Food |Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 10:51 PM

#1 Son in the kitchen
#1 Son in the kitchen

This Christmas we tried something new. Usually #1 Son comes to my house for dinner and present opening, and we watch a movie or whatever and just chill. This year I asked #1 Son if it would be fun if I came to his house instead, and we could cook together and feed which ever of his roommates or friends were around and hungry? He thought that sounded fun, and we planned accordingly.

A couple of days later, he mentioned that his Totally Adorable Girlfriend™ would be in town. I said that she, of course, would be welcome, too.

A couple of days after that, he mentioned that TAGF’s™ father, J, (who lives in Portland), would like us to all come to his house instead. I wasn’t sure if I was really ready for the whole meet the ‘rents thing. But we try to go with the flow around here.

#1 Son still wanted me to come to his house because he’d done massive cleaning and didn’t want to waste it it sounded fun. So the plan became: I go to #1 Son’s house and we whip up an amazing vegetable stew…

getting ready for the feast
getting ready for the feast

Which we take over to J’s house, where he and TAGF™ will have crafted the rest of our feast.

And feast it was! #1 Son and I contributed the stew – amazing stew! – couscous with hazelnuts, and a bottle of wine. J broiled a wonderful halibut dish. And TAGF™ mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, and baked a cheesecake for dessert. All of the food was amazing, and I ate a lot of it. We all did, actually. J was a gracious host and I enjoyed meeting him. I had a very nice time.

There was a bit of present swappage, too.

look! I knit something!
look! I knit something!

Look! I knit something! I finished these just last night, for TAGF™, which means it’s probably the last finished object of 2009.

  • Yarn: Sundara Sock (100% Superwash Merino / 360 yds per 100gm skein) in Basil over Buttercup – less than 1/2 of one skein
  • Needles: a pair of Addi Lace 24″ circular, US#2 (3 mm)
  • Pattern: Merletto Mitts by Jodie Scofield – a free download on Ravelry
  • Modifications: continued cuff ribbing on the palm side all the way up the wrist; fussed with the thumb a little.

I think she likes them
I think she likes them

It appears that she likes them!

When questioned, #1 Son had told me that her favorite color was chartreuse. I wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not. #1 Son can be a bit of a kidder, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if he’s being serious or not – especially via text message.

This was the chartreuse-est yarn I could find in my stash. All the time I knit I kept fingers and toes crossed that she really did like green. But she assured me that she really does, and her favorite color really is chartreuse.

#1 Son told me that he didn’t even know what color chartreuse was and he’d had to look it up, so there was no way he could have actually been kidding about it.

#1 Son got his big present a few weeks ago, but I gave him a little space heater for his room. He lives up in the attic of a 100-year-old house, and it’s cold in the winter. This one can also be used as a fan without heat, so it will also be useful in the summer when his room is too hot.

a little bling for the ears
a little bling for the ears

#1 Son gave me a bit of bling for my ears. Aren’t they pretty and sparkly! I can’t wait to wear them.

And also a cute little lantern candle-holder to hang outside in the summer.

I don't know what it is but it's pretty cool
I don't know what it is but it's pretty cool

TAGF™ gave me this. I have no idea what it is, but it has lots of little gears that whir and springs that wind and little feet that go around as it scuttles across the table. The geek factor is high and I like it!

I know I’ve been mostly absent, but I’ve had a lot going on the last month or so. Gentle reader, I will tell you all about it in the next post…

Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 6:36 PM

fossil tree
fossil tree

This flu thing… it really got me down, gentle reader. But I am finally on the mend, and heartily glad! Hopefully I will have energy now for little things like, well… blog posting. I was even too sick to go to my 40th 8th grade graduation, which bummed me out to no end.

And it’s been hard, you see, to talk about knitting. This project — can’t talk about it because it’s secret. And I can’t tell you about that project either because — it’s secret. And there’s a third project I can’t tell you about because (do I sound like a broken record?) — it’s secret. So I am having to wait until secret projects get finished and to their intended recipients before I can show them to you. And that makes for boring blogging.

I did go to the annual auction with my MIL a while back. But, alas, the economy held me back. I bid on only a few items in the silent auction this year, and I didn’t bid at all during the out-loud auction. Of all of the things I bid on, this little tree is the only one that I was high bidder. It was my favorite thing I bid on, so I’m glad it came home with me. All of the little leaves are pieces of petrified wood, and the base is a fossil ammonite. It makes my inner geek feel all warm and fuzzy.

blue Spirogyra
blue Spirogyra

There is one secret project that I am able to show you. These mitts went to my friend L last Friday. She’s modeling them. She wears several rings, so gloves are out. But fingerless mitts just fit the bill. And she loves glittery, shiny things. I wish that the Glam Sock sparkles photographed better.

Yes, it really is that blue!

The Particulars:

    • Yarn: Stitchjones Glam Sock (63% superwash merino, 20% silk, 14% nylon, 2% silver), 420 yds per 3.5 oz/100 g skein, in colorway Marine — I used a fraction of the total and have tons left.
    • Needles: a pair of Addi Turbo 24″ circulars, US#3 (3.25 mm) and a pair of Addi Lace 24″ circulars, US#2 (3.00 mm)
    • Pattern: Spirogyra by Lynne Vogel
    • Modifications: none. Really.

Knitting by Judy @ 8:53 AM
tags: , , ,

Chapeau Marnier
Chapeau Marnier

Chapeau Marnier is finished and will be shortly in the mail to its intended recipient. What a fun, fast knit this was! Again, I really wish that I could adequately photograph this yarn. The sparkle in it is so pretty, without being over the top. It’s just then perfect amount of bling. But I don’t think a camera will ever capture it. You have to see it in person.

The particulars:

  • Yarn: Stitchjones Glam Sock (63% superwash merino, 20% silk, 14% nylon, 2% silver), 420 yds per 3.5 oz/100 g skein, in colorway Silver — I used a fraction of the total and have tons left.
  • Pattern: Chapeau Marnier by Marnie MacLean from the Summer 2007 issue of Knitty.
  • Needles: a US#6 from my Denise set to cast on, and then knit on a pair of US#2 Addi Turbo circs.
  • Ribbon: 1-1/2 yds of double-sided satin ribbon.
  • Modification: none. Really.


And, since 3 or 4 unfinished pairs of socks are, apparently, not enough… I cast on another pair.

This was actually prompted by having to darn my Rooster Feather socks yet again. I’m afraid they are not long for this world, but I really like the feather-and-fan pattern I used on them. So I reverse engineered and started a new pair.

The yarn is Blue Moon Socks That Rock in Jabberwocky. So I’m afraid these are fated to be called Jubjub Birds or some such atrocity.

And can I just end by saying that yesterday I heard three words that I’ve been waiting to hear for a very, very, very long time: Former President Bush. 😀

Knitting by Judy @ 8:11 PM


What a day today!

It snowed 6″ at my house and I was completely trapped in. See the picture?

Mt. St. Helens is erupting and Mt. Hood is rumbling. A scientist has predicted that all of the Cascade volcanoes are likely to explode any day now.

President Bush announced new surcharges on wool. We know those knitters won’t mind paying a little extra. They probably won’t even notice, he said as he sign the new Take Their Wool and Run bill into law.

All three of my cats existed peacefully together today with no squabbles or spats.

The major oil companies decided that they didn’t really need such large profits and the price of gas dropped instantly to $0.50 per gallon.

#1 Son has decided to give up his rock ‘n roll lifestyle and study accounting.

And I finished the clown barf stripy socks.


April fools. 😀

Knitting by Judy @ 8:00 AM

raven progress
raven progress

Today’s is going to be one of those sort of disjointed, rambling posts. I’m still slammed at work, but I think it’s starting to calm down a little bit. Of course, that doesn’t mean that life in general is slowing down. I used to have such a nice mundane, rather boring existence. What happened?

At any rate, here is a picture of the progress on Wings Of A Dream. (I should probably be calling this Wings Of A Raven, eh?) This picture almost shows how the colors look in the sun. Almost. It’s amazingly hard to capture the Thraven colorway in silk. The color shifts with the light and as the object moves.

I’m beginning to have hope that I might actually finish on time. I’m also fairly convinced now that I will have enough yarn. In fact, I think I’m going to have plenty left. I’m actually further along than the picture shows. I took this picture on Saturday, and I’ve been knitting on it every chance I’ve had since. I’m just about to start the very last chart! And the rows are getting longer and longer. I know that I’m only adding two stitches each row. But it sure seems like I went from knitting tiny little short rows to big, long, many-stitched rows between one row and the next. The good news is that after knitting one whole wing and most of another, the knitting has become fairly mindless and can be done anywhere.

It needs to be off the needles and blocked by a week from Friday because I want desperately to take it north with me. Gentle reader, I have been invited this year to Cat Bordhi’s annual Visionary Retreat, where I will be exploring the possibilities of writing a book. There. I said I very scary thing out loud. Exploring only at this point, because I want to be sure in my heart of hearts that anything I give birth to will be worthy and not die a-bornin’. I am both frightened and exhilarated. Sort of like riding a roller coaster. Except then I’m mostly just frightened. (Not a roller coaster fan.) The visionary retreat will give me a chance to bounce my ideas off some very, very wonderful participants. So we shall see.

Captain Kidd
Captain Kidd

Usually Moo Cow is hanging around when I’m taking yarn pics, but last week it was Captain Kidd who joined me. He’s incredibly photogenic, so I snapped this close-up. I have no idea why he seems to have grown a solid black whisker amongst the white ones on his eyebrow. I don’t think he has another black hair anywhere.

There’s good new about the third kitty, Phoebe. Her kidneys are OK (yea!) and she has been cleared for the procedure that will solve her thyroid problem. She will be paying a visit to the specialist while I’m away from home and will be ready to come home about the time I do — perfect timing on something for a change. She has almost forgiven me shoving a pill down her throat twice a day, and last night even slept with me.

In other cool news, check out a new addition on the techniques page. The Judy’s Magic Cast-On instructions have been translated into Icelandic by Elín Einarsdóttir (thank you, Elín!) Her translation is posted with her permission.

And, finally, #1 Son will be back next Wednesday, lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise. I miss him very much and can’t wait to see him again. Of course, I will leave shortly after for points north. We are becoming ships that pass in the night. I guess that’s what happens when your kids grow up.

letter and ladybug markers
letter and ladybug markers

Well, it turns out there’s no need to wait for the official markers to use with Cat Bordhi’s new book. (Of course, if you want to wait you can.)

Look at these lovely little markers! They are brought to you by J L Yarnworks’ Etsy shop. Cat’s patterns require the letters A through F. This stitch marker set comes with A through H. I really like the “knit to A then do blah then knit to B and do yadda” directions in Cat’s book, and I see using the same sort of marker philosophy (if you will) for other projects like lace. A couple of extra letters could come in handy. J L Yarnworks’ Etsy shop mentions that the entire alphabet is available. Cool! Maybe next secret pal whatever I’ll spell my pal’s name in stitch markers as a little extra goody. 😉

There are a bunch of different beads available, so no matter what your preference I bet you could get a set that’s your favorite colors. My markers are black and a really pretty silver-blue. These are nicely made markers with no rough edges or pokey bits to snag the finest yarn. And at a very reasonable price! Love ’em, love ’em, love ’em.

socks with markers
socks with markers

Love the little ladybugs, too. OK. Who doesn’t love a lady bug? Sometimes my larger projects need a little bling, too. I’m using one of the ladybug markers on a top secret project (shhhh… ), and every time that little lady bug comes around, I just have to smile at it looking up at me with its beady little eyes. I fancy it’s saying, OK. But I’d really rather prefer eating aphids in the garden.

When you were a child and a ladybug landed on you, did you used to say the little rhyme Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home. Your house is on fire, your children will burn. When I was little, my mother taught that to me and to this day I still faithfully recite it to the ladybugs in the garden. But it is rather morbid, isn’t it? A rather strange sentiment.

But I digress.

I would love to show you how fun the little ladybug looks flying around my needle, but it’s a secret project. So, it’s… secret. All will be revealed in time.

By the way, there are other really cute little beads where these came from: penguins and fish. You must go look at the little penguins! You will die from the cuteness.

My socks feel so nicely balanced, now that I have the right stitch markers on both socks. Ahhhhh….

sock progress
sock progress

This is the instep side. I have one more pattern repeat to go, and then I turn the heels. These socks are almost knitting themselves. Maybe it’s because the pattern repeat is only 6 rounds, or because the cables turn every three rounds, but I always feel like I’m making progress. And before you know it, I’m almost done with this section. Except they’re on hold right now. Because I have to work on the secret project.

No, I can’t tell you what it is. It’s secret. (shhhhhhh…)

On another topic, you parents out there with newly-adult-ish teenagers… How are you coping? This was the conversation I had with my son on Tuesday:

#1 Son: Hi, Mom. Just wanted to let you know I’m on my way to California.

Mom (attempting to shift mental gears quickly): You are? Why? Don’t you have to go to work?

#1 Son: I don’t have any hours scheduled until Saturday. A friend has a family member who is very sick. She needed someone to go with her and there isn’t anybody else that’s available. We’re taking her car. I’ll be back Saturday morning.

Mom: Where are you going? Bay area?

#1 Son: San Luis Obispo. But we’ll probably spend tonight in the Bay Area then drive the rest of the way tomorrow. Her car is a little car with standard transmission. Driving a stick is really fun.

Mom: I love you. Please drive carefully.

Gentle reader, if you are the parent of an almost-adult-ish teenager, how are you coping?

One of the things I do to cope is to concentrate on other things. Like the software under the covers of this blog. I use a lot of plugins to do various cool things like the little gadgets in the sidebars, and the spell checker, and the doohickey that closes commenting on a post after a particular length of time. Sometimes one or the other of the plugins has issues. And sometimes it’s darned hard to figure out which one it is.

Lately, every time I publish a post, the sidebars would only load a little way down the left hand side, and then nothing more would load. The only way I could get the site to load all the way again was to turn off some of the plugins. So, one after another, you may have noticed things disappearing. And coming back. And disappearing again. And going wonky.

Yesterday I finally figured out what it was. It was the little word cloud in the left-hand sidebar. The plugin that builds the cloud takes all of the words from every post I’ve ever written, sorts them out, eliminates words like the, and, but, takes the top words, and makes the little cloud. Well… it turns out that I’ve been kinda wordy. Go figure! The poor thing was just choking on the number of words that my fingers have typed over the years. I’ve taken pity on it, and limited its cloud-making effort to the most recent 500 posts.

Can you believe I’ve written more than 500 posts? Me either.

At any rate, when I hit the Publish button, all should be well. Or, at least that’s the theory. Keep your fingers crossed. Here we go…

[ed.] And everything is OK. Yea! And #1 Son just called to report he is just north of Redding, they will be driving all night, and he’ll be home early in the morning. My request that he be careful and drive safely was met with: Why do you worry? I’ve done this millions of times. To which I can only reply, I worry because I’m your mother. It’s my job.

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#1 Son's Blanket


Cotton Bag