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That’s my name, tooooooooooooooooo!

aster against mums

Real flowers. Not a bad acid flashback.

I have no idea why that song’s stuck in my head.

Lookit my pretty flowers! I stocked up on mums and asters this weekend. So Fall must officially be around the corner.

BUT before I start waxing all autumnal and crap, I’ve got some FOs to share. I’m behind on posting about those, since I’ve had way more knitting time than sit-down-and-write-about-knitting-on-my-computer time lately. So I’ve got scads of things to show.

Scads, I tell you. Scads.

Here’s installment one of 1,290,456.

mitts and kerchief

Garter stitch o’mania. With lovely but ludicrously expensive yarn.*


garter stitch mitts

Garter stitch mitts, pattern by Ysolda. Rav me.
Yarnsies: Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop
Needle: US 5
Start: somewhere in Arizona
Finish: Tennessee, maybe? It might have been Arkansas.

I started and finished these on the road trip from California back to Indiana. They were quick little jobbers, fun to knit and fun to wear. My gauge was a bit smaller than what the pattern called for, but I just knitted the larger size, then added some extra rows at the end until they were wide enough. (They’re knit side-to-side, so embiggening them was quite easy.)

I really like these mitts. They make me want to run around in a grey sweat suit, punching the air. Not quite sure why.


kerchief 2kerchief 1

(It’s the blub’s fault. He always makes me laugh.)

Double your pleasure, double your fun with a sex-ay kerchiefy scarf thing!

Pattern: I put in my Rav notes that I used the Kerchief scarf pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, but let’s be serious, here. It’s a friggin garter stitch triangle. I didn’t use a pattern.
Needle: US 5
Yarn: same as above, yadda yadda.

I actually started this when I was still in California, and finished it in the car. The only nutty thing I did here was add a button on the back, instead of a tie.

kerchief button


I like this thing too. It makes me feel all punk and stuff.

Oh yeah, and the hair? It’s in a pony-tail. I think the last time I had hair long enough to put in a pony-tail was when I moved to Bloomington. Which was ten years ago.


You may express surprise now, if you wish.

Lots more FOs to come. That is, If I can talk the strange person above into taking more pictures.

(It was four years last Thursday, by the way. Sometimes I wonder–because, or in spite of?)

*By the way, it turns out that the yarn wasn’t mismarked, that it is really $36 a skein at Wildfiber. A friend of mine from my knitting group in OC bought some too, and the owner told her in an email that “…So, if you want more (of the Sockhop) for $18, you can go direct and purchase from (Crown Mountain Farms). Otherwise, in the future, we’re going to have a better product, in exclusive colors, for a higher price.” Gee, that’s funny. I see the colorway I bought right there on the website. For $18. Huh.


Yep. That’s about it.

Oh, the joys of being home!

I had a great time in Washington D.C. and visiting my brother and SIL and los kiddos. (And yes, I made it to Stitch DC! It was smaller than I expected.) I have pictures coming of Baby Alice in finished (gasp!) Baby Sweater on Two Needles, but those will have to wait. I’m still on vacation. Plus, it’s my birthday and I didn’t do anything all day except laze about at home and go to the Farmer’s Market. Yay for that.

I’m so glad that some of my favorite flowers are still in bloom around here.

purple coneflower
Purple coneflower, aka Echinacea purpurea. It growth by the garden.

Ironweed by the garage. The Latin name for this is Veronia altissima. I had to look that one up. I didn’t plant this one–it’s just everywhere this time of year.

bee balm

Bee balm, aka Monarda fistulosa. Also by the garden.

And what kind of birthday would it be without new birthday yarn? Especially when it's Mountain Colors River Twist.

birthday yarn

Flowers and yarn and being home. What more could a girl want?

(And I do mean I’m going east, by the way. Not that I’m standing next to a prostitute.)

Here is the last blog post that I will write from my little room in Orange.

Tomorrow, darlings! The blub and I will journey forth back towards home, towards that glittering rural jewel we call…Indiana.

No really, I am so so so glad to be going home. But I’m not really going home yet. I’m going back to Indiana yes, but only for a matter of hours. I have to get on a plane and go back to DC. Then I’m going to visit my big bro for a bit (and new baby!). Then I get to go home. So it’s still a bit over a week till home for me. But I’m getting there. I’m getting there.

(The blub’s slumbering sweetly on my bed as I write this. I realized that with the time change and his crazy very early morning schedule, he actually got up before I went to bed last night. Poor blub. He’s tired.)

So I’m outta here, two months to the day after I arrived. I’ve had some adventures. I’ve met some nice people (Hi, Anaheim Hills knit night!). I’ve written 25 stories for the paper this summer. And I’ve learned so so so so much at my internship.

Really. It was actually kind of hard for me to say goodbye today. I got teary as I left the newsroom. I really liked what I was doing. Even with the hard edits, even with the ‘write this whole thing over’s, even with the insane people calling me on the phone (my phone number was posted at the bottom of every. single. story.), I really enjoyed that my job was to write. And I think I actually got better at it. Well, that’s what my editors told me, anyway.

Did I mention how glad I am to have done this? It was hard to be away from home, to be away from el blubbo, yes. But when I think about how much I learned and the things I accomplished, well (as we say in my family) it was worf it.

I’m sort of excited about what the future holds for me. I think I can actually do this for a living, which freaks me out and makes me very very happy, both at the same time. Can I actually…do what I love? And get paid for it? Wow. That would rock.

So off I go now, into my future. Can a person romantically drive off into the sunset? If so, that’s me. Motoring away into red and ambers and ochers.

See ya in the Midwest. :)

I have discovered a very important, very useful, very secret fact: California makes you stupid.

Well, it makes me stupid.

Exhibit A: The Great Seaside Heel Flap Debacle

Exhibit B: as follows.

I went to Hollywood this past weekend. I hadn’t been. I’m leaving this Friday, so it was really the last time I had to get out there.

So I went. I drove around Beverly Hills. (BIG houses. But that’s hardly a surprise.) I drove down Hollywood Boulevard, and saw all the stars on the sidewalk. I drove past the Chinese Theater. Yes, I say drove because I didn’t actually get out of my car and look around. Quite frankly, I think that driving by was quite sufficient for me. Plus it was a Saturday afternoon and parking looked like an unwinnable land war in Asia.

I only got out at one place. Wildfiber.

Yep, I stopped by Santa Monica on my famous-things-in-Southern-California tour. (I drove by Disneyland too, but that’s hardly newsworthy since I live two ruddy miles from the place. I can hear the fireworks show every night. Hear, but not see. They shoot them low on purpose. Bastards.)

And guess what? I forgot my camera. But, I can say that it was a very nice little shop. Friendly people, very nice yarn selection, the aesthetic was good, GREAT button selection. Wee bit pricey, though. How pricey? Ha! So much that I didn’t notice it. Yes I know that makes no sense. We’ll get there.

Here’s what I got.

A skein of Manos, in agate (100).


How lovely. How wooly. It will be a nice autumny cowl for me. I just got a new fall jacket that has this stand up collar thingy that just begs for a cowl. And I cannot refuse what my jacket asks of me! So a cowl it will get. My pleasure, little jacket.

The Manos was on sale, so I got it for…$14.75. Or so. It cost more on sale than I would pay for a regularly priced skein of this at my home LYS, but it’s Santa Monica. Rent’s expensive, I get it.

It’s this next one that…well, I’ll let you decide.

sockhop 1

It’s Crown Mountain Farms sock hop. Born to be wild. One skein. Here’s a close-up.

sockhop in yer face

So you guys know all about this yarn, right? How it’s lovely and handspun, and also how it’s about as easy to get as Wollmeise or Sundara sock yarn?

I saw. I touched. I plotzed. It’s so pretty. And I love handspun. Fabulous. So of course I bought a skein.

Yes, only one skein. Why? Because I had this vague memory that a pair of socks of this stuff was around $40, and each skein was priced at $36. It did not even begin to enter my brain to occur to me to check the yardage. Cuz if it cost that much, it had to enough for a pair of socks, right?

Wrong. So so very wrong. I didn’t realize until I got all the way back home and I looked it up on Ravelry that each skein is only 200 yards. (Please don’t ask me why I just didn’t read the label.) And that you need two skeins for a pair of socks. And most importantly, the Crown Mountain Farms website sells each skein for $18. NOT $36.

Oh my weasels and kumquats! Wildfiber was charging twice the regular asking price for this yarn! That’s seventy-two dollars for a pair of socks! Jesus H. Christ on a goat! A $72 pair of socks had better be handspun by Spanish pixies out of platinum metal and have the ability to make you friggin fly.

Feck. I feel like the world’s biggest fool. I paid thirty-six dollars, plus tax, for enough yarn to make one sock. One. Not a pair. One.

Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe it was mismarked in the shop. I kind of doubt it, though. There was a biiiig pile of it. And silly me, I didn’t think why. I just went “Oooo! Pretty!” I didn’t occur to me that there was so much left because it was fantastically amazingly overpriced.

Arrugh. I’m going to call the shop Tuesday and make sure it was priced correctly. (They’re closed Sunday and Monday.) I really don’t know what that’ll get me, though. I don’t have time to drive all the way back there and return it, or get a refund. Maybe to prove to myself what an ass I am?

Dumb. Dumb dumb dumb. Someone bitch slap me, please. At least I’ll be leaving soon–four days and counting.


Well shitfire in a bucket, I just realized I never got around to filling you guys in about the earthquake! Silly silly. I guess my brain was a bit rattled. Anyway, for my science writing program thingy, I have to write updates every two weeks. I thought this last one told my earthquake story pretty well, so here it is, more or less:

It was quite an exciting week here in Orange County. This place was hopping. Literally.

The 5.4 earthquake that hit Southern California Tuesday was centered about 15 miles from here. It (apparently) wasn’t that big, but it certainly felt substantial to this Midwestern girl, and to other people in the office. Some people thought enough to dive under their desks, but most of us just stood there like idiots, watching the building roll like a ride on the Universal Studios tour.

Although it felt much longer than that, the quake only lasted about 15 seconds. As soon as it stopped, a moment of stunned silence filled the newsroom. And then the place erupted.

People running, shouting, generally freaking out, trying to figure out where it came from, how big it was, if there was any damage. My boss is the earthquake guy around here, so about ten editors converged on his desk, all shouting and taking directions. He was in a frenzied state, trying to do about sixteen different things at once. Pretty much everybody was doing something, making phone calls, contributing in some way.

Except me. In the middle of the chaos, I continued to stand there like an idiot. I think my boss forgot I existed. I went to ask if he wanted me to do anything, but then he charged past with the look of a raging bull in his eyes, so I backed off. I asked my other editor instead, and he told me to sit tight. So I did.

And I sat. And sat and sat and sat. I ended up doing no earthquake reporting. I redirected two phone calls, that was it. I guess I should have been more aggressive, especially when my boss ran out to interview the biggest earthquake expert in the US, who just happened to be three blocks away at the time. They drove out to the epicenter, and were there during one of the aftershocks. I should have insisted he take me. But unfortunately, I did not.

Next time, I hope, I will be stirred to take action. What are the odds of another earthquake hitting within a week?

Yep, that was about the long and short of it. I didn’t get to do anything. Bit of a bummer, really. No one to blame but myself.

The earthquake didn’t really scare me all that much, contrary to my own expectations. It was kind of alarming at first, but once I realized that the windows weren’t shattering and the roof wasn’t falling on my head, it was kind of fun. I didn’t get nervous until much, much later, when I was at home and it was late at night and I was thinking about that thing I heard on the news, where the nice lady said there was a one in 20 chance that the quake was just a foreshock and a bigger one would hit within three days. Then I called the blub.

Poor blub. It was about 1 am there. He made me feel better. Then I picked up my knitting. I finished the sock.

whole she-bang

Thar she is. Done, my silly mistake aside.

(I did end up cutting the yarn. No big deal, really. I was just so peeved at myself that I was dumb enough to leave off knitting with the variegated strand there in the first place. I blame the beach.)

Slight problem: it’s a bit too big in the calf.

leg acrobatics

I sent several intervertebral discs shooting from my back and got six hernias taking this picture, but can you see it? How the sock kind of sticks out a bit from my calf in the back, along the increase line? I don’t understand why this is so. I figured the correct negative ease (10%–same as I use for all my socks) with the gauge and number of stitches and all, yet it pooches. What gives? Should I have knit it with even more negative ease?

icky nasty pooling

It also pooled a bit, round the middle there. Bleh.

Those negatives aside, I do like the sock. Now I have to knit its mate.

I think I pulled something

BUT, should I make the second exactly as I did the first? That is, a smidge too big but at least it will match? Or, should I make the second sock fit better, but have a mismatched pair? Keeping in mind of course that I usually find that my socks felt and shrink a bit, even though the wool is superwash. And right now it does fit perfectly in the foot.


Oh bother. Decisions, decisions.

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
August 2008