Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tiny enthusiastic velociraptors

On Easter, I taught Boo to knit. I broke my cardinal rule of "no knitting lessons until you're six" for her, partly because she is an unusually bright child, but mostly because I had promised her I would. She might have tricked me into it, since she is velociraptor-opening-doors bright. I never stood a chance.

Boo and her knitting

In no time, she was knitting on her own. And talking while she was doing it. (For the non-knitters, most people don't knit and talk simultaneously for a while. Velciraptor clever.)

LittleJ saw that we were knitting and DASHED over to her purse, where her Looped Loop cowl in progress was hiding. It's beautiful, and I couldn't be prouder. Here's the picture of her Harry Potter scarf, but she said I could only post it with the proviso that she was eight years old when she started knitting it.

LittleJ is also a budding photographer

What I expected to happen was that Boo would be enthusiastic while she was learning, but that something more exciting would come up and she would come back to her knitting later in life. Or at the next family function when I pulled my knitting out. This is ain't my first time at the rodeo.

What actually happened was something that a knitting Auntie only dreams. I had to tell her that we had to stop knitting and eat dinner. Between courses, she would bound over to my seat and ask me if it was time for more knitting. Finally, after dessert, it was time for more knitting.

I might be an opportunist, but given her enthusiasm, I decided to get some audio from her for the podcast. (Boo is around the 30:00 mark. It's worth giving her a listen.) We knit together for a little while, but it was eventually time for us to go home.

Two hours later, I got a text from Boo's mother, which read "She can't stop. She's hooked," with a photo of Boo knitting next to a lamp.

I couldn't be prouder.

Friday, April 29, 2011

An apology

Dear Janet Jackson;

I am sorry that I ever doubted the authenticity of your legendary wardrobe malfunction. Until a similar event transpired in my car today, I never thought that such a thing could spontaneously and accidentally happen. But it does, and people should know.

Were it not for my engineered-by-NASA foundation garment, I would have been in the same boat as you. As it was, I was merely a little embarrassed and inconvenienced, as opposed to fined by the FCC. Pot-ay-to, po-tah-to.

Yours in malfunctioning straps,


Playing with fire

Once, there was a girl named Jasmin who loved to play with fire. She told her Clever Mother that she wanted a blowtorch, but never told her Clever Mother why. She just wanted one, okay?

Since Jasmin was really a grown woman, her Clever Mother thoughtfully gave her a creme brûlée kit. Partly because Jasmin wanted a blowtorch, but mostly because her Clever Mother loved creme brûlée more than any other dessert in the world. Jasmin was thrilled by the gift of the blowtorch, but found the kit to be excessive since she had no real desire to make the creme brûlée.Then Jasmin moved. Twice.

A few years passed, and Jasmin went on a dessert bender, going through cream, flour and butter like a junkie, and decided that she would give creme brûlée a shot. The only problem was that she had no clue where the kit had gone.

Jasmin enlisted the help of the Tall Handsome Man to locate the missing brûlée kit, but their hunt was to no avail. It was 8PM, and Jasmin was bound and determined to make this creme brûlée happen. She channeled the Jasminian Devil, gutted a pantry, and there, in the furthest, darkest corner was the kit.


Jasmin, with the aid of some trusty cookbooks, got started and realized that creme brûlée is not so hard. But she lacked the correct ramekins, and the hour was late.

She improvised, with the help of her Clever Mother.

Tart dish, sent to me labeled as a pie dish. I <3 pink Pyrex.

Once the creme brûlée had set, her loving Clever Mother was eager to have a taste, so the two of them sprinkled the dish with the sugar.

Then set it on fire with the torch, nearly setting a kitchen towel on fire in the process. Jasmin learned that there are more safety mechanisms on a blowtorch than there are on a firearm.

You know you want to tap this. With a spoon.

Her Clever Mother offered to test the creme brûlée, even though it was a First Time.

She liked it!

Jasmin learned many things that day, but mostly that it's fun (and delicious!) to play with fire.

(PHEW! Third person is exhausting. Back to the usual crazy next time.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shark logic

I've been spending more time with my Auntie Wolf recently. The circumstances aren't ideal, but it's been really nice to get to see more of her.

Auntie Wolf has taught me many things over the years, and two things float to the top of my memory. The first is the importance of financial independence. The second is about sharks.

I was *maybe* six years old, and I had seen the first few minutes of JAWS on our 10" television. Those few, sharkless minutes, were all I needed to know that I was TERRIFIED of sharks, and that sharks will get you and you'll never see them coming. For six months, I refused to use the toilet unsupervised because I was *utterly convinced* that a shark was going to swim up the pipes and that would be the end of me.

[For the record, I know for a FACT that this wasn't just my unique issue. I know someone who has a similar story, but it was the shower that he was afraid of, not the toilet.]

Try as they might, my parents could do *nothing* to convince me that I was safe, that sharks (no matter how clever) couldn't fit through pipes, and that JAWS was just make-believe.

I was a very trusting child, but I was pretty sure that my parents were just saying that in order to serve me up to a shark as a curly-headed hors d'œuvre on a porcelain seat. So, for six months, I required supervision, for my own safety.

I got to spend a few days with my Auntie Wolf two or three times a year, and I LOVED it. Auntie Wolf never had children of her own, and she loved me like you wouldn't believe, in the Auntie way. She fed me whatever I wanted to eat, taught me important life lessons, but most importantly, I got to spend time with my super-cool Auntie Wolf. [I sincerely hope that I am even a *fraction* as awesome an Auntie as she is.]

When I arrived at Auntie Wolf's house, and informed her of the Shark Situation, Auntie Wolf reacted the way *any* childless adult would.

"Why would a shark want to swim all this way just to bite your stinky ass?" she asked, frankly.

The logic was impenetrable. I was no longer afraid of toilet sharks, and all thanks to Auntie Wolf.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


When it comes to cooking, I don't go off-book. I leave writing the directions to the experts, and all I do is execute. This is how I do things because I am *terrified* of failure, and I rely on the expertise of the More Experienced to guide me. No matter what I'm doing, first, I follow directions until I've become comfortable with X, then make small changes for a while, THEN make big changes.

With my knitting, I was a hard-and-fast directions-follower for a long, long time. The difference between knitting and cooking is simple: short of a mis-cut steek, you can't waste yarn or ruin your knitting, 99.9% of knitting can be ripped out and redone. Food can be ruined, and while I hate wasting food, life is too short to eat bad food.

With knitting, a lot of the logic and "secret sauce" came to me fairly naturally; probably because I was doing a lot of on-the-job problem solving. Cooking is still part alchemy as far as I'm concerned. Laura'nge, the Joy of Cooking Fairy, has taken me under her wing as her apprentice, and she has been greatly contributing to (and lovingly guiding) my culinary education. This has been a lot of fun for both of us, but has also been the source of Great Anxiety for Yours Truly.

Call it OCD, call it fear of failure, call it cowardice. I don't go off-book, and I might have had to restrain myself from FREAKING OUT and getting my crazy all over Laura'nge the other night when she went off-book while making the marinade/dressing for dinner. It was a small - but important - part of the meal, but sweet holy Deity-(or-Not)-of-Your-Choice, I had to actively restrain myself from following my misguided, terrified, reactionary instincts.

With her usual flair, she took a glance at the recipe, started there, and then it was more like this:

Laura'nge: [Throwing together all manner of ingredients, non-chalantly, while carrying on a conversation about ... something.] *buzz of talking*, right?
Me: [Eyes wide in terror, OH MY GOD. That isn't in the recipe! What is she DOOOOOING?] Yeah, totally. [Don't panic. You'll only look like a crazy person. Crazier person.]
Laura'nge: [Tastes, then does something else off-book] *buzz of talking* Butter, butter, butter.
Me: [Stop freaking out. She's good at this. She knows what she's doing. Oh no, I'm totally not listening. I need to stop freaking out.] Mmmm... Butter. [Phew, good cover!]
Laura'nge: Here, taste. [Gives me a taste of the marinade/dressing.]

Hm. it was delicious.

Flank steak salad with roasted shallots and goat cheese, from the Bon Apetít "Fast Easy Fresh" cookbook. Go and buy it now, you'll thank me.
Things I have learned:

- Trust Laura'nge, always.
- Going off-book doesn't always end in disaster.
- Sometimes a little emotional discomfort is okay, but if and only if it ends in a delicious meal.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Yoga and Dogs

Doing yoga at home can be a challenge. Sometimes, it's motivation; sometimes, it's a space issue. Mostly it's a space issue. Our house wasn't really laid out for any type of movement-based activity indoors. That's fine, but it means that every time we want to do any type of working out, we have to move around the furniture in the living room. And also, drop the blinds. (We have our own Gladys Kravitz living across the street.)

There are two more obstacles to doing yoga in the house. Two sweet, furry, opportunistic obstacles. As soon as I roll out my yoga mat, it's open season for wrestling on the floor. So, we wrestle on the floor (because the stay-put-while-snuggling policy also applies to active playtime), and then I can do my yoga.

"Yoga" might translate to "watching TV while propped on pillows" sometimes.

As you'll notice, Niki is smack-dab in the middle of my yoga mat, comfortably snuggled between bolsters. The best way that I've found of dealing with this is to first take pictures, then to snuggle up next to him, give him a few belly rubs, and wait a few minutes until he gets bored with my neediness and changes location.

He calls this pose "sad and unloved dog". Don't be fooled by those big, brown eyes.

[Yes, I know this trains both of the dogs to continue to do what they're doing, but taking a few minutes to snuggle my dogs is good for everyone.]

Lest you think that once Niki has been sufficiently snuggled, the obstacles to practicing yoga at home are over, that's only half of the issue. I have *two* dogs, if you remember. Two dogs who have learned to work cooperatively.

Once I start warming up and going through poses, I have Elphie walking across my mat, underneath me in downward dog, weaving around my feet in squatted poses, and my personal favorite, curling up in the open area when I do supta baddha konasana. I call this "agility yoga", where I am the agility course.

It's mostly funny, but it means that if I were *able* to do handstands, I couldn't do it in the house for fear of falling on or accidentally kicking one of the dogs. I'm mostly afraid that I'll just break my neck doing it, and I doubt they'll call 911. Crow pose is also out of the question, if you were curious. Too much temptation for dog-style identity verification. They're good dogs, and they've been taught the "polite nose" command, but they're not made of stone.

Elphie, ever the precocious dog, also likes to compete. I do downward dog, Elphie sighs a deeply disappointed sigh and does downward dog, presumably to show me the correct way of doing it. Same thing for upward dog. To be totally fair, she's way better at yoga than I am. But I'm working on that.

Eventually, they get bored with the agility portion of the floor show, and wait for me to do something extended and uncomfortable (like hold plank), and that's when it's time for kisses. It's hard to keep your core strong while someone is licking your nose. Or elbow. Try it.

I could put them out in the yard, or behind the dog gate; I just don't want to. That's reserved for when they really need to be out of the way, for their own safety. Yoga is just cooperative playtime.

Plus, they've known not to walk on my knitting while it's blocking since they were puppies. They've got their priorities straight.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Five projects

A couple of years ago, there was a Loom Incident. One which involved an estate sale, a huge floor loom, and an Overly Ambitious Fiberartist (OAF for short). We don't speak of it anymore, not since the unnamed OAF found a new home for the HUGE floor loom and obtained a more reasonably sized table loom to learn on.

With the help of my fantastic BFF, I got my table loom warped, and a few months later (again with the help of my fantastic BFF) I started weaving. Andrew declared that I needed to finish five projects before I could invest in a bigger/better loom.

The warp is Kauni. Not optimal for warp yarn, but pretty.

Once I started weaving, I was totally enamored of it. The problem was my loom. It wasn't in great shape when I bought it, and weaving on it wasn't quiet or soothing. There was actually quite a bit of banging and swearing involved.

KillerGuns Kelli picked up a Cricket Loom, and I watched her work on it. Quiet. Small. Light. Brilliant engineering. No swearing. In a podcast-related email to the amazing folks over at Schacht, I mentioned that I had seen a Cricket in person, and that I really needed to get my hands on one to play.

Jane, an incredible enabler herself, included one in my box so that I could give it a whirl. For love of fiber, podcast, and SCIENCE! it was built, I followed the brilliant directions on how to direct-warp, and I was warped and weaving in under an hour. In two evenings, I made this:

Finished project #1: Claudia Handpaints, Navy Olive and Gold

Rustic, yes. Definitely a first project, but Andrew strutted around the house wearing it, proud as a peacock.

But it was boring, plain tabby, and I felt like the little loom was limited, since all it could do was tabby. I was at Purlescence, where I mentioned being bored with Tabby, and needing more to do on my loom.

"You can do Houndstooth on your Cricket," Sandi told me, handing me a copy of The Handweaver's Pattern Directory.

Lo and behold! The options for my little loom were vast! I quickly wove up an incredible Houndstooth scarf for myself, out of cashmere I had in my stash.

Finished Project #2: Jade Sapphire 2-ply cashmere

I have never loved anything that I've finished as much as this. Proof:


Can you tell I'm in love? Book in hand, I dove into my stash for the next thing, Gingham.

Finished Project #3: Grignasco Bambi

This one had some problems.

Missed warp threads make me a sad panda.

See? I didn't catch it until I was pulling the scarf off the loom, and all I see is the error. I'll wear it, and I'll fix it when I learn how. But it bugs me.

I didn't let a few missed warp threads spoil my fun, so I dove into my stash, and made a retina-searing scarf in a 3 color tabby:

Finished Project #4: A Verb for Keeping Warm, Creative base.

There seems to be some sort of counter-intuitive-algebra-inspired thing at play here, where three retina-searing colors kind of wash each other out when combined. Very weird. I still love how cheerful it is.

In light of all the other projects I was finishing, I went back to the Slam-and-Swear table loom, and finally finished the project that I started first. This might have been partially inspired by Andrew promising to fix it's quirks once my weaving was off of it.

Finished Project #5: Rainbow Kauni, twill weave.

It has problems. Missed warp threads, mis-thrown passes, tension issues. The errors are many and glaring. While I was busy hating my poor handwork, Mom pointed out that it was technically a First.

"So WHAT if it isn't perfect?" Mom said, being totally reasonable, "It's a learning piece."

I still don't love it, but there is value to learning, and practice, and not being good at something right away, right? The best thing, other than having made a few beeeeeeautiful scarves, is that the concepts from the Cricket translate to larger looms! Once I had gotten a project or two under my belt on the Cricket, I could see the warping issues on my table loom and I could read my weaving (a little).

I'm not perfect at it, but you know what? I'm enjoying the process immensely.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Knit Knit Bang Bang

(Title brought to you with special thanks to KidBrother Sam for exposing me to that work of cinematic brilliance.)

Last Sunday, I managed to (a) live out a lifelong dream while (b) knitting in the most unusual locale I have yet to manage.

Not my shells. But you get the point.
I've always wanted to go to the gun range and learn to shoot. You see, in my imagination, when I think about what I want to be When I Grow Up, it's always a job that requires a gun. And a tango. Also, possibly costumes and some undercover work. FBI, CIA, CSI, that type of stuff. Let me re-iterate, there is always a tango.

Now when I say, "FBI, CIA, CSI, that type of stuff", I don't mean the *actual* FBI/CIA/CSI, because it's 99% paperwork and bureaucracy, no Tango-ing, and probably less than 1% running around, shooting at bad guys, and generally being sexy. And it's usually not the people who sit back and do the paperwork that get to run around and be awesome. What I'm looking for is the Criminal Minds, Chuck, Mr. & Mrs. Smith type of work. The kind that only seems to exist in the movies and on TV.

[Side note: Have you noted that even the Government Geeks have sexy jobs on TV?** It's all data gathering from mysterious sources that collect completely bizarre data. Yes, I'm looking at you, Numb3rs. I am suspicious of your incredibly convenient and never-ending sources of data. Your deductive reasoning is also questionable most of the time.]

So, KidBrother Sam and Bromantic Brandon invited me to join them at the shooting range. With the level of enthusiasm they had about taking me shooting for the first time, I half expected them to make me put a bright red lipstick "V" on my forehead.

I beat the guys to the range because I had driven separately, since I had obligations later in the day. I sat in my car and worked on my Daybreak, which is so brightly colored it can raise the dead. (That was one of the selling points from the dyer. This yarn comes with built-in necromancy!)

The guys eventually got there, we paid, and headed down to the range, where I was exposed to Range Culture.

There are lots of safety rules, and well there should be.  

Guns are loud, scary, and incredibly dangerous.

In my imagination, where I'm a sexy crimefighter (taller, too, for those who are curious), guns aren't a Big Deal. Bullets only hit Bad Guys, and if a Good Guy gets clipped, it's minimal and easily fixed with a few stitches, leaving you with a minimal scar and a great story. (No, I don't subscribe to the BBC mentality, where anyone is game. Yes, MI-5, I'm talking about you.)

In reality, I jumped like a rabbit every time someone fired a gun. The sound of the shot would resonate in my chest it was so loud. I changed my mind, quietly.

I'll think of a graceful way of ducking out, I thought. This is scaring the living daylights out of me. I am not a badass.

Then, Jasmin 2009, the Jasmin who grabs opportunity squarely by the shoulders and embraces new experiences shouted down Cowardly Jasmin.

No. I have ALWAYS wanted to do this, and now I'm finally getting the chance to, said Jasmin 2009. You're safe, you're with people who will make sure you're doing it correctly, and you're wearing appropriate shoes. Buck up and take your turn.

We had to wait for a Cease Fire, which is part of Range Culture, before we could start, so out came my knitting, and I cheerfully sat down and settled my nerves by putting a row or two on my Daybreak shawl. There were about 300 people there; of those 300, 3 were women, and only one of us was knitting. I have never gotten such strange looks in my whole life.

I have learned that with guns and gun ranges, it's an optimal arrangement for an alternative knitting opportunity. There is some shooting, some set up, and a lot of waiting. Only KidBrother Sam and Bromantic Brandon thought this was as funny as I did, once I pointed it out. My humor is deep like that.

The guys decided that I should go second, after Bromantic Brandon, since I had never fired a gun before. He helped me load the clip (for gun enthusiasts, I fired a Kimber Custom TLE II .45ACP M1911A1), walked me through how to stand, breathe, brace my wrists, and how to use the sight. I fired my rounds, and I'll be damned if they didn't all hit the target. Some in the center, even!

I finished my turn, and handed Bromantic Brandon the gun. I was shaking from the adrenaline, my chest ached from the kickback, and I felt sick to my stomach. I decided that I was probably not cut out for a job that requires the handling of firearms. I let the guys know that I appreciated being brought along, thank-you-for-inviting-me, and that I really needed to be going.

Bromantic Brandon headed back up the hill with me, and was thoughtfully making sure that I had a good time, and that I wasn't upset.

"Guns are loud," I told him, "And heavy. And I think it bit me."

He agreed on the first two statements, and suggested that next time I try a lighter gun. And you know what? If I am invited again, I just might. We'll see.

While I don't think I'll ever be an agent of any TLA agency, I still have my imagination, and I will have my tango.

**Shout-outs to sexy movie Government Geeks: Garcia from Criminal Minds, Untraceable, Abby Sciuto from NCIS, and let's not forget Adam Kaufman from 24. As Willow aptly pointed out, "It's the computer age. Nerds are in." (BtVS, Season 1, episode 12, "Prophecy Girl")

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Love turned sour

I first discovered Knitty in 2004, and Mariah was the pattern that introduced me to the incredible resource that *is* Knitty. Before Knitty, there were some sources for free knitting patterns on the internet, but fewer than half had photos, and even fewer were enticing enough to knit. Mariah had me at "Hello".

I saw it at my [then] boyfriend's cottage, because he was oh-so-cool enough to have DSL, and I printed out the pattern because I knew I *had* to knit it. I might have carried the pattern around with me, and every worsted weight yarn was a potential candidate for My Mariah.

Maybe it was all the anticipation, how could any pattern hold up to almost SEVEN years of dreaming about knitting it. Mariah was my magnum opus**, my "someday I'll be a good enough knitter and I will make this" sweater. I bought hot pink cashmere on sale, and it marinated in my stash WAITING for the day when I decided I was finally ready.

This January, partly because of Jasmin 2011 (but also a little Jasmin 2009). Jasmin 2011 is all about productivity- knitting what I'm inspired to work on, when I'm inspired to work on it. Combined with my Jasmin 2009 goal of using the good stuff now, it seemed like exactly the right time for Mariah to stop being a dream and start being a zippered cardigan.

I blasted through knitting the body

Mariah- body
I knit the body in one piece, instead of three.

Highlighted the chart with NO MERCY

I <3 these highlighters

And sleeves, which are normally my kryptonite? Not a chance with a chart this interesting

Mariah sleeve-1
This sweater was brought to you without a cable needle.

It's a yoke sweater, so the get-Chloe-to-set-my-sleeves-in time delay didn't apply here. I attached the sleeves and after the first few awkward rows (which they are, at first), my beautiful yoke sweater actually looked like a beautiful yoke sweater.

The hood slowed me down, but I kept at it. Finally, it came time to add the zipper, and I was going to do it myself. Three trips to the fabric store later, and four zippers later, with the aid of Caro Sheridan's brilliant tutorial, I applied my first zipper.

The zipper install is hardly my best work, and really, my backstitching looks more like highway 17 than a beautiful, straight row of stitches, but it's my first one. I'm going to re-do it when I get the perfect zipper, and my next zipper install will be better, because now that I've done it by myself, it's okay for Mom to help me. You understand.

I wove in all my own ends, and despite the fact that it was 78ºF (25.5ºC) and humid (for California) I put it on proudly and bounded over to my mirror to admire my handwork.

I hate it. It's boxy and shapeless, and the neckline is AWFUL. You can't see it from this shot, but where the hood grows out of the sweater is weird and floppy, leaving the awful straight-across neckline in a place that doesn't agree with normal t-shirts (I tried two different shirts, no success). The phrase "waste of cashmere" may have crossed my lips.

I blinked back the tears of a woman who finally got what she wanted, and realized that it wasn't, quite. "Disappointed" doesn't seem to quite cover it and "devastated" seems a bit melodramatic. However, I had plans with Guido, the charming host of the It's a Purl, Man podcast, and he was not deserving of my bad mood, so I pushed the misadventures of Mariah to the back of my mind, giving it only a brief mention when with a fellow knitter. He could relate.

After dinner, where Guido and I discussed the finer points of the difference between a knitting guild and a knitting group, where knitting is going, and whether or not weaving and spinning are the next knitting, he invited me to the Where 2.0 conference, where they were having Ignite sessions. Guido knows how to show a geek girl a good time, let me tell you. The sessions we saw were interesting, engaging, funny, and enlightening.

(It also made me want to unplug my whole life and live as off-grid as possible, but that is usually how I respond to the whole "everyone knows what you're googling" side of the internet.)

Where 2.0 is at the Santa Clara Convention Center, where Stitches West is held. The SCCC is notoriously over air-conditioned, and I didn't notice. I was wearing my Mariah, and I was comfortable.

Maybe we'll come to some sort of agreement. Maybe (with the help of my friends) I'll find a way to make Mariah more fabulous. After all, who *isn't* improved with a few minor nips and tucks?

Maybe this was my fault, hyping up Mariah so no matter how great it turned out, I would be disappointed.

Nope. Definitely not that. But we'll figure out a way to fix her, or a way to amicably co-exist, because after all, we wouldn't want her to be a waste of good cashmere.

**To be fair, it really seems like every successive sweater that I knit is the best/most challenging thing I've ever knit. I'm a little proud of that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

For Meghan, with a little help from my friends

Last year, Meghan knit a beautiful sweater for herself. Unfortunately, it was Way Too Small for her. It happens.

When she mentioned on her podcast that it was Way Too Small and was debating a course of action for her (basically) finished sweater, I pinged her and asked if she thought it would fit me. After a brief moment, she said, "Yes," and I offered to knit her a sweater in exchange for the one that didn't fit her.

She sent me a gorgeous sweater, which is very Meghan. Meghan has the kind of style where she can throw clothes together and look stylish. If I do that, I just look homeless and usually colorblind. But look at this gorgeous thing!

Gorgeous, right?

It's fun, and matches a TON of stuff in my wardrobe.

After some discussion, Meghan chose the Twist cardigan (by Bonne Marie Burns, who is a genius) in a heathered hunter green.

First, I started by sending her a a photo of the yarn, to confirm the color:

Cascade 220, out of my stash

Then, the swatch:

Swatching in the car

Then began the sweater. And the taunting.

As I made progress on the sweater, I learned a few things. The first was how to drop down and fix a cable without ripping back on the sweater. The second was a reminder on how much I LOATHE sewing in sleeves. But you know what I do love? Knitting ribbing and cables.

This shade of green makes me think of the drive up to Oregon. Woodsy.

This sweater traveled all over creation with me while I worked on it, and I LOVED knitting the body.

Terrible color. I'm blaming the piano, where I chose to photograph it.

I can't even tell you how pleased I was to finish the body, and how proud I was when I pinned it to the bust. I might have left it there for a while and admired it whenever I walked by it.

This picture makes me think of a figurehead. For the SS Kay.

The body of the sweater felt like it was FLYING off my needles I was working it so fast. The sleeves? Not so much.

It's not that knitting sleeves is hard. I think it's mostly that the bloom is off of the rose with the garment at that point**. There is also the needing to knit two-ness of it. I usually knit my sleeves two at a time using the magic loop technique, but I didn't for this sweater. Mostly.

I started them two at a time, but between the tangling of the yarn, the turning the cables without a cable needles, and the general ennui caused by the knitting of sleeves, I decided to take a couple of the (possibly emotional) roadblocks out of knitting sleeves.

You know I don't like knitting sleeves because there are ZERO photos of the sleeves in progress.

The sweater sat and sat and sat, pieces all knit, waiting to have the sleeves set in. I kept putting it on my to-do list, and *somehow* I managed to forget, or run out of time, or pretend that I had forgotten and ran out of time.

Chloe knew about the sweater, knew that the pieces were done, and has always knows how much I *loathe* finishing work. I had fresh cookies at the house, and Chloe informed me that she would be coming over and setting in the blasted sleeves. T-minus one week to Camp KIP.

And then, the finishing FLEW. I knit the buttonband, found a volunteer with Meghan's bust size so that I could place the non-negotiable buttons, Mom sewed in the grosgrain ribbon while I did our laundry and got prepared for Camp. I sewed on the buttons, which I bought at the Button Emporium, and used buttons that looked like little pewter balls of yarn for backing buttons, and one lone sheep.

I redid the buttonholes four times. Each fancy buttonhole I tried was too much for the perfect little buttons. With great regret, I fell back on the YO, K2tog buttonhole that I learned so many years ago, when I was knitting my first sweater. It was a perfect fit for the sweater.

It just needed *one* more thing.

My finishing touch
I sighed a huge sigh of relief, tossed it in my backpack, and the sweater joined us on our adventure to Camp KIP.

There was a little more taunting before delivery, but my faaaaaaaaavorite thing was when I finally gave it to Meghan:

She likes it! Meghan likes it!

**One exception: unless the sleeves are the interesting part of the sweater. See: Mariah hoodie.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Finger

I know you're all chomping at the bit to hear about my adventures in St. Louis, and you will my preciousssssssses. (Actually, if you really are, you can hear the recap here.) But first I must tell you about my Magic Finger.

I was leaving yoga, and I was planning to hit the Farmer's Market. I usually hit the one by my house, but I was in the mood for some variety, so I called Andrew up to see if he wanted to join me for a trip out to the Mountain View Farmer's Market. It's twice the size of ours and has loads of good stuff. (I used to go to that one when I was doing yoga in Mountain View.)

As we pulled in to park, I saw the mayhem in the first aisle. Cars were stopped, bumper-to-bumper, hoping to get into a spot. The next aisle was as clear as a summer's day, and so, I calmly turned there.


At that moment, a car overheated, so I calmly stepped on my brakes. What happened - in nanoseconds- took my idyllic aisle and turned it into what felt like a major intersection in the Middle East. People were driving on the wrong side of the road, doing three point turns at Warp 9, and OH! the road rage.

I kept my cool, and saw a guy walking up by my car, to get into a car next to me. I hit my turn signal like it was an adrenaline shot to the heart and patiently waited for him to pull out of the parking spot. As soon as my near and dear friend had cleared out, I slowly scooted up to calmly turn into my spot.

At that very moment, an Opportunist squealed around the corner with the express purpose of nabbing my spot. Mind you, my signal had been on and I had been waiting patiently. It was precisely that scene from Fried Green Tomatoes, and I was Kathy Bates. I *might* have felt a Towanda moment coming on.

As I saw it happening, I stepped on my brakes, shook my index finger at them and yelled "NO! NO! NO!" as if they were a small child and I was their sweet-but-strict British nanny. (In my imagination, sometimes I'm British.)

They stopped cold.

I couldn't believe it. That had worked! My finger had a superpower!

While Andrew laughed himself silly, repeating, "I can't believe that worked!" I calmly pulled into the spot and parked.

... and also *might* have - with the windows rolled up - yelled "TOWANDA!" triumphantly. Just maybe.