Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Yes, that's plural: finished objects!

I finished the footies for my sister. Here they are in their artsy shot, relaxing in the pewter bowl my sister gave me for Christmas. They're not very photogenic: they're actually more periwinkle andmore attractive that they look in the picture.

Pattern: Cable Footies from OneSkein
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted in Periwinkle - a little less than one skein
Needles: US8 Bryspun Bry-Flex DPNs
Modifications: I kept the cables going down farther to the toe, which I think looks better - although I don't think the two footies look exactly alike!
Notes: The toes are awfully pointy and elf-like, but these are footies, not socks. I'm still not happy with my Kitchenering. However, I think I just need more practice. I absolutely love the Bry-Flex DPNs -- they have perfect points, at least for me.

I'm sure I'll make these again - they're fast and cute and very useful.

My second FO is a catnip 'mouse' for my kitties, made from the same yarn as the footies (the remnants of the first skein weren't quite enough -- luckily, I had another skein!) The pattern is from Wendy, and is very cute, with the little cable down the mousey back. I left it on Harley's Alpine Scratcher for her to find. (And sorry about that really lousy picture!)

So far she's ignored it, but Simon spent a little time batting it around. I wonder if the catnip is old.....

Monday, March 27, 2006

Fixed Footie

After a little encouragement from Cyndi, I decided to try to fix the footie rather than frog it. So this evening I dropped those four cable stitches down to the mistake, then reknit them with my crochet hook.

I'm really happy with the result. If you know what I did, you can see the difference in the cable, but I think that once the sock has been washed and blocked a little, it will be unnoticeable.

I've added a little arrow so you can see where I fixed the cable. It's just a little larger than the rest. At this rate, I'll finish this pair tomorrow or Wednesday. I think I'm going to make another pair for a friend, too. Doesn't everyone need a pair of nice warm footies?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Other hobbies

First, here's the photo Blogger didn't want me to post the other night.

It's the cabled footie from Oneskein. (It's resting on the needle case Mom made made me last year. Isn't it pretty?) Since I took this photo on Wednesday, I've finished this footie, and have gotten down to the foot on the second. Unfortunately, I realized at knitting group this afternoon that I had missed a cable crossing in the second footie, so there will be frogging.

Whenever I hear about spinning, I practically stick my fingers in my ears and sing la-la-la, because I really don't need another hobby. I spent a good part of Saturday working on one of them: scrapbooking.

Some people are surprised to hear that there are people (well, mostly women) without kids who crop, but in my little group there are more of us without children than with. My interest in scrapbooks began as an offshoot of my interest in genealogy. Thanks to one of my cousins, I received copies of a number of old photographs (old as in late 19th/early 20th century) of my father's family. As my interest in my mother's family grew, I started tracking down photos from her family, too -- from Mom's scrapbooks, from my grandmother's, from one of Mom's cousins. Before I started my 'heritage album,' I did a practice album, which started out as a way to rescue photos from my college years, in the 1970s, from slowly disintegrating sticky-paged albums. That album grew to include the years after college, when I was married.

College (really, there was more than just partying, but you have no idea how hard it was to find a sticker of a six-pack of beer! A keg would have been more appropriate, but I was thrilled to find the six-pack.)

(Oh - and there was a magazine under this page when I took the picture - that's what the mccormick spice logo is from!)


These photos were all taken by Steve's sister. I like them at least as much as the ones taken by the professional photographer!

My father's grandfather

This is one of my favorite pages - I'm sorry you can't see it better!

Mom and Dad while they were dating and first married

And I stamp, too.... Someday I'll show you some cards I've made!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Bit of Knitting

So I'm sitting here reading knitblogs and thinking, "I wish I had something to post," when I realized -- I do! I'm close to starting the toe decrease in the Cabled Footies. I'd post a picture, but Blogger's not cooperating with pictures tonight. And, anyway, the color is lousy - they're really a very nice periwinkle, but show up in the picture as just king of blue.

As I said before, this pattern is from the book Oneskein, which is full of good stuff. The footies are knitted from worsted weight yarn - I'm using Lamb's Pride Worsted - so they'll be nice and warm. I should finish them fast - it's supposed to get down near freezing here tonight and, I think, tomorrow night, which is cold for San Antonio at any time of year, but unbelievably cold for late March. I mean, I've already had the air conditioning on once this year, but now I've got the heat on again! But I digress -- the footies are for my sister, whose husband keeps their apartment at about 60 degrees year round, so she'll get use out of them year round!

Oh, and remember the baby Blu jeans and the orange and blue baby sweater? (How could you forget? I blogged incessantly about them!) The recipient was born on Monday, and the sweater and jeans are scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll have a picture or two eventually!

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Spring must be here, because the Peeps have appeared!

It seems like people feel one of two ways about Peeps: they either love them or hate them. Me, I'm a lover (although I have mixed feelings about non-Easter Peeps). I think those of you who claim not to like Peeps just haven't embraced your own inner Peepsness. Either that, or you haven't tried leaving the package open for a day or two, which causes a crunchy shell to form around the marshmallowy goodness. And just so you'll know that Peeps aren't just about fun, check out Peeps research here.

There is knitting content today, too. I stopped by the LYS yesterday morning to buy a few more things at 25% off.

Here we have a copy of The Knitter's Companion, recommended by Chris (thanks!) and four more skeins of sock yarn, all Fortissima Socka. The "darker blue" skeins on the sides are actually purple (color 1014) while the top and bottom skeins are a very pretty greeny-blue (color 1005) which, oddly, the color card calls Coffee, although at least Yarndex notes in parentheses that it's blue. I think the purple will work well for toes and heels with the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock I got on Thursday.

I also bought a set of Bryspun US8 DPNs, which I love (look at those points!). They're already in use here:

It's the beginning of a Cabled Footie from Oneskein, a great book that took our SnB knitting group by storm last week at Barnes and Noble. They had three copies, and I think we bought them all! I'm making them in the Periwinkle Lamb's Pride Worsted I bought on Thursday.

In non-knitting news -- anyone else a college hoops fan? Can you believe the NCAA tourney this year? Bradley, George Mason, and Wichita State all in the Sweet 16? The fact that Kansas and Tennessee are also out makes Illinois' loss a little easier..... and Bradley's in Peoria, only - what - 70 miles?, from Champaign, so they're the central Illinois team this year!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Stash Enhancement

San Antonio's one-and-only LYS is having a sale this week, Thursday-Saturday. They almost never have sales, but this one is 25% off everything in the store. So I took advantage of having Thursday off and dragged Mom with me to the Yarn Barn that afternoon. I definitely enhanced my stash of yarn and of needles.

The color in this photo just sucks - so badly that I spent a few minutes googling all the yarns to try to find better representations of the color. That proved tiresome, though, so you'll have to imagine the colors!

At the top: Lamb's Pride Worsted in Periwinkle
Second row, left: Plymouth Sockotta in 5616, which is really a pink/orange/yellow stripe
Second row, right: Drops Alpaca 3720, a very pretty pale rose and not at all lavender
Third row: Cascade 220 in 9469, somewhere between deep rose and fuchsia
Bottom row: One lonely skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Fresh Stripe, turquoise and purple, but more subdued than the photo.

I'm going back to Yarn Barn tomorrow morning and hope that there's another skein of the Shepherd Sock in the same dye lot (they're restocking at night, but won't check stock during the sale). If not, I hope there's enough in a single skein for a pair of socks or at least anklets for my 9-year-old niece.

I also went crazy with needles, especially "fancy" ones. Here Simon is pointing out that he's more important than silly knitting needles. If you look closely you can see 3 pairs of rosewood needles, a pair of Skacel DPNs, some BrySpun DPNs, some of my old favorite Clovers, and two extension cords for my Denises. Wow! I'll never need to buy needles again, right? ;-)

Speaking of Simon, he had a follow-up with his regular vet tonight, and he was declared as healthy as he can probably be. He's walking and jumping just fine (he was on top of the fridge a couple nights ago) and acted very charming for both Dr. Masters and the assistant. He's going to remain on enalapril, in addition to the lasix he's been on for seven years. His heart problem is never going to get any better, but it's not slowing him down. And he got his shots, so he's all good for the next year.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Completed: One Pair of Socks

What's this?

Why, it's what was left over from the skein at then end of the second sock, laying next to my 7 inch DPN for comparison. I had about twice this amount left from the first sock's skein.

The good news, though, is that I finished Mom's socks before she left for home. I don't have a picture of her wearing both, though, because she's in bed. She's leaving at 4:00 tomorrow morning!

Pattern: Crusoe from in the larger size

Yarn: 2 skens of Koigu Kersti (not the KPPPM called for)

Needles: US3 Clover Bamboo DPNs (up from size 1s, since Kersti is a heavier yarn)

I really like these socks, and sock-knitting in general. I'm about to cast on for another pair for my sister. I have issues with Kitchener stitch, though. I understand it perfectly in theory, but can't seem to execute it very well. I've used instructions from several different books. Does anyone have Kitchener instructions that you think are really clear?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

One Last Look

Here's one last photo of the baby jeans, this time from the back. They're awfully cute, if I do say so myself!

Pattern: Blu from in the 6 month size

Yarn: 2 and a half skeins of Rowan Denim in Nashville (dark blue); about half a skein of Rowan Denim in Tennessee (light blue); a little bit of yellowy-orange DMC floss for the embroidery

Needles: US6 Denises

No matter how cute they are, I never got used to the fact that the dark blue yarn turned my fingers and my Denises blue. Other than that, these were a quick and easy knit. Seaming the pieces together was the hardest part, and my mom put the elastic in for me (although if she hadn't been visiting this week, I'm sure I could have done it myself!)

Now I just need to wrap it with its companion, the Illini orange-and-blue sweater (made from Plymouth Encore DK), so I can send them back to Illinois with Mom at the end of the week. As far as we know, the baby hasn't been born yet.

Speaking of Mom, I've turned the hell heel on the second sock -- for some reason, I had to do it about four times before I got it right! I'm still hoping to have it done before she leaves....

One last thing: my hometown is Springfield, Illinois. Actually, I grew up a little bit south of Springfield, and my mom and brother currently live just outside of Springfield. Springfield was hit by two tornadoes Sunday evening. Luckily, it seems that no lives were lost and my family is fine, although 48 hours later, they still don't have power. However, much of the city is not fine. The southwest-side suburb of Jerome was really hard-hit. There doesn't seem to have been much national coverage of this. For more information and photos, see or

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sock and Baby Jeans

Note that the title says "sock," not "socks." But one of my Knitting Olympics socks is finally and completely done. Here it is, being modeled by the recipient herself, my mom.

Here's the requisite "heel shot":

(See that black and white picture in the background? That's Mom and Dad's wedding photo. I'm pretty sure she wasn't wearing socks this pretty that day!)

Now, I just have to frog the other, too-small sock and knit a mate for this one. Mom doesn't go home until next Friday morning. I wonder how likely it is that I'll have it done by then?

With Mom's help, I've also finished the baby jeans from Knitty. I seamed them up, sewed on the button, and embroidered the fly and pockets. Mom sewed in the elastic. Actually, I think Susan has a jeans label for me to sew on the back, so I'm not quite done. But here they are, in all their cuteness.

And here's a shot of the whole outfit -- baby Illini sweater and jeans. They're done just in time, since the baby is due any day, and Mom can take them back to Illinois with her.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Quick Update

Thanks to all of you who worried with me about Simon. The good news is he's doing much better. In fact, he's close to normal. He's still having a little trouble jumping high, like onto the kitchen counter, but he's doing it anyway. Who knew that I would ever be thrilled to see him up on the counter? ;-)

In knitting news, I'm in the middle of seaming and embroidering the baby jeans. They'll probably be finished tomorrow, I think, so I'll post a picture then.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A Little Bit Scary

Brief knitting content: I have finished knitting both legs of the baby jeans and have washed and dried them (in the dryer!!!). Next, I need to block them to size by ironing, embroider the pockets, etc., seam them up, and install the elastic. That last piece, about the elastic, is a bit intimidating to me, but my mom, the super-sewer, arrives for a visit tonight...

Now - what's scary (besides putting your knitting in the dryer and having to install elastic)?

Saturday, Simon suffered something like a minor stroke. He tried to walk towards me and fell to the right. He got up and it happened again. I immediately called my vet, but it was just after noon, and he was closed. The message suggested an emergency clinic, so I shoved Simon in the carrier and got there by 12:45.

Although they first suspected poisoning, which apparently is the most common cause of neurological problems in cats, they tested and found nothing. Once he found out that Simon has a heart problem, the vet changed track. He reminded my sister (who had met me at the clinic, and who is really Simon's human mommy) that for a cat to be treated with Lasix for seven years is almost unheard of. He was also totally freaked out by the size and shape of Simon's heart in the x-ray. (Simon had endocarditis in 1999 and his heart is permanently enlarged and oddly shaped. It's almost "heart-shaped" on the x-ray.)

In addition to having trouble walking, they also suspected that Simon couldn't see. His eyes worked, but his brain wasn't processing what he saw. He didn't respond to fingers or shiny things dangling right in front of him.

They kept Simon overnight. I went to visit him around 9:00. Simon recognized me, or at least recognized my voice, and purred when I held him and scratched his ears. Sunday morning, my sister and I went to visit him again and they said he was stable and he could come home, although of course he would have to see his own vet soon.

As soon as we were home, Simon walked out of his carrier. He was very happy to get out of it - after being on IV fluids all night, he had peed in the carrier as soon as he got in! Where's a litter box when you need one? He was still stumbling, but I was certain he could see. As the day progressed, I became convinced he could see. I don't know if he had actually been blind or if he just hadn't been interested in the stuff being dangled in front of him. After all, he is a cat.... He also began getting around better, and was able to jump up on the bed by himself. He did seem tired, but I'm sure the overnight at the clinic wasn't very restful! He also wasn't particularly interested in eating.

This morning we saw his regular vet, who says that the x-ray of Simon's heart is pretty much just like what it was the last time it was x-rayed, about a year ago. He says this episode is likely related to his heart problem. Simon is now on enalapril in addition to Lasix (he's like a little old man with his heart meds!). He's walking much, much better, although jumping is still problematic - earlier today he jumped for the back of my chair and fell off. Of course, he walked away like he had meant to do that! He's also learned to walk with his back legs a little farther apart, which helps his balance.

I stayed home with him today, even though I'm sure he would be fine without me and that Harley would watch over him. Luckily, I work with pet-owners so they understand why I needed to be here. One of my co-workers reminded me that meat-flavored baby food is tempting to sick kitties, so I'm going to go to the grocery store in a few minutes.

Simon says....

I'm feeling better now, but am somewhat concerned about where they shaved my arm for the IV. And don't get me started about what they stuck up my butt!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Where Have You Been?

Or, more appropriately, I guess -- where have I been?

I've been to Canada once -- to Vancouver for MLA in 2000 -- but that trip gives me credit for the entire country. And those ten years as an Army wife helped, too, with Europe and that tiny blip of red that is South Korea (which you may not be able to see, because the map is being cut off to the right). You can create your own visited countries map; that link gives you an option for a states-visited map, too.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Yarn Porn

STR Queen Rock

Yes, it's Socks That Rock in Queen Rock. The color is not quite as bright as in the picture. For one thing, that royal blue on the right is really much more purple. It's wonderful and I have no idea what I'll use it for - socks, I guess!

Also in the mail today (actually, delivered at about 6:30 by FedEx) was this -- Adagio Tea's ingenuiTEA 'teapot' -- more like an infuser -- and a green tea sampler. I used to be quite a tea drinker and in fact have a collection of teapots. More recently, I've only drank tea when I'm sick or when it's really cold outside, but the recent reports about green tea's benefits have emphasized its protection against Alzheimer's. And since I worry about Alzheimer's anyway (worried, I guess, about becoming one of those crazy ladies with cats -- no, I'm not there yet!), this seems like an easy thing to do. And while you're at the Adagio page, watch the little video about how the ingenuiTEA works -- so cute! ;-)

I wanted to prove to y'all that I've really been knitting, so I tried to take a picture of my fingers, which are blue from the Rowan Denim yarn, but the flash keeps washing out the color and - duh! - I can't remember how to turn the flash off. But take my word for it - I'm quite blue. The fact that I grasp my knitting so tightly that you'd think it was trying to run away probably doesn't help....

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Simon says....

Why is everyone talking about Harley?

I've reassured Simon that he is very handsome, wearing his tuxedo every day, but Harley is more interesting. After all, she's a tortie! Chris asked if Harley was a boy, because she had never seen a male tortie before. No, Harley's a girl -- "Harley" is short for "Harlequin" because I thought it looked like she's wearing a mask.

A little quick-and-dirty research shows that Chris is right. Male tortoiseshell cats are rare, and it looks like chromosomally they are frequently XXY. So, I guess I'm happy that Harley's a girl!

And, yes, I'm still working on the baby jeans. Maybe by the weekend, I'll have something worth showing y'all!