Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "An Irish Country Village" by Patrick Taylor, reading "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" by Anna Quindlen and knitting Wisconsin Wintersocks. And casting off the lace shawl I've been working on since I last posted.

Monday, March 31, 2008

What Cassie did on Spring Break

Painted her room.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

More Grinchiness

This is why I have not posted about what I have been knitting this week:



It is a little, um, rustic. Lumpy. The opposite of svelte. I swear the green blob will look better when it is finished. This is side one of a memory pillow for TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), a community that helps the families of fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. The grieving survivor tucks a memento into the little pocket on the memory pillow as a small, private way to remember his or her special someone. On Memorial Day weekend, TAPS runs a program in a hotel near the Pentagon. I hope to finish this pillow and another half-done crocheted one before then.

The yarn is a thick-and-thin wool from Switzerland in a quiet green color that I think is just wonderful. (Some might call it drab. They just are not appreciating the subtle green-on-green thing going on.) Notice how the needle color coordinates with the yarn? I couldn't think what else this yarn could be used for. To quote the title of Franklin Habit's new book of hilarious cartoons, "It Itches." I wouldn't want this next to my skin, but I am going to felt it and fully expect it will soften up nicely.

My other treat for the day is a giant pot of Great Northern bean soup, the best I have ever made, courtesy of Easter's ham bone, a small head of cabbage, some left over chopped Vidalia onion and a pound of carrots. (One can never have too many carrots in soup.) It goes swimmingly with my lumpy knitting, not so well with today's sunny weather. I could turn on the air conditioning to pretend it is cold and miserable, but that would be cheating.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Grinching

I have a secret. I don't really like Spring. I know I am supposed to -- all that busting out all over hooha -- but it is number 3 on my season list.

And it is all Virginia's fault. Living in a mild climate, I can hardly work up a good pining for spring's seed catalogs and tomato plants in peat pots. The weather just does not get cold, nasty, and miserable enough for me to seriously care if winter ends or not. Where I grew up, the first robin of spring was a thrill, a competition with your schoolmates. "I saw a robin today!" "Oh yeah? I saw one last Thursday." In Virginia, I do not see as many robins as I do turkey vultures, an eccentric bird with an important job; I'm just saying... the glamor factor is pretty low.

Autumn has gorgeous skies and constant change. Winter has the clean blanket of snow covering the world's sins. Summer has oppressive heat, blistering sun and gasping humidity. Spring has its own smorgasbord spread: the flowers (and accompanying pollen), the longer days (keeping me from sleeping in), the warm weather (meaning sweaty summer is around the corner), the confusion my body clock feels when trying to figure out what to wear for the day. Logically I know spring is a blessing, but my heart is not in it.

Until I look up. Spring's best flirt is the green mist at the top of the trees -- not yet shade when you don't yet need it but a light, ephemeral, clear, watercolor green makeup-blush (if you were red-green colorblind). Spring green is the hazy moustache of a 15-year-old boy: barely there but playing it for all it is worth.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stop me if you've heard this before ...

Maybe I have already shown you this clever double knit potholder, but I am pretty sure it fell into the nebulous "no camera zone" that caused the big blank blogless break I took for a few months. If you've already seen the kitchen gear, you can go look at the Washington Post's Peeps show instead.


It's blue and green:

It's green and blue:


It's two, two, two knits in one!



No seams, both sides are knit at the same time, completely reversible, slightly felted. It was knit for Food and Friends, a local organization that delivers meals to people living with AIDS, cancer and other life challenging illnesses. When they deliver their first meal to a new client, bringing along a hand-made hot pad is a nice touch, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kind of Reasonably Hip

I took a break from the scarf of my dreams to knit a helmet liner (as in Kevlar-going-to-war, not motorcycle or football). Because it has a visor, I used "Reasonably Hip" from MagKnits, but I only almost followed the pattern. For some good mindless travel knitting, I changed the garter stitch edge to ribbing and the seed stitch body of the hat to stockinette. I added 9 stitches to my cast on because I used Berroco's Ultra Alpaca instead of the heavier, recommended Plymouth Encore. Like I said, kind of reasonably hip. I thought the alpaca blend would make a fine, comfy hat when smashed tight against the head.



I was right. It does, and the yarn is a pleasure to knit. I would do it again at a denser gauge with a deeper brim. Would that be sort of, kind of, reasonably hip?
At any rate, it's reasonably serviceable.
(The fingerless glove is a variation on Fetching from Knitty. Photography by Cass. She was more interested in the hat's coolness factor than its construction.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Contrasts

When I came home yesterday afternoon, I noticed that the forsythia had jumped into bloom. I won't bore you with a picture; I have the most bedraggled-looking forsythia on the planet. But I also have this:




Aren't they cute? The "contrast" from my title comes from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's yarnharlot post "I Can Do It" from the day before. It will be a long time before all that snow melts.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Absurdities

It all started with this:


A tent with a power slot. The last time you were tenting it, didn't you say to yourself, "Dang! If only this tent had a special orifice for my electric S'mores Maker power cord? (There is such a thing as a portable s'mores maker. It is the small appliance everyone craves, which is probably why I saw one at a thrift store.)

Once my eye for absurdity was awakened, I also found this camouflage Jiffy Pop,




these shiny, pink, "diamond-studded" breast cancer awareness keychains right next to the worm & leech lodges and live bait,


and North Face flipflops, named I am sure because the north face of mountains in the northern hemisphere is usually the toughest route to the top.
Not all flipflops are designed to stand up to those extreme conditions; the next time I'm mountain climbing, these will certainly be my foot gear of choice.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dampfnudeln


It is a rare treat when my knitting (or sewing or cooking or life in general ... ) comes together just the way I envisioned.
Angel Pearls Beaded Scarf is that rare treat. It is almost enough to make me use a real camera. I promise, when I'm finished I will. This scarf deserves it. Meanwhile, this is what my phone sees:


Which is why I am dreaming of dampfnudeln. Dampfnudeln are tasty, steamed bun-like dumplings. In 1982, I bought one from a street vendor in Kaiserslautern, Germany. It was angel-light, barely sweet, moist, pale, yeast perfection. Like anything magical, when I went looking I could never find the kiosk again. Knitting this scarf is like that: something I expect to remember fondly 25 years later.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Read

Today is the 11th annual Read Across America Day, a day more or less linked to Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

Coincidentally, the very first book I remember reading all by myself -- and the memory is vivid -- was Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. It had been a Christmas present. I clearly remember sitting on the basement steps (in a family of 8, one had to find peace and quiet where one could) just about bath time, laughing over the plot twists, reveling in my own cleverness, reading the whole thing. All by myself.

Celebrate! Pick up something and read. I think I’ll go for The Friday Night Knitting Club. Maybe I will dig out One Fish, Two Fish as well. How about you?