You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2007.

I’m starting to think, and correct me if I’m wrong here, that I am absolutely incapable of finishing a Project Spectrum project inside of the two month time limit. Two months is kind of a lot of time. But, um, have I ever? I don’t think so. I do know that the current time period is about to expire, and I’m still working on my June-July project. Arrugh. It’s funny, too, that this is coming up right now, because Lolly just put a survey up on her blog, about the time periods and colors. She’s thinking of changing it back to one month/one color. When I saw that, every molecule in my brain shouted nooooooooooooooooo! Not fewer colors! Not less time! Cripes, I’m having problems with the two-month thing. There’s no way I could handle only having one month. Plus, there have been months, like now, that I only like one of the colors chosen. I mean, seriously, I don’t knit black things. It seems morbid (but I wear a lot of black, and please don’t ask me to explain that). So fewer options and less time would both be bad. I think if it got changed back that way, I probably wouldn’t do it the next time around.


I have made some progress on the cherry cardigan. Some. I finished the back!

cherry back

I’ve even finished the left front, and started on the right front,

cherry both fronts

…where I ran into a little problem. I think my little problem is my little brain.

Here’s a picture of the two sides together. Notice anything funny?

cherry fronts and finger

Where my finger is? There’s supposed to be something there. Yeah, like a cable. I missed a whole fricking cable section. Ha! Ha ha! Hilarious!

As soon as I stopped laughing (translation: cursing myself and throwing things) I figgered I had three options.

Option #1: ignore it. I seriously considered this. I want to finish this sweater soon, because I want to wear it to my friend’s upcoming wedding. Ripping back sure seemed like a big blow because I was really chugging away on this thing. “Go back?” I thought. “Never! Never say die! MUAHAHAHA!”

However, when I shunted my inner evil scientist aside (who tends to laugh maniacally at things for no particular reason), I took another look at it.

cherry fronts 2

Okay, yeah. It just looks dumb like that. Like other-people-will-notice-it dumb, not to mention it-will-drive-me-crazy-every-time-I-look-at-it dumb. So Option #1 is right out.

Option #2: pull out that section only and re-knit it. You know, the YH way? So I tried that. Um, not a great idea. I think it would have been okay if this sweater were wool instead of a cotton/linen blend. Cotton and linen, they are not the most stretchy of fibers. It ended up looking like a large, steaming pile of red stringy things instead of a nice, cute, well-knitted sweater. It was, if you can believe this, beyond even the miracle of blocking. Not a pretty sight, trust me. So, Option #2, also right out.

Option #3: frog. That’s what I did. Then I put it down and cast on for a sock.

So is there any chance that I’m going to finish this before Wednesday? I’d say I’ve got about as much chance as a one-legged guy winning a shit-kicking contest.

Oh well. My sweater’s turning out cute. Besides, if I finish it by my birthday, I’ll be happy.

That’s all that matters.

Blog posts for three days in a row! I really don’t know what I’ve got to say that’s so important. Except this: floccinaucinihilipilification. That’s my word of the day today. The definition? Oh, it’s nothing.

Man, talk about sesquipedalism.

Other things I have to say: I didn’t have a pattern for the tiny bamboo socks. Like I mentioned before, Kat made a pair, and then was kind enough to tell me the stitch pattern. It’s called tiny bamboo (gasp! no!) from Vogue Stitchionary Volume One. Easy and squarshy and cute. What more could you ask for, really?

And the usual Wednesday things to say: Here’s what I’ve been


Watching (I’m not proud)


Listening to.

Yet another thing to say: did you know there was a Marvel superhero called U-Go Girl? Just when I thought I’d seen it all…sheesh.

One last thing to say (really!): three momentous occasions loom on the horizon. One of them is my birthday. The second is my 100th post, and the third is the 10,000th view of this blog. Can you believe that all of these things are happening at the same time? Cosmic. Anyway, I’m trying to cook up a good blog contest to commemorate. If you’ve got any interesting or outrageous ideas, let ’em fly. The more absurd, the better.

Okay, I lied. One more thing to say: have a fantabulous afternoon.

Maypop flower

And a flower.

little bamboo socks

little bamboo socks 2

A pair of socks

little bamboo socks 3

A bug bite on my ankle

Senor Smartass

A smartassed husband

Well, I finished it. Don’t worry, I will not say A SINGLE WORD about the Deathly Hallows. My lips are clamped tight. I wouldn’t even tell my mom, who isn’t reading the books, how it ended when she asked me yesterday. I stayed up until 3 am Sunday morning reading. That was with visiting family at my house, a haircut appointment, a birthday party, and an informal wedding reception, all on Saturday. Whew! I took Sunday off of work just to rest from that. Yes, I’m a fast reader. I think, all told, it took me about 8 hours to read the 739 pages. The blub figured that out last night with a look of inspired awe in his eyes.

It’s kinda funny how internetland seems quiet and uninhabited. My blog stats are way down, there doesn’t seem to be much happening at knitty, and there were a lot of blogs that normally get updated on weekends that stayed silent. I absolutely love that. I think it’s fabulous that a story can do that to us; make us forget our day to day, let us take time out of our busy, plugged in lives to crack the spine of a treasured book. Cheers for J.K. Rowling. So do you think it can happen again in our lifetimes? Not bloody likely. That makes it all the more special for me–to know that I witnessed the phenomenon first hand, that I was alive to experience it. Groovy. Of course, I think it would be even better if there were another craze, over a different, yet to be written book. Um, mine.

Okay, the cat’s out of the bag. Yes, I’m an aspiring writer. It seems obvious, doesn’t it, that would be the next logical step for someone on the brink of getting her PhD in…chemistry. Yeah. Plus I have loads of time on my hands, between working about 70 hours a week and the whole knitting thing, plus the feeding and care of this blog. Whatever. I try to make time. Right now I’m working on one short story, while trying to clean up another for publication. I’ve also got about three chapters of a novel that’s been sitting for a little while. It’s hard, but I enjoy it, so there you are. You’ve got to make time for the things you love.

For the record: I don’t think I can write a better book than J.K. Rowling, nor do I really believe that I could create one as popular as the Harry Potter series. Bloody hell, at this point, all I want to be is published. We’ll worry about the details later.

And speaking of details, I did finish the socks. I blocked them last night, but they were still soaking wet this morning. Cotton, I tell you. Takes forever to dry. Hopefully, I can share the pictures tomorrow. Until then, happy reading!

P.S. Sunni? No lines. Pbbbbbbbbbt!

One more day, kiddos!

Well, for me that is. I won’t be getting my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at midnight tonight like all you crazy people. I will wait until Saturday morning, when I will sashay my ass into Target and smugly pluck it off the very full shelves. There won’t be a shortage. Believe me. Hell, last time you could get the books in grocery stores.

Things are nutso around here, though. At the local library, the 40 copies of the Deathly Hallows have 203 people waiting for them, the audio version has 91 holds, and the large print has 20. Sheesh. There are also nine million parties going on tonight, people are already lining up to get their copy of the book, and I even saw this bumper sticker on a passing car last night:

(Psst…if you think that’s kinda funny, read the comic strip that it came from)

I wonder what J.K. Rowling thinks of all this. Really, how would you feel if something you had made up caused this much of an uproar? Happy and proud, sure. But if it were me, I might feel a tiny bit guilty and a lot incredulous. “Can you believe it?” I would likely say to the blub, “They bought into all this crap! And what’s better, they’re paying me for it! Morons!”

Yes, well. Count me in as one of the morons. I have read the entire series multiple times. And every time I do, I try to figure out why these books are so popular. Let’s face it, J.K. Rowling is not the best writer on the planet. Technically, I mean. I am not wowed by her similes, not blown over by her use of textures, and her descriptions tend to be mundane. I think I would grade her writing skills as merely passable, although she has improved noticeably since Book 1. As for her plot devices, those I would grade a bit higher, but there are still some holes. She makes mistakes. As I’ve noticed on this last read of the Half-Blood Prince, she tries to explain some of these away, but many fall a bit flat. So what is it? What makes nearly every child in the developed world longing to read her books?

It’s the characters. J.K. Rowling has the uncanny ability to create people you would want to know. I’ve found myself, more than once, wishing I could go to Hogwarts, not just because it would kick ass to be a witch, but because of the camaraderie, the jokes, the friends. Picking up one of these books is like hanging out with your best buds. And of course, as the series progresses, you become interested in the fates of your friends, and start rooting for them. Do I care what happens to Harry at the end of book 7? Damn skippy, I do! That’s J.K. Rowling’s genius right there. That’s why she deserves to be the multi-multi-multi millionaire that she is. She creates people to love. A damn fine talent, if you ask me. I wish I had it.

I suppose I could spend the rest of this entry regaling you with my predictions of the final book in the series, but why bother? I wouldn’t want to read that kind of thing. Besides, if you do, you can pop over to Mugglenet and get more than enough of that. As for now, I’m just hanging on my couch with a beer and my knitting, trying to finish book 6 before tomorrow.

the view from here

Like the sock? That’s the first one. I’ve copied Kat’s, in Panda cotton. It’s soft and nice. I heart it. I’m about halfway through the second, hoping to finish it tonight in my marathon listening session.

Don’t expect to see me Sunday or Monday. I’ve got reading to do.


bibelot \BEE-buh-loh\, noun: A small decorative object without practical utility; a trinket.

Well, that’s the word of the day. Try to work it into a sentence in ordinary conversation. Like, “Say, Buffy! You seem to have collected a frightful amount of bibelots on your holiday to the Hindu Kush! What a lot of dusting you’ll have to do!”

I wonder if it’s one of those words you can make into a verb? “Oh, I’m sorry, Uncle Bob. Grandma can’t come to the phone. She and Aunt Ginny have gone off bibeloting at the antique mall.”

I learned something today, anyway. Besides the useful new word, I’ve learned that today is Wednesday. So you know what that means.

Here’s what I’ve been

Listening to



Reading, reading, reading, and reading.

Those were all the books I read last week. I usually save them up and eke them out to you only one at a time, but I decided not to today. Buster’s still not back. I’m going to stop typing that from now on. Believe me, when he comes home I’ll let you know. I went to the local animal shelter last night. Oh, man. What a tearjerker. There are so many cats there right now that they’re doing a two-for-one special. Yes, on cats. It’s so sad. So many baby kitties! And bigger ones, too, but they really seem to be overflowing with the babies. I mentioned that to Nels when I got home last night, and he started to cry. He had gone on Friday and seen the same thing. I married a big softie, didn’t I?

Oh, yeah, here’s another bizarre thing I saw recently. Of course I’ve been reading the lost and found ads in the paper every day. Here’s one that caught my eye:

LOST: 900 lb black steer. If found, please call XXX-XXXX

The ad wasn’t there today. I guess they found it.

Thanks so much everybody, for your kind thoughts about Buster. No, he hasn’t come home yet. I’ve called two animal shelters and talked to all my neighbors and put signs in mailboxes and on bulletin boards (I know it’s illegal to put anything other than mail in mailboxes, but at this point I really don’t give a shit). I put an ad in the paper, too. Nels has given up–he says that Buster is not coming back. I don’t believe that. I haven’t given up.

To be honest, I took Buster in kind of grudgingly. That night when he pressed his nose against my front window, I looked out and sighed. I did not want another cat at that point; I already had three. But he needed shelter, so I gave it. Then somewhere along the way, he sank his sharp little claws into my heart and held tight. Now, as he seems to be getting farther away from me, I feel a tearing. I won’t let him get pulled out of my life that easily, though. If he is out there to be found, dammit I will find him. I don’t care how unlikely it seems.

Okay. Well. Enough of that, I suppose. Here’s my knitting.

cherry 2

I’ve been working on the cherry cardigan, by Anna Bell. Well, not so much working on. To tell the truth, I haven’t been doing so much knitting in the past week. I’ve been doing a lot of worrying and searching, then reading. I’ve finished three books since Wednesday. I can’t think and read at the same time, but I can think and knit at the same time. I don’t want to think, because all I think about is where’s Buster where’s Buster. So I’ve been reading. All this knitting happened yesterday, actually. Well, not the ribbing, but the rest of it. I was listening to a book at the same time, so I couldn’t think. That’s good.

But it’s another red thing! I think I got the color spot-on in the above picture. On my monitor it’s spot-on, anyway. I’m using KnitPicks CotLin in Moroccan Red. I like this yarn so far. It’s soft! Not too stiff, either. It doesn’t hurt my hands to knit it, which is a new thing for me with cotton.

cherry close up

Isn’t it weird, the color difference? Same light, same camera.

The cable pattern on it is called “little birds.” It’s cute. I’m cabling without a needle for the first time on this one. I don’t find it particularly liberating, although it is faster. It’s also slightly nerve-wracking. I’ve dropped only two stitches so far, but I always feel like I’m about to. I am almost to the armhole shaping, though, so maybe it’s not so bad. Here’s a tutorial, if you’re interested. I think that’s the one I used.

Anyway, there it is. See you later.

P.S. The nephew I gave Steggy to? He won’t go to bed without him.


One very sweet, very loving kitty. Have you seen him?

Oh Buster, where are you? I last saw him as I was pulling out of the garage Monday morning. He was sleeping on the seat of the old, broken down riding mower parked in the driveway. Nels said he saw him in the house on Tuesday afternoon. But since then, nothing. No signs of Buster.

I guess I should explain a little bit. The blub and I live in kind of a remote area, between two state forests and near the end of a dead-ending gravel road. The four cats come and go as they please. Sometimes they wander off on little adventures, but they’re rarely gone for more than a day.

buster 1

Buster’s been gone for almost three days. None of the neighbors have seen him. Last night I wandered around in the woods for over an hour, yelling myself hoarse. Izzy came with me. At one point, he got kinda freaked and started hissing. I don’t know what he was hissing at, but we came home then. Nels and I then canvassed the neighborhood. Nels said that he would look again today, plus go to the animal shelter.


I’m really worried. There are things out in the woods. Things that can hurt kitties. Bobcats. Raccoons. Dogs. Coyotes. Copperheads. There have also been a few rattlesnake sightings lately. The timber rattlesnake is supposedly rare, but lives in our area. The blub found one under the front porch last year. Our neighbor’s groundskeeper found three just a few days ago. Now, Copperheads scare me, because a bite from one of those is enough to kill a cat. They’re generally not very aggressive, although it would bite in self-defense (and our cats have been known to catch snakes in the past). The rattlers, there’s a different story. Those things are highly poisonous; one bite can kill a person. But they’re also big enough to eat the cats, and they’re kind of aggressive.

intervention attempt

I slept on the couch last night, so if he came home I would know right away. Every time I hear the cat door click, I look, expecting to see him. I keep staring outside. I keep calling. I keep thinking he’ll just trot right up as usual, leaping into my lap and demanding pats.

buster in profile 1

Buster, where are you? Please come home.

That’s my word of the day. Sesquipedalism. It’s an old favorite. It means…the unnecessary use of long words.

Ah, irony.

Speaking of words, here what I’ve been


Watching (This movie was hilarious, in the usual “life is humdrum/profound” Jim Jarmusch way. It’s a series of vignettes, all of which involve people talking over coffee and cigarettes. I can’t decide which was my favorite segment, the meeting between Tom Waits and Iggy Pop, or Jack and Meg White in “Jack shows Meg his Tesla coil.”)


Listening to.

Also speaking of Steven King, here’s a bittersweet article he wrote about the end of the Harry Potter series, and book series that you love in general. He’s really a great writer, although I don’t read his novels because I’m really not into the horror thing. I much prefer his short stories, if they’re humor. His book on writing is great, worth reading even if you don’t want to be a writer yourself, because he tells some really good stories in it. I recommend the audiobook version. He’s the reader. I like it when authors read their own books. It gives a sense of authenticity to it, in my eyes.

One more: click anywhere on the screen your own flower garden. Yay, instant happiness!

Have a faboo day.

I mean, really. I took tons of pictures yesterday of my finished Rococo socks, but all of them simultaneously look too light and too dark. Stupid cheap camera! Bleah. A few turned out okay, though, so here they are.

Rococo socks done

The Red Rococos (as I will hereby refer to as the Redcocos)
Pattern: Anne Hanson,
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino sock, Ruby red, one skein
Recipient: Sockapalooza pal
Mods: Used figure 8 toe and Wendy’s gusset heel (pdf) instead of the short row heel and toe suggested in the pattern. I’m not too found of the short rows.

Rococo heel

My attempt at a picture of the heel. I do like the way this heel turned out. Comfy! Attractive! What more could you ask for, really?

Rococo and my butt

This picture was an effort to capture how beautifully the top ribbing flowed out of the pattern, but it really ended up being a picture of my butt. And since I know that everyone really just wants to see my butt, I included it.

our feets

(in kitty voice) “And I heylped!”

I heart the Redcocos. They were a pleasure to knit, as well as to wear. Lucky sock pal. The blub suggested that I keep these for myself and make a different pair to send off in August. I must admit, I am tempted. They are a little long for me; my sock pal’s feet are 3/4 inch longer and 1/2 inch wider than mine. I’m a bit worried about fit, actually. They seem to fit the circumference of my foot and leg pretty well. I hope they can stretch another 1/2 inch. I think I might redo the bind-off on the second sock, too. It’s the sock on my right foot in the first picture, and it isn’t pulled up as high as the other, which is why they look uneven. It’s a smidge tight, so it wouldn’t go up as far. I used EZ’s sewn bind-off, and I think I pulled just a little too hard. That’s too bad, because that bind off really is a bitch to take out. Oh, well. I was in a bit of a hurry to get done. I cast on for a sweater (for me! for me!) as soon as I finished the Twirly top, and I really want to knit that. It’s faboo. I’ll show it later in the week, when I have more than ribbing. Ribbing’s just not that exciting, is it?

Oh, and cuz I think someone might ask, here’s the skirt I was wearing in above pic.

my skirt

Rocks, don’t it? I got it here. I’m pretty sure they don’t have that fabric anymore, but they have lots of other ones that also kick ass.

My birthday’s coming up. I’m thinking about splurging on a new camera, like this or this or this. Any suggestions?

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
July 2007