Writing for the blog is still writing, yes?

Hello sadly neglected readers! I think of you often. No really, I do! Stop laughing.

So I was on Ravelry ( as I am DAILY ) a few days ago and I decided to take a minute and  count the number of projects I completed in 2012 because I’m masochistic like that. I completed TWELVE. Yes, that is an improvement over 2011 when I think I completed just ten projects, but I think the GINORMOUS afghan I made for the folks counts as three maybe even four projects. Here’s quick recap:

A hat for the Duke of Curl

Fingerless mitts fer Pops STILL no picture

Orange stripey socks for ME!

Big Bugga Twerps for ME!

Baby blanket #1

Baby blanket #2

Lumpy lampshade

Neck Wrap that was supposed to be for me, but the color was much better for sis-in-law

A stuffie for older sis of baby blanket #1

Color Affliction shawl

Knee Warmers for Connie


I do believe I spent more time knitting than I spent on Ravelry looking at knitting….well, I’m pretty sure. I guess I’m pleased with my output – especially since I discovered PINTEREST,  which is a HUGE time suck for me. Fortunately, most of the time I spent on Pinterest was time I would’ve wasted on things like sleeping & housework (mostly sleeping).  Yep, I’m still making really adult decisions like that……

I did not complete ONE-SINGLE-PODCAST in the entire year. And I’m not sure what that means at all.  I sure did try!

Hopefully 2013 will bring many, many more completed projects!  I have four main knitting goals for this year:

  1. To stay true to my yarn diet (the 2 year yarn diet I hope to write about soon)
  2. To learn entrelac
  3. To increase my knitting speed
  4. To complete a whole sweater or cardigan for myself

God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be having another giveaway & soon.  So, what are your knitting goals for 2013?


P.S. I’ll be on the air tonight as I am most every Thursday from 6:30-8 pm on WJAB for Blues Classics.

P.P.S.  I **won’t** be on the air tonight after all.  We got a few snowflakes and everything here has shut DOWN. :::sigh:::

A weekend wrap-up

So since my brain is fried & I must finish some audio editing, here is the skinny on what’s been happening here at Chez Oney:

  • had to pay No. 1 son’s rent again, so I was left with very little money.  I couldn’t go to Nashville and sing with New Jubilee and so no caroling happened. Poopies.
  • My dad has been SMOKE FREE for 3 weeks!  It’s a bloomin’ miracle!
  • Both the Duke of Curl & the Force of Nature had some funny little illness this weekend. The Duke of Curl is home today from school because his face had this grey look that was a little bit alarming & certainly not good for going to school.
  • I may have a touch of what they’ve had. I slept a LOT this weekend & I have almost zero motivation to do anything today.  Of course it’s also little chilly & grey & rainy out and that could be it. Plus it’s Monday.
  • I’m gonna get a podcast out BEFORE the end of the week. Stop laughing please.
  • I have just 3 rows left on my shawl. NOTE TO SELF: No more KALs in the 4 months before Christmas……
  • I made really delicious Scalloped Potatoes last night.  For most people, this would not be a blog-worthy topic HOWEVER I have tried & tried all different kinds of recipes over the last 20+ years and not ONE of them turned out any good. But NOW I can do it!  Yay!  Believe me – this is a victory!
  • Planning on learning Entrelac with Sarah in January.Time to add a new skill to the knitting rep.

Doesn’t this look really groovy? And difficult? I think it looks like FUN!


  • Book writing is slow.  I may have to go to the library everyday to get this sucka done.
  • I need to wrap a few Christmas presents today. It will be a small Christmas but that’s dandy with me. I’m **really** pleased with the gifts for Studmuffin.
  • I bought the last yarn I’m gonna buy for the next 2 years.  OK, I really mean it STOP laughing!  I need encouragement not giggles

That’s all for now folks. God willing, a podcast & show notes will be occupying this space very soon. Wish me luck!

Oh wow! A new post!


  1. The force or energy or momentum with which a body moves.
  2. The force that makes something happen or happen more quickly: “the crisis provided the impetus for change”.
impulse – momentum – incentive – stimulus – impulsion

Sorry I’ve been AWOL.  I’m writing a book (about music & singing) and that has been taking up all of my impetus to write. Knitting *is* taking place – I need to take pictures of a bunch of things in progress & finished and yarn…… I have writing ideas for here backing up from the last few months. Heck I haven’t even written about Whitney Houston’s death or Etta James’….I won’t hardly even mention India….

OH NO!  I’ve gotblogstipation!  nyuk nyuk nyuk. But one lucky thing about that is the CURE:

MORE FIBER!  Yay!!!!! Hmmmmm….let’s see who’s having a sale online?……

I’m part of a local KAL for the Color Affection shawl by Veera Välimäki. I was supposed to cast on on Wednesday, October 18th, but I still haven’t cast on yet; I didn’t have the right size needle.  I went to the LYS today and got the right one…..and 2 magazines and 2 skeins of yarn for another project. So much for my yarn diet…… Hopefully cast on will happen tomorrow. It’s just that the weather’s so nice & I’m tryna finish 2 other things and I still need to do the podcast…well, you get the idea. There WILL be pictures……and yarn crimes…..and a new giveaway…..did I mention I’m writing music for a CD to go with the book?

Madame Crazypants – that’s me!

I have another post ready that is a major digression into a reality tv show. I’ll publish that in a day or two.  Happy knitting!

I’m supposed to be….

…knitting a shawl – I mean after all *I* was the one who suggested the KAL right? Have I cast on? NO! Though I did go out and BUY more laceweight yesterday…… I don’t think that counts however.

So what am I knitting instead? The hat for my brother-in-law? No!

The slippers for my twin nephews? No!

The slippers for my dear friend that I promised her 18 months ago? No!

Completing the 3 swaps I have left over – email ones that are super easy?

Finishing any one of way too many unfinished projects?
No way. That would be too sensible.

I am knitting mittens for myself. Out of a pattern that is really fun to knit out of fairly inexpensive yarn in a colorway I only kind of like. I’ve actually frogged the first attempt (didn’t like that colorway knitted up) and started over. True, I do need new woolen mittens; I’ve mislaid my fabulous purple ones gained in a mitten swap and the store bought ones aren’t cutting it. But this pattern isn’t even the one I wanted to make mittens for myself out of. It’s lovely – Tallulah’s Hearts for you Ravelers – but I was gonna do something much harder (Latvian? Estonian? Finnish? My own design?) with some truly amazing yarn…… Does this make any sense?

Well, only if you know that I have a rebellious nature at my core. I’m tryna keep to Studmuffin’s and my New Year’s resolution to get fit this year, which includes dieting/lifestyle change. I’m doing pretty well so far BUT – I’m hearing a whole lot of “I don’ wanna!!” in my head about other things…like knitting this shawl.

It’s TOO STUPID because I really REALLY wanna knit the Damask Shawl – it’s so gorgeous. Look:

and here:

Who am I hurting with my behavior? ME! Urrgggh. I get so sick of myself sometimes.
I think it’s kind of like not reading the novel you signed up for in class even tho’ the due date for the exam is looming, and spending all your time reading romance novels instead.

On another tack, I look forward to the hot flashes when the weather’s like it is in winter.

Happy 2011.

Friday insanity

Today I’m off to Knoxville – I have a gig….that I’m not ready for. Well, I am and I’m not. Also, I’m working on two other projects – a house concert series that we will be hosting, and this new choir thing, but more on that later. Then there’s the websites, and all the Christmas knitting (got 3 hats, 2 scarves and 5 pairs of slippers to go!)….and I STILL don’t have the pictures from India downloaded from the camera to the ‘puter yet. Plus I’ve started swapping again – and I’m behind on those too.

Pray for me! Or if yer not inclined in that direction, send some happy thoughts out into the universe for me. Thanks. It *really*helps.

New websites:
(this might not come up til tomorrow)
(I’ve gotta completely redo this…once we pick the new name for the choir)
(house concert thing – lemme know if’n you’d like to come and attend)

NaKniSweMo Blog entry #1

Studmuffin and I managed to to spend four hours cleaning the garage yesterday…..which was about 4 to 6 hours short of getting it actually clean. You can, however, walk through most of it without fearing for your life, and one can find the wrapping paper stash without much trepidation. One of the particularly interesting finds during phase one of this cleaning was a desiccated skeleton of a small animal, which we think was a rat. It had been there a LONG time….ummm… I’m not sure what to say about this…’cept I doubt that Martha Stewart has had this particular event in her garage cleaning experience….I plead the Fifth.

A couple more things about phase one:

– the garage did not get any bigger
– we have too many books
– my children are lazy
– I have enough sock yarn
– I should be prevented from buying any more yarn at all.

I’ve come up with the list of all the stuff I’m making for Christmas, and I had to buy duplicates of yarn I know I own already so I could get started because I could not find anything in the stash. Some helpful people who live with me here had knocked things over and moved stuff around, then piled other stuff of top of my mostly beautifully sorted stash that it was impossible to find anything. Since we only got to the leading edge of the stash area during phase one, I have not yet found last year’s project from NaKniSweMo so even though we are more than a week into November, I’ve not done thing one on a sweater in my possession (except for swatching for Tracey’s sweater, which I don’t plan on getting done for another 10 – 12 months).

So far my NaKniSweMo is FAIL.


Happy birthday to No. 1 son – 22 years old today. Hooray!

Glad to be wrong

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.~ Benjamin Franklin

I really didn’t think it could happen.  I believe that the United States, as wonderful as it is, is a racist country in some pretty fundamental ways.  As was written by Shoghi Effendi in the 1938:

…racial prejudice, the corrosion of which, for well-nigh a century, has bitten into the fiber, and attacked the whole social structure of American society…

The Advent of Divine Justice

So I really didn’t think we, as a nation, were this far along.  You might never hear this from me again, because I really do love to be right all the time…but I am so GLAD to be WRONG!


There is knitting happening: I am slogging through the Cabled Tam; I added another repeat’s worth of increases and am now trying to do cable decreases that don’t look awful.  SInce I’ve not done it before, it’s rather a puzzle to me.  And I’m almost done with all the afghan squares for this round of swapping.  Note to self: never try blackberry/trinity stitch again – it is NO FUN.


I got this groovy thing from LesleyD‘s blog.  Please feel free to do it yerself.  If you do – let me know’ cos I wanna see what you’ve done.

The official rules are mark with bold the things you have knit at least once, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal/wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn

Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn

two end knitting
Charity knitting

Knitting with soy yarn

Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dyeing with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking

Dyeing yarn
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO

Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Yes, I did.

Did you?


I live across the street from the school which is our polling place, so I grabbed a little knitting and headed over there at 7 am.  I ran into my friend Niki so we amiably chatted in libe for 45 minutes.  There was some grumbling because there were supposed to be 3 lines – A thru H, I thru Q and R thru Z, but since there were no signs or “velvet ropes” to keep people separated, there was a bit of a set to because somebody supposedly cut in line…..ah yes, we are all grown ups here, I think.

I was DELIGHTED to see so many people out to vote.  Some had brought chairs, several people had books or newspapers, but mostly, folks were chatting with each other.  I saw many of the people I know by sight who live in this part of town, and several people were taking pictures – it did my heart good.  And I thank everyone, both now and in the past, who has worked and sacrificed so that I and everyone else in the United States  CAN vote.

I hope you will, too.

FYI – most polling places close at 7 pm; if you are not in line by 7 pm, you won’t get to vote.

Actual knitting content

There’s a good bit of knitting going on…especially during this wacky sleepless phase I’m going through – falling asleep at 8:15 pm, waking up at 1:30 am and staying awake.  Ugh.  So here are a few pictures of what’s doing:

The cabled tam from Vogue Knitting’s 2008 Holiday issue for my best friend, Tangela.

I’m modding it by making it even bigger – more increases and bigger needles.  Yarn is Cascade 220 heather in some shade of brown (can’t remember what it’s called).  First picture is more color accurate. Second picture is me messing around with my new-ish camera and all those settings I’m not really sure how to use….

Sonya’s Bling-a-licious mittens in Rowan Cashsoft DK.  I will be embroidering or duplicate stitching white polka dots all over these.  They’ll be very “woo woo” when complete.

Noro Silk Garden Stripe Scarf number 3.  The yellow doesn’t glow quite as much in real life….

And lastly, in the WIP department, this sad thing:

What is it?  It is yet ANOTHER swatch in alpaca laceweight for a test knit for Mme. Landry.  It is to be a hoodie in my size (read: enormous).  I’ve been through the seven circles of Hell swatching this mofo (that’s right, I said it) and am beginning to wonder if this is the right project for me. Just sayin’….


Major kudos to Franklin Habit for the mention on The Panopticon. I wonder if I can put “Vice President of Propaganda” on my resume? If you like, you can see my rather average mug in the picture collage – I’m on the bottom – extreme left. Franklin is a real gentleman, delightful and funny, and if you don’t go buy his book I’ma have a fit – I promise!

I did forget to tell him of the added bonus that came with his Dwarven Battle Bonnet – the pet hair that is a part of everything I knit.

The Amazing Bluto (amazing because of his inexplicable longevity) recently found a new perch here at Chez Oney:

That’s a Superman travel pillow that some wonderful kid that lives around here left on the floor.  Bluto loves anything like this to drape his fur puddleness onto.

This is what passes for action photgraphy in this phase of the Big B’s life.  And just so you can get an idea of size:

That little purple thing is a 6 inch ruler (15 cm).  Yeah, Bluto’s a fattie and he sheds like mad, along with the 2 black & white dogs, Boris & Natasha.  So Franklin, don’t be surprised if’n you find some black and white fur in yer hat.

Some actual photos/weekend wrap up

You might have noticed that lately there have been VERY few pix on the blog…and there is good reason for it:  I put the camera battery charger in a “safe place” and could NOT find it.  Until today of course.  Today was a good day because I also found the other skein of Jawoll Sock yarn I couldn’t find for months and can now finish the second black & white marled socks I started over a year ago and have a pair! Photos near the bottom.

So let’s get some photos happening! (more…)

The recent blogging break was brought to you….

  • ….by Google reader.

Yes, I finally sat down and figured out how to use an RSS aggregator to read blogs (it wasn’t very hard at all.  Maybe they made it easier?).  Now, instead of opening 20 or 30 browser windows at a time (veddy slow) and going through them all to see who has posted, I just log into Google reader and all the ones I’ve subscribed to just show up.  It’s lovely!  So I’ve been reading many blogs and have come to the conclusion that my blog is probably only interesting or amusing to very few people out there.  That’s ok – I love those of you who read my verbiage and especially those who comment!  I do not think I will ever have the widespread appeal of other bloggers, but that’s really fine.  I mean I wish I did, but I know me and I won’t probably develop a masterful writer’s voice unless by Divine intervention.  Oh well.

  • by feverish knitting.
I’m tryna get several projects done at once, and I am largely succeeding!  I realized last Monday That my mother’s birthday was coming up this weekend and there was this pair of socks that I had been planning to make for her… I cast on and am now almost done with them.  Yes, I’ve missed the actual date of her birthday, but she’s me mum and she knows me, ye ken?  I’ll post pictures of them after I’ve sent them off to her.  I also hope to post some of her writing here this week.  I’ve been meaning to do it for the longest time…
Plus, my friend Jason has moved to Finland.  No, really, he’s moved to Finland to work for a cruise shipping line.  SO I made him a hat in a couple of days.  He has no hair so I knew he’d need a good hat.  I was happy to get it done.I can’t remember if I actually took any pictures of it though…..   My middle kid wants one now, but in MUCH brighter colors – no problem.
And I made the helmet part of the dwarven battle bonnet that needs to be done by Saturday….but I used the wrong needles and it was too big.  I felted it and it’s still too big.  Fortunately, the middle kid likes it and he’ll use (he has a big head).  I just have to make his beard for him.
AND I’ve been procrastinknitting on the test knitting pattern.  I finally got both hanks of 1200 yards of super lovely laceweight alpaca blend into cakes and all ready to swatch.  Then, like a doofus, I left them in one of my many, many knitting bags on the floor and Bluto, my enormous fur-puddle of a cat, went and squooshed them so the cakes aren’t quite….right.  I think I can still use them.  I pray that I can, because untangling 2400 yards of laceweight is gonna make me a little grumpy and rather delay said test knitting.
  • because of catching up on swaps
As could be expected, I am still the poster child for biting off more than I can chew, and so needed to finish up 5 swaps this past week, as well as sending a big package to the oldest kid….now that I have a mailing address for him.  Sending off swaps would be no problem if I didn’t keep accidentally joining international swaps.  It’s a pain in the tuchas to mail even small packages out of the country.  I’m behind on 2 swaps, but I should get those done by Tuesday.
  • by the podiatry incident
I think that’s deserving of a post all by itself, so you’ll just have to wait.


UPDATE:  Based on y’all’s comments, I have decided to wait until I can buy another skein ofthe Shetland Triangle yarn to finish it off for real for real.  I may cast on the next one, it was such fun…..
It’s fall break from school this week, so I hope to blog everyday, putting in several things that are long overdue in this space……
See ya later.  Like tomorrow.

The Shetland Triangle is done!….(well, kinda sorta….)

I’ve been under the all-too-gorgeous weather part of yesterday and all of today (a hormonal thing….), but that means plenty o’ knitting time!

I started the 4th skein of the Silky Merino thinking I would just finish that repeat….well I knitted another repeat (was 14? or 15?).  This pattern is such fun and the yarn is so yummy it’s easy for me to forget all my resolve.  So I could tell I was getting down to the  end of the skein, and after looking at a bunch of finished triangles on Ravelry, changed my mind and decided I would do the edging after all.

Problem #1 – I’d given back the book to whom I had borrowed it from without copying the pattern.  Of course I could go to the library….but this was Saturday night about 1 am so that wouldn’t suffice – I think the library folks would be a little upset if I broke in; if they were all knitters of they’d understand why.  I had looked carefully at the chart, and there are lots of wonderful pictures on Ravelry, so I got out the graph paper and came up with the edging – if not the exact edging, durn close to it.  Off I went knitting merrily.

Problem #2 – I got done with the smallest part of the edging I could get away with and have it look ok and realized I had 12 inches of yarn left!  What to do for a bind off?  AHA!  Got out a crochet hook and linked all those loops together.  It seemed a little firm but I figured it would loosen up in the blocking.

I wove in the ends and took some pre-blocking pictures:

This is all the yarn I had left!

Did the whole soak and spin dry thing (thank you Priscilla Gibson-Roberts) and got out my old cardboard cutting board and 240 t-pins I got at Wal-mart (that was all they had) to start blocking out on the patio.

Problem #3 – It’s too long for the board.

I decided to go ahead and block what I could – this board is great because it has lots of straight lines marked on it.

Problem #4 – The bind off is SO not stretching out.

I took out all the pins I had tortured this poor shawl with (probably 150 of them) and hung the shawl up on the line to dry.  I cannot block it as it is, and I cannot leave it as it is. AAARGH!

See how the too tight bind off is making sort of a pouch? Not good.  The color is pretty accurate in this picture by the way.

So, gentle readers, I leave it up to you.  After it dries, should I:

1) frog back the edging and just bind it off at the last repeat?  That means no edging.

2) frog back the edging and a pattern repeat, then knit the edging and bind off? That means a smaller but complete shawl.

3) wait two weeks til I can afford to buy another skein of the yarn (I’m on a yarn budget now), then finish off the edging and bind off? That means waiting, but I’ll have a larger and complete shawl.

Leave your vote in the comments and I’ll keep you updated on the outcome.

By the way, I am knitting one of the Dwarven Battle Bonnets for Franklin Habit as a result of the last vote (it was unanimous!).  I’ll post some pictures soon…..

Nope, I didn’t medal in the Ravelympics.

I’m still a long way away from completing the sweater I set out to knit.


I’m really pleased with my progress.  I would never have thought even a few years ago I could do as much as I’ve done.

Basically, I’m on the injured list; my fingers creak when I get anywhere near needles and yarn.  My fabulous secret pal sent me a lovely package today (thank you thank you thank you!!!)  but my fingers kind of squealed in pain when they thought about knitting up the beautiful yarn in the package.

I’ve learned a few things:

1.  I cannot knit for hours at a time, day after day on the same project, especially if it contains cotton.
2.  When I do this again, I will do several smaller projects and switch off.
3.  I really can make an adult sized sweater.
4.  I believe in doping at this level of competition.  :o)

And I’ve now bought yarn for a Clapotis…….

Current news snippets

1) Ravelympics progress: I was going great guns on the sweater….but I knit so much that my hands are really killing me! I didn’t knit for 2 days hoping to give the digits some much needed rest but then whilst at the ER (more on that in a minute) knit just a couple of rows albeit very slowly. My hands are still aching; fortunately it is NOT the Carpal Tunnel Problem, just over use. Now I have some elastic hand bandages that may help (I’m wearing them now so as to permit typing without much pain), and I feel hopeful. It’s not so much that I fear I won’t finish the sweater by the end of the Olympics – I just miss the knitting!


2) ER – We had folks over at the house until about 11 pm last night then waddled off to bed. I was then awakened around 3 am not by the usual hot flashes, but by the dear husband needing to be taken to the hospital. He was in a tremendous amount of pain and his symptoms seemed to indicate either a kidney stone or a bowel obstruction. I told him only about the bowel obstruction idea at first for 2 reasons (1) it would be the worst diagnosis of the two and his butt would be in surgery ASAP, so he’d need a little time to get used to the idea, and (2) if he only thought the worst, he might be relieved to know it was ONLY a kidney stone. So we went off to the ER where after only an hour and a half he finally got to see a DR and got some pain meds. I was torn in 3 ways: A) it is extremely hard to see someone you love in such pain and not be able to do anything about it, B) I haven’t been sleeping well and desperately wanted nothing more than to go lie down someplace and crash, and C) I had a small case of schadenfreude because after all, I have had 3 babies, mostly without pain medication, and was told by him many times during the process to just breathe into the pain. Many folks say you forget the pain of childbirth. I have forgotten many, many things – the number of things which have vastly increased in the last 3 years – but the pain of childbirth is very well remembered by me…

So he has a kidney stone and not a bowel obstruction, for which I am thankful. I mean to say that I’d prefer he was not ill at all, but if’n he’s gotta have something, the kidney stone is preferable. He’s got some really fabulous drugs to keep the pain at bay, a groovy little strainer (use yer imagination) and he also suggested we order out for pizza tonight ‘cos he’s feeling thankful for having me to take care of him. I believe Bill will drink far less sweet tea and more water from now on.


3) The Boy in the Big Bad City

We got a phone call from Will’s girlfriend’s mother this afternoon saying that Will was robbed last night at gunpoint. He’s fine – I spoke with him on the phone later on. He and Ashley went on a date and then Will was walking back to his apartment (approx. 2 miles) from the train station about 1 am when there were still many people out and about, and was held up. He wasn’t hurt and the boy hasn’t much $ anyhow so they didn’t get much, but dang! He told me that there were two street cops about a block & a half away from where he was robbed and he went up to them to report the crime. They essentially gave him the brush off, saying there would hardly be any point in filing a report and I think that makes me EVEN angrier!! Please say some prayers for Will, for his poor worried mother, and for the population of Elizabeth, NJ and the burnt-out cops who are supposed to serve and protect.


4) Te Vaka

I saw this group on public access tv in the DC area in 1996 maybe and thought they were great. They are nominally from New Zealand though it might be more accurate to say they are from Oceania and are a really unique combination of the old and the new. I just found out that they’ve been performing at the Beijing Olympics and I’m so glad for them! They have a fairly new CD out and I think everyone who is even slightly into world music oughta check them out. You can hear them (and see pictures of them at the Great Wall) on their MySpace page:


5) Olympic thoughts

Look at the WOMEN!

Is it just me or are we seeing lots and lots more of the female athletes in all the different sports, not just the so called feminine ones? Are we also hearing more about athletes who are not from the U.S.? And what about these “Old Ladies”? Dara Torres at 41 – OK everybody’s heard about her, but what about 38 year old Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania winning the marathon? She has a teenage son. She wasn’t even the oldest one running; there was a woman who was 39…. heck I’m 39! And the race at the end between Kenya’s Catherine the Great and the Chinese woman? And tho’ she didn’t win, what about Paula Radcliffe gritting her teeth to just finish? I’m no runner, but wouldn’t it have been incredible to marathon through the city of Beijing? And I’m barely scratching the surface.

Yes, Yes yes, I’m a complete Olympics geek but this is very inspiring to me and I hope others are noticing too that women’s sports are as entertaining as men’s…. And for some reason, NBC’s coverage of the Olympics has been far less irritating to me than the usual Olympics coverage. I wish I was there…..

Also big props to my dad who, whilst my mother was at work, bought and hooked up a large screen HDTV as a surprise gift for her (another Olympics nut) in time for the opening ceremonies. A VERY classy move, Pops.

6) Band yearnings

I am getting serious about wanting the band to get onstream. On Labor Day weekend, there’s gonna be a local Blues festival and a number of the folks I know will be playing and it makes me feel like Mohair Sam oughta be too. The decision I’m getting to more and more is that I really need to get my piano or guitar skills happening and then we can at least rehearse ’til we get a lead player. At least that’s my thought as of today. :o)

In hopes of….

"How do you solve a problem like....?"

….winning more yarn (because the latest stash enhancements have only fueled the obsession…), I decided to enthrall y’all with a meme – oh, yes, I know what yer thinking:  “Yay!  More minutia about Helen!  Just what I need!”  (Actually, I was reading my friend Sarah’s blog and that how I heard about it).

Knittyotter is having a contest (deadline to enter is Saturday, 7/19/08).

Getting to Know you Contest Questionnaire:

1.) How long have you been knitting?

My grammy taught me when I was 7 or 8.  Since I’m 39, that’s over thirty years.  One would think there might be more output to show for all those years, but I have a sort-of excuse.  I stopped knitting for a long time after I moved from New England (terribly, awfully, horribly, soul-stealingly cold) to the South (wonderful, warm, hot n’ humid, thank You God).  SInce I was used to knitting mostly very cheap or icky  hot woolen yarn,  it never occurred to me that there would be wonderful yarns to make things suitable for here.  Yes friends and neighbors, my excuse is a lack of imagination on my part.

2.) How long have you been knitting socks?

I’ve almost no idea.  I made a few pair of lovely woolen “ski socks” – some even nice enough to give away…maybe 20 years ago?

3.) What do you do with a problem like Maria?

Beatings. Repeatedly and with malice.

4.) What is your all time favorite sock yarn?

Usually it’s whatever I’m working on at the moment – I have good (and expensive) taste.  If you’ve been following the last few posts, I’ve added some lovely things to the stash that absolutely could turn into a favorite….

5.) Toe Up or Cuff Down?

I’ve not done toe-ups yet.   Probably the next pair will be.

6.) What’s your favorite color (this week or for all time)? Do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can’t stand?

Next to touchable-ness, yarn is about color for me.  I love midnight blue/purple/indigo. I love cool season/blue undertone colors (Winter or Summer).  Now I used to think I didn’t like olive-y greens, but lately I found a few that have changed my mind.  I’ve also been pal-ing around with some visual artists for the last two years that have me seeing color in new ways….

7.) Do you have a pet(s)?

Yes, a pair of beautiful, loveable but dim “Labramatians”, Boris & Natasha, and an enormous antique yet surly cat by the name of Bluto. 

8.) Babies: Oven Roasted or Barbecued?

Fully grown and/or belonging to someone else!  This baby farm is closed down as a public service.

9.) Besides socks what is your favorite type of thing to knit?
Mittens have been my favorite thing for about a year; scarves and shawls are coming on strong for next year I think…maybe sooner.

10.) What’s your favorite scent?

Historically, I love the honeysuckle/jasmine/gardenia family, but grapefruit has been the favorite for almost 2 years now.  One spritz just makes me so *happy* all of a sudden.

11.) What music are you really loving right now? Like a song or a band?

Crowded House’s “Temple of Low Men”  has been stuck in my head for 2 weeks, intermingled with John Gorka’s “Land of the Bottom Line”; I’m not sure why.

12.) How many pairs of socks have you hand knit?

Maybe 10 pairs?  I couldn’t really say as I’ve given most of them away, and that was in the days before Ravelry….or even Sanskrit and clay tablets perhaps.

13.) What’s your favorite treat? Salty or Sweet?

Cookies.  Oreos, snickerdoodles, gingersnaps, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter…..mmmmmmmmmmmm  Homemade or store bought, my depredations are widespread and democratic.

14.) What was the most interesting thing you smelled yesterday. Not good or bad necessarily, just the thing that stuck out most so that you actually took notice of it.

It’s really too disgusting to say here.  Fortunately, I had a candle to disperse the noxious stench.

15.) Needles – DPN’s: Wooden, metal or plastic?

I do not like plastic needles… all. Oh I’ve tried – it would be better for the budget certainly, but just no way.  I think the thinner the yarn, the more I like wooden ones.  Otherwise, gimme some circs!  I just discovered the joy of Addi Turbo lace needles.

16.) What is your favorite sock pattern that you’ve knit? What do you recommend?

Aurelia by Elizabeth Manning.  Interesting to do, wonderful result, well written and to top it all off – it’s free.  Why knitters aren’t making these by the thousands, I’ll never know.

17.) The last Question: If you were stuck on a deserted island who would you want with you, what knitting would you want with you and would you ever want to leave?

I think I would want my friends Tangela and Adrienne. They are some of the most interesting people I know, I adore them  and @#$% can they sing! plus they let me hang around with them.

I would want to bring whatever knitting that they would like to receive, so that they’ll continue to let me sing with them, and we would probably never leave.

Really good news

Have you ever complained about all the bad news that seems so omnipresent these days?  I certainly have, and so I wanted to share some really good news.

A lady’s aunt & uncle needed a fairly large amount of money to purchase a wheelchair for the uncle – their health insurance didn’t cover a substantial amount of it.  So the lady decided to hold a raffle for her entire yarn stash to help defray the costs somewhat.

Go here to read what happened

An actual FO!

It may be a cliche by now, but what a cliche! My first Noro Striped Scarf.

Originally uploaded by helenkosings

Originally uploaded by helenkosings

Originally uploaded by helenkosings

I knit it once, frogged it and knit it a second time because I wanted the texture to be more even. I was working on it some this weekend at the One Human Family 10th anniversary reunion and many of the Canadians had to come over and fondle it. I used a sewn bind off on this (I’ve never done that before) and I am delighted. I will be sending this to a swap partner, but I will be buying more Noro ASAP to make another one. The color changes are simply fascinating!!! My favorite kind of project – not huge effort for a BIG payoff. I cannot recommend it highly enough. 

I’m also really pleased the pictures came out as well as they did : my camera phone to the rescue!

Knitting lost & FOUND

My knitting bag has been found by the hotel!  They are sending it back to me!  YAY!  It’s so nice to have good news to report. :o)

Technically, it isn’t Thursday, it’s Friday morning, but I will count a few blessings nevertheless.  The first one is above!

2. My gardenia bush is blooming hugely.

I just love the smell of gardenias, jasmine, honeysuckle, etc.  Even though I have been on a grapefruit scent kick for a little over a year, the jasmine-y scents are still my all time favorite.  Since we moved into this house almost ten years ago, I have planted 3 or 4 gardenia bushes all of which died and not from lack of care.  I finally planted one near the back door two years ago where it receives a little extra heat at night because of the western facing brick wall that receives a lot of afternoon sun, plus it’s very close to the outdoor spigot so it gets plenty of water.  Last year, there were exactly ZERO blooms on it but I was happy it wasn’t dead.  This spring, it got *quite* a bit taller and there’s probably 30 blooms on it right now.  It smells heavenly.

3.  There will be no children at my house next week.

Our two younger children are off to Boy Scout & Girl Scout camp, and our oldest is off to New York/New Jersey to see his girlfriend and God willing find a job.

Overall, I really like my kids.  But I will be happy to have a vacation from all of them.  I might actually get some recording and graphics done….or maybe I’ll just knit.  Then on Thursday I’m off to NC to see friends and sing!

4.  Star Wars

Yup, I’m a fan.  I go through phases with it; the last one was probably in 2005 maybe.  I had to get everything on DVD – I still had some VHS tapes which still work, but they don’t have all the added content.  Then I tried to get all of the Jedi Quest and Jedi Apprentice books by Jude Watson; they were written for 4-6 graders, but they are quite imaginative and I like them better than a lot of the novels in the Expanded Universe for adults.  Once I am thru the phase, I don’t think about it for years at a time.
Yesterday, I was feeling rather punk so I watched Episode III with the commentary finally.  Louisa had had the movie on early in the morning and I got sucked into it.  THEN I go onto the Star Wars website for the first time in a few years and I find that a CG animated movie about the Clone Wars is coming out in August.  Yay!  It will be a real shoot em flick I know -not my favorite thing, but we will get to see Anakin’s Padawan – Ashoka Tano and that is cool.  I know I’m in the thick of the obsession because I had a Star Wars dream last night……

I do wish that Episode VI wasn’t such a weak film……..

5.  Megan Whalen Turner

I was starting a new book with Louisa last night and I found “The King of Attolia”.  Ye gods, I had forgotten how much I loved these books!  If you haven’t read “The Thief”, “The Queen of Attolia” and “The King of Attolia” – get thee to a bookstore!  They are probably in the Young Adult section but don’t let that deter you.  This is excellent fiction.  I only wish she wrote faster.

6.  My Noro striped scarf

This thing is WAY fun to knit.  It’s so much fun, I’m actually considering frogging the whole thing and putting the skeins in a different order just to see how the color combinations change.  Is that sick or what?  It’s now close to six feet long and I’m nearing the end of the yarn…what to do?  I’m definitely gonna make several of these over the next year-I just have to save up the $ to do it.  Next time, I won’t mix Silk Garden with Kureyon, but who knew?

7.  The weather.

We’ve been having a streak of simply gorgeous days – low humidity, highs in mid to high 80’s. It’s delicious!  AND I have not planted any vegetables – I haven’t even planted the starts that I bought so most of them are dead now – so I’ve nothing to take care of……..  :o)

8.  My walking partner, Michelle

For a few weeks now  Michelle, my former neighbor, and I have been meeting at 5:45 am to walk. I don’t pay any attention to how far we go, but I know it’s close to 2 miles.  What’s great about this is I adore Michelle and I hardly ever got to see her before this, even tho we only lived two doors away from each other, and the fact that I don’t wanna be the one on the phone at 5:30 am copping out because I just doan wanna get up is making sure that I’m getting some nice exercise on a regular basis.  She’s more fit than I am, so I appreciate how she will adapt to my shortcomings on an as needed basis just cos she’s nice.  And she’s funny. Hoo boy, I gotta get up soon…..

9.  My friends

I have really, REALLY terrific friends. There are no words to describe just how great and how dear they are to me…..  I’ve no idea why they let me hang out with them, and I hope one day to be worthy of them.  ::::cue violins:::::

A knitting diappointment and one of my FAVORITE things

I was at beyooteefool Pensacola Beach last weekend for a meeting and I somehow lost my knitting bag. The bag was special because it was from the most recent Baha’i choral festival at the House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, but the thing that I’m *really * sad about losing is the knitting.

I was finishing the second sleeve of the child’s gansey sweater that I was knitting for Macuwita Sni – I had just a few more inches to go! It’s the first sweater I’ve made in about 20 years….so I’m sad that I just lost it!~  Oh well – guess I should start on another one…..

I’ve finally started on my Noro striped scarf. I’ve got 2 skeins of Kureyon and 2 of Silk Garden and it is truly fascinating to see how the color changes are working out; I wouldn’t have chosen most of these color combinations – the 2 skeins of Silk Garden were given to me as a gift.  I’m definitely gonna do this again!  A word to the wise:  do re-wind all your Noro before beginning.  3 out of 4 of my skeins had knots in them with a BIG color change….

One of my FAVORITE things to do:

1.  Every 4 or 5 days, go to Ravelry.
2.  Look thru all of the new patterns that have been posted since the last time you looked.

This is just so satisfying and inspiring for me!  I love to see what other people are creating and I’ve learned so much.  I see all kinds of things that I wouldn’t have thought to look for on my own.  And the Scandinavian knitters take my breath away.  Try it!

The House that Yarn Built

I get the email newsletter of the Simply Sock Yarn company and this is what they had to say today:

It’s rare that I send out an e-mail that doesn’t involve tasty new yarn or fun accessories, but I just wanted to let you all know about a wonderful fund raiser that Christy has organized at the House that Yarn Built.  As part of Brad Pitt’s Make it Right foundation, which is building “green” housing for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, Christy is imploring knitters to show what we are made of and help out those that are still so desperately in need.
If you want to get involved, just go to my blog post here to learn more.
And to show that I’m serious about this cause, I’ve pledged to match all your donations up to $1000!  Just e-mail me at to tell me how much you donated, and I’ll keep track.  By e-mailing me after your donation, you’ll also be entered to win a gift package from Simply Socks Yarn Company!
I encourage you to e-mail friends, post on your blog and knitting forums, and do anything you can to spread the word about this cause.  I really want to hit the $1000 mark and donate all I can!
Many thanks,

To all y’all crazy knitters out there, let’s do this.  You KNOW we have the power.

The long and winding road….

I was off to Bloomington, Indiana this past weekend for a One Human Family gig. I’d only ever driven thru Indiana before, which just made it seem pretty flat with cornfield after cornfield. Bloomington is in a lovely part of Indiana…reminds me somewhat of my favorite places in Virginia.

Bloomington is a very groovy, artsy place which was a surprise all of us. Almost all of us had never been there before and those that had spent little time there. They have some wonderful festivals and wonderful Baha’is!

Our hosts were simply lovely people; we all enjoyed them tremendously. Unfortunately, it was very cold and we had to perform outside one morning (like a doofus, I had forgotten my coat).

Ian came -under duress, I might add- and was wonderfully helpful. I love that boy! Here he is playing with Adrienne’s son, Langston.

Anyway, I should write more about the experience later, because I came home with a nasty head cold. A couple of folks were sick over the weekend, so I am grateful that it waited until I was almost home to develop. I’m really too sick to go anywhere tonight, so I’ll miss everyone at the Skanky Knitters club tonight. 😦

While I was gone, the rest of Ian’s yarn came in for his blanket, along with my new ball winder. Since my CTS is on fire today, I have been content to wind many hanks of yarn into yarn cakes. The ones I did by hand (before I learned from Meg how to do it right) often have to be rewound twice they are so bad! I still like doing it by hand, but for that I need my right hand healthy and today it’s in its brace.

I bought WAY too much yarn last week – completely messed up the checkbook. <sigh> I promise I will learn to do this differently! I went to Yarn Expressions and was pulling various yarns to swatch for Bill’s gansey sweater; by the time I had chosen a bunch, I realized I could just go ahead and buy all the yarn for his sweater for what I was planning to spend on the swatches alone! Doofus strikes again…

So I chose Classic Elite ‘Premiere'(from Lowell, Mass no less), a pima cotton/tencel blend I’ve used before, in a beautiful navy color.

I think it well turn out well and I want to get started on it! First, I must finish a few things….like all the swaps……

At least my cat loves my knitting…

So OK, I’ve been working on this sweater – the first I’ve made in about 20 years.  Even though i did make a gauge swatch, I think it’s gone way off and gonna be big, but that’s ok. Some older child could wear it or I may felt it.  I’ve been really proud of it and it’s actually been kind of a fun knit.  I’m nearing the end of the main part of the sweater and I keep it in my main knitting bag; since my iPod is busted, I’m listening to audiobooks on the ‘puter and knitting so the main knitting bag is right out here in the kitchen/dining area.  For the last three nights, my enormous cat, Bluto, has cozied right up to this thing, kneaded his paws like nobody’s business and curled up on the bag/sweater falling asleep purring.  It’s so nice to have knitting appreciated. :o)

Last night before falling asleep, I was showing this knitting to my husband and he indicated some interest in having me make him one.  It’s a good thing I was already lying down because I almost fainted! (Well, ok, I would’ve almost fainted if I were the fainting type….). I showed him the Knitting Ganseys book I borrowed from Bethany and he likes the one I want to knit for him. I’m getting excited – tomorrow I’m off the the LYS to look for some yarns to swatch.  Yes, it’ll probably take me a year to finish his sweater but hey!  I never ever thought he would want one knitted by me.  The only challenge is finding the right yarn.  I was thinking about buying a kit but that’s all wool yarn – probably too warm and scratchy.  This sweater has to be not too awful warm and completely not scratchy…which will mean cotton or a blend or something.  I have to swatch it out first because it cannot be hard to knit with.  My hand are “singing” to me daily as it is and I do not want to have to grit my teeth to finish knitting anything. Recently, I flaked on a square I promised to do for a baby blanket because knitting with the yarn was so hard on my hands.  Maybe a bamboo or silk blend? This is gonna be tough, because I don’t wanna pay too too much for the yarn – he won’t wear it, but I don’t wanna use cheap yarn, because life is too short…..

Lately, Bill’s taken to wearing a fine gauge cotton charcoal grey sweater I bought for him years ago at Wal-Mart that languished for years in the closet; I knew he would like it once he put it on, and he, like me, is of the old school where if you are cold, you put on more clothing – you do not turn up the thermostat.   I wanna make him a sweater that he’ll really love.  It’s kinda too bad he wants another dark grey sweater – it is hard for me to see the patterns to knit well.  I told him it may be another color because I want to buy the yarn on sale, and selection may be limited…..

He’s such a funny guy – he told me not to worry about making it until I’ve finished “everything else”.  Hasn’t he learned in our 20 years together that everything else doesn’t get finished…ever.  The list just keeps getting added to and getting longer and longer. I told him if I start it soon, I might have it done in time for our 40th wedding anniversary!

Now my silly cat is sleeping with his head inside the knitting bag, as the sweater is inside the bag tonight. I guess I should knit him a cat bed or something.

I don’t recognize myself….

I am currently knitting an afghan AND a sweater.  Me?  The Queen of Small Projects? What is going on?

I went off my yarn diet in a fairly expensive way last week.  2 trips to Yarn Expressions and online to Woolgirl

At Yarn Expressions I got some Smooshy and some Classic Dream in Color and some more of Meg’s Hoobody yarn.  And more yarn to replace that Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK that I cannot find the rest of for David’s scarf (VERY frustrating!!!).  And some other stuff.  :o)  Good thing the dear husband does not read the blog……..

At Woolgirl I got some 100% cashmere. I’m not thrilled with the color though…. can one return it?  I decided I’d get something a little different than the purple-y blues I love so much.  I know I won’t return it. I should just go ahead and make something beautiful with it and then give it to somebody if I don’t love it enough to keep it.

I also got some beautiful variegated hand dyed for a swap partner and a very colorful one for socks for me.  The swap partner begged me not to send her chocolate (which I was gonna do).  She’s trying so hard not to go off her eating plan so I got her this beautifully milk chocolate colored yarn instead!  That just gave me an idea:  I know where to get chocolate smelling shampoo…..

Meg had some amazingly dyed yarn that she’s making socks with – I implored her to do some for the store and she said that is was definitely the next colorway for Hoobody.  I can hardly wait!!! I can see that yarn becoming exTREMELY popular……  She also said she may do a yarn dyeing workshop sometime – I would love that.  Sounds like tremendous fun!!!!!

The afghan I mentioned is made with some lovely soft fuzzy yarn that I would ordinarily turn my yarn-snobby nose up at (Lion Jiffy).  But I liked the pattern I saw for it and decided to give it a whirl.  Of course the store didn’t have all the colors called for….but it was on sale so I made a couple of substitutions which are apparently successful if I gauge by the comments I got on it at the knitting group tonight.  I should have it done by next week’s group (size 17 needles and 2 strands of bulky yarn held together go *fast*!) so I will bring it.  When I should really be working on finishing this last mitten swap.

I promise that this week I will take some pictures and also write about my pilgrimage to Israel.