in but apparently they can store a very large quantity of dirt between their toes. Someone on Twitter suggested using one of these.

All I could think was, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

George just would not quit. At some point I realized that he had be up and running for over eight hours without ever lying down. I decided to enforce a naptime, like I would with a toddler. I put him in his crate (I didn't crate my toddlers, for the record) and within about a minute he was fast asleep snoring. But then I worried about him sleeping too long and not going to sleep when I wanted to go to sleep. See, just like a toddler.

This morning has been full of standing in the cold, muddy yard throwing various toys. I've already completely lost my temper with one of the kids and one of the dogs. Wes is already on his way home. He can't get here soon enough for me.

May 21, 2010

Hiatus, Again

Well, damn. I completely overdid it on Monday. I knit samples at work, then knit for four hours at Purlygirls, then knit for a few hours when I got home. On Tuesday my thumbs were sore. On Wednesday they were really sore. I haven't knit all since Monday but they're still feeling tender. I even got out my splint so that I wouldn't hurt myself anymore while I slept last night. This is so frustrating. I'm terrified I might have set myself up for another several weeks of no knitting. *pout*

I've been working mostly on my Mondo Cable Cardi and I'm really liking how it's coming out. Hope I can work on it again soon.

May 20, 2010

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

AARRGH. You have angered the Montville bag! I snarl my bobbled lips at you! Your offering of a potted cactus does not please me. You must appease me or I will summon the Sweater God!

May 18, 2010

Kick Off the LYS Tour on TV!

Are you planning on starting the Puget Sound LYS tour Destination:Yarn first thing on Thursday morning? How about joining us to kick off the tour at the KING 5 studios on Dexter Avenue for a taping of Margaret Larson's new show - New Day. Thursday's show will showcase a yarn fashion show and information on the tour. We want to fill the audience with people knitting while wearing their favorite handknit items.

We need you at the KING5 studios on Dexter Avenue at 915a. We will have you on the tour no later than 1130a. (The actual show airs 11a-noon this Thursday).

If you can join us, please email neuroticknitter@gmail.com. Any questions, please call Kristin at 206.718.1406.

May 17, 2010

The Master

Our George is the master of puppy dog eyes.

Don't you just want to kiss that pink spot on his nose?

He loves to chase balls but usually tears them apart after a day or two. We got him some of these Chuckit! Fetch Balls yesterday and he did not stop bringing it to us to throw from 2 pm until midnight. He's like a perpetual motion machine. No wonder he's so skinny! But when he looks at you with those eyes you have to pick up the slimy wet ball and throw it for him. Even when he drops it right on your knitting.

May 16, 2010

The Secret of Kells

When the Oscar nominees were announced this winter there was a film nominated for Best Animated Featured that I had never heard of, The Secret of Kells. It's a hand-drawn story about a young boy in the 8th century who defies his uncle, the Abbot of Kells, to work on an illuminated book. The uncles is consumed with building a fortress to keep out the invaders from the North. When a great book maker comes to Kells, after his own monastery is destroyed by the Vikings, Brendan learns the secrets of the art and discovers a magical world of nature.

The film is very beautiful. The visuals are quite stylized. I can't say any of us loved it though. The kids had a hard time understanding the story--and the accents. It's also more frightening than I was expecting. The suggestion of impending death and destruction is pretty heavy through the film. And the resolution is very abrupt and not terribly satisfying for children.

If you love hand-drawn animation you might want to catch this in the theater but leave the kids at home.

May 13, 2010

What's Your Sweater Quest?

Lynn brought up a great question in the comments of my slam review of Sweater Quest.

"It did get me thinking about my own Sweater Quest. If you were to take on this type of project, what would your sweater be? Mine is Foolish Virgins by Kaffe Fassett. For which I have the original Rowan kit, carefully packed in mothproof wrapping, so no worrying about whether it's "real". It will probably go in my coffin with me, unknit."

I have been thinking about this for the last few days and I really don't know what my answer is. There are many sweaters that I'd like to knit and I know I have the skills to knit but I don't have the patience or willingness to be fully engaged. Take, for example, my Giant Latvian Mitten Cardigan. It's my one of oldest WIPs and the last time I worked on it was last July! It's probably my most ambitious knitting project. It takes a lot of mental energy and stamina to knit. When I sit down to knit in the evening I consider knitting it then end up choosing something easier. Something that doesn't require any though.

Some possible Quest contenders would be Morrigan (the pattern was published three years ago and there are only five completed sweaters on Ravelry and one was the sample from the book!) or maybe Am Kamin. I even knit a swatch cap for Am Kamin over two years ago but never got started.

What about you? What's your quest?

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I was by the thumbnail of a pattern I pattern I saw for the Incredibly Easy Knitted Dog Toy on Ravlery. So I took a closer look.

What the hell is this?

Confused I started looking under "dog toy" in Ravlery and came across this.

Yup, pooping dog. Poop not included in the pattern. You'll need a separate pattern for that.

That'll be $.50 please.

May 11, 2010

Sweater Quest

A customer loaned me her copy of Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously
by Adrienne Martini. I thought, "A book about knitting. What's not to love?" Well, sadly, a lot. My first moment of disappointment came on page 4 when Martini, while quoting Elizabeth Zimmermann for the first of many times, misspells her name. That bugged me. She also misspells Veronik Avery's name on the page facing the paragraph in which Martini derides Alice Starmore for misspelling Spuyten Duyvil. Oh, you've never heard of it? It's an area of the Bronx. I grew up 20 minutes from there and I can't spell it. I think Ms. Starmore could get a pass on that one.

The endless quoting bothered me too. A large portion of this book, a challenge to knit Alice Starmore's Mary Tudor in one year, relies on quoting other authors or figures of the contemporary knitting world. She goes to Nashville to visit Ann; She goes to New York to visit Kay; She heads to Toronto to meet Amy Singer and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It's more of a survey of other knitters than a memoir. In all I felt the story was not interesting and the writing was slapdash and in dire need of an editor. As a knitter and a reader I felt insulted. Don't publishers think we deserve any better than this?

May 9, 2010

Settling In

After a week with us George seems to be acclimating really well. He is still the most energetic dog I have ever had by far. But he and Bella seem to understand each other pretty well now. Last night while Bella slept on her bed and sidled up next to her and gently rested his paw on her.

Since she seemed okay with it he settled in.

May 8, 2010

Soaker #2 for Abby

Pattern: Frantic Mama Knitted Soaker Pattern
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: US4 and 7
Notes: This is a great fast baby gift and a stashbuster to boot. I didn't mention last time that I find the pattern a little lacking in details but it's more than enough of an outline to get you going.

This Hasn't Happened in a Long Time

I have startitis. I started a shawl.

Ice Fantasia in Lisa Souza Lace

I started another shawl.

South Bay Shawlette in handspun

I ripped it out and started a different shawl.

A shawl of my own design

Then I restarted Lloie's Cardigan for the sixth time.

No photo, looks just like it did back here except I'm not in the Sacramento airport.

I'm also still working on my Celtic Bunny Hat and my Mondo Cable Cardi.

No in other words, I'm knitting a lot and accomplishing little. Maybe I'm trying to make up for those many lost weeks of knitting time this year.

May 7, 2010

Friday Night Video

The Doozer's knitting song, via Craft.

Linen Stitch Scrap Scarf

Pattern: Scrappy Lengthwise Scarf by Zona Sherman
Yarn: Scraps of various light worsted weight wool and alpaca yarns
Needle: US 10.5
Notes: I started with 262 sts. I should have made it a lot longer. It's a pretty skimpy scarf. I didn't like the pattern as written and added edge stitches in garter. I should have used a larger needle. It seemed crazy to use even a 10.5 when starting because I was using fairly light-weight yarns but this stitch is really, really dense. I love the look of linen stitch but I don't think I ever want to knit it again. It's slow, tedious and fairly impossible to correct errors on earlier rows with just ripping it all out.

May 6, 2010

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I think I can safely say that my search for a picture afghan pattern is over. Now just to decide...the ass in jeans?

Or the crying Indian maiden?

You can order your own.

May 4, 2010

No Way to Treat a Lady

I was dismissed from jury duty. I had been called up yesterday and sat through an hour of voir dire for an assualt/rape/harassment case. I hope it doesn't make me sound like a bad person but I did not want to be on that jury. We sat all day today waiting to be recalled but the case was continued and we were released.

Thanks for all the congrats on George. He is 70 pounds of HIGH OCTANE PUPPY INSANITY! Seriously this guy does not stop. At all. Ever. He literally did not sleep once outside of his crate on Sunday. And he wants to play with/challenge Isabella constantly. She is so tired, the poor couch potato. Every ten seconds George is pawing at her, jumping on her, biting her, barking at her. She is determined to assert her dominance and grabs him by his collar and drags him around the house. Then ten seconds later he's at her again. She grabs him and throws him to the ground. Over and over. I know it's completely normal but the dude is wearing her out. Last night she got into her crate and looked at us like, "Please just lock me in so he can't bother me anymore." We're working on training him and he is highly food-motivated, which is good. Hopefully we can teach him some manners because this is no way to treat a lady!

Please Stand By

I'm on jury duty. Today is day two and I don't know how long this will last.
I did finish a long-languishing project yesterday but it will be a while before I can weave in ends and snap a photo. I was able to get my knitting into the jury room with bamboo needles. I packed a crochet project with a plastic hook too. Just in case.

Today is Wes's 42nd birthday so please wish him a happy one since I will be sitting in a windowless room in some wretched municipal building.

May 2, 2010

May 1, 2010

A New Friend

We returned Rufus yesterday. I later got a very heartfelt thank you message from his real owner. His name is Pepper but he'll always be Rufus to me. She had lost him north of Seattle and for some reason whoever picked him up dropped him with animal control in West Seattle. So she was searching for him in King County and north. She was very grateful that he was well cared for while they were apart. The person I dealt with at the shelter told me she had only heard of this happening one other time so don't be afraid to adopt. She also told us that there was a yellow lab/golden retriever mix that was being surrendered today. The owner had adopted him with unrealistic expectations and he turned out to be pretty high energy. We went down and met him and introduced him to Belly. They hit it off right away. We haven't named him yet because our younger son is away at a sleepover. He doesn't even know we got a dog! He was pretty broken up about Rufus so hopefully he'll be pleased to meet the new addition. This guy is definitely high energy. He has been running around the yard playing with Belly for hours, chasing balls, rolling in dirt. Just go, go, go! They are so cute together.