Knitting by Judy @ 7:00 PM

inside the barn
inside the barn

Dear blog,

I haven’t meant to neglect you. Every day I think of things I’d really like to chat with you about, like the 2nd annual Blue Moon Fiber Arts destashing / barn sale. I’ve just been so busy, and when I remember I haven’t talked to you, it’s way late and I’m always afraid that you might be asleep. But I do want to tell you about the barn sale. I know I have a bit of yarn already, but sock yarn doesn’t count, right?

I went with a purpose. I had started a small project — finished object to show soon, and everything. And in going through my stash I found that I didn’t have hardly any yarn of the correct weight. You see, I usually knit socks on size US#0, or at the most US#1, at about 11 – 12 stitches/inch. So I like rather lightweight fingering for my socks. And this pattern called for a more DK-ish or heavier fingering weight. And, despite the size of my stash – not as large as some, true, but certainly holding its own – I was hard pressed to come up with any.

And, with her usual perfect timing, Blue Moon’s depraved dyer Tina destashed. It seemed like fate, don’t you agree?

OK. So I can justify anything when it comes to yarn. But look, gentle reader, look at that picture and tell me that you would not have been overcome by all of the loveliness that was there. And that’s not even all of it. There’s more behind my back, but my camera doesn’t take 360-degree views.

a few things came home
a few things came home

And I was pretty successful finding things to come home with me. Just a few things. Ahem.

Everything is either medium- or heavy-weight STR, except for one, lone skein of light-weight. A couple of things are Rare Gems and the rest are Mill Ends, so they are not marked with a colorway. But, you can tell what most of them are. The one in the very middle, for example, is a Mill End of The Cookie Next Door. I don’t mind buying mill ends at all as I have had wonderful luck with them in the past. They may not be perfect, but that doesn’t mean they’re not lovely.

There’s also one skein of a gorgeous ribbon yarn called Streams. There’s no colorway on that, either, but you can see it’s lovely muted colors. Be sure to click on the pics to see the biggy versions.

And, if it looks like there are some colors that don’t usually show up in my stash, like gasp hot pink, well… I can only, once again, plead yarn fumes. I like some pinks, and pinks in combination with greens and browns. And the skein that’s white with pink, red, teal, blue and purple? What can I say, except it’s really hot.

Got yarn?
Got yarn?

Moo wanted to help me photograph my yarn. She has a different outlook than I do. I declined her generous offer.

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 |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 5:25 PM

Andes Mint
Andes Mint

This is not spring.

When I was young, I could tell that spring was coming when the weather turned decidedly warmer (almost up to freezing). The sky was deep blue, instead of winter white. The snow began to melt. And I swear I could smell the green things in the ground starting to stir. The tease lasted for a week or two, and then suddenly it was spring. Crocus bloomed, and then daffodils. The air was crisp, the breeze warm, and birdsong was everywhere. Rain, if it came, was a gentle shower that soon ended and left the most delicious smell in the world (only sheets dried outside on the line come close).

OK. It was a desert.

But this is the spring that my whole being still expects, and never mind that I have lived in a rain forest for the past 35 years. And although I tell myself every year that I’m not going to get the spring of my youth, I am still vaguely disappointed when it comes gray and soggy, and the daffodils struggle up through the muddy clay. I feel somehow… cheated. Yet geese have returned (I almost hit one that was standing in the middle of the street the other day), birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and so it must be spring.

In the last several days we have had rain, snow, rain, hail, 5 short minutes of sun, rain, snow, hail, etc. According to the northwest forecast that I trust the most, more of the same is promised for the next few days. There have been years when we had snow in April, but those years are very, very rare. We usually don’t even have snow in January, thus my displeasure. Because the calendar tells me it is spring, I will try hard to agree with it.

In keeping with spring, have you seen a yummier, springier yarn? This is Andes Mint from Sharon of Stitchjones. Sharon kindly brought some to the Wednesday night sip-n-stitch. Even though I was a bit late, she had guarded a skein from the ravening hordes, and thus I was able to bring it home with me. During our 5 minutes of sun yesterday, I quickly took a picture. Is this not just the most wonderful color? I’m not sure yet what it will be, but it will be something soon.

As soon as I finish the clown barf stripy socks. I am distracting you from my lack of progress by showing you yarn pr0n. But I do continue to work on them. And I’m hoping that I will get some good solid knitting time in this weekend.

In other news, Phoebe had her first post-treatment checkup and her kidneys are going to need watching. Not good, but not unexpected at her age. She has been doing well, though, and acting OK. We shall see. There is no new #1 Son news. And it’s a good thing. 🙄

Finally, please consider turning out your lights for 1 hour at 8:00 PM tonight. We can all knit in the dark for just a little while!

* those lines on weather maps that show areas having the same barometric pressure so you can see where the storm is – right now, it’s over me

Knitting by Judy @ 10:39 AM

Friday night. For many people the work-week is over and it’s time for a bit of amusement — maybe a movie or dinner with a friend or a date. Or a bit of knitting in front of the TV. Me? I take my car apart.

OK. Not the whole car. Just a bit of it.

I drive a 2005 Prius. And I love my car. Love it. It’s my favorite car ever. I love the way that I can run practically the whole car from my cozy-covered steering wheel. There’s just one thing it doesn’t have: an iPod dock (those were added in the next model year). When I bought my car, I didn’t have an iPod so I didn’t really care. Then I got an iPod, and thus began the search for some way to listen to it in the car. I finally settled on an FM transmitter. It worked pretty well, but had disadvantages. I could only use the iPod controls to change songs, etc., which is probably not all that safe when going 70 mph down the freeway. And, if the station faded, so did the iPod. After spending 20 minutes sitting in a rest area trying to find a station that would work, I decided that maybe I should look for another method.

this is how it looked before
this is how it looked before

The problem, of course, is finding an after-market solution that works with the stereo, doesn’t mess up the gps navigation, and allows the steering wheel controls to change songs, etc. For some cars, there are tons of after-market products that do this. For the Prius, there are only a few. My choice arrived this week. So when Friday night arrived, I gathered up the necessary tools and set to work.

Estimated time to install: The guide said about 30 minutes, so I figured one hour would be sufficient. I’d read through the instructions and it didn’t look that tough.

Tools needed: Long Phillips screwdriver, regular screwdriver, mirror, iPod doohickey and all its cables and parts, iPod.

Step 1: Remove glove box and set aside. Mama always warned me about directions that start out like this. But really, it turned out to be pretty easy.

Step 2: Using fabric-covered screwdriver, gently pry top of vent cover away from dashboard to unclip, then remove vent cover. Again, not so bad. I was on a roll.

the bane of my existence
the bane of my existence

Step 3: Using long Phillips screwdriver, unscrew the bolt at the top of the scary-looking white box covered with scary-looking wires. (The blue arrow is pointing at the location of the bolt.) Be careful not to mess up any of those wires, or lose the bolt, or any other bad thing. Unscrew bolt. U.n.s.c.r.e.w bolt.

Step 4: Admit that the standard-length Phillips screwdriver I had was just not long enough to get the proper amount of leverage on a bolt that must have been tightened using force approaching that to be found at the center of the earth. Remember that the Phillips who gave his name to this style of screwdriver was actually a resident of Portland and ponder that little bit of synchronicity while searching through tools, finding only standard screwdrivers that are longer than the original Phillips. Curse.

Step 5: Search for tool kit containing socket wrench, not finding it. Vaguely remember that I gave said tool kit to #1 Son, and he took it when he moved out. Curse.

Step 6: Replace vent cover, pressing firmly to engage clips. Replace glove box.

Step 7: Drive to big-box home improvement and hardware store. Purchase smallest possible socket wrench set containing several sizes of sockets and extenders, just in case (on sale! and yes I will use it for other things). Return home.

Step 8: Remove glove box and set aside. Remove vent cover and set aside. Using 10mm socket wrench with 6″ extender, remove bolt at the top of the scary-looking white box with the scary-looking wires. Put the bolt safely in a cup holder. Slide the white box gently to the side, out of the way.

the object of my desire
the object of my desire

Step 9: Find the empty port on the back of the stereo where the adapter for the iPod doohickey will be plugged in. It’s circled in the picture. And, yes, the mirror I’m holding is on the handle of a hairbrush. It’s the only one I had that was the right length and that I could get at the right angle. Note that it’s a tight squeeze to that port.

Step 10: While holding the end of the iPod doohickey plug between two fingers, squeeze right hand through vent opening and attempt to plug the wire into the port. Stretch a little further. Squeeze a little tighter. Twist and turn that plug to get it at the right angle. Reach!

Step 11: Realize that the sharp pain in the side of my thumb is probably not something I should ignore because the edge of the stereo enclosure has apparently cut my thumb and reaching further will cut it again. Withdraw right hand. Wrap kleenex around thumb. Curse.

Step 12: While holding the end of the plug, squeeze left hand through vent opening and reach for the cursed port. Feel the plug go in the port. Rejoice!

Step 13: Remove hand. Watch plug fall out. Curse.

Step 14: Repeat step 12, but this time ram that puppy home like there’s no tomorrow.

it works!
it works!

Step 15: Carefully move the scary-looking white box back into position, but don’t bolt it down yet.

Step 16: Plug the iPod doohickey cable into the other end of the adapter now attached to the stereo, and run the cable out the side of the vent cover, over where the glove box should be.

Step 17: Connect the iPod cable to the iPod doohickey and plug in the iPod.

Step 18: Cross fingers and toes.

Step 19: Turn the car’s auxiliary power on. The iPod will appear in the device list as MD Changer. Navigate to the iPod and test the functions. Some simple programming may be required.

Step 20: Follow the instructions for the simple programming, which turned out to be actually simple. Watch the iPod and it’s playlists show up on the nav screen. I swear that this song came up totally randomly, but it was pretty fitting I think. (For anyone who wonders, that’s Harry Nilsson.)

Step 21: Play with controls to make sure everything works. Rejoice.

put that puppy to bed
put that puppy to bed

Step 22: Turn off car.

Step 23: Move scary-looking white box covered with scary-looking wires back into place.

Step 24: Using 10mm socket wrench with 6″ extender (I can be taught), replace bolt, being careful not to drop it or tighten it too tightly (not too much fear of that).

Step 25: Carefully replace vent cover, pressing firmly to engage clips but being careful not to squeeze or bend cable. Put the iPod doohickey inside the glove box and then carefully replace glove box, being careful not to bend or squeeze cables, etc.

Step 26: Fasten the iPod doohickey securely inside the glove box. Coil cables and store neatly. Close glove box. (I would show you an after picture, but it looks just like the before picture.)

Step 27: Cross fingers and toes. Turn on car’s auxiliary power and make sure everything still works. Breath a sigh of relief.

Step 28: Put tools away.

Step 29: Enter house, telling surprised cats I rock!

Step 30: Add ice to martini shaker. Apply vodka and vermouth. Shake. Pour. Drink.

Total elapsed time start to finish, including trip to big-box store but excluding 2nd martini: 4 hours.

Being able to run my iPod from the steering wheel while it’s safely tucked away in the glove box: priceless.


Smithsonian 02-2008

This morning while I waited for my coffee to perk, I leafed through the latest copy of Smithsonian Magazine. I keep a few recent magazines in the kitchen to peruse while waiting for coffee to perk or water to boil or whatever. Everyone does that, right? I keep magazines all over the house. The ones by my bed, though, are older than the ones in the kitchen. When I go to bed at night, I can read for about a paragraph before my eyes close and the magazine slips from my hand and lands on the floor with a big thump, startling the poor cats from their snoozes and most of the time waking me up long enough to turn the light out.

But I digress.

I was leafing through Smithsonian Magazine in the kitches and ran into a little blurb about chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. This particular population of chimps has been studied for more than 30 years, so quite a lot of data has been gathered both on the population as a whole and on individual chimps.

When a male chimpanzee reaches maturity, he leaves his mother’s home area and moves elsewhere, there to find new friends and a bit of love and all that. But, when times get tough…

He moves home.

I think that there are many parents out there with grown children who are oscillated in and out of their homes who could relate to this. 🙄

Furry Friends |Knitting by Judy @ 9:41 PM

Molly Bag
Molly Bag

This is Molly. Alice at Tangle order her for me from Lantern Moon and I picked her up at Thursday Night Knitting.

Isn’t she lovely? The fabric is a raw silk blend. It comes in blue, red or orange. All have the lime green lining.

Really, this is one of the coolest knitting bags I’ve ever had. It’s circular in its basic construction, with a inside large enough to hold a medium-sized project. But the way that the lining is sewn in creates 4 pockets around the outside that are each large enough for a small project, or some notions, or the odd ball of yarn, or… a snack, I guess, or whatever. The main compartment includes a zippered pocket and a larger pocket that could be used for a cell phone or maybe a few needles. It has two adjustable straps that are just the right length. And it’s not leaning on anything. It stands up on its own.

I immediately started stuffing in all of my current carry-around projects. In the pocket on the left, the Salish Sea Socks. In the main compartment, Wings Of A Dream. Hiding in the shadows, you can just see Lenore peeking out of the pocket on the right. The remaining two pockets so far are empty.

I’m in love.

you want me to eat what?
you want me to eat what?

In kitty news, Phoebe is feeling a lot better. She has been on medication since last week, and I can tell it’s having the intended results.

Phoebe has never been sick a day in her 15 years, so giving her pills is interesting. I am an experienced kitty-pill-giver, thanks to Kidd. But, regardless, poking a tiny pill past the sharp teeth of a creature who doesn’t want to swallow said pill and is objecting strenuously with said teeth and a myriad of sharp, spiky claws can be… an adventure.

My vet suggested a wondrous invention called Pill Pockets. These are little goodies that are about the consistency of Play Doh but presumably better flavored. The center is hollow. One simply drops the pill inside, squooshes the end closed and hands it to the designated pet, who, in theory, chomps it down with great relish, never noticing that they’ve been medicated. No mess, no fuss, no angry pets.

The package I bought said chicken on the front. They smelled vaguely meat-like, if not particularly chicken-ish. I dropped a pill in the center and squooshed it closed. I handed it to Phoebe who chomped it down with great relish. This, I thought to myself, is the best thing since sliced bread.

Well… that worked OK for awhile. Then the medication began to work, and Phoebe’s appetite began to diminish. She began to get better at eating the treat from around the pill, and leaving the offending bit on the floor. This is a tiny, tiny little atom of medication about the size of a pin head. How she knows it’s there amongst the vaguely chicken-flavored Play Doh is anybody’s guess. But she does.

Thus began the second stage of the medication cold war.

I will never pretend to understand what goes on in the minds of any of the cats that live with me. Phoebe is willing to let me come near to pet her. As soon as I pick her up, she starts to meow and protest, but she doesn’t fight me. She just wants me to know that she’s not happy. I plop her on the counter in the kitchen, scoop a tiny little pill from the bottle and toss it down her throat (with some protest but, fortunately not drawing blood). I am, as I mentioned before, well versed in the art of getting a cat to swallow something he or she does not want to swallow.

Now, here’s the part I don’t understand.

If I let go of Phoebe at that point, allowing her to “escape,” she will go into hiding, cower in corners and refuse to either speak to me or accept goodies from me the rest of the day. I’m her worst enemy. If, however, I lift her from the counter and place her gently on the floor at my feet, she will wait right there in besotted anticipation while I get a treat out and give it to her. I’m her best friend.

Detente has been reached.

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