Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mystery Cast-on

So after swatching the green Koigu for the Mystic Light mystery KAL I decided I wasn't crazy about that particular yarn for this project. Instead, I ordered some Dream in Color Smooshy in Lipstick Lava (isn't that a great name for a color?) from the Loopy Ewe. If you haven't ordered from LE before, I give it a high recommendation. Shipping was fast and along with some little knitterly extras there was a note in my order thanking me for my business - how cool is that? The internet has give us a vast number of choices, but in many cases it has removed the human touch from our dealings. Great customer service will definitely earn my loyalty.

Anyway. The first Mystic Light clue arrived on Wednesday, so I wound my Smooshy and then a bunch more yarn that was still living in LYS bags in my office. Can you tell I like red and blue? The off-white was kind of a's Ultra Alpaca Light and some very soft Blue Sky Organic Cotton. I put the various other yarn cakes away and left the red, white & blue out so that I can say I'm ahead of the holiday game for the first time this year. As opposed to saying I'm still cleaning up remnants of 2007 and my stash is so out of control I'm pretending it's decor. Hey - at least it's not dirt.

Re: My knitting. I cast on with the red Smooshy and knitted through the set-up rows and about a third of the first clue-chart, and like it much better than the Koigu. Still love my Koigu, but now I love Smooshy too. Plus it's fun to say.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Deep Red Cravat

Here's one of those in-between projects I always have to have when my main projects get to that awkward teenage stage (hard to take anywhere, always asking difficult questions, sulking, what-have-you):

It's the Leaf Cravat by Teva Durham, which I found in an old issue of Interweave Knits (Winter 2002/2003 - before I started knitting!) The yarn is Knit Picks Merino Style in the Hollyberry colorway and it was knitted up on my brand-new Knit Picks Harmony Options, which I love love love.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Easter Bunny!

Could it be? Those ears are awfully big!

Oh, it's just Snoopy, taking his four-hour midmorning nap.

I think he's determined to sleep with one eye open, just in case that rabbit comes back. Maybe next time he'll leave some biscuits instead of all that chocolate.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Every now and then I look out my kitchen window and see something like this:

We don't get a lot of dramatic weather here in Windanseaville...sunny days, foggy days, and not much in between. This storm blew through overnight on Saturday and by Sunday we had Mary at the beach. She swam while John and I huddled in sweatshirts, chilled by the 65° afternoon.

This morning we heard from Anna, who's in Shanghai right now. She left on Saturday for a three-week exchange in China with her school and is spending this week attending classes at a high school there. She writes:

Hey daddy! It's me anna, I'm here in china and can already say i've reasonably beaten the time change. I feel like I've spent three days on a plane, really i have. We missed our flight in beijing and had to get a later flight, but we're finally at the school. It's cold. Like really cold. Like 5 degrees centigrade cold. Really cold. I mean, where's all this global warming I was promised?

Meh, walked around shanghai all day, I'm exhausted. I spent the morning in my partner's classes, music (which was nice, we sang, and there was an electric bass sitting in the corner), then math class (i couldn't figure out which kind, but we were doing sine, cosine, and tangent), politics and chinese of all things.

After, we went to the museum (I don't know which kind) but it was full of chinese art and money and artifacts and stuff. I started sketching a small statue (totally forgetting I had a camera) and after a while people started to watch over my shoulder. A lot of people crowded around to watch me sketch and to study the statue, to see what had caught my interest. I only noticed when I was done that I had drawn the attention of a lot of people (and several guards!). I suppose they wanted to make sure the crowd wasn't a commotion.

I got a lot of pictures along the way too. I felt kinda dumb because I walked into some people (the crowds are crazy) and tried apologizing, conveniently forgetting any chinese I had ever learned at that moment, not only did the people have no time for "sorry"s and "excuse me"s but of course the alerting sound of a foreign language and defensive "excuse me" hand gestures I think scared a lot of people. All of it was pretty exciting, and with sore feet and tired mind soon I will go to bed (it's about 8 o'clock here). I'm well and safe in China, not injured or sick, happily awaiting tomorow's adventures. I love you a lot.

To my entire family my love,

P.S. tell snoopy and patty and all the rest that I'm ice cold at night without them and I really am coming back, love them lots.

You'll notice I'm not mentioned by name like Patty & Snoopy, but I can tell she's thinking about me because of the "injured or sick" part. I'm pretty sure that was for my benefit. I had to go look up how cold 5°C is, and it's 41°F...Here's hoping she doesn't decide to go to school in New England. And PS, I told her to pack layers.

It's weird to think of my kid walking around on the other side of the world across the date line where it's tomorrow, a world apart and yet happy with sore feet.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Swatching a Mystery

Swatch? Me? Well, yes, this time, because the swatch was more interesting than a 4" stockinette square of unrelenting boredom. I swatched this beautiful green Koigu up for a mystery shawl KAL I joined: You sign up, and then you get part of the Mystic Light pattern each week...the project unfolds without you really knowing how it will turn out until it's all done. Click here if you want to join in.

I've never participated in a mystery KAL before (although some of my knitting becomes myterious - check out the little circled portion of my swatch below where I mysteriously switched the order of the YO & K2tog...smooth, huh? At least it's only a swatch.) but it seems like it'll be fun.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Back to the Knitting

Thank you, thank you, all of you who commented and contacted me about my dad's passing. You don't know how your kind words helped me - I appreciate knowing you are all out there! And you lurkers - I lurk on lots of blogs myself, so I know it's hard to come out of hiding sometimes - thank you so much. We are all trying to keep on with our normal lives again and just get on with everything. On this blog, I'm now getting back to my regularly scheduled knitting as evidenced above. That's a cotton kimono jacket you see there, a result of the bedside sitting I did last week. Amazing how just holding the needles calms me down.

The pattern is here, and it's very quick to knit but awfully cute when it's done. I was in Walmart (I know, it's evil, I normally boycott but I couldn't find something electronic I was looking for anywhere else in town. Pile that on top of my SUV guilt.) and wandered through the yarn aisle and saw Peaches & Creme yarn, which I had never seen in person before. Wow, it's $1.27! Sure, it felt like steel while knitting, but how can you pass up $1.27? Plus I had read that it would soften up after washing, sort of like the 501s I used to wear in the 80s.

Anyway, I bought a bunch in the three colorways you see here, knitted up that kimono, seamed it, and started a matching hat. I will admit that the hat, which should've taken a couple of hours, took three days because I screwed the pattern up five or six times and had to rip it back. Good thing I wasn't working on the Wool Peddler's Shawl...I just wasn't able to concentrate with everything going on.

The hat is the Center Square hat from Knitty, of course, and I will be finishing it off with some kind of little pompom or braided tassel in the multicolored yarn to tie it all in. I'll try to post a photo when everything's truly done.

Last night we went to watch Fiona and Anna in Midsummer Night's Dream and took my mom with us, and for a couple of hours we just concentrated on the play and laughed. Fiona played Helena and was a riot, and Anna played a fairy and got to sing in her soulful voice. They set the piece in Mardi Gras theme and overall the kids were great and it was very fun.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Jose Gonzalez, 1921 - 2008

My dear friends, today my darling father passed away after being ill for a very long time. He was dearly loved and will be deeply missed.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Waiting Room Knitting

This weekend started out so nicely...Friday morning Mary's school had a "Solarbration" to flip the ceremonial switch on its new solar power system. The mayor was there, the kids all sang "You Are My Sunshine," and our faith in humankind's ability to reverse global warming was restored as long as we turned a blind eye to all the parents' SUVs (my own included, mea culpa) parked out in front.

Friday afternoon the weekend took a bad left turn (Squeamish people or those wishing to avoid TMI should stop reading here and just look at the knitting.). My mom called to say my dad had an infection on his foot that didn't look too good, and that the doctor told her to head to the ER. My dad is 86, with so many chronic health issues that we're not exactly sure what keeps him going. I think it must be the Gallego genes...his own parents lived into their 90s.

Anyway, I met them at the ER, where we spent all of Friday until midnight talking to a series of doctors about things like amputation, advance directives, and everything else you never want to think about in conjunction with anyone you love, or really, with anyone at all. At 1:00 am they admitted him, at 2:00 am they took him in for a stat CT scan because his blood pressure was crazy high - turned out to be temporary so that was good; they medicated him and then he just sort of calmed down - and simultaneously they started him on two broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Today he is, I think, much better. His spirits were higher, his feet looked better, and he ate half an English muffin for breakfast. The first thing he asked me early this morning was how the Deportivo finished yesterday, and he was delighted to hear they won over Sevilla 2-1. Just goes to show you what people can have on their minds in times of crisis.

The doctors think he'll have to be on IV antibiotics for 4-6 weeks (!) so he's going to need a PICC line inserted...we know all about those now thanks to my niece's lymphoma last year...but all of the drastic measures are now only distant possibilities, thank God.

I knitted until I was sick of knitting, and I listened to Duma Key and watched Damages on my iPod. I managed to finish the garter stitch middle of my Wool Peddler's shawl and then started on a cotton baby sweater since the lacy border on that shawl is a task best undertaken with fewer distractions. In a few repetitions I'll hopefully have the pattern down and be able to take the border on the road again, but until then it'll have to be simple stuff.