Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm in!

I've joined NaBloPoMo, which means you'll be hearing from me on a daily basis during November. I'm sure it won't be pretty, but I'm going to try anyway. And because of this -- you won't be hearing from me again until Thursday, November 1st!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Crazy Aunt Purl, Meet Peoria. Peoria -- Crazy Aunt Purl.

When Laurie announced her fairly-short book tour, I was first excited/disappointed to see that she was going to Houston. If I still lived in San Antonio, it would be an easy 3-hour drive to go to Houston. Then I realized that she was also coming to Peoria -- less than three hours from Iowa City! Peoria is also only about an hour from Mom's, so I visited Mom for a couple days after my Albuquerque conference, and drove up to Peoria on Saturday.

Laurie was appearing at the Women's Lifestyle Show, which meant an admission charge and that many in the audience weren't knitters. I decided that the importance of representing knitters was worth the $8 admission charge, and I'm really glad I did.

Laurie sounds just like you'd expect her to -- she has a Southern accent, but also speaks really fast. After reading a few passages from her book, she took questions. She's still learning the book-tour business, and admitted that she was nervous, but she was just so cute! She didn't even roll her eyes when someone asked why her blog was called "Crazy Aunt Purl." She also said she wouldn't be writing a book about dating -- too depressing! Considering the number of people standing in line to buy books for her to sign afterwards, I think she must have enchanted even the non-knitters in the crowd. When she signed my book (pre-ordered from Amazon), she recognized my name as a sometime-commenter, which surprised me -- sometimes, having an unusual name is a good thing! She also stood up and hugged every single person in line, and took pictures with most of us. I think most of us wanted to take her home to our mom's house for dinner! Or maybe wine...

Where's my picture? Well, my camera's battery had almost died by then, and a single picture was taking WAAAY too long, so someone took one of us with Laurie's camera. I'll be watching her flickr site for it!

Next time: actual knitting content, with pictures!

ETA: She's quicker than me -- here's our picture!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Busy, busy, busy!

I mentioned that I was going to be gone for a while. Well, technically, I'm still gone! I'm at my mom's through the weekend, then it's back to Iowa City.

Last Friday morning, I drove to Mom's (3 and a half hours) and dropped off Harley at "Camp Ninny." I kept promising her she would have fun! Then my brother drove me to St. Louis, so I could use my free Southwest Airlines ticket to fly to Albuquerque for the annual meeting of the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association. Technically, this is my "old" chapter, since I now live in the Midwest Chapter's region. However, there's nothing that says you can't belong to more than one chapter!

The meeting didn't offically begin until Sunday. For the past more-years-than-I-can-remember, I've had to be there on Saturday for pre-meeting meetings. But this year, due to my new "outsider" status, I had no meetings to attend! So a friend and I drove up to Santa Fe, and spent Saturday shopping. And not shopping for yarn, although this is the same friend that I dragged to a yarn shop in Phoenix.

Once we got to Albuquerque, there was not time for yarn-shopping, which is too bad -- a couple other knitter/conference-attendees got to Village Wools and loved it! However, I did see plenty of knitters and even some hand-knits!

Here's Steve wearing the beautiful sweater he knitted, steeked, and zippered, engaged in lively conversation with our friend Craig at the closing banquet.


The conference gave me the chance to almost-finish the first Serpentine Mitt. Unfortunately, I haven't taken a picture yet, and my camera battery is almost gone. Of course, the charger is in Iowa City. I promise a picture before both mitts are done!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

FO, unB

That would be "Finished Object, Unblocked." And it definitely needs to be blocked! The color is all wrong, too. It's really gray, with the tiniest tinge of brown.

Hemlock Ring Lap Blanket, unblocked

Details: Hemlock Ring Lap Blanket (adapted to lap blanket size here by Jared Flood)
Yarn: A little more than 1 and a half skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool in 8019 Antique
Needles: size US 10, starting with DPNs and moving through several lengths of circulars, until I ended up with my new 60" Harmonies.
Modifications: None!

My favorite part of this project was definitely the center. Isn't it pretty?

Hemlock Ring Lap Blanket center

The center was also the most fun to knit. After that the rounds of feather and fan got a little boring. The scalloped bind-off was fun, too! There's a KAL for this pattern, and it was funny to read the comments -- many knitters just wanted to get through the center and onto the feather and fan, where 4 out of five rows were knit-knit-knit. Well, I've whined before about stockinette in the round, so you know I got tired of that fast!

I had never knit with Eco Wool before, but I really like it -- soft and squooshy, but with a nice body. It's also a good bargain, because it's about $15 for 478 yards (and I got it on sale, too!) I hear that it now comes in a range of "unnatural" colors now, too. I'll definitely be using it again.

Someone asked about the Harmony needles -- I love them, too! They're smooth without being slippery, which is good when you knit loose like I do. They're also pointy enough, although my perfect needles would be a little bit pointier -- I think I've mentioned how I like needles sharp enough to wound, and these aren't quite that sharp. The multi-colored wood is beautiful, the cords are skinny, and the joins are very, very smooth. If you like wood needles, I highly recommend these.

So -- one Christmas present almost done. It will be a while before I have a chance to block it, because I'm going to be gone -- a combination of conference and vacation -- for over a week. When I get back, I'll start on the second Christmas gift. While I'm gone, I'll work on the long-abandoned Flared Lace Smoke Ring, which I think I've been working on sporadically for about a year,and probably some socks. Because you can never have too many socks!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Red Scarf Finished and Sent!

There will be knitting content today, but first:

On the bus on the way to work this morning, I saw a young woman, maybe 19 or so, whose attire caused me to consider kinnearing her. However, there was no way I could do it without the entire bus seeing me take her picture -- I was in the front row of the back, higher part of the bus and would definitely have needed to hold my camera up in the air -- so you'll have to use your imaginations.

I first noticed her mittens and hat, which appeared to be hand-knit, and the fact that she was wearing a down vest. It was a little chilly this morning, but the outerwear seemed a little bit of overkill. Then I notice the rest of her outfit..... Under the down vest, she had a long-sleeved hooded tunic that hit her mid-thigh. Under the tunic were black-and-white dotted leggings. Over the leggings were pastel-striped leg warmers. I was so shocked that I didn't notice her shoes. It was like she was channeling the '80's, or had raided her mother's 'old clothes' closet. It was kind of shocking!

Now onto knitting --

Last night, I wove in the ends of the Red Balloon Scarf and ran it through the washer, since it's made of superwash wool. I laid it down on towels on the floor and "blocked" it by sort of evening out the edges. This morning, it was still a bit damp, so I draped it over the stair rail for the day. After work, I wrapped it up and sent it priority to the OFA.

FO: Red Scarf

Pattern: Interlocking Balloons by Shirley Paden, in Scarf Style

Yarn: KnitPicks Swish Superwash (worsted weight) in Fired Brick

Needles: size US 6 Harmony interchangeables

Modifications: My row gauge was way off -- I always get more rows per inch than I'm supposed to, like I'm knitting tight, which doesn't make sense, since my stitches per inch are loose. So I just kept knitting until it was 6 feet long. I'm not sure how many repeats I did, but I finished half way through a repeat.

  • The scarf grew in the wash, so it was closer to 7 feet long when I packed it up.
  • The yarn is nice and squooshy, although it's a little bit splitty. However, it's inexpensive and comes in lots and lots of pretty colors!
  • The pattern was fun -- it's made of shifting 1x3 ribs, with a few cable crosses. It's kind of three-dimensional (well, even more so than most knitting!).
I needed a card to send along with it, so I dug out some stamps and punches. That made me realize that I really need to figure out a way to organize my stamping/scrapbooking stuff. Right now, most of it is still in various boxes from the move and stuffed into my yarn room closet. Sometimes I really miss my old house!

Red Scarf and card
This photo captures the color best.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


  • The first bit of miscellany is the pronunciation of the word miscellany. I've always thought it was pronounced with the accent on the CELL, but then, how often do I actually say it out loud? A few nights ago, I heard someone much smarter than me (with a PhD and everything) pronounce it with the accent on the MIS, just like miscellaneous, without the -ous. says we're both right, although my pronunciation is the British way. That makes sense: central Illinois + Texas = British accent!
  • The high today here in Iowa City was 88º, exactly what it was in San Antonio. I thought one of the advantages of moving back to the Midwest was autumn.....
  • I am knitting, still working on the Red Balloon Scarf, for the Red Scarf Project (and, yes, I'm using red, because I love red, but the fine print says you can use any color suitable for either a young man or a young woman -- which really means suitable for men, because women aren't nearly as picky about colors as men). I took a picture, but it's too dark to see much. This is a fun knit, but I hate deadline knitting, and I've got to finish this by the middle of the week. It's currently four feet long. I was hoping I only needed another repeat after the current one, but it looks like I'll definitely need at least two more.
  • This evening, I cooked up a batch of Dave Daniels' grandmother's sauteed mushrooms for dinner. I had planned on having a veggie burger along with it, but the kitchen was about 100º, since I was also baking a loaf of banana bread. The mushrooms were really yummy on their own, and had the advantage of using up a half an onion that was languishing in the fridge.
  • The banana bread was a disaster, which is weird, since I make this recipe all the time. I could blame it on my oven, which is old and not very well calibrated, but I've made it in the oven several times since I moved. (I use the second Banana Bread recipe from Beard on Bread, if you're interested.) When I took the loaf out of the oven, it looked a little too well-done. I'd tested it with a toothpick a few minutes before, when it was still bit wet, but it definitely looked done when I removed it. So, I immediately flipped the loaf pan over onto the rack like I alway do -- and out of the crack on top (which looked just like it always does!) oozed about a fifth of the batter, unbaked. Yuck. And how do you clean up 350º batter from the counter? Well, you don't -- you let it cool off and hope you remember to clean it up before you go to bed!
  • And finally....
Harley say Hi!
Harley has over come her temporary fear of the lower levels of the condo
and would like to tell you all hello!