Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Thank You Is In Order

First of all, thank you for all the kind words about the loss of my sweet cat. She got so sick so quickly that I'm still sort of taking it all in.

And last week I was a complete basket case. I realized how bad it was when I had a discussion with a co-worker in which I said I'd check on something and when someone else came to me to check the same thing the very next day, I suddenly realized that I had completely forgotten about it within five minutes of the original conversation. However, I'm happy to be able to report that I do not appear to have done anything stupid to the database. This is consistent with my skill-set. Wake me up at 4:00 a.m. with a nasty technical problem and I'm fine. Ask me to leave a coherent voicemail to tell people that something went wrong ... I find that extraordinarily difficult.

So you can imagine my confusion when I got a package from someone in Utah early in the week. "I don't remember ordering anything," I said to my sweetheart in a bewildered tone.

"Is that from your Secret Pal?" He remembered that I still hadn't found out who my Secret Pal was this round.

This pal had a special touch. She had sent me a couple of cheerful e-cards just to say hi and when she did they were really welcome. I had needed to be cheered up just when she'd sent them. Something had happened so she had been unable to complete the swap by the designated end, and I'd sent her an email to let her know that I hadn't asked for a savior. She hadn't abandoned me - she had even already sent me a package. Life had just intervened, and with her timing, I figured she'd contact me when I really needed a hug.

Wow. Talk about timing.

My amazing pal was Valerie. Above you see that she sent me some Hoops & YoYo post-it notes, a fragile little giraffe, some SweeTarts, a ladybug wind chime, a magnetic list pad, cinnamon whipped honey and vanilla whipped honey from Cox Honeyland of Utah, and a nice big skein of Rumplestiltskin Happy Feet Sock Yarn in exactly the perfect colors! Everything in this package actually has some sort of connection to something meaningful in my life or is just something I really like.

Thank you, Valerie. Thank you very much.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Goodbye Sweet Kitty

When I was 23 and taking care of my dying grandmother and coming apart at the seams, a friend of mine pretty much tricked me into adopting a kitten. My ex-husband suggested we name her Edelweiss, since that's a famous German flower and my grandmother came from Germany. I was all for it, since I seem to lack the ability to name animals. Less than five months later, my grandmother had died and my husband had left and I was all alone with Edelweiss. For a while there, it felt like she was my only friend

And now, fifteen years later, she's gone.

Since I got my digital camera, most of the photos I'd taken of her were of her sleeping on my bed. I tend to throw stuff on the bed during the day to take care of before the end of the day. I'd often find her taking something over. But with all the stuff in this picture, you can see she preferred my knitting!

The needles didn't seem to bother her! She had odd sleeping habits. I would often come home to find her snoring loudly with her head in one of my sweetheart's shoes.

Ok, I'll admit I was rather miffed the night she vomited in a pair of his slippers as well as one of my high-heeled shoes. Miffed - but it was so outrageous that I'm still laughing about it.

At one point, I thought I had developed a method of reading a book and knitting at the same time. I put the book in a clear plastic bag and that held the book open. There were only two problems. The first was that it took a long time to turn a page. This was the second problem:

Most of her life, I didn't knit. But once I took it up again, I discovered there were times I had to have more than one project on the needles at a time.

She had expensive taste in yarn. That was the one skein of Ultramerino I got from my first Secret Pal.

I tried to make a nice, soft bed for her once. A pillow had come apart in the wash, so I got a good-sized box and put the stuffing down on the bottom for her to curl up on top of. She checked the box out and went somewhere else to sleep. Then it started to get really cold outside and I had the house set a few degrees cooler at night and I thought maybe this would make good insulation. My efforts weren't very pretty, but she approved.

Goodbye, sweet Edelweiss. We miss you.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Tofutsie Sock

Ok, I've got pictures, finally.

This is my Tofutsies sock. Oh, don't worry - I have a pair. I always make two at once on a long circular needle. I've even knit them together once or twice.

Here's a close-up of the top. I've twisted it a little so you can see the whole thing. It's a pattern from one of my Japanese stitch dictionaries.

I started this pair of socks five whole times. The first time, the pattern I used was much too slouchy and obviously wasn't going to stay up. I had turned the heel. I ripped and the re-winding was horrible, because I decided to split the skein into two skeins by weight, and one of my piles fell over. I spent a whole week untangling the mess I'd made. Then I tried again, with a cabled pattern that was so tight I couldn't get it over my heel.

I don't even remember what I did next. Eventually, I realized that top down wasn't going to work for me, so I worked toe-up. When I got to the very end, I dug through my books for a sewn cast-off that would work. The one I eventually settled on was called the tubular bind off and basically is sewn like a kitchner stitch, but you don't need to split your stitches on two needles first.

This sock fits me like a glove. One more stitch and it would be too loose. One less stitch and it would be too tight.

I hope they don't shrink in the wash.

I have another ball of this yarn in a black-and-white colorway. I'm considering making something other than socks from it. Perhaps fingerless gloves? I really haven't decided.

In any event, I'm now making a pair of socks with a nice, boring, knit 3 purl 3 allover rib. I needed something really simple after the Tofutsies socks.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Funny

The first video is one of the Sony Bravia ads. If you haven't seen it, you need to in order to understand the spoof after it.

When I first saw that, my first thought was that I hoped it was environmentally friendly paint. Research indicates that it was. Here's the spoof. The last couple seconds of it are absolutely priceless.


Happy New Year

Neil Gaiman is wonderful with words, and I'd like to share his New Year's wish with you, since I couldn't possibly say it half as well myself.

I found an old photo of my sweater. I've just cast off the collar and need to cast on the button bands. I might actually wear this thing this winter. Woo-Hoo!

I am in awe of The Harlot's argyle socks. I have no intention of doing that this year. Argyles don't interest me. But...boy is that neat.

And if you have any idea who my Secret Santa was, please pass on this blog post. Thank you. Thank you very, very much. I purchased two things that I would not have without that gift card. The first, which cost much less than the amount on the card, was this wonderful collection: The Roald Dahl Omnibus. Then I used the last of the card along with plenty of my own money to buy this: The Absolute Sandman Volume 2. Did I mention that I'm a Neil Gaiman fan? I don't have Volume 1 yet. I'm unlikely to wait to get it as a gift.

Have a wonderful 2008.

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