Thursday, November 30, 2006

Remembering EZ

November 30th was the seventh anniversary of the death of our great Knitting Guru, Elizabeth Zimmermann. Long live EZ!!!

Now, I suppose I should post a photo of my own parents one of these days...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Grad Student's MLA Meme

OK, I'll bite. There is a grad student named Scott Eric Kaufmann who is presenting a paper on blog memes at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference. He is studying the speed at which a single voice (a meme) can travel from one side of the internet to the other and back again. Since I'll likely be a starving, suffering, dissertation-writing grad student in the near future, I'm pre-empathizing with his stress! It behooves me to assist.

All we need to do to help him with his project is to do the following:

  1. Write a post linking to this one in which you explain the experiment. (All blogs count, be they TypePad, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, &c.)

  2. Ask your readers to do the same. Beg them. Relate sob stories about poor graduate students in desperate circumstances. Imply I'm one of them. (Do whatever you have to. If that fails, try whatever it takes.)

  3. Ping Technorati.

It only took me three minutes to post this to my blog... how long will it take you?

New Yarn

Finally, some knitworthy knews.

I went to my LYS today. Er, yesterday (it's 4:15 am). My sock blockers were in. It was supposed to be an innocent trip: buy the sock blockers, LOOK at some yarn, maybe pick up a book or two.

$260 later...

I'll post pictures in daylight.

What got me was curiosity. All these knitblogs I've been reading talk about and show off these absolutely gorgeous yarn with names like Koigu and Lorna's Laces. I finally decided I needed to see what all the fuss was about because, dear readers, I was a Koigu virgin.

Yep, you read that right.

Being a sock fanatic, I browsed the sock yarn for quite some time. What came home with me was:

  • 3 skeins Mountain Colors Bearfoot

  • 1 skein Mountain Colors Weavers Quarters

  • 2 skeins Lorna's Laces Sheperds Socks

  • EZ's Knitting Without Tears

  • EZ's Knitting Around

  • Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes & Gauges

  • 1 pair of sock blockers

  • 1 set of Crystal Palace size 1.5 DPNs (oh, like I needed another set of DPNs)

  • 4 Mountain Colors Sock Patterns

  • 1 tote bag (free with every purchase over $100)

  • and finally, 2 Mystery Gift Bags (free with every $100 purchase)

Did I mention the painful cramp in my check-writing hand? Ouch.

The Mystery Gifts contained samples of yarn. #1 was three skeinlets of something sparkly and green. The brand is a logo I don't recognize so I've no idea what it is. When I post pix, maybe someone can enlighten me. #2 contained two balls of Trendsetter novelty yarn that's cool enough that I think I can get a skinny scarf out of it (free Xmas gift, yay).

My kindly LYS proprietor also quoted me the price for the loom I'm interested in. It's less expensive to buy it unassembled (as a "kit") and sand, oil and assemble yourself. I'm up for the challenge. LYS guy offered to discount the Studio Kit, and said shipping is on schedule, so if I order now, I'll be weaving on Christmas Day. Well... gee. How can I possibly say no to that?

The only thing standing between me and my loom is...


Help me out here. I can't seem to come up with a good enough reason NOT to buy it! :-) Since I want to build a portfolio this year to try to get into grad school in 2008... as a fibers major... and I can afford it (for the most part)... and I've always wanted a real floor loom of my own... and... uh...


Sunday, November 26, 2006

What Accent?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Horsin' Around

Yeah, this probably belongs under my other blog, Savvy Horsewoman, but I know nobody is reading that blog (and that's okay) because I haven't really posted to it since, oh, September 2004. *ahem* OK, I guess I did post a couple times this fall but there was no real horse content for over a year. Anyway, I just have to tell someone about today!

No, this isn't a plug to read the other blog. Unless you want to, that is. :-) Savvy Horsewoman focuses on my journey along the Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship path. It derailed somewhat when some big personal stuff happened followed by losing my equine partner Wildflower and the blog just sat there collecting dust. If you were to read that blog from the beginning, you'd understand why what I'm about to say is so HUGE. I realized today how far I've come in overcoming a gigundous fear issue that I had with my first horse Cheerios, a goal I've been working toward since 2001 when I first developed the fear.

Yes. That long. And I kept that horse the entire time even though at the lowest point, I was scared to death to lead him in from the pasture without a "buffer person" between us. See, I bought my first horse in Feb 2001. Adorable little four-year-old sorrel gelding with one blue eye (and one brown) named Cheerios (he's a spotless Paint aka solid aka breeding stock aka Quarter Horse with a fancy pedigree). No prior "real" horse experience in my bag. It was great for three months until I was bucked off or fell off or something, sprained my back, and became terrified of him (he was quite a handful, and, derrrr, very young and I was neon green).

The whole miserable story is on the other blog. Suffice it to say, I wound up discovering Parelli, getting a second horse (Wildflower), and slowly developing my savvy to the point where, FINALLY, I am no longer afraid of my "baby" horse Cheerios. (He'll be 10 next April). I stopped being afraid of him late last year (it was a gradual progression).

Today, it was absolutely gorgeous outside, so I headed to the barn. It took some effort, though, as does everything these days (mentally). I told myself I didn't need to do anything, that it was OK if all I could muster up the energy for was to visit with them (I have two: my Paint mare is Shaveya, horse #3 if you're keeping track). Lately, just thinking about going for a trail ride or having a serious play/study session wears me out. It's the depression from this past year; it'll pass (I hope). I spent a little time in the mares' pasture with Shaveya, then went over to the boys' pasture to do the same with Cheerios. When I say spend some time, I mean hang out. Literally. Scratch them, pet them, love on them, walk beside them, demand nothing of them. No halter required. (This Parelli stuff is A-MAZ-ING.)

After a long session of catering to my horse's scratching whims, I felt this overwhelming urge to just sit on him. I haltered him (rope halter), checked his brakes and made sure he looked "ready" to ride (he was, they were all pretty laid back today), tied the 12-foot lead line into "reins", found a ditch to put him in (so I could be up higher), and hopped on. Bareback. With him wearing a halter and lead rope. No bit. No saddle. Naturally. Like a wild Injun (I'm part Cherokee so it's OK for me to say that).

And, there we sat.

As I was drinking in the sunshine and the quiet peace of being on my horse's back as he casually grazed in the pasture with other horses about 100 yards away, it occurred to me that:

  • I was sitting on Cheerios

  • bareback

  • no bit, not even the hackamore, just a rope halter and lead line

  • in the 10-acre pasture

  • surrounded by other horses

...and not the least bit afraid.

That, my friends, is HUGE.

Now, if I could just knit while I was up there. THAT would be something.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Everything In Moderation

Quick note here: I've disabled comment moderating to allow comments to appear automatically without my intervention. We'll see how this goes. As long as the awful canned pseudo-pork stays away, I'll leave it as is.


Those of you who have been on Christy's Central Park Hoodie KAL know that she is shutting it down in mid-December for work and personal reasons. I contacted her and she has graciously granted me permission to continue the KAL!

Knit on over to to join CPH KAL Version 2.0. Hope to see you there!

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends in KnitBlog land!

After consuming copious amounts of Butterball, yams, green beans, and pie (along with the Essential Spirits aka Beer), I plan to spend my evening with my cats, yarn, and Grey's Anatomy. See you Friday!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Things You Never Knew

You think you know someone if you've been around them daily for your entire life. How strange it is to discover new information about someone after they are dead. Take my Mother, for instance. She was quite a talker. She was never shy about sharing her opinions, feelings, or information about herself with me. I felt confident that, after 43 years of constant exposure, there would be few surprises awaiting me in the archives.

I've resolved that the easiest way to sort through 80-some years' worth of my parents' belongings is to pick a drawer or closet per day, sort that out, then stop for the day. It breaks the chore into manageable chunks as opposed to the daunting task of "going through the house". While it's sad and difficult, at times treasures do turn up, such as the note.

This afternoon, I chose to go through the hall closet where coats and hats and a few sundry items were kept. Buried in the back were boxes of greeting cards (dating back to the 1940s), slides, and photos that I'd never seen before. Among them, I found a newspaper clipping about my Mother. It must have been from around 1940-42, when she was first in college. I knew Mother went to Ohio State (Go Buckeyes) and graduated from Miami (Oxford), but she always maintained she'd studied Art. (She also claimed to hold an MFA or MA in Art Education, but I have found no supporting evidence to that claim, and earlier this summer she admitted that she'd started the program but never finished.)

Was I ever surprised at what this article had to say. While at OSU, Mother submitted some sketches and sample writings to a contest held by Harper's Bazaar magazine... and won. She was appointed to the position of Ohio State Editor of Harper's College Bazaar (the article assumes readers are familiar with the publication, but I'm not). She would have regular assignments and report on anything to do with college co-ed fashion trends, including doing the photographs and student interviews. It was a short article, about half a dozen paragraphs, but I was riveted. This was all new information to me.

But what struck me dumb was the first line of the second paragraph:
Helen, who is majoring in fashion design...

Fashion design?!? Wha....?!? Now, THIS was REALLY new information! Even when I was taking fashion design courses in college, she never mentioned this to me. NEVER. And I was living with her at the time! I recall her saying that she'd once dreamed of moving to New York to become a fashion designer, but that was all she said. She didn't elaborate.

She sewed, and she made her own clothes, but she used commercial patterns. I never saw her make her own patterns or "design" anything. I never saw her knit, either. Or crochet. When I signed up for weaving, she declared, "I don't know why you'd want to take weaving, you'll be bored stiff". (I wasn't. I was enthralled.) Needless to say, I'm dumbfounded.

But I think I may have some insight into her (somewhat negative) feelings about my urge to pursue fiber-related activities. Though I cannot confirm it, I imagine she didn't mention her stint in fashion because it may not have gone as well as she'd hoped; perhaps she didn't want me to suffer the same heartbreak. Or maybe it was just the way my Mother was—likely to downplay failure of any sort. Pretend it never happened, and it never did. I'll never really know. I doubt anyone else is alive who'd have further insight into that. She didn't graduate from OSU, so I assume that she stopped studying fashion because she got married at age 21, returning to school later in her 20's to study Art Education after her first husband died young.

My Mother. Studying fashion design in college in the early 1940's. I'm still scratching my head in amazement. Will wonders never cease?

Friday, November 17, 2006

These Boots Were Made for Knittin'

It's so true...

You Are Western Boots

Your boots can sure walk a long mile - but they're still chic!
What Kind of Boots Are You?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Notes From Beyond

Saturday, I was sorting through stuff stored in the kitchen buffet. The mess consisted of old art supplies, address books, dictionaries, stationery, and papers—clippings, greeting cards, etc.—from God knows when belonging to me and my Mother (Dad always carefully filed his elsewhere). Among the papers, I found a little notecard, addressed to me:

Can you say, "instant sobfest"?

I don't recall when I received it or what it was attached to. It's interesting, though, that I found it only an hour after wondering aloud: if I turn out to be someone other than who they thought I would be, if I make choices in my future that they would never have approved of, would they still love me regardless?

I guess I got my answer.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Proof of Sox

I've noticed that most knitters model their projects and figured I'd better do the same. So, here 'tis: the finished pair of TylerSox:

As you can see, I'm still working out the bugs with the fitting around my very high-arched very narrow feet:

And here is the completed left-handed Fetching handwarmer, in El Cheapo Caron Simply Soft Plum Wine (because I had it on hand, no pun intended, and was really itching to knit this pattern and Grey's Anatomy was on and I had nothing to knit or rather I had nothing to knit that I could put down when I needed to mop up the drool every time McDreamy showed up onscreen):

Man, I really need new glasses. I sware that photo was in focus when I shot it.

Living proof that I actually own needles *wink*:

In addition to knitting, I took some time out to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and 60-degree weather we had Thursday. My horses were so glad to see me! The upside of boarding: someone else shovels. The downside of boarding: they're the ones who get to see your horses every day. They had their feet trimmed, I played briefly with both of them, then took a sunset trail ride with some friends. It was a short ride as we were running out of daylight. It was both fun and a little creepy to be plodding through the woods in the dark where the color of the tree shapes is 95% Black and the rest of the world is 100% black. LOL! It was pitch black when we arrived back at the barn. I really miss riding. Somehow the year flew by without my riding much, mainly because of my parents. Well, there is (hopefully) always next year.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Requisite Cat Photo

Since absolutely NOTHING special has happened around here lately--I'm not jinxing myself, am I?--it's time to post the requisite Cat Photo. You've seen Tyler, of the Sox, already. (Remember, I have five felines.)

This is Zander.

He weighs 25 pounds and is twice the size overall of normal cats. He's not obese; he's not at an unhealthy weight. He's just e-NOR-mous.

He was two days old the first time I saw him. I cupped him in my hand and when he rolled onto his back and "swam" happily while I rubbed his pristine white belly with one finger, I was hooked. He went through an awkward stage around 4 months of age. His body was normal kitten size. His ears were twice the size they should have been, his tail was extra long, and his paws were huge. I wondered if kittens were anything like puppies. You know. Tiny puppies with big paws grow up to be big dogs, right? I thought to myself, either he's going to grow up to be one funny-looking cat... or he's gonna be HUGE.

Obviously, he grew into his ears. He's a beautiful cat, IMHO. He's built like a linebacker. The vet said he's all muscle. I wonder what Zander's daddy must've been, because mommy was a teeny tiny smaller-than-average cat and you'd never think to look at her that she'd be capable of producing a mammoth like this.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Good news. The digit is healing. Thursday night I started Tylersox #2 during Grey's Anatomy. I made it almost to the heel flap. Last night, I did the heel flap and turned the heel. Now I'm into decreases. It's a tad slower than usual, but I'm happy to report that I actually can knit again. After last year's Knee+Tile Foor Incident, I was worried.

What's that? You don't know about the Knee+Tile Foor Incident? My (former) house (the one I'm selling since I'm living at the parents' now) had/has beautiful white ceramic tile in the kitchen/dining room. It's a 12x21 space. Last November 16th, I had dinner out with a friend. We had the first snowfall of the season, a light fluffy non-stick flurry. It didn't occur to me that my shoes were wet after bringing in the mail on the way in.

I slipped. I tried to regain my balance/footing but it was too late. If it were on video, it would be comical. I stumbled and fumbled across the entire kitchen area from one end to the other, careening around, grabbing at furniture along the way in a vain attempt to stop myself. The furniture mocked me and politely scooted out of the way. Even the refrigerator obliged. A Coleman cooler that had not yet been put away properly was what broke my fall and stopped the progression, seconds before I would have gone headfirst into the oven. (Hmm. Sounds like the plot to a Sylvia Plath novel.)

As it was, my balance was completely gone. I landed on my right knee HARD and came to a stop draped over the cooler, which I promptly slid off of. I laid prone on the floor moaning. The commotion created by my uncoordinated journey scared all the cats away. Nobody dared venture in to sniff me and see if I lived or not. My knee throbbed angrily. My first thought as my patella made contact with ceramic tile was "Oh no. This is bad."

I waited for the pain to subside as it usually does.

Hmm. It wasn't subsiding. In fact, it was getting worse. I tried to get up. AAAAAGGGHH! Forget that. I laid there for a good ten minutes before it dawned on me that nobody would find me for days because nobody would really miss me right away. If I didn't return calls, which, ahem, I'm wont to do when I go all hermity sometimes, it wouldn't raise the alarm in my friends. Oh, my kingdom for Life Alert! It should be mandatory for ANYONE living alone at any age. I had visions of starving to death in my kitchen, inches from the refrigerator but unable to open the door, and of the cats gnawing my body for food. That did it.

I somehow got myself pulled up onto the Coleman, then staggered to my feet. I tested each one. The left leg seemed OK. The right? Not okay. It felt like something was floating around in my knee and it hurt like BLEEP. I got to the phone and called a friend to take me to the ER. Then I unlocked my door, dug out my old crutches and some ice, and waited on the sofa.

Long story short, they x-rayed it and found nothing broken. They gave me an immobilizing brace, a prescription for Vicodin and sent me home. I spent five days in a stupor on the couch. I missed one class, but determined on the Fifth Day that as long as I could walk, I could probably also drive my manual tranny Sunfire, and made it to class the following Tuesday. I figured I was OK, and a couple weeks hobbling around on crutches in a leg brace and I'd be good as new.

Instead, I became increasingly more disabled. Excuse me--challenged. Let's be honest here. Crippled. My range of motion was practically nil, my knee wouldn't straighten, and walking... I developed a lurch. Besides all that, it was increasingly more painful. It took a month of complaining before the doctor decided maybe I needed an MRI (that was painful, too).


I forget the medspeak, but the result was displaced fragments of cartilege in the knee.

Another month went by before the specialist could see me. My terror of surgery was allayed when he said "we'll go ahead and give you a cortisone shot and some therapy... and we'll do the shot right now so you don't have time to think about it." I was overjoyed and relieved! A shot was all I needed? OK... (as they prepare the shot and prepare me for it) but why on earth would I need to think about it? It's just a shot. Needles don't freak me out that much. It's not going to bothhhhhaaaaAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

[insert blue streak of swearing and screaming here]

I'm sure they heard me in the next building.

NOW I know why they said that.

I felt nauseated the entire night after that. BUT, it worked. I had a couple weeks of therapy; one of the therapist did some manipulation on it, and POP! Suddenly I was able to move it normally again. So far, so good, knock wood. Except, it began aching yesterday while standing at the magazine rack. Just aching and threatening to give out.

Anyway, I'm sure you can see why I'm a tad concerned about the finger. Enough of boring medical drivel. Back to knitting... which is why we came here, right?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Still Ouch

The digit is stiff today and a bit sore, but otherwise, it appears to be returning to normal. Perhaps I can avoid for a bit longer the ER I've come to despise so much this year.

No news. No knitting. Mostly surfing and reading other people's blogs, trying to figure out how to get a blog on my own website and how to incorporate Categories. This is fine for now, but I WANT MORE CONTROL.

Tee hee.

Bout the only thing I did was update my profile a little. Whoopdedoo.

We'll Always Have Socktoberfest...

And there you have it. (Go ahead: click on the photos.) My contributions to my very first Soctoberfest effort. One of a pair (now an FO); one big mess; and one perfect, finished pair.

Once my finger heals (no, I haven't gone to the doctor/ER yet, stop nagging), it's on to the CPH and the second sock of the last pair (which counts for my Grey's KAL).

Time to ice the digit. Hope your Halloween was happy and safe!