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Okay. I swear I’m not putting this up just to get attention. But it’s my birthday today. And I’m pretty grumpy.

Why? Ah, just crap. The same work crap. The blub quit his job (long story, but I think he’ll get another one that pays better and has benefits really soon). He also has to get some fairly serious dental work done, which is going to be expensive. My brother is in Iraq, and I’m worried about him (and my SIL, who is at home with 3 kids under 5). Our refrigerator is crapping out on us, which cheated me out of birthday pancakes this morning because I refuse to eat the eggs and milk in there even though Nels insists they’re fine. Dude, they were at 50 F overnight. They are not fine.

All in all, things are not THAT bad. We’re coping. And we’re all healthy–things could be a lot worse. But I’ve decided to lift myself out of funk by posting some things that I like.

Thing One: Sarah Haskins and Target Women. Here’s the one from this week. Timely, no?

Thing Two: Sockington. Are you on Twitter? You need to follow this cat. Especially watch this video.

Thing Three: Sundara Yarn. (Well, duh. Who doesn’t?) I got myself some sock yarn from Year in Color: July. Toasted orange over pistachio, it’s all the way at the bottom. But I won’t get it until midway through September, yaarg! (BTW: what the hell is a toasted orange?)

Thing Four: My new phone. I got this one and I heart it. It flips open sideways. Nifty. (Thanks, Dad!)

fall blooming lilies

Thing Five: That my fall blooming lilies have been open since July.

Thing Six: Cupcakes. Specifically chocolate peanut butter cupcakes that my coworker made for me today. I will go eat one right now.

Yum and bye.

I would have ROCKED a girl group like this one. Er, except I’m not that flexible.

Make sure you watch the whole thing. The best part is the end.

(And thanks Claire, for letting us know that such things exist. How did I get on before this?)

Hey everybody. Just stopping by real quick like to say a few things.

Thing One: Kelpie is doing okay. She’s not great, but she’s not worse either. But she has started eating again, and stopped hiding behind things. She’s also interacting with us again, which makes me have hope. I do still need to talk to the vet to see what she thinks, but I’ll keep ya updated.

Thing Two: I want to thank each and every person for their comments and sympathy and just general loving-awesomeness on my last post. I was feeling pretty low; you may have picked up on that. :) But your lovely comments made me feel so much better. Thank you. Really very much. I will answer all of your comments individually, in time.

Thing Three: My non-knitting life has picked WAY up. I have a book review coming out in a MAJOR science journal soon–my deadline’s the day after tomorrow in fact, aaaaack! I’m also writing a second, much longer article. My research is also going great guns right now. I’m in the final stretch of my PhD; I really, really hope to finish this year, but still have mounds of work to do. So I’m doing it. A lot. Head down, nose to the grind, all that crapola. So I guess what I’m saying here is expect to see a lot less of me in the coming months. (But watch, once I’ve said that publicly I’ll start posting every other day. That would be just like me.) I’ll still be here–I’m not going away! I’ll just be around less. And hopefully I’ll still be reading and commenting on your blogs as well, although I haven’t been lately. For some reason when I get sad, I clam up. But hopefully I’ll get over that. ANYway, don’t forget me, please! I’ll be back. (Said in Terminator like voice. Except cuter.)

Okay, that was all. Wish me luck!

Because otherwise, how would have Kalani captured these lovelies that I tried on at T.J. Maxx last night?

sex-ay Marlenes

Hmm, I’m starting to think I should have gotten them…

It snowed this morning.

Snow. In April.

It’s the kind of thing that when you wake up and see the fricking sleet/snow crap coming down outside and it’s Monday morning and you stayed up really late last night because you were feeling too out of sorts to go to bed mostly because you didn’t do anything yesterday because your routine was violently thrown all out of whack because you usually work Sundays not Saturdays, but this Saturday was the stupid graduate recruiting weekend and you had to be at work at 9 am and you stood at the poster and talked for two solid hours, then took 15 minutes to gobble down lunch, then took the prospective grad students on a facilities tour, then cleaned the old and scary chemicals out of the flammable solvents cabinet and then your undergrad came in and you worked with him for another four hours and didn’t get home until 8 pm on a friggin Saturday which completely messed up your Sunday and now you are tired and pissy and the sight of snow on a Monday morning is enough to make throw open the window above your bed and bellow “THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!” into the slushy snow and then you remember you live in a valley and your proclamation bounces off the ridges and your neighbor’s stupid dog starts barking but you don’t care and you just slam down the window and throw the covers over your head and go back to sleep.

I worked from home this morning.

The advantage of this, apart from sipping tea in front of a cozy fire until it stopped sleet/snow/icking outside, was that I finally got around to taking some FO pics. I got a new lens, you see. Exactly the same as the old one–I got a used one on the cheap from a photographer in town. So it looks just like this, only not dented.

bashed lens

Isn’t it amazing that, with the right light, the detritus on your end table suddenly becomes all arty? Well, maybe arty is a strong word. I guess I mean it makes me able to see the beauty in a pile of crap. Something like that.

Enough blathering. Here’s my new hat.

hexagonal circles

It’s slouchy! It’s stripy! It’s….a Love Child!

Love Child (Rav it!)
Pattern: used pattern from Le Slouch, but styling from Robin
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed, 1 skein each of slate grey and green (The 11 green, not the 08 green. Why the hell would you call two different shades the same name?)
Needle: US 8
Started: March 14
Finished: March 14

Yeppers, that’s right. I started and finished this in the same day. Ah, that was a lovely weekend. All I did was sit and listen to a book and knit alllll afternoon. It was fabulous.

sweet bunny goodness

Okay. So. Deets. A little bit ago, I fell in love with this hat that Moonstitches made. (Anybody here that hasn’t fallen in love with something she’s made? Didn’t think so.) But, problem. Kim Hargreaves, the designer of Robin, does not sell her patterns individually. And I’ve never liked more than one of her patterns in any given collection, so I’m not about to drop however many pounds to buy the whole book/mag thing. (This is something that’s long made me Ms. Peevy Trousers, but I’m not going into that now.) So what was I to do? Wing it, of course.

Totally not a big deal. A beret’s a beret. So I used the numbers from Le Slouch and guessed at the purl stripy thing. I think it turned out pretty well. My pom turned out a bit, er rustic, but I kinda like it that way.

my rustic pom

Ah, the jog. I hate it, but yet I respect it. It stays.

I must say, I’ve wanted to try this yarn forever. They have it at my LYS, and I used to walk in there regularly just to manhandle it. So! Soft! It’s a wool angora blend and it is heavenly. I swear, if I ever win the lottery, I’m knitting myself a sweater out of this stuff. $10 for 95 yds is not really in my price range for sweater yarn. But a hat? I could totally do a hat.

But the funny thing? I bought three skeins, then only ended up using about a skein and a half. When I finished knitting it, the hat was tiny. Then I blocked the shit out of it. And now it’s slouchy, hooray!

Could it be.....SATAN?

I guess you’ll have to believe me on the slouchy bit. I tried to get a modeled shot, but was interrupted by Satan’s minions knocking on my front door. But they didn’t steal my soul, ha! Only a slight temporary possession.

jaunty bowl

My Crate & Barrel mixing bowl wears it well, though. But me? I don’t know, it’s a bit too, “Say Todd, wouldn’t it be swell to play the back nine and then have some highballs?” I think it may be the pom. So I might take it off. Or not. Maybe.

But I guess one plus to this unseasonable icky cold? I can still appreciate a nice warm fuzzy hat. Maybe I’ll make mitts with the copious leftovers.

At least that might make it warm up again.

I do have a lead on a new lens. Yay for that, since I have this smoothbeautifully wicked hat I finished ages ago yet to blog. In the meantime, I had to share this website of amazingly amazing bookstores. Holy crap! I want to visit all of them!

Anyhoodle, hope to be showing you nice new pictures soon.



Okay. Fine. You have spoken. The blub gets the hat.

the gay smurf

I hope you’re happy.

The final results:

Totally fruity, but let him have it: 22
He rocks that hat in a non-gay way, let him have it: 18
Overdye the thing (an excellent suggestion, which the blub is pondering): 2
Um, hide the hat (and call the Village People): 7

In his acceptance speech, the blub thanked all of you. And stressed that he is very secure in his sexuality.

So yeah.

The winner of the yarny prize, via CBear!

Email me your new address please, CBear! I only have the old one.

And lookit what I got in the mail yesterday.

luxury tweed the arty shot

Debbie Bliss Luxury tweed. It has angora in it. OOOooooooooohhhhh, I lovelovelovelovelove this yarn. Three balls, I got. Two of slate grey, one of green. In time, they will be a hat. For now, they are lovingly being turned into a swatch. And dayum, am I taking my time about it. Each stitch is a dream. When I win the lottery, I’m knitting myself a sweater out of this stuff.

And speaking of winning, check out what I picked up at my family’s white elephant gift exchange yesterday!

little froggy, foot lover

You stick your feets in those little slots there, push down, and it vibrates. And as the blub quickly discovered, where you push depends on how fast it goes. Ain’t it classy? I had to steal it away from my aunt to get it, but you know what? Totally worf it.

But I’ve gotten some lovely sock yarn lately, so let’s make today a Yarn Pron Friday, shall we?

Malabrigo sock in Impressionist sky

Malabrigo sock. Impressionist sky. So very very pretty. It was from ChickenKnits! I won one of her (many) blog contests. I’m trying to decide what this is going to be, since I seem to be sock-obsessed lately. (Go look at my Ravelry queue, especially pages five and six if you don’t believe me.) I’m thinking maybe Django for these. But I dunno yet.

I forget what this is

I had to call home and get the blub out of bed to tell me what this is. Cause I kept forgetting to look. But–da da da da! Mystery solved! It’s Hand Painted Knitting Yarns Donegal Sock! In Daphne. I got it at Loopy Yarns when I was in Chicago about two weeks back. (The new site for the store is lovely.) The very nice sales lady assured me it would wear like iron. Plus it’s handpainted and tweedy. How rock awesome is that? I’m thinking the Lakehouse socks for this one, since my last attempt at them failed miserably. They looked like this.

cheery yellow sock

But now they look like this.

f&f is pretty in handspun

Because I ripped them out and started a different sock. I really like the Lakehouse socks, but with my larger gauge the increase rate for the instep was just too fast. And I’m too lazy to figure out what it should be. So it went bye-bye. But I’m quite happy with how the yarn (Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop in Sunshine of Your Love) re-entered the world.

fiery orata socks

The stitch pattern is a simple feather-and-fan. So I’m calling them my orata socks.

my socks match the fire!

Isn’t it cool how they match the fire? I really like the way they’re working up. I chucked a forked heel a-la Kalani Craig in there too, so maybe I should be calling them my knitting group socks. The heel is a most excellent match for these socks. I tried them on after I finished knitting it and…foomph. Perfect. Fit. It’s like God’s Own Chosen Heel. I felt like Cinderella trying on that glass slipper. Faboo.

I’m actually up to where I would normally start the top ribbing, but I have a ton of yarn left. And a whole other ball for the second sock. So I’m kinda thinking knee socks. Maybe. Perhaps. It’s conceivable. (Believable.)

In other knitting news, both my of current WIP sweaters have gone to beddy-bye la la land. Yep. Buried them deep. That would be this one.

the never ending sweaterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Which is almost done. I’m on the bottom ribbing for a top-down sweater for purgatory’s sake. All I have to do is finish that, then knit the collar and pockets. But…meh. I’m tired of it. Besides, think how happy I’ll be in the fall when I pull it out and finish it in two days! Um, yeah. That’s what I keep telling myself.

The other sweater never even saw the light of the blog. But it’s an aran-weight angora blend. I don’t think I’ll be wanting to work on that when it’s above 50 F or so. So they both go TTFN.

But I am pulling out two card carrying members of the ghost-of-sweaters-past to take their place.

Sweater A: the top-down hourglass. The one in sock yarn.

top down HG

Doubled sock yarn. I’m actually a bit farther than that, but not by much. According to Ravelry, I started this on February 11, 2008. So I guess it’s due.

Sweater B is even older. Anyone remember this one?

ariann sweater sleeves attached

And what became of it?

frogged sweater

Yeah, it’s Ariann. Out of frustration, I shoved this in a sack almost two years ago. Hmm. Time to give it a second chance, yes? Getting it back on the needles is going to be a titch hairy. But then I just have to knit the yoke and it’s done. Yay.

And speaking of done things, did I mention here that I sold a freelance article awhile back? Well, I did. Now that’s done too. Super-yay with big piles of zipper on top! And even more yay for the paycheck. :)

Since I’m currently in sweater slogging hell, I thought I’d take this opportunity to give a blog tour of my lovely and cozy abode. But I guess it’s going to be a limited tour, since my camera batteries died before I could take pictures of the whole house. So it’s a er…limited tour. Yes, only select places. I also didn’t actually take any pictures of the sweaters in question, so I will distract you with cute animals.

This is Oscar.


Like all of our kitties, Oscar is a foundling. He’s kind of the blub’s cat, since the blub brought him home. He was driving home one day, on the winding rural roads that lead to our house, when he saw a tiny orange kitten at the side of the road. So he pulled over and threw open the truck door. According to the blub, “He just jumped right in and started purring! I couldn’t just leave him there!”

When Nels got home that day, he came inside and sat next to me on the couch, his eyes Bambi-huge.

“I have a friend I want you to meet,” he said.

“Oh yeah?” I said. (We already had two cats at this point and I wasn’t particularly keen on getting any more.)

“He’s very nice,” Nels said.

I sighed and followed him outside. Inside the pickup was a scrawny dirty kitten, laying on the heating vent and purring like a motorboat in high gear.

The blub’s eyes got even bigger, which I didn’t think was physically possible. Then he said, “Can we keep him? Please?”

How could I say no?

I think Oscar was either abandoned by his mother, or dumped. The latter is sadly common around here–I live between two state parks, and it’s pretty rural and wooded. A lot of people see this as a perfect dumping ground for unwanted animals. Poor things. But Oscar was never weaned. He had a habit of sucking on our fingers when he was a kitten. Even now, he is very fond of licking us. Especially our hands.

licky cat

We don’t really know how old he is, but I think he’s around six. (We’ve had him for about five years, I think.) And he’s gone from scrawny kitten to big fatty. He’s on diet food, but still has a tummy that would make Buddah proud. I don’t mind so much. I feel he’s making up for his undernourished and sad kitten-hood. He’s a very nice kitty, although he’s a bit agressive with foreign cats. He is constantly trying to fight our neighbor’s Big Mean Cat, who’s about three times as big as Oscar. Dummy. But that’s why he’s missing a piece of his ear, as you can kinda see in that first picture. He always purrs when I bandaging him up, though. Weirdo.

Okay, I didn’t mean for this to be the Oscar show. Moving on.

Here’s Kelpie. She’s my kitty.

the kelpers

Nobody puts Baby in a corner

And she has a bit of a cranky disposition. She’s ten. I got her from my landlady when I first moved to Bloomington. They had named her Baby. I quickly changed that to what I thought was a cute name. It turns out a kelpie is a Scottish water fairy, like I first thought. However, it’s actually an evil fairy that takes the shape of a horse and gets unwitting mortals to ride it. Then it runs straight for the nearest river, jumps in, and pulls the rider down to their death. Cute, huh? The blub says this fits. But I think he’s just mad because Kelpie only started letting him pet her last year. What can I say? She’s discerning.

We have a third cat Izzy, but I couldn’t find him before my batteries died. That’s sad, because he is The World’s Best Kitty. He’s cuddly and friendly and cute, and thinks he’s a dog. (He likes to be thumped instead of petted. He also plays fetch and comes when he’s called.) He was my little brother’s cat, but I took him in when Erik moved in with someone allergic to cats. So Izzy went on an airplane from Denver to Chicago. My mom was the one who took him on the plane, and said he only gave a little mew when they pushed back, and another small peep when they took off. And he loves the car. He’s a big sweetie.

Izzy also taught himself how to climb the ladder up to the loft. It’s where we have our bedroom. Izzy likes the bed.

top of the ladder

Seeing him do this makes people say things like “Holy shit!” and other four letter words. It’s pretty amazing. Oscar can do it too. Kelpie’s the only one that can’t.

The blubster and I live in an A-frame, that was built around 1940. It was a hunting cabin for a long time, then some other people bought it and turned it into a house. They put a two-room addition on the back. When the blub bought it (which he did before we were married, or even dating) he gutted the whole thing, and redid most of it himself. (He had help with the wiring, and ripping out part of the ceiling to make the big front room.) The whole place is about 850 square feet. With no closets. And the walls in the front are tilted. This makes decorating difficult.

the tilt of the wall

But see those things on the wall there? I just got those. I’m so excited–they’re stickers with not very sticky adhesive, so they won’t harm the paint. (Not that it matters too much, can you see all the spackle there? Sheesh.) I got them from Photojojo and I heart them.

I can has pictures!

The blub doesn’t like them much, but he can go hang. I’m very excited.

The other side of the A-frame wall has a climbing wall on it.

the wall

The blub put it up. We have a big mat that drops down, so we don’t hurt ourselves when we fall. No, we just hurt ourselves on the wall itself. Since it’s overhanging, it’s pretty hard. I was on there Saturday night and my shoulders are still killing me.

Um, what else? Oh yeah, our house is also wood heated. Sometimes, like when there’s a power outage and everyone is cold but us, this rocks. Other times, like when you’ve been gone all day and all the fire is burned down and it’s freaking freezing in the house, this sucks. It also kind of sucks when it’s really cold outside, because you can’t just turn up the heat. It also also sucks that the house is so dusty all the time from all that wood ash, no matter how often I vacuum. Oh, but it also rocks that we usually pay only about $400 per year to heat our house.

It’s also nice to have a tea warmer.

how I keep my tea warm

No cozies needed! That blue kettle is our humidifier-we keep water in it. Until it turns to steam. Then we put more water in it. Wow! Interesting!

I also made cookies yesterday.

oatmeal raisin clumps

They were supposed to be oatmeal raisin cookies, but they turned out more like oatmeal raisin clumps. They didn’t actually flatten out any when they cooked. I also played around with the ingredients a bit. I’m reading On Food and Cooking right now, particularly the chapter about sugars. It’s really interesting, I highly recommend it. Anyway, I swapped honey for the white sugar and also added some nutmeg and played with the baking powder/baking soda ratio. I guess a bit too much, since they are so poofy. I just think they’re okay, but the blub hearts them. Which is weird because he usually doesn’t like sweets.

Then I found Izzy, but my batteries died. So that’s all you get. Fascinating, no? Maybe next time I’ll actually have pictures of a finished sweater. Pray for me.

Have a nice Monday.

Don’t you just feel so sproingy and hop-skip-jumpy today? Don’t you just want to bounce off of the walls? I do, but that may have more to do with the latte I just chugged than the date. According to the blub, today is the day when all of humanity is required to use ballet leaps as a form of locomotion. No walking allowed. We’ll see how he does. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been…

Reading (although technically I am listening to this, as it is the audiobook read by Jeremy Irons)



Listening to…water flowing up your butt!

I can’t listen to “Once in a Lifetime” without thinking that. My little brother insisted that’s what the lyrics said when he was about four or so. My family has since referred to it as “The Bidet Song.”

And you may ask yourself…God! How did I get so clean?

Hey look! Knitting!

top down HG

Yup, that’s my progress on the newly christened “Top-down, making it up as I go, it better fraking fit this time Hourglass Sweater.” Catchy, isn’t it? As you can see, I’m really chugging along! I just cast on last week, and I’m already three rows in! Hopefully the sonic booms coming from my needles won’t hurt your ears, wherever you are.

Regardless, have a good weekend.

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
June 2021