Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hurricane Socks

I've finally decided - and committed - to my Hurricane Sock project. Unlike both my SP10 links, I don't seem to have much in common with my Hurricane Pal, so she's been something of a challenge.

When I'm buying Christmas gifts for people I don't know well, I often get something I like, knowing that at least that way I can vouch for its quality or coolness. So that's the plan here - I'll be doing the Broadripple socks from Knitty, from some Regia Crazy Color yarn. Since I grew up in Broadripple, it seemed like an appropriate choice.

And Hurricane Pal, just in case socks named for my hometown don't sound cool enough, I'll note that David Letterman grew up there, too. Perhaps I'll take the socks around to visit his old haunts and give them a celebrity connection!

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Oldest Yarn

Our Secret Pal 10 Contest #4 is to write about our oldest yarn. Like so many challenges, this one is challenging. I've been buying and neglecting to use craft supplies for nearly 30 years, and it's not like I'm organized or anything.

A few years ago I did a Giant Acrylic Purge, and I suspect that knocked out most of the really old stuff. My active stash fits in two suitcases and three small totes, although I know there are some stray balls wandering around, especially at my parents' house.

So this is a best guess - the oldest yarn of known provenance is 10-year-old (almost to the month) Sugar & Cream. A friend was crocheting an afghan of many colors of Sugar & Cream, and I became jealous. So I decided to make my own - and not knowing how to crochet was only a small obstacle. It was nearly impossible, back then, to find a generic granny square pattern, so I faked it. I bought every color of Sugar & Cream (or its generic relatives) that I could find.

After a summer, I had about half the squares needed for an afghan, and had gotten bored and joined two rows together. That's where the project's been ever since. Two balls of sport-weight Sugar & Cream had worked their way into the mix, and a few years ago (after some false starts at sock-making) they became the Roman Rib footies pictured here. I really intend to go back and finish the afghan, especially since that will empty two of the small stash boxes. Maybe it will be an every-10-years Summer of 'X7 project.

No picture yet, because my camera is packed, ready to go to Germany! I'll add one eventually.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Who, Me?

Heather's Wednesday Blog Challenge #8 is to "write about one of (or some of!)the things you did wrong when you were a kid." Surely she jests! Me, do something wrong?

I'm trying to think back to things that would be both wrong and amusing, and it's hard to get anything from when I was too young - but here goes:

The single stupidest thing I ever did - and it was mostly my idea - was "turtling." This involved sitting on the window ledge of a car, and leaning back into the wind, while the driver attempted to get the car up to at least 62.5 miles an hour (because 100 km/hr is fine, but 100 mi/hr would be stupid, right?). We even made little cards, so everyone who did it got one. "You have to stick your neck out to have a good time," right, Wally? Boy, it was fun, but it probably would've been safer and smarter if I'd just toked up some reefer or gone to a keg party. Some people worry that their children shouldn't be exposed to books about sex, or violence, or drugs, or alcohol. Trust me, Yeager and The Right Stuff are every bit as dangerous.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Why Dogs Love the Mailman

Today's mail brought a box from my Secret Pal, a tantalyzingly cinnamon-cented box that had my nose twitching almost as much as the dogs'. I couldn't wait to find out what was inside. This time there was a red-and-black theme - all sorts of interesting-looking packages in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

The most important question, of course, was to find out what was in those doggie-decorated Chinese take-out boxes. Especially when they turned out to say "Max" and "Oscar". Since the dogs don't have thumbs, I did my own investigating, and found two festive bags of Milk-Bones! I have happy dogs tonight.

I was pleased to see that I wasn't totally left out in the treat department. Yummy SweetTarts in an Easter assortment which means NO orange candy. I hate orange-flavored candy. Then there's the means for making more treets - a "mini Romantic" cookie cutter set. I wonder if I'll have to find time to make cookies before I go see Aaron? And the source of the cinnamon scent was revealed - a little bag of funky-looking crystals, with a very potent aroma. It's destined for my knitting bag, so all my yarn will smell nice.

One of Max's recent bad deeds is undone with this, a new Chibi just for me. Since Max is napping while I type this, I've already had this Chibi longer than I had the last one. It will come in handy for sewing up the toes on the socks I'll certainly make from this new sock yarn! (Does that sound like part of a "Price is Right" showcase?)

Then there's the big package, which also proves to be for me. (You never know...lots of people like the dogs best!) It's an artist's portfolio with colored pencils and a sketch pad, so I can doodle knitting designs (and maybe even attempt something more artistic) to my heart's content.

The one thing missing from this package is clues. The return address is from Texas, but I've had hints that she might be from Oklahoma. It's more German yarn - is she a traveler, too? Or does she live near a cool yarn shop? She must have a bit of a crafty streak, to be so delightfully indulgent with the doggie decorations.

Whoever you are, thank you! This is a great package, and I know I'll enjoy all the goodies. The dogs have already helped me get started.

I'm not the only one who thanks you. Max is making it very clear that he's being good, in hopes that he'll get a sample of whatever's in that box. Oscar, on the other hand, is working on enhancing his EvenWorseDog reputation.

And from Oscar, we learn that some things smell more intriguing than doggie treats. But he still enjoyed the Milk-Bones, too. So from all of us, thank you!


Friday, April 20, 2007

More To Come

More pictures, that is. I've just bought a brand-new digital camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX07. I've always refused to even consider buying a camera from an electronics company, assuming that anyone can do decent electronics but only a camera manufacturer could do good optics.

Then I saw the word "Leica." Then I said "Holy ^&%#@!," several times, right in the middle of the Best Buy. If they're getting their lenses from Leica, I don't think I can complain about optical quality. I kept saying "well, *%^@!," in disbelief, all the way to our new knitting gathering. Then I went home and read reviews, and knew this was my camera. Any camera that earns that many *%^@%#!s has to be a good one, right?

The best news is that Best Buy has a new "accidental damage" warranty which covers damage from gravity, water, and VeryBadDogs. Yeah, the subject sort of came up. I wonder if I'll get my money's worth from this warranty?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Heather's Wednesday Blog Challenge #7 is a list of quirks. Am I quirky?

1. When I'm learning a new skill (like knitting) I usually try to do it left-handed first. But I'm not left-handed.

2. I make Max faces when I'm thinking about something.

3. I like my servings of food to balance out - so that I don't, for example, run out of potatoes before I've finished the steak.

4. I want my drinks without ice. And my meat well-done. And the Daquiri Ice scoop always goes on top of Jamocha Almond Fudge scoop at Baskin-Robbins.

5. All dogs are nice dogs.

6. I tend to use a lot of ellipses and dashes when I write, even academically.

7. I love colored pens/pencils/markers. I always have a rainbow pencil in hand when I'm reading for school. My calendar entries are color coded, thanks to a mini 4-color pen, and marked with stickers as appropriate.

8. The stuffed fish my mother made me when I was 7 still lives in my bed. At least, he does when the dogs aren't trying to steal him. He travels with me pretty regularly, too. He was with me when I was following the Grateful Dead, and I once took him to the Newport Aquarium so I could take his picture with the real fish. Before George W. Bush became President, my fish had been abroad more than he had.

Is that enough? Naturally, I can't think of many - but maybe I'll be told about more.

In other news, Emily, one of the Hurricane Sock Party participants, has just rescued three abandonded dogs. So if you live near Alabama, perhaps you need an adorable dog or two (or three) in your home. Go check out Emily's blog, and enjoy the adorable pictures!


Monday, April 16, 2007

My Dog Ate... digital camera. 'Nuff said.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Favorite (and not!) Patterns

Robyn, my Secret Pal 10 hostess, likes to post blog projects for her group. This time around we're supposed to post pictures of our favorite and most-hated patterns.

Both are hard. I haven't knit a lot of things for other people, and I doubt I'd finish something I really hated for myself. But I've also been pretty happy with most of the things I've knit, so it's hard to pick a favorite.

If I had to pick one, it would be Nautie. I've knitted two of these guys now, but I don't have one for myself yet. This one was a gift for my SP8 Pal, while the other was a Christmas present for my younger adorable niece. Every girl needs a stuffed sea monster, right? Which means I have to get busy and knit one for myself.

And while I wouldn't say I hate them, these Fiber Trends Felted Boot Slippers are probably my least favorite project, and the one I'd be most likely to call a waste of time.

Making them wasn't a very pleasant process. The knitting was easy enough, but the felting was a bear. I don't have a washing machine, so I did the felting by hand - and had to stop midway through because I'd rubbed my fingertips raw. And I suspect the blue yarn is indigo-dyed, judging from the lovely smell I got when the slippers hit the hot water.

The really bad part is that I never wear slippers. I don't even like wearing shoes. So I don't know what I was thinking. Three skeins of Manos Del Uruguay and all that trouble for something I never wear.

I could - and perhaps should, as a public service - add that I've never had good luck with any of Nancy Bush's patterns. "Uinta Cabin" doesn't seem to be designed for real feet, since she modifies the shape of the sock to fit the colorwork rather than the other way around. The socks are tight at the top, then get baggier as they go down to your ankle. "Trust the designer" is not a good rule to follow here. This is really weird because for "Conwy", in the same book, she includes all sorts of finicky shaping when it doesn't seem necessary. But that pattern, with all the calf shaping, has a star toe, so the socks spiral off my feet when I wear them. I still wear them, though, so they don't get a spot as my least-liked pattern.

My real reservations about Nancy Bush's work are more creative. Knitting on the Road doesn't really make an effort to offer patterns that are easy to do when traveling, nor are the socks authentic examples of what a traveler might find. They're just vaguely inspired by places she's been. The same is true of Folk Socks and Knitting Vintage Socks - you don't learn anything about the traditional sock patterns; you just get to knit a vaguely related modern sock. She didn't even do the Mamluke Socks as a toe-up design, when that's a pretty distinctive feature of eastern knitting, and not any harder to do. Some of the socks may be perfectly lovely patterns (in spite of my troubles noted above), but none of them are really what the book titles might suggest.

The real problem with knitting is that it doesn't make a very satisfying sound when you throw it against a wall. So I it's good that I haven't had any projects I really hated.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007


I'd like to be able to report that I attended Purdue's Spring Fest. I'd like to be able to say that I watched the Cockroach Races, petted the Fistulated Cow, and enjoyed the Horticulture students' garden displays.

But today looked like this, so it wasn't a day for springtime activity. That really is snow, in April - the first measurable April snow since 1961, we're told.

So I spent the day processing yesterday's yarn acquisitions. I turned my giant tangled hand-dyed skeins into considerably neater hand-dyed balls, without too many doggie disasters.

I'm not sure I like it as much now that it's in balls. The colors are much lighter than I expected - purple is pink and scarlet is orange. But I didn't come to class with a dyeing agenda, so I'm sure I'll enjoy these yarns, and find a good use for them.

It's actually kind of hard to come up with good patterns for multicolored yarns. Most of the sock patterns I like have vertical designs, which are lost with the horizontal patterning of the yarn. All of the really neat patterns - the ones with lots of increases and decreases to form gentle curved shapes - are broken up by the varigated yarn. So I'm looking for the perfect patterns. I've started my search in Sensational Knitted Socks, but I have a feeling I may own a pattern collection or two before this yarn is socks.

My big accomplishment for the day was finishing the socks for the Sam in Pink sock challenge. Remember, these are the socks that I cast on Wednesday. They're Fluted Banister Socks, but I knitted 40 stitches around instead of 60 to make them kid-sized. I'll be delivering them to River Knits soon!

Now I can finish more of the socks-in-progress, and begin the next challenge - trying to decide what and how much knitting to take to Germany.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Fleece Fair

I just attended my first-ever Fleece Fair, the newly-renamed Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana. I don't ever want to wake up at 6:30 am again, but I may decide the fleece fair was worth it.

I rarely take craft classes. It's just as easy to learn from a book, and it's cheaper and easier to schedule. But there's that get-off-your-butt-and-try-this benefit that a class offers, so I took a class in dyeing sock yarn with Yvonne Clifford and Mary Ann Cripe.

This is the result. Two skeins of my very own hand-dyed sock yarn. Which will soon become two pair of my very own hand-dyed socks. Now I just need to start spinning yarn in useful quantites, and I can feel very hands-on.

It was really a pretty simple process. We soaked skeins of yarn, laid them out, applied dye with squirt bottles, wrapped everything in plastic wrap, and microwaved the yarn to set the dye. The big advantage to taking the class was that none of this was my equipment. The instructors brought the equipment, dyes, and even tablecloths with them, handed out the yarn, and then took it all away. They even did most of the cleaning up. So I don't have to have a dye powder collection, or a dedicated dyeing microwave. The only thing that's entering my home is the sock yarn.

The only thing from class, anyway. It's not a fiber event without shopping, and 2.5 hours of driving and a pre-dawn wakeup for two skeins of sock yarn would be terribly unprofitable, no matter how excited I am about the yarn. But I'd resolved to restrain myself, and I was almost successful.

I'd printed out the patterns for many of my wish-list projects, so I could shop with a purpose. As it was, I only got one thing from the list. This Briar Rose Fibers yarn (with the irresistible name "fourth of july) is destined to become a Clapotis scarf.

I've never heard of Briar Rose Fibers before, but everyone else seemed to be very excited about their presence, so I'm very optimistic about this yarn. If I can keep it away from the dogs.

Then my resolve broke down. Not only did I venture off the list, but I broke the "don't buy yarn unless it's for something" rule. I have no idea what I'm going to do with this. I have no idea what I can do with this - it's beyond fine at 530 yards to 50 grams. But isn't it beautiful?

It's Conjoined Creations Pastimes yarn, 100% soysilk, in the "Ed Sullivan" colorway. I've never seen anything like this before. It feels really good too. But is it good for anything?

In my defense, the vendor, Weaver's Loft, was the only one selling desperately-needed weaving tablets, but it seemed rude to make her run a credit card for $10. And I knew using the convenient on-site ATM would be a bad idea.

And here's what I came home to. Oscar, caught in the act trying to turn a glass candle holder into a chewy toy. I guess I squandered all the good-dog time that yesterday's camp visit bought me.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Was my face red?

Heather's Wednesday Challenge wound up being posted on Thursday this week, so I'm not the only procrastinator. For week #6 she's asking for new stories about embarassing moments.

I don't think I embarass easily. Maybe that's because my high school job was as a costumed character for the Indianapolis Zoo. I played Shivers the Penguin, among other things. Once you've worn a (shared) fur suit in August, done butt-shaking dances with hundreds of children (and a giant tail), and had your theatrical dreams lead to a role as a giant six-year-old in stage skits, all for $6 an hour, you're really beyond embarassment.

But I will do my best:

The first is my classic story. I was young, maybe seven years old. We never went on many family vacations, but we'd all get to tag along when my father went to business conferences - if a hotel has a pool and some video games, kids don't really care what city it's in.

This particular conference offered a dinner with the Governor as one of the activites. My mother went to the dinner, while my father kept an eye on my brother and me. This is a bit like expecting Ward Cleaver to make the Beav's lunch and sew on Wally's buttons. So when we said we wanted to see the Governor, my father agreed to take us to sneak a peek from the back of the hotel ballroom.

Since we'd been cautioned to be unobtrusive, I tried to squeeze behind a wall. But it wasn't a wall. It was a giant wooden screen, probably 10 feet tall, not attached to anything. And it fell with a loud bang when I bumped into it. A bang that sounded rather like a gunshot, according to my father.

My memory is of standing in the open while everyone in that ballroom, including the Governor (who'd been making a speech) was staring at me. But my father and my police-mad brother informed me that state governors are also followed around by guys in grey suits with earbuds.

If you asked my father for his embarassing moment, that might be his story, too.

The second is more recent:

I may have mentioned that Oscar is kind of bad. And that he likes to get into things.

Oscar and Max have a doggie friend, Maggie, who lives in our building. She's owned by the apartment's caretaker, and he kindly fenced in most of the back yard so the dogs can romp and play.

So we were all out together whan Oscar needed to do his business. And the caretaker noticed that he seemed to be having difficulty. Almost as if he'd eaten something he shouldn't.

"Something he shouldn't" quickly proved to be fabric. Pink, lacy, slightly elastic fabric. Fabric which could have come from only one place - a slightly naughty set of underpants. That really wasn't something I wanted to share with my neighbor.



Look at this! It's a sock! A complete sock! A sock that, yesterday, looked like this. A whole sock, finished in a day. Ok, so it's a sock for a child - it's still pretty good time, I think. I guess the prospect of Sam in pink is really motivating. I wonder what it would take to get her to knit pink socks?

In other news, the dogs had an interview visit at Camp Bow Wow today. I'm trying to find a place to board them for my next trip to Germany, and this looks really attractive. Not only is it right by the airport, but the dogs spend the entire day playing with each other, so it's a vacation for them, too. AND they're tired when they come home - which means they're good.

Because the dogs interact, they have to be interviewed before they can stay. I spent the day worrying that I'd get a "come get your bad dogs" telephone call. But they passed the interview, and received a report card telling me they "play well with others," are "assertive," and enjoyed "romping with other campers." The camp even gave me an interview-passed certificate with pictures of them at the camp. The really nice thing is that Camp Bow Wow is all-inclusive. So many boarding kennels look cheaper, but then nickle-and-dime you with charges for every treat, playtime, and potty walk. This is more like a doggy Club Med. So I've made my reservation, and soon they'll enjoy a vacation of their own.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gray & Pink

It's an icky day. It's cold, and rainy, and started much too early. We're supposed to get an inch and a half of rain today, and be 20 degrees below our normal high. This is not good news. The only thing that makes this morning look nice is the expected thunderstorms, and the possibility of snow for tomorrow.

It's definitely not the sort of day when you want to go out and do anything. The poor dogs try to go out to play, and come back in soaked. I come back soaked, too. My feet are cold even through my nice warm Tiptoe socks.

I offer Max's picture here, because he's better at looking glum than anyone else. This is what he looks like when he's just been fed and played with.

A nasty gray rainy day, at home, after being up too late, cooped up with two rowdy bad dogs. What's a girl to do?

Cast on new socks, of course! These socks are made from some of my Fancy Image Yarn of the Month. These are socks with a purpose...socks that will accomplish a good thing and an amusing thing.

The good thing is that these are a contribution to River Knits' charity knits program. They'll be donated to Children in Common, an organization which provides handknit items to Russian orphanages.

The amusing thing is that these socks will get us one step closer to the Sock Club's Sam in Pink appearance. Sam hates pink. Really hates pink. But she's agreed to wear a pink "Boot Camp for Socks" t-shirt in public if everyone in the Sockday club donates a pair of socks to Children in Common. So I'm just doing my part to bring a little more pink into the world...which may be an antidote to this icky day.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Not Much

knitting content today. I spent the weekend in Indianapolis, getting precious little done but enjoying a chance to visit. I caught up with old friends, ate chocolate fondue (doctor's orders for one of the friends!), and got to see my adorable nieces, who get progressively more adorable every day. The older one begins every sentence with "Well," so she sounds like a small blonde Ronald Reagan, and the younger one is walking quite impressively, unfazed by licks from larger-than-her little bad dogs.

So now I'm back home, and working on my Mosaic Garter socks. It's possible I'll finish one tonight, which will be good progress toward addressing the rest of the to-do list. Elizabeth's socks are next, of course, and then I'm not sure who will step forward. It's time to start choosing which socks, and which projects, will go to Germany with me. I suspect I'll have more options after this weekend's fleece fair - my first ever!

I've just been shopping for my Secret Pal, and I bought more than I planned - for her and for me. I wonder why we do these exchanges? It seems to be only women who participate, which left my mother doubly puzzled - how do we find the time?

My father is the Christmas Grinch. Not the reformed, happy, roast-beast-carving Grinch, but the original model. He hates Christmas, and he especially hates Christmas gifts. "Why don't you just give everyone a $1000 check for Christmas?" he asks. "Then they can each give you one, and you can say you got $20,000 for Christmas."

The thing is, I like shopping for other people. There was the year my siblings and I all gave each other gifts from the Nature Company, so gift certificates may have saved a lot of wrapping, but in general it's fun to look for surprises. And I have to admit that I like presents - when I was a kid, I'd wrap up my own toys, just so I could have the fun of opening them.

And so I guess it's fun even when surprising a stranger. I'm going to have a hard time keeping close to the spending limit for my pal - there's just so much I want to share with her. And someone out there, someone who doesn't know me, has already spoiled me with all sorts of goodies that I never would have bought for myself. Someone else spoiled me in Secret Pal 8, and I'm still enjoying all those goodies.

But why only women? It's a competition, I suppose, like the hunter-gatherers in Jean Auel's books, trying to show who has the most foraging skill. Perhaps women are just more inclined to bond with strangers, to reach out and try to make friends. Or maybe it's because women always buy soap and candles, and it's hard to come up with generic gifts for men. Not that I'd mind beer and duct tape from my pal, but soap and candles are definitely easier to ship. Perhaps I'd better find out if my spoilee likes beer.....

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Red, White, and Bad

Wednesday was kind of a stressful day. Nothing especially bad happened, but many frustrations combined with crappy weather and the approaching end of the semester to leave me wanting nothing more than to go home, pet some dogs, and chill out.

Dogs relieve stress, right?

I should have known better. I came home to this. Max jumped into the picture as if to take credit for his work, but I suspect he's not the only culprit. The worst of the mess comes from streamers left over from the Barack Obama party, and from a whole box of Kleenex. Somehow my knitting bag got into the middle of the pile, and they pulled out my Ocean Lace Stole, which had been sitting quietly by the recliner for days, neatly tucked away in its (now destroyed) bag. I think the knitting is OK, but the yarn is a mess.

There was also a package of four flags. I found three. Yes, my dogs desecrated the American flag. Don't tell Gonzales.

Know what Oscar did as soon as I got home? He started playing with a chew toy.


Wednesday Challenge

I found the Wednesday Challenge idea on another blog, and it looks like fun, so I'm going to go for it.

Today's is:

What are your pet peeves?

1. People who drive too slow, especially in parking lots. Parking spaces aren't skittish - you don't have to sneak up on them to keep them from running away!

2. The decorative use of quotation marks, and the use of apostrophes to make plurals. Or should that be plural's?

3. Students who steal paper from the Library printers. Thousands of dollars a year for college tuition and you're too cheap for a trip to Wal-Mart?

4. Road-shaking, bad music blasted through car radios. If just one person made my windows shake with something good - even something as cliched as Also sprach Zarathustra - this might not bother me so much.

There are many more things that annoy me, and some true evils in this world that I dislike - but I'm going to assume that pet peeves should be petty, and keep the list short.


Hurricane Sock Party Questionnaire

The most we ever see in the Midwest is rain from the tail end of a hurricane, but since we have plenty of our own bad weather I've signed up for the Hurricane Sock Party exchange. So here's the questionnaire:

1. Repeat after me "no hurricanes, no hurricanes, no hurricanes" . Okay we just had to get that one out of the way first. We needed to created a bit of "good weather karma"! GRIN

No hurricanes, no hurricanes, no hurricanes! No tornadoes either. Unless they're in a totally deserted area and I can get a really cool picture.

2. If your pet(s) wrote a paragraph about you to describe you to us what would they say? (If you have no pets then just pretend you husband or best friend wrote it! This is a 3rd person writing exercise that is always fun.)

Where is she? It's dinner time. It's dinner time! IT'S DINNER TIME!!!!
See, she's always late for dinner. She thinks we can just eat any time of day. I mean, I can eat any time, but I need my scheduled feedings, too. She says she has to go out and work - or go to class - but I don't know why. I only had 16 weeks of Obedience School - Oscar's NEVER been - but she's been going to "class" ever since I've been around. When she's here, she's pretty good. She pets us a lot, and she's never embarassed to get down on the floor and roll around with us. I've heard of some homes where the dogs aren't allowed on the furniture, or they have to sleep in cages, or they're kept from jumping up to greet people, but she knows better. She knows it's only polite to sniff someone's butt to say hello, and realizes that when you're a little dog you can't sniff butts and lick faces without jumping. She spends a lot of her time reading - big, thick, boring-looking but sometimes tasty books - but that's not so bad, because we can sit on her lap and get petted. She also likes to watch TV - we like the dog shows best, or Iron Chef, but she'll watch other stuff. When she's watching TV, she'll pull out her wool to play with. That doesn't seem fair, because she won't let me play with the wool. Why not? It smells like sheep. Sheep are food, all things food-related are for dogs, so we should get to play with the wool, right? Sometimes, when we're trying to make a place to sleep, we'll get all tangled up in the wool. Generally she ignores us, but Oscar doesn't like it. He gets annoyed when the yarn drapes over him, and starts making faces and sneezing at it. I don't mind it so much, because if I'm tangled up in wool it means I'm asleep next to her, and probably getting petted. And it makes it easier for me to chew on the wool when she's not looking.


3. What is your favorite hurricane supplies snack?

Mixed nuts, gummi bears, cheese & crackers.

4. Do sock patterns normally fit you "as written" or do you usually modify them for size in any way? (other than foot length)

They generally fit, except for toe socks. I have to modify those pretty seriously. A few turn out a bit loose, but I get by.

4a. What are your foot measurements, not just shoe size? (Measure the length of your foot from heel to toe, then the ball of your foot. )

8.25 inches around the ball of my foot, and 9.25 inches long. The only shoes I wear anymore are size 38 Birkenstocks.

5. What one city abroad would you visit and why if money was no object? (and terrorism was non-existant)

If money were no object, I would visit Bora Bora. That's the only way I'm likely to get there, since I'm sure it's a wildly expensive trip, and an insanely long trip, and there's no scholarly justification for it. I'd like to visit because I've never been anyplace in the Pacific, and because James Michener's Hawaii is one of my favorite books.

6. Do you wear socks all year round or just during the winter? Do you prefer them tall or short or regular height?

I wear them year round, but less during the summer. I work in too many *$%#!# cold air-conditioned buildings (I HATE air-conditioning), so I carry wool socks with me and slip them on when I get to work.

I prefer my socks a little long - 7-8" in the cuff, or so.

7. The last time the power was out during hurricane season (or bad weather of any kind) did you knit by lantern or were you lucky enough to knit to the humm of a generator? Or did you knit at all?

I don't know if I've ever had a long power outage to knit through, but I've knit by firelight while camping. The last time I cooked when the power was out (I had a big party planned for the next day) I was cooking by candle and flashlight - no generator.

8. Make a wish for your favorite sock yarn that you've already used once. What would it be? ? Dont be shy about listing an exact colorway or two if you'd like.

Cherry Tree Hill! I'm not sure that I have a colorway picked out. I try not to touch the stuff when I'm in the yarn store - it's the only way I can resist temptation.

9. What is it about sock knitting that keeps you wanting to knit more and more socks?

I discovered a couple of years ago that I stay warmer and my feet feel better if I wear wool socks and Birkenstocks than they do with any other shoes. The wool sheds the snow, and gives my feet a chance to dry if I've walked through slush.

10. Make a wish for a sock yarn that you are dying to try but haven't bought for yourself yet. (be specific,even colorway if you'd like)

Socks that Rock! I'd love to get my hands on Jewel of the Nile, but Fire on the Mountain would be cool, too - as would Chapman Springs, Love in Idleness, Lucy, Puck's Mischef, Nodding Violet, Watermelon Tourmaline (because I like the stone), or just about anything, really.

11. What size needles do you knit socks for YOURSELF with the most? Are they circular or bamboo needles? What brand?

I probably use size 2 Crystal Palace more than anything else, with size 1 as a close runner-up. I'm just now trying the two-circular-needle technique, and I'm sure I'll use it for some socks, but not for all of them.

12. If you could only take 3 yarn related books and one previously knitted project that you love with you when you evacuated what would they be?

The books: Socks Socks Socks, definitely my favorite sock book.
Armenian Needlelace and Embroidery, because it was such a huge pain to find.
Folk Bags, because it has many many projects I want to do.

The project: My first pair of Turkish Socks. They were the ones that taught me the joy of handmade wool socks.

13. What knitting notion do you wish you had that you just keep putting off getting for yourself?

A case to hold my double-pointed needles. Or things to hold the needles together on a sock-in-progress. Or a Chibi.

14. What is your favorite tv show?

Currently, Battlestar Galactica. Of all time, Cheers or Hogan's Heroes

15. Do you want a lacey sock or a "solid fabric" sock from your hurricane partner?

Either would be lovely.

16. It's midnight and the power has been off for two days, its hot, and you have a craving for something sweet! What would it be? (This is a FOOD related question ladies! LOL)

I'm guessing I can't have raspberry sherbert, but that's what I'd be craving! Probably cookies...maybe jam-filled cookies...with an ice-cold glass of milk, of course!

17. Tell us a story about any of your hurricane weather related experiences.

We don't really have hurricanes here. I'm told that when I was not quite a year old, a tornado hit just across the street from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while I was there with my parents. They just shoved me under the bleachers, and waited for the storm to pass so qualifying could resume. You can't leave the race just because of bad weather!

18. What was the one thing you wish you had remembered to get last year for hurricane supplies that you swore you wouldn't forget this year?

A weather radio is at the top of my list. I should probably stock up on bottled water and doggie chew toys, too.

19. What color sock would you like to recieve from your sock partner? (if you don't have a pref just say so otherwise give us a hint!)

Any color - that's part of the fun!

20. Well surprise, this one isn't a question at all, it's a THANK YOU for filling out this questionnarie and posting it. Also, don't forget to send (in a private email) your snail mail address to Christy for later when the packages are mailed


Tuesday, April 03, 2007


is not one of my strongest character traits. I'm trying to finish things. I'm trying to cut down on the number of socks in progress. I'm trying to get Elizabeth's socks ready for her sockday, and get caught up on sock club. I was sure I wasn't going to cast on any new projects.

Then I realized that Elizabeth's socks will use yarn that I'd also planned on using for my Mosaic Garter socks. The whole point of colorful socks is to use lots of yarn bits, but I still want co-ordinating, even matching, socks. I have many plans for socks which will use each others' leftover yarn, creating a giant interdependent sock collection in progress.

So I was really left with no choice, but to drag out nearly every single color of Falk yarn I own...

and to cast on another sock.

Don't worry, Elizabeth, this is not your sock.

are your socks.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Did I Say Good Dog?

Max and Oscar are generally good dogs, but they have a small behavior problem...they bark at one of my neighbors. They sit in the living room window, and bark at her every time she goes in or out. They bark when she talks on the phone. They bark when she moves around. They bark at her guests.

She doesn't really like being barked at. I don't like it much, either. Since they don't bark at the other neighbor, I thought I could teach them to be quiet. I tried distraction. I tried positive reinforcement. I tried equipping the neighbor with dog treats and taking them out for visits. But they still bark.

So I decided to resort to desperate measures...I bought a squirt gun. A 6-pack of them, actually, because Wal-Mart didn't have singles. Max dragged the package out of the shopping bag, but I retrieved them and filled one. Squirt guns work on cats, right? Then Oscar opened up the squirt gun and drank all the water. So I refilled it. Surely I won't be outsmarted by my dogs, right?

The big day came...the dogs started barking, and I started squirting. They didn't seem to notice. Eventually they finished barking, and turned around to look at me, but still weren't bothered by the squirting. No problem, I thought - we'll just keep this up, and if they're paying attention to what I'm doing they won't bark, right?

Then I went to work last night. And came home to this. Remember, I cleaned for my Barack Obama party. I seriously cleaned - or at least hid all the junk. Which was why I couldn't figure out where all these tiny bits of red plastic came from. Had they eaten my stopwatch? A flashlight? Then I finally figured it out....yep, while I was gone, Oscar chewed up the squirt gun. So much for negative reinforcement.

Trouble? Us? We're just hanging out, playing with dog toys. Nope, I have no idea where that plastic came from. Wanna play tuggy?


Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Seven Row Itch

I think I'm fairly loyal in most of my relationships. Aaron and I have been dating for seven years. I've been here at Purdue much longer than I should. I stayed in my last apartment for six years. Every time I pack a lunch, it's the same thing. I get together with my friends from High School whenever I can. And I still drive an '89 Honda.

But it turns out there's a fickle portion of my heart, and it's for socks. Six pairs of socks in progress is no deterrent to starting another....sock club makes a fine excuse. And I give my heart away so easily. Yesterday morning, I was hooked on entrelac. My entrelac socks went everywhere with me. Few things made me happier than the joy of completing another little square. I modified my knitting style just to accommodate these socks.

By last night, everything changed. I cruelly brushed aside the entrelac, in favor of a new woolen partner - the Braided Rice Socks. I only got to spend 45 minutes at Sock Club, but that was enough time for a relationship to develop. Just a few rows into the ribbing, I couldn't wait to see how the cables were going to turn out. All of a sudden, blue Gems rather than green and yellow Cherry Tree Hill occupied my thoughts and dreams. I packed my bookbag for work tonight with no fewer than three sets of socks in progress, so I can go wherever my cheatin' heart wants to take me.

So far it's taken me through three repeats of the pattern, and several periods of fondling the cable and enjoying the stretchiness of the rice stitch. But while this sock is lovely, it's a high-maintenance friend, requiring close attention and large time commitments. If it's left hanging in the middle of a pattern repeat it looks all warped and twisted, so this sock doesn't tolerate distraction (like actual work) well.

The Entrelac sock, on the other hand, is the friend who will take you out at the last minute for a pick-me up. Five minutes of knitting is enough for doesn't complain. And dumping it back into the knitting bag won't endanger the relationship, as the small blocks mean the stitches stay on the needles quite nicely.

By tomorrow, the competition for my attention won't matter, as I'll turn to social obligations and Elizabeth's socks. The only other sock that will get any work then is the go-anywhere and do-anything Fascine Braid sock, which maintains its fidelity and its independence with a single ball of yarn, an easy pattern, and by working on two circular needles. But I'll probably have to keep in touch with everybody else.