Monthly Archives: July 2009

Clue 3 Finished!!

Well, my shoulders are stiff, my eyes are red,
but it’s all worth it, because Clue the Third is done!
can’t resist a few photos –


New Kitty Links

25 July 2009 –
Added a few new fun kittenesque links – enjoy!

Exonumist Shawl from WendyKnits

WendyKnits has posted photos of an incredible shawl that she designed and knit. I am always astounded that people can do things like this. Here’s a photo, but there are more on her blog:

Utter Lack of Self Control

Saturday 25 July 2009
Follow Up:
The skeins have arrived! MyHedgeHogKnits sent them promptly, and included a little charm that says “knitter.” The laceweight is prettier than in the picture, because the grey is a bit more taupe-y, maybe it’s called “mink.” The sock yarn is also lovely, and/but slightly different that it looked on my monitor.
No regrets!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

No discipline.
Complete inability to resist.
Cannot just walk away, when I know I should.

Exhibits A and B, from MyHedgeHogKnits:

1300 yards of laceweight alpaca/cashmere/silk in the Agatha colorway:


400 yards of gorgeous hand-dyed sock yarn in Autumn:


I never stood a chance against those skeins!

Future Plan for Land of the Sweets

I have three skeins of Pima Petite yarn from The Unique Sheep in the delightful colorway, Land of the Sweets:


I’ve been looking around for a good pattern, that would split the difference between sweater and vest, and now I’ve found it.
Behold! Gilet Sleeveless Cardigan from Sirdar Spinning


Secret Garden Clue the Second!

Ta da!

Circular Shawl Knitting for the Terminally Confused

I’m making the Secret Garden Shawl, and I had a lot of trouble getting started. After I whined, moaned, sulked, screamed, and generally acted like a baby, I vowed to take lots of photos and collect lots of links, so that other klutzes would have a roadmap.
Ta Da! Start-of-a-circular-shawl!

So, without further ado,
Starting a Circular Shawl for Complete Idiot Dummy Morons:

I used Emily Ocker’s cast on. Emily passed her cast on method to Elizabeth Zimmerman, who passed it on to the world. The basic technique is this: Wrap yarn around your finger a couple of times, make a chain of crochet stitches, then slide them onto needles.

The details:
Here is a good pictorial version of Emily Ocker’s cast on, found on
Bagatell’s Blog.
Two videos of the technique, both on YouTube:
One from kellypetkun, and
the other by MountainMom.

This is a photo of the cast on stitches on a crochet hook:


The next step was to “pick up stitches with double pointed needles (dpns)” I finally realized I could “pick up” the stitches by simply sliding them from the crochet hook onto the needles. First, slide all the stitches onto one needle:


Next, divide them up onto the other three needles. Since I had 12 stitches, the math is simple – three stitches on each needle.
Here are the 12 stitches divided in half and put on 2 needles:

And then divide them again, till they’re on four needles:

Place a stitch marker between the working yarn and the first stitch.

Next, start knitting the first row. Use the extra (5th) needle to knit with. Each time you finish with one dpn, it will become the extra.
The Secret Garden pattern required knitting into the front and back of each stitch, doubling the total number of stitches, one dpn at a time. In this photo, I’ve just started and have knit into the front and back of one group of 3 stitches, transforming it into 6 stitches!


You know when you’ve gone all the way around, because you get back to the stitch marker! Photo please:

That’s it! You’ve done it!
Hot Tips:
1. Wrap the yarn around your finger twice, not just once. I have no idea why, but knitters whom I respect keep saying this.
2. Work the beginning on a pillow, and turn the pillow, instead of trying to turn the work.

More Resources:
This is yet another alternative cast on, from the incomparable
Fleegle. Fleegle’s Alternative cast on.

And, this one is just a very
encouraging blog post from Seed who also learned a lot from this!

Finally, Heirloom Knitting is just an amazing lace knitting site.

Secret Garden Clue 1 Finished!!



More later!

Knitting Crisis Averted

Dear Alison,
Who are you? Are you on Ravelry and are you also making the Secret Garden Shawl? Anyway, thanks! for the kind and supportive comments.

I have persisted,
Listened to some great advice,
Collected links to videos and photos,
Frogged a few times,
Persisted a bit more,
Photographed every inch of the way, in case I can ever help another hapless soul trying to start out a circular shawl,

And expect to finish Clue One tonight if I can stay awake long enough.
Onward …

Knitting Crisis

The directions say:

1. Cast on 12 stitches by making a 12 st. chain with a crochet hook.
okay, I don’t know how to do that.

2. Pick up 12 stitches from the crochet chain, with dpns.
okay, I loathe dpns.

3. Join in the round.
okay, I could do that, if I could ever get a daisy chain of crochet-ed, dpn-ed stitches in a nice l’il circle.

I’ve tried various “easy alternatives” and can’t figure them out. I think the result is supposed to be a small circle of 12 stitches, which then expands to 24, and thus to a lovely pattern that is the beginning of a shawl.

I am frustrated, hot, sweaty, and feeling really really lame. Every other person in the whole universe has already posted a beautiful picture of their finished “Clue 1” with many comments about how absurdly easy, how laughably brief, how comically quick ‘n easy, this first clue is. Ha bloody ha.


The Delicate Art of Reconnection

Have you ever used Facebook to get in touch with someone you hadn’t talked to in many years?
Sometimes, it’s simple, fun, and easy. For example, I’m now FB Friends with a bunch of my younger second cousins, a far flung group some of whose members may barely remember me. I get a kick out of keeping up with them. One young woman is a cool San Francisco artist whom I last saw when she was a year old.

Other times, the whole reconnecting thing seems trickier. C’mon, you must know what I mean, right? Well, maybe I’m the only one, but there have been occasions when something like this happens:

1. Idly enter Long Vanished Person’s name in FB search.
2. There they are!!
3. I click “add friend” and “enter personal message.”
4. Then, I dither and debate the perfect tone and content for the brief message:
“Hi, remember me?!” (of course he remembers me, we flipping lived together for over a year.)
“Wow, Facebook is really something, isn’t it!” (too lame.)
“Gosh, it’s been so long. I grew up, got married, had kids, and what about you?” (I’d never friend someone who said that.)
“I heard about your dad passing away, and I’m really sorry. What else is new?” (wrong, wrong, wrong.)
5. Finally I compose a message, hit send, and wait.
6. Well, lo and behold, I’m now FB Friends with Long Vanished Person!

So far, so good, but what happens next?
I’ve decided to try to reconnect with a few of these folks.
Just in case that’s not modern enough, I’ll blog about it!
Here are the victims, er, beloved new FB Friends:

1. First, and easiest, an old friend from the town where my DH and I lived as newlyweds, * cough * about 27 years ago. This friend I’ll call “Nancy” because that’s her name. She was one of a shifting group of SAHMs with babies & kids in the same age range. I remember her as really funny, smart, and kind.
However, I didn’t much like living in this particular hot, sprawling, military town whose name starts with an F (I’m looking at you, Fayette-Nam), and in 1988 we moved to the Land of the Tarred Heels and never looked back. She sent me a funny birthday card about 17 years ago, but basically we’re totally out of touch.

Her son gave me the email address and encouraged me to write, but What to say? What if she’s joined a cult? Wants to convert me?

2. and 3. are equally challenging, so, flipping a mental coin,

2. A young man whom I last saw when he was 3 years old and who is now in his 20’s. I was a good friend of his father’s. Unfortunately, his dad committed suicide when the young man was a toddler. I was So Mad at his father for doing that, although in retrospect, I see warning signs that weren’t obvious then.

I was determined that, when the little boy grew up, I would be available – maybe to tell him more about the positive fun side of his dad, or just to listen if that’s helpful, maybe pass on souveneirs I’ve kept all these years. The son has the same wild look in his eyes as his dad did, it’s spooky.
Anyway, after I wrote a mild-mannered, hopefully-not-crazy-sounding message, we are FB friends. I have no idea where to go next, but I’ll let my nonexistent public know when/if I figure it out.

3. Last, and a bit of a classic – my first “serious” boyfriend. With the perspective of * another cough * decades, I see that we were just doing what young 20-somethings always do – engaging in Much Drama About Nothing – you know, jealousy about such burning issues as “you talked to her all during the party!!”
I liked him before all the drama, and would like to be friends again, but there are a couple of weird quirks (aren’t there always?)
First, we grew up in the same area. I knew his siblings and still know a couple of them, and in general we know each other’s childhood families. I don’t know, maybe that’s not such a weird quirk.
Secondly, after we split up (*cough in the 1970’s *) he went on to become a fabulously successful film producer. Name 10 blockbuster movies of the past decade, I guarantee you he was involved with a couple. He’s basically in that “rich and famous” category that includes a lot of public information about a person. So, I don’t know, you don’t suppose he’ll think that is why I’ve looked him up, do you?

So, where on earth to start? I’m going to take these people in order, decide whether or not it’s a good idea to contact them, and see what happens!
If you’ve had similar experiences, bring ’em on!

Drunk Dialing Heaven

A dear friend of my daughter’s was recently drowned off the coast of Washington State. His body was not recovered and his death has greatly upset my daughter. She’s drinking too much, chain smoking, and generally weeping and wailing. Last night I dreamed that I wrote a song in which she described her online posts and general sadness.
The song began like this:

“I been drunk-dialing heaven but I can’t get through to you,
I made a hang-up call to Jesus, thought I’d ask him what to do,
I sat down by the ocean, but we’re both so Goddamn blue,
I keep drunk-dialing heaven, trying to get ahold of you.”

Weird dream, right? But, I love the concept of “drunk-dialing heaven.”
I hereby declare it copyrighted.