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Brewer Burns

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Much of what makes being the child of an alcoholic so difficult is that it is often a problem that is unacknowledged and hidden. In my case, there was a point at which my mother said to my father: you are an alcoholic and you need to get help. And he did. For a time he quit drinking and went to AA meetings religiously. He had a sponsor. He worked the steps. There was even a brief spell of family counseling involved.

Unfortunately, his sobriety was not permanent and even more importantly, sobriety did not instantly turn my father into a loving, thoughtful, conscientious adult or parent. When he started drinking again it was very difficult. The fragile peace that had reigned was shattered. My mother kicked him out. He refused to acknowledge, from that time on, that he was an alcoholic or ever had a problem with alcohol. He only went to AA all that time because it made my mother happy. He had no problems. He did nothing wrong. My mother was a nagging harpy that hagrode him into admitting he had an addiction that he did not have. And my sister and me? We aided and abetted her in this criminal act. He painted each of us with the same brush.

Friday, September 29, 2006


"In silence, he went rushing off the cliff. Unlike the biblical swine, however, he left behind a few of the demons to haunt his children. Life with him and the loss of him twisted us into shapes that will be familiar to other sons and daughters of alcoholics. My brother became a rebel, my sister retreated into shyness, I played the stalwart and dutiful son who would hold the family together.

If my father was unstable, I would be a rock.

If he squandered money on drink, I would pinch every penny.

If he wept when drunk--and only when drunk--I would not let myself weep at all.

If he roared at the Little League umpire for calling my pitches balls, I would throw nothing but strikes.

Watching him flounder and rage, I came to dread the loss of control.

I would go through life without making anyone mad.

I vowed never to put in my mouth or veins any chemical that would banish my everyday self.

I would never make a scene, never lash out at the ones I loved, never hurt a soul.

Through hard work, relentless work, I would achieve something dazzling--in the classroom, on the basketball court, in the science lab, in the pages of books--and my achievement would distract the world's eyes from his humiliation. I would become a worthy sacrifice, and the smoke of my burning would please God."

Go here to read the rest of this essay by Scott Russell Sanders.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fucking Up

Nobody wants to fail, and yet we all fail at something at some point in our life. I fail all the time, every day, at something. Mainly I fail to live up to my own expectations. Unfortunately, I also often fail to admit to my failures, therefore making the emotional fallout much worse than it would otherwise be. Since I could use some practice in the area, I thought that I would disclose ten previously undisclosed knitting errors.

1. The Manly Sweater: I purled a stitch that should have been knitted on the back right shoulder of the sweater. I didn’t notice it until I had knitted many more rows, so I never fixed it. I still see it when Stephen wears the sweater.

2. Falling Leaves. I neglected to read the entire pattern, and failed to realize that the chart only showed every other row (the non-charted rows being knit rows) so that when I was knitting the first sock, I knit every row in the chart pattern, omitting the "all knit" rows between. I didn’t fix it because I didn’t want to have to tink back six rows. Yes, I’m a dumbass for not realizing that something was wrong sooner.

3. Flower Basket Shawl. When I was knitting my FBS I discovered that the mistake I make most often with lace knitting is that I forget a yarn-over. It’s easy to do, because it doesn’t disrupt that pattern row (unlike forgetting a k2tog for instance.) That means that whenever I forgot a yarn over I didn’t realize it until the next row, when I was one stitch short. Unfortunately I had not yet discovered the beauty that is dropping down stitches in lace and reknitting the pattern correctly. So, instead of really fixing those missing yarn overs, I simply added them in later on when I discovered the fuck up. As you can imagine this means that if you were to study my FBS you would find errors. Lots of them. For the record, I did tink back and fix lots of mistakes too.

4. Best Friend Bags. On one of the Best Friend Bags I decided at the last minute to slightly modify the pattern, after I had already bound off the ends. On one of them I got the bright idea to try to undo the Cast On end. You all know where this ends. You cannot undo a cast on end. It does not work. So I ended up doing some Very Bad Things and then just barely being able to put the Frankenstein Monster that I had made out of it back together in such a way that it didn’t look like dog barf. The horror! I take comfort in the fact that both grandmothers are rather near sighted and hopefully will never know. (I really can’t believe that I admitted doing that.)

5. Lotus Blossom Tank. Aside from the sizing issue (which I have already disclosed) there is one other mistake that I never talked about, but is visible in the pictures of it. On the left side of the tank, where the chest joins to the sleeves, there is one stitch that became very, very loose, and now forms a sort-of-hole in the fabric. I don’t know why this happened. This, of course, did not show up until after the tank was fully blocked.

6. Rib and Cable Mitts. When I made my Rib and Cable Mitts I inadvertently made one of them longer than the other.

Okay, I only found six undisclosed errors after going through my blog archives. That isn’t to say that I haven’t made any other errors (because I have) but I have either: disclosed those errors, fixed those errors, or can’t remember them. So there you have it. Is there anything you would like to admit to?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Back Yard Leaves. Half Finished.

I finished the first half of Backyard Leaves. It’s very clever (the whole pattern.) It’s one flaw is that now I have to do the exact same thing, all over again. It’s a little like sock knitting. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 25, 2006

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Manic Monday

Did you know that blogs are like, public, and shit? Right. Anyway. Today is Monday and I have Monday brain. So you get the random post.

I finished Falling Leaves and for those of you who were wondering, yes, I did rip back the bind off on the first sock and re-bindoff, just looser. They can now be worn without loss of feeling in your toes. That can only be good. I’m really, really happy with the way they turned out. They are beautiful and now I want some for myself.

I also started my MIL’s scarf last weekend. Backyard Leaves in pumpkin orange. I think she will like it and I’m really liking the yarn and the pattern. The yarn is “Baby Twist,” 100% baby alpaca, from Misty Alpaca. It’s beautiful and soft.

I’m rethinking my mom’s Christmas and birthday gifts. Thinking and rethinking. I’m thinking of giving the silk scarf to my niece (to play dress up with) and making my mom a whole new silk scarf out of the Mango Moon that I have left. I’m also thinking of making my SIL the Column of Leaves scarf from the Island of Misfit Patterns (I will link later if I can figure out where I lost the left half of my brain.) The advantages of this plan are that: I have leftover Mountain Colors Weaving Quarters in Juniper from my first sweater, not enough to make the whole scarf, but some, and I really like the pattern. I’m also thinking of making my mom a Best Friend Bag (like I made for the grandmothers.) I think she would like it and I might have the stash yarn to make that too. Clearly, I’m still undecided.

On the non-knitted gift front, I went to the bookstore last Friday and looked, in vain, for a book I would like to give to my niece, Anna. Anna is six and ridiculously precocious. I want to buy her something that won’t talk down to her (because she’s wicked smart) but won’t be too old for her either (because she’s still only six.) (Incidentally, when Stephen and I visit, she reads us bedtime stories.) Ideas? I may have also gone on a little shopping spree over the weekend. I bought myself a really nice chef’s knife. It slices carrots like they are sticks of softened butter. And shoes. The last time I bought myself everyday-wear-to-the-office-shoes was at least five years ago and the shoes that I was wearing around had a crack across the sole. All the way across, so that my feet would get wet when I walked in the snow. And they never fit right. My new shoes? Beyond good. Black (so I can wear them everyday,) leather (so they will wear well) and best of all, they fit. Like gloves (except they’re shoes.) This is really important because I find shoes that fit very seldom. My feet are tiny.

Lastly, I bought yarn. For Christmas gifts. Anna’s teddy bear will be in purple and cream lamb’s pride, and my niece Willow’s Miss Dashwood will be in deep blue-green Debbie Bliss Merino Aran. It will look lovely with her dark hair.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Falling Leaves-- Finished

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Friday, September 22, 2006

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Down the Rabbit Hole

Me: So, what, you asked the Dalai Lama to make you one with everything?
Stephen: Yeah, and he gave me a fucking hot dog.
I was over reading Savage Love today and one of his readers wrote in about some guy who posed as a "kinky" woman on Craigslist, and then posted the pictures, real names, real addresses, real places of business, real phone numbers and real addresses of the men who replied to the ad. What an asshole. You all have probably already heard of this, but I hadn’t (because I live under a rock) and I’m appalled. Even more than that though, I’m equally appalled by the fact that the consensus among observers seems to be that the guy who posted the information was wrong to do so, but those sick fucks who replied to his ad deserve to be publicly shamed (and outed) because they’re disgusting "kinky" sex freaks. What is it about us (the collective American culture) that wants to shame people for their sexual proclivities? What qualifies us to judge others for what they do behind closed doors?

In knitting news, my friend received the socks in the mail, and loves them. Unfortunately they are a tad too long, but he thinks that they will adjust as he wears them. Of course, he also said that he can’t wear them because they’re too beautiful. Brings a tear to this knitter’s eye.

I also finished the first Falling Leaves sock. It’s lovely, but a little tight around the top, so when I get home tonight I’m going to undo the bindoff and then bind off again using a larger needle. I bind off too tightly if I’m not careful about it and I don’t want these socks to cut off my friend’s circulation.

My sister’s Mini-Clapotis is done blocking, and it is beautiful (tonight! pictures! I promise!) The silk scarf is still really wet, and I think is going to take some serious time to dry. It’s just so heavy in some places that I really think I may need to hang it on the line downstairs or something. It’s a good thing I’m done with it so early.

Lastly, I’ve decided to make my MIL the Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style (by Annie Modesitt and I think possibly found in other places.) I plan to use some kind of orange colored yarn, since that is her favorite color, and I’m going for an autumn type of feel with it. I will have to buy yarn for this though. I don’t have an appropriate stash yarn, unfortunately.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

About the Lack of Pictures......

I’ve been having a really hard time posting pictures lately. I just wanted to let you know why. First, I’ve been having a really hard time finding good light for them. I have a crappy cell phone camera and so the lighting is really important or the shots look absolutely terrible (as opposed to just regular crappy cell phone pictures.) It’s fall, the light is changing, and I’m having a hard time adjusting. I feel like I’ve lost my picture mojo or something. Second, it’s become increasingly difficult to upload pictures from the cell phone to my computer because my computer is now officially way too old. It’s just really, really slow because its processor is really, really slow. And it’s a laptop, which doesn’t help. Third, my wireless internet connection has been fried since July 4 (when we had a huge electrical storm.) This means that I have to plug the computer into the internet cable, plug in the power cord (because the battery on the laptop is also, basically, shot) and then plug my phone into the computer too. Can you say tedious? Lastly, windows does not like the software that allows my cell phone to upload pictures to it. So it works extra, extra, extra slow. And that makes me want to gnaw my own arm off so that I can beat the laptop with it.

So that’s my way of telling you that I totally plan to post pictures of the mini-clapotis and the silk scarf tonight. And sorry that I haven’t done it sooner. Stephen and I have actually spent the last two nights attempting to unclog our kitchen sink. We ran the pipe snake down the pipe from the sink, and then down from the cleanout hatch in the basement, and that worked a little (in that the sink would drain, but slowly.) Stephen also snaked the bathtub drain for good measure. Then last night Stephen snaked the kitchen drain again, really going at it, and he finally broke up the clog, so yeah! I have a sink again and I didn’t have to call roto-rooter either. This means that I can both use the dishwasher and block things.

Most exciting, I started on Falling Leaves (this is a Knitty.com pattern. I don't know why fucking blogger won't let me link today) for my friend Lori’s birthday. They are turning out beautifully. I am using a ball of Trekking (I don’t know which color because I lost the ball band) that I made myself a pair of socks out of last winter. It’s really pretty, pink and green and blue and yellow and orange. Now, I have to ask: why didn’t anyone tell me about the beauty of toe-up socks before? I’m loving the toe up socks. I love the provisional cast on, I love the short row toe, I love the seamlessness of it all. It’s! Seamless! People! Seamless! I can’t really express how exciting that is to me. Not only does seamless mean that the socks are seamless but it also means that the toes, instead of being pointy, are actually rounded and soft and pretty and seamless! I don’t know why I haven’t tried this before.

Oh, right, yes I do. I was intimidated by the thought of it. In fact, when I first saw that Falling Leaves was a toe up pattern I thought about converting it to a cuff down pattern just so that I didn’t have to learn the toe-up process. I was afraid I would fuck it up. Obviously, I decided to give it a go, and I’m very happy that I did. I’m also really loving the lace pattern in this sock. It’s very nice, very pretty, very feminine.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Critical Comparisons

So, I have two finished objects as of Sunday night (and minus blocking.) First, on Saturday afternoon I finished my mom’s long, skinny, recycled silk scarf, and then late last night I finished unraveling every last stitch and weaving in every end on my sister’s mini-clapotis. Fun times.

As a result of finishing these two projects so quickly, and back to back, I have a few observations about the yarns I used for them and about yarn in general. As I mentioned, the recycled silk yarn that I used for mom’s scarf is slubby, thick and thin, and really, really overspun in places. It was so overspun, in fact, that I would stop every so often and let the needles and the scarf hang while the yarn unwound itself partially. Because of the overspun nature and it’s general inconsistency, it was actually really hard on my hands. I felt like I was trying to force a rope through the eye of an embroidery needle, some of the time, and the rest of the time I felt like I was trying to bend copper wire (or something else that will bend, if you force it, but generally, is not all that suited to manipulation with a set of size 8 bamboo needles.) It was unpleasant. And to top it all off, I realized partway through my first project choice (the mini-clapotis that was later ripped) that I didn’t have enough yarn to finish the project. So off to the yarn store I skipped, and bought another hank of (what I thought was identical) mango moon recycled sari silk yarn. When I started this new ball of yarn I made an interesting discovery. The new yarn was very similar (in that it is recycled sari silk) but completely different from the old yarn. It is thick and thin, but not nearly as thick and not nearly as thin as the old yarn, and it is a tad overspun in places, but not bad. In addition, since the new yarn is much more evenly spun, it was a lot softer and easier to manipulate. In short, it was a dream as compared to the old yarn. The marked difference between the two yarns makes me wonder: was the old yarn manufactured by mango moon? Or was it simply recycled sari silk yarn from some unknown manufacturer? I lost the ball band for the old yarn long ago, so I can’t be sure either way. Maybe I knocked mango moon unnecessarily. When I knit up the rest of the mango moon yarn, I will let you know. Also, one other weird thing about the mango moon (new) yarn. When I was winding it (I acted as swift to Stephen’s ball winder) it broke twice. Interesting.

Once I was finished knitting my mom’s scarf I started my sister’s mini-clapotis later the same evening. I used two skeins of Noro Silk Garden (I will let you know which colorway later, after I’ve fished the ball band out of my knitting bag.) This is the same yarn that I used to knit my mini-clapotis earlier in the year and I picked this yarn for my sister’s mini because she so admired mine when she was here. Anyway, when I was knitting mine I loved the colors of the yarn, its evenness, and its general cooperative nature, but I also found it to be rather rough on my hands. Aside from the bits and pieces of twigs and other "roughage" that regularly jumped out to abraid my soft hands, there was also a roughness to the yarn itself. A coarseness which I generally associate with using a brillo pad. So I was rather surprised when the yarn felt, to me, if not as soft as butter exactly, quite soft this time around. I think this is the result of having used some incredibly unpleasant yarn in my mom’s scarf and I’m just reacting to the contrast between the two yarns. I’m not sure though. Maybe this colorway really is softer? Or something to do with the manufacture? Who knows. I will have to do more research in this area......

Saturday, September 16, 2006

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Friday, September 15, 2006


I got a sad call last night. One of my dad’s brothers has died of a heart attack. My parents left last night to go back to their hometown and make the arrangements. I’m sad for my dad. He was in his forties.

My dad is one of seven children. My grandfather and my grandmother are dead, but up until now all of his siblings were living. My dad is the third child, and Uncle Billy was the fourth. He struggled with mental illness the whole of his late teen and adult life. I never had any relationship with him, and I can count on one hand the number of times that we were in a room together. So, I’m not really sad for myself, but I am sad for my dad. He’s lost his brother and that’s a sad thing.

I decided last night that I really hated the way the Mini-Clapotis that I was making for my mom looked. I’m using a yarn made of recycled sari silk (Mango Moon.) It’s lovely, but it’s also thick and thin, slubby, and overspun in places. It just wasn’t working for Clapotis. So I ripped it. Instead, I’m going to make a skinny stockinette scarf, with little lace details at each end. And if I don’t die from boredom while I knit this then I will consider myself lucky.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Big List

Okay, I’m a little freaked out now, so I think it’s an appropriate time to give you all the "Big List."

For Christmas and birthdays that fall around Christmas time, I plan to make:

Mom: Mini-Clapotis, from stash yarn. I still need one more present for her early December birthday
Sister: Mini-Clapotis, out of Noro Silk Garden that I have yet to buy
Niece #1: Laura Jane Bear. I also need another gift for her birthday
Niece #2: Laura Jane Bear (already knit), and a hat that I will design myself
Niece #3: Miss Dashwood
Nephew: I’m not sure yet, possibly Nautie, but the pattern is rather fiddly, so maybe Brontie instead
Kevin: Hop Pillow
Emily: Nautie
Noah: Nautie
Brother in law #1: socks. I think. But honestly? I think his knitted gift will get the axe first. This is not a reflection of my opinion of him, of course, I just don’t think he has the kind of personality to truly appreciate a knitted gift.
Brother in Law #2: Dinosaur of some kind, to round out the family tradition
Brother in Law #3: well, probably nothing knitted. Yet another person that I don’t think will truly appreciate the knitting, if you know what I mean.
Sister in Law #1: Possibly nothing knitted. I like her, respect her, and think that she appreciates the hand knits (and she lives in Georgia, so if she doesn’t I won’t know about it) but I don’t know if I have the stamina for it. And, I’m kind of out of ideas. Last year I knit her a scarf in Husky colors, and being a cougar, I’m afraid that I might have to sit out the next year or two. To recover. From the shock of it all. Also, she has a mid-December birthday. I may just send her the needles and the yarn and a "learn to knit" booklet. (Kidding! Really!)
Sister in Law #2: Something. Something knitted. Preferably something that I think she will like. I just don’t know what yet. By the way, feel free to read her blog here.
Mother in Law: Scarf. I’ve had the idea for a little bit now. I’m also ignoring the fact that her birthday is early February.
Father in Law: Sharfik. Full size. Good yarn (not yet purchased.) I’m also ignoring the fact that his birthday is mid-January.
Lori: socks for her birthday (I’m thinking Falling Leaves) and a scarf for Christmas. Last Christmas I made her a scarf, and it was a big hit.
Mike: socks for his birthday (obviously) and something else for christmas, perhaps not knitted. I don’ t know yet. Which have now been finished!!!! They are blocking in the "sun room" right now.
Dad: I’m getting him a copy of Walden. He will like it. I’m choosing to ignore his first-day-of-February birthday for the moment.
Stephen: dinosaur. He wants a dinosaur. That I’m going to design for him. It should be great.
Anyone Else: No, no, no.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Fates

What is it about weddings that make people fucking insane? I really don’t know, but they do. I’ve been spending a fair amount of my free time lately reading stories over at Etiquette Hell. Do go there. It will send shivers down your spine.

Moving on, I have finished the first of Mike Ball’s socks, and am working on the foot of the second. It is all going well. Maybe a little too well?....We brewed this weekend with the fresh hops that we received on Friday. The wort is bubbling nicely in my kitchen. I did not pickle anything last weekend. I was too tired to start in on it on Sunday.

On Friday, I had the most surprising lunch hour ever. Stephen has Fridays off so we decided to meet downtown and have lunch at a restaurant that I like, but can’t afford to eat dinner at. We arrived, ordered, and then sat there for 45 minutes. Yes, 45 minutes. When the food finally came Stephen’s order was wrong. The waiter was very apologetic, however, and said that the food was on the house and he would even buy us dessert. Fantastic. The food was good and the dessert was incredible (handmade vanilla bean ice cream with sugar cookies.) After leaving a tip (because that’s what you do when you go out to eat, right? You all out there tip don’t you?) we headed back to our cars. Since it was Friday at lunchtime we had both parked in a pay lot as there were no spots on the street. This particular parking lot has a real, live human attendant and so I stopped at the little shack on my way out of the lot, intending to pay. When I stopped, the attendant told me not to worry about it and to just go! I have no idea why. None. So, I got lunch and free parking on Friday.

I am pretty certain that the universe was trying to make up for the fact that we’ve been told by the people who are supposed to be fixing our stereo receiver that they won’t even look at it for a week!

I have started making lists of my christmas knitting and planning for it. I already know that there’s no way I will finish all of the things that I would like to finish, but it’s nice to dream, right? In case you were wondering, I’m currently plan to knit gifts for: my three nieces and one nephew, my sister, mother, mother in law, father in law, two brothers in law, one of my sisters in law and possibly the other as well, our friends Kevin and Emily, their son, possibly Mike and Lori, I am knitting for Mike and Lori for their birthdays (middle of this month and beginning of next month), and possibly several other friends. Oh, and my mother’s birthday (beginning of December), and my niece Gwendolyn’s birthday (but her gift is already finished) and my niece Anna’s birthday (middle of January.) Clearly, I am not going to make it. All that remains to be seen is which gifts get the axe, and in what order (also, what will I replace them with?) Did I even mention Stephen? Yeah. Stephen. Of course, he likes socks.

So, in short, yes, I am insane, and yes, I will only become more insane as the season progresses. Did I also mention that I’m a godless heathen? And yet Christmas is still kicking me in the ass?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Final Tally and Other Things

I’m sure that you’re all dying to know whether Stephen ate the leftovers and brought home the tupperware. Yes, he did eat the leftovers (2.5 points) but he forgot the tupperware (0 points.) What does that bring my grand total to? Right. -12.5 for the morning. Oh well.

Glaistig asked a few questions in the comments to my post on my Granny Walker. No, I was not born in Oklahoma. When my grandmother was 16 and just married (making my Granny 36 or so) my great grandfather moved to Washington to find work and my Granny, my grandmother and great uncles moved to Washington to join him. My mom was born here in Washington (in 1956 (sorry mom)) and I was also born here in Washington. Yep, born and raised in Washington, although not born and raised in Spokane. My parents both grew up in Aberdeen (on the coast) and that’s where I was born too. Finally, yes, the two headed doll is a vintage flip over doll. Basically, she’s reversible (I will have to post a picture.) I love that doll.

Anyway, on the homefront I have good news and bad news. Good news: Stephen is getting some fresh hops from a woman who got them from a guy who apparently grew them in his back yard out in the Spokane Valley. They are Cascade hops and I have no idea where we’re going to hang them to dry. This is very good news for our brewing ambitions. Bad news: the fucking stereo receiver thingy up and died last night. Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck, fuck. It simply won’t turn on anymore. You press the power button, it turns on, starts going through its set up routine, and then abruptly stops and shuts itself off a third of the way through the routine. And the fucking thing is only a year old. A year old this week. Stephen is taking it into where we bought it today. I have no idea what they will say. I just want someone to fucking fix it, at no cost to me.

On the knitting front, I have turned the heel on Mike’s first sock, and am working away on the foot. I have to admit that not much progress was made last night, but I plan to work on it over the weekend, etc., etc. Also this weekend I plan to pickle anything in my house that can be pickled, including (but not necessarily limited to): cucumbers, carrots, beets, and green beans. I’m also hoping to make and can some tomato sauce soon. I have tomatoes, I have a great homemade sauce recipe, it should work out great.

Lastly, I am completely overwhelmed.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Brain is Melted

Let’s review my morning, shall we?:

Got up with Stephen (that’s an hour and twenty-five minutes earlier than yesterday.) Go me! + 1. Started the coffee before he was out of the shower. + 1. Paid all of the bills before he was out the door. + 20. Trust me. That last move is definitely worth twenty points. Sent Stephen to work with leftovers for lunch. + 1, with an optional five points still available, 2.5 if he eats all of the leftovers, and 2.5 if he remembers to bring the tupperware home. Put the coffee in the thermos for Stephen. + 1 for being a fantastic, long suffering (ha!) wife. Have trained Stephen to use the back door instead of the (hideous, horrible, needs to be replaced) side door. + 1. In less than two weeks. + 2 more. So far, I’m up 26 points, with the possibility of five more by the day’s end. So far, I’m doing well. This is when it all goes downhill.

As soon as Stephen leaves I pick up my current project (socks for my friend Mike Ball who is turning 60 at the end of next week.) 0 points. I manage to knit and read Knitting Rules (yes, I’ve already read it) while sitting in the big chair by the window. 0 points. I knit and read and drink my morning coffee, all simultaneously. I have to get up. Step in my coffee cup. - 1. I have to get up again. Step in my coffee cup again, this time knocking it over and spilling the remnants of the morning coffee. - 3. Pick up my coffee cup and clean up the spilled coffee. Look at the clock. It’s 7:00. Instead of getting dressed I continue to read and knit. - 1. Look at the clock again five minutes later. Instead of getting dressed I continue to read and knit. - 2. Look at the clock again five minutes later. Instead of getting dressed I continue to read and knit. - 5 since it is now the time that I should be leaving the house. Look at the clock again five minutes later. Instead of getting dressed I continue to read and knit. - 10 since it is now five minutes past the time I should have left the house. Look at the clock again three minutes later. Get up to get dressed. - 1 point for continuing to be slow in the mornings and perpetually behind schedule. Get dressed, brush teeth, wash face (- 3 points for not showering,) get purse, turn on fan and air conditioner, turn off lights, check to make sure doors are locked, leave. - 10 points for leaving at the same time I should already be at work. Get to work. I am the first one in. 0 points. I am a wee bit late. - 5 more points.

Total for my morning? - 15. Still, it could be worse. Stephen still might come through for me and bring home the tupperware.

Lastly, I just want to thank the Yarn Harlot, whose Knitting Rules book has given me the confidence that I can knit Mike Ball a pair of socks without having a pattern. I’m using a very simple, spiral around the leg, stitch pattern that I thought of (out of my own head, amazing, isn’t it? You won’t think so when I post pictures.) I think they’re going to be good socks. I’m also thinking about making extra sturdy heels, and toes if I can figure out how.

Monday, September 04, 2006

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Greek Pullover-- Finished

This morning I finished sewing the ruffle on my Greek Pullover and it was officially finished. Very exciting.

Project Stats:
Pattern: Greek Pullover from Fall ’05 IK by Sharon Shoji
Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic in color 842 (rose), four and half balls used
Needles: Size 7 and 8 straights
Mods: None

Okay, so I made the smallest (34” bust) size. I made this decision because the last top I made for myself was the Lotus Blossom Tank, which I realized in hindsight I should have made in the 34” bust size, instead of the 38”. Every time I put on the Tank I spend about fifteen minutes cinching it and arranging the bust line to minimize the chances of my breasts falling out of the front of it. Obviously, I didn’t want to repeat that same mistake. Hence the 34” bust size on the Greek Pullover.

As confident as I was that I didn’t want to repeat my previous mistake, as I was knitting the Pullover I began to wonder if I had made an entirely different mistake: choosing too small a size. I began to wonder if it was going to take an act of god to wrestle the finished sweater over my head and breasts and etc., etc. Ahem. Up until the end I was in suspense. I comforted myself with the knowledge that blocking is magic and my swatch had grown a teeny tiny bit when I blocked it.

When I finally got the whole thing sewn up on Saturday I tried it on. The bust fit, the neckline fit, I was a little worried about the length but it wasn’t that far off either. The thing that got me (in the end) was the left armscye. It was too small. Somehow, when I sewed the sleeve into the armscye I managed to take the tiniest tuck in the sleeve and my shoulder would just barely, after some tugging, squeeze through the armscye. And then it was a little like wearing a blood pressure cuff. However, since I had already seamed everything up and woven in the ends I decided to give the sweater a stern blocking before I ripped out the sleeve (which would undoubtedly require a bit of a surgery since I wouldn’t be able to find my end again.)

So I blocked it and when I blocked it I grabbed both of the shoulder seams (the right could stand to be a tad looser) and stretched them as much as I thought I could get away with. And then I tried it on a few more times throughout the blocking process, stretching it each time. And today? When I got up this morning, ready for my moment of truth? Well, I won’t say it’s perfect, but it’s definitely wearable. More than that, I think it will stretch more with the wearing. Happy day.

So instead of surgically removing a sleeve today, and possibly ending up reknitting a portion of it (if the surgeon was not as skilled as she should be in the removal process) I made the chiffon ruffle and sewed it on. I think it’s fantastically cute. Oh, and the color is really good on me. (this is probably the real reason for my pink obsession. I look good in pretty much any shade of pink.)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

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Friday, September 01, 2006

On Little Women

A few months ago I picked up a copy of Little Women at Barnes & Noble. I thought that I would add it to my ever-expanding library of classics that I’ve read but like to reread periodically, as opposed to classics that I have read and will never read again but like to have on my bookshelf to impress people (and myself) with the fact that I have read them, once. Crime and Punishment falls into that category. And Middlemarch, apparently. And definitely, definitely, David Copperfield. Actually, I have David Copperfield on my bookshelf because the book was in such poor shape when I bought it from the college bookstore that I couldn’t sell it back and I can’t imagine actually throwing a book out.

Anyway, so I started reading Little Women about a month ago, got about 25 pages in and set it down in favor of something else (knitting like a madman.) I picked it up again last weekend after we had painted the extra room and installed all the bookshelves and the recliners. Have I mentioned that one half of the room, the one where my granny’s vanity sits, is fast becoming a pit that I can call my own? I swear that I mark my territory with clutter the way that male cats mark their territory with urine. Since then I’ve been pretty engrossed, to the point of knitting the sleeves for my Greek Pullover while simultaneously reading Little Women, with the book carefully balanced on my thighs, trying not to go cross eyed from trying to read the book while looking at my knitting at the same time. During this little fit of literary dalliance I have learned a few things. First, I don’t believe that I have actually read Little Women all the way through before. I know that I had an abridgment that I read several times when I was a little girl (in fact I still have it) and I know that I’ve seen the movie (the one with Winona Ryder) but I just don’t think that I’ve actually read the whole, unabridged novel, all the way through. I would even go so far as to say that I’ve definitely read through some part of the first portion of the book, but definitely not through the entire book. I just don’t remember it and if I had read it, I would remember it. I remember things that I read. That’s why I always did well in school. I didn’t study that hard I just remembered a large portion of what I had read.

Anyway, I’ve also learned that some of the things that I found really annoying when I read/saw the movie when I was younger don’t annoy me so much now. Case in point: Amy. I always found Amy to be a whining, sniveling, infuriating little brat, and I was really upset when Laurie marries her. Now, I find that she was a whining, sniveling little brat in the beginning of the book, but she much improves as she gets older. I still think that Jo’s refusal to marry Laurie is incomprehensible. In fact, I’m convinced that Ms. Alcott was simply being contrary in having Jo refuse Laurie. She knew that everyone expected Jo to marry Laurie, and she didn’t want Jo’s life to be so easy or simple or the resolution of her novel to be so predictable. Now that I’m older though, I can see her point in putting Laurie and Amy together. It’s unpredictable and yet makes sense since both characters have grown and changed so much over the course of the novel.

Lastly, I remember why I read and reread the (abridged version) of the novel. It’s comforting. Not because the story is easy and predictable, but because the sisters are always trying to do better, to be better people. Granted, they are a little too nice sometimes and a little too saintlike, but still. The ultimate goal is to better oneself. And if you fall down, to pick yourself back up again. Just like we all do in real life all the time. Also, Alcott included some very astute observations about human nature in the novel.

Did you know that Louisa May Alcott was the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts? In 1879, forty years before the passage of the nineteenth amendment?

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