Posted in Knitting, Life in general, Movies and TV

Look, Mom, I’m on TV!

Well, actually, on Seeka.TV in a web series called “Black on Both Sides.” You can find it here.

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Blurb:  Anansi Moor looks like the poster child for a post-racial America. He is intelligent, witty, and well-spoken—and just black enough to fill a diversity quota without being threatening. Yet behind his carefully curated song and dance is a game that grows ever more dangerous as the quest for justice drives tactics that will either free the caged bird—or scorch its wings.

Before anyone gets too excited, I have to tell you, mine is a teeny-tiny-if-you-blink-you’ll-miss-it part, but the rest of the series is cool, so watch it anyway.

Posted in Books, Reading

Banned Books Week 2019

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I suppose there are some individuals out there who are NOT aware of the American Library Association’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. If you, dear reader, are among them — or if you’re not and want more information anyway — click the badge above to be taken to the ALA’s webpages and learn everything you ever wanted to know about the subject.

I was lucky. My mother read to me all the time, probably from the moment I was born. I honestly don’t remember when I learned to read myself. I know I was already reading by the time I entered kindergarten at age 4, although it must have escaped the notice of my kindergarten teacher. Mom told me once that my first grade teacher called her shortly after the start of school and asked her if she knew I could read. Mom said, “Of course.” Teacher said, “No, I mean really read, not in a halting one-word-at-a-time fashion, but easily? In flowing sentences?” Mom said, “Of course, why wouldn’t I know that? I taught her.”

My mom rocks.

This was the library when I was a kid. Now it's the home of the Paso Robles Historical Society.
This was the library when I was a kid. Now it’s the home of the Paso Robles Historical Society.

Every Saturday in the summer, when Mom went into town to do the grocery shopping, she dropped my sister and me off at the public library. I still remember running up the big stone steps and then down another set of stairs that led into the basement where the children’s section lived. Sissy and I would spend a couple of hours reading and picking out new books to take home. We always checked out as many books as we were allowed, devoured them through the week, and brought them back the following Saturday. During the school year, we had access to the school library and didn’t visit the public library all that often.  I read an average of a book a night all throughout the school year — I’d check it out at lunch time or recess and bring it back the next day.

My folks never questioned the appropriateness of any book we brought home from the school or the public library. We were reading and that’s all that mattered. And I read everything as I grew up: Walter Farley‘s horse books, abandoned children books (such as Island of the Blue Dolphins and Green Mansions), Mother West Wind stories, science fiction, biographies, horror, fables, fairy tales, books about science and rocks and dinosaurs and geology. I read the books my parents had read: mysteries and crime fiction, mostly, with the occasional steamy romance tossed in for good measure. I was forbidden to read a book only once. When I was 12 years old, The Exorcist was the hottest title on the bestseller lists. Mom bought it for herself. When she finished reading it, she told me, “You may not read this book until you are older.” “Okay, Mom,” I said, and never gave it a second thought. With the wide open freedom I had to choose my own reading material, being barred from one book in which I had only a vague interest was not a big deal.

So how is my being barred at age 12 from reading The Exorcist not censorship? Simple. My mother exercised her parental prerogative to control the reading material of her minor child within our family unit. And then she stopped. She didn’t try to prevent other people’s children from reading it. She didn’t mount a protest with the school or public library to have that book removed from their shelves. She and Daddy didn’t write letters to the editor of the local newspaper proclaiming that devil worshippers and Satanists were trying to indoctrinate the youngsters of San Luis Obispo, so stop them, stop them, stop them now!

Parenting. Yeah, they did it right.

That’s where the line gets drawn, you see. At the edge of the family unit. No one, I repeat, no one, other than my spouse and I, has the right to restrict what our children (if we had any) will read. I applaud those librarians who tell the naysayers and it’s-for-your-own-good-niks to stuff it. I weep for the school boards who cave under the pressure of a very loud and vocal minority. I want to buy a copy of every book removed from a middle school or high school reading list or library for every student in that school (you hear that, you silly Nashville Catholic School principal?) I want to tell every single one of those parents who object to any book their child brings home to leave their objections at the door of their house. They have no right beyond that. My goodness, if they’re that afraid of what their children might be reading in school, why are they sending them to school in the first place? Home schooling is an option in every state of the Union, you know.

Books are the best weapons

Books open minds, point in new directions, reveal different viewpoints, question received wisdom. Books encourage thought. Books are powerful. This power threatens certain individuals. I get that. But be afraid in your own house, and stay out of my library or bookstore.

By the way, some 40-plus years later, I still have not read The Exorcist. Not because my mother still forbids it. In fact, when relaying this story at a family gathering several years ago, Mom said, “Well, you’re allowed to read it now if you want to.”

Thanks, Mom.

(This more-or-less annual piece was originally written for 2012 Banned Books Week, and updated slightly for 2019.)

 

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stop me before I buy more yarn

I’ve mentioned before that I should never open emails from Expression Fiber Arts.  Here’s another reason why that’s true.

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Resilient Superwash Merino Sock in the colorway “Herbalist.” I couldn’t resist this amazing handpainted work of art.  1200 yards should be enough to make a plain tee or simple cropped cardigan so the variegated dyework can stand out.  Hasina is a possibility. Or maybe Amya.

Then there’s the souvenir yarn from my recent trip to California.

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That’s Llama Lace by Queensland in the colorway Vanilla Cream.  It’s a lusciously soft sockweight (despite the name) with the faintest of halos; 1260 yards of decadence that is destined to be a lacy longsleeve cardigan, like Joy, maybe, or Balada.  I already have the perfect glass buttons for such a creation.  This heavenly stuff came from a tiny hole-in-the-wall LYS in San Luis Obispo called Yarns at the Adobe.

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Next, we have Mrs. Crosby’s Hat Box in the colorway Merida.  This is an incredibly soft superwash merino/silk/cashmere blend that says it’s DK, but in actuality it’s closer to a fingering weight.  This gorgeous stuff came from Ball & Skein, a wonderful LYS in downtown Cambria.  Eventually, this will become a tee: perhaps Miss Molly or Hemmed in Hollow.

And finally:  today I made a detour on my way home from a Pride event in North Georgia.

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Vocabulary Yarn’s Ethereal in the colorway Dia de los Muertos.  Unfortunately, I can’t find a working website, Facebook or Instagram page for this yarn company, so either they’re so new they don’t have anything set up (?) or, more likely, they’ve gone under.  Too bad, it’s lovely stuff — a 100% superwash merino single ply fingering — and I would like to have bought more.  But….here’s why I didn’t. Buy more, that is. This was purchased at Yarn Junkees in Hoschton, Georgia.  Apparently, according to the conversation I overheard while checking out, the owner and most of her clientele are unhappy about Ravelry’s recent banning of posts supporting Trump.  They failed to grasp the concept that Ravelry did not ban the people who support him, just banned posts supporting him and his administration.  (You can read the rationale for yourself by clicking the link above.)  So, at this store they’re either Trump supporters themselves or they’re stupid.  Either way, they’re off my list.

Okay, that’s it. I’m putting the credit card on ice for a while.

Posted in Life in general

Phoebe

In 2003, shortly after the spouse and I moved to Little Rock, a miniature fox named Phoebe came to live with us.

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My sister had acquired Phoebe from another Pomeranian breeder to diversify her kennel. After a failed attempt at showing her — because she was just too timid for the show ring — Phoebe came to live with us as a pet. She was about two years old at the time.

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Spouse and I already had cats, and we had never owned a dog together. We both grew up with dogs — his large, mine both large and small — so we were no strangers to the canine persuasion. Phoebe launched herself into our hearts and onto our furniture in no time flat.

Although Phoebe lived with us, my sister still used her in the kennel breeding program now and then. She had two litters of pups, six in total, and even fostered a puppy when that little one’s mama didn’t have any milk. Phoebe was an excellent mama and made pretty puppies.

Puppies

When we moved from Arkansas to California, we left Phoebe behind for a while so she could have one last litter. After they were weaned, my sister had her spayed. Sometime later, I flew back to Arkansas for a quick visit and to bring Phoebe home. She packed herself.

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It was the cutest thing I ever saw.

Phoebe was a great traveler and we took her with us to a lot of places.

Like 17-Mile Drive in Carmel.

And out for lunch in Seaside.

Preparing to run the gauntlet

And the Peach Festival in Marysville.

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Hiking to Glass Beach.

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And windy Point Reyes.

Phoebe loved her walks. She also loved her fellow critters, and got along with the cats who graciously shared their space with her.

What do you mean, this is YOUR sofa.

And years later, when Chloe came to live with us, she pretty much adopted the new fuzzball as her own.

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Told you she was a good mama. She also tolerated the occasional goofy dress-up.

Phoebe goes Hollywood

And was especially beautiful when she was fresh from the groomers.

After the groomer

We loved her every minute of every day.

Today was her last day. She had kidney disease and had been steadily failing since last Christmas. Today spouse and I made the decision it was time to break our hearts and let her go.

Sweet dreams, my sweet sweet Phoebe. Run fast, run free. The beach and the butterflies await you.

All smiles
Phoebe, 10/10/2001-8/15/2019
Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

Progress on Mom’s sweater

The Delsea Pullover is knit side to side, and will be grafted together in the center.  I finished the left half, and cast on for the right half.  Although it’s not pictured, I’m currently working on the increase section of the sleeve.

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I think it’s going to turn out well.  So much stockinette…I’m actually bored with it and itching to cast on something new. But I promised my mother I would have this done for her birthday.  That’s in November.  Since rehearsal for my next play starts in two days, my knitting time will soon be severely limited, so I must exercise (gasp!) self-discipline.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

Freshly finished: Cabled Yoke Cardigan

A few months back I committed to a mini-knit-along with another Ravelry member.  We both decided to knit the #19 Cabled Yoke Cardigan from Vogue Holiday 2016 as part of the Vogue Knitting forum’s “Knit #19 in 2019” challenge.

Here’s my completed cardigan:

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Pattern: As mentioned above, #19 Cabled Yoke Cardigan by Kristen Ten Dyke, from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2016. Click here for my Ravelry project page.  This is knit from the top down, with no seaming at all.

Size: 38″

Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, colorway 79 Thundercloud (a deep deep gray) (discontinued), 1175 yards

Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, US size 4 and 5; Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina DPNs, US size 4

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Mods: Not many. The sleeves are an inch shorter than the pattern called for. I also used beads in the yoke instead of bobbles.  I wasn’t happy with how loose the seed stitch cuff turned out on the first sleeve, so when I knit the second sleeve, I went down a needle size when I got to the cuff. That was better, so I re-knit the first cuff.  Otherwise, knit as written.

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Beads: 32 Toho 6/0 glass seed beads, color Metallic.

Buttons: 7 vintage buttons from stash. Glass/metal/bakelite. Non-matching but similar. Purchased at a Stitches event some years ago.

Hair:  Courtesy of brutal Georgia humidity

We’re always our own worst critics, so when I look at it, I see all the flaws.  For example, the 38 turned out a trifle big, but it’s not so big that it’s unwearable. It’s too long for me because I didn’t shorten the waist shaping to accommodate my height — well, lack of height, to be precise.  And the button band and cuffs are still a little loose and gappy for my taste, despite using a smaller needle. I don’t care, not really. Still, if I ever knit this again, I’ll make it one size smaller, shorten the torso by about two inches, and knit all the seed stitch edgings with a size 2 or 3 needle instead of a 4.

Despite its imperfections, I’m happy with it overall. It’s comfortable, it’s cozy, and it looks pretty good.  The color will coordinate with multiple items in my wardrobe for work and casual wear.

Come on, autumn weather!

Posted in Book stash, Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stash Enhancement Sunday: LYS closing, online madness, and visiting mom

So I may have gone a little overboard in the new acquisitions department recently.  Ever since I got home from Stitches United at the beginning of June, I haven’t been able to stop buying yarn for more than a week or so at a time.

Here’s the proof I should never open emails from Expression Fiber Arts:

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These two beauties (above and below) are Seacoast Fingering: mostly cotton, with a touch of alpaca and a hint of nylon. Two skeins each of Salt Water (the blue) and Sun Hat (the beigy-yellow). At 489 yards per skein, they are destined to become a striped pullover at some point in the future. The yarn is ripply and textured; I may knit it at a DK/sport gauge rather than a fingering gauge. We’ll see what happens when I swatch it.

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The sumptuous stuff below is Twisted Tweet Sport, all wool, in the colorway Mallard.  Four 384-yard skeins, meant to become a cardigan or pullover.  These skeins came with about a kajillion buttons as a bonus (one package of buttons per skein).  I didn’t shoot a pic of the buttons, but they’re really cute.

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When I visited my mother over Independence Day weekend, I had to stop in at the LYS near her, The Taming of the Ewe. I love that store.  Not only do they sell gorgeous yarn, they sell a wide variety of tea and will happily give you samples to taste.   I was in the mood for cotton while there, and picked up these cheerful skeins of Juniper Moon‘s Zooey, a 60% cotton/40% linen blend: two skeins of Aquamarine and one skein of Chartreuse. Each skein is 284 yards, so these are destined for a summertime tee.

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Sad news: Cast On Cottage, one of my favorite LYSs in the Atlanta metro, is closing.  This makes two Atlanta metro LYS closures that I know of so far this year.  Happy news: everything is on sale.  Everything.  So I went shopping yesterday and came home with more lovely stuff.

Below is Alpaca Silk from Blue Sky Fibers, a 50/50 blend, in the colorway Raisin. Five skeins at 146 yards per skein equals a luxurious future short sleeve tee.

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Next I discovered Mayu from Amano Yarns, a simply sinful alpaca/silk/cashmere blend that must be felt to be believed.  Three skeins of colorway Green Glass…

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Three skeins of the colorway Yellow Grass…

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And two skeins of the colorway Frost White. I see another striped pullover/cardigan in the making.

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I also bought a pattern book: Whisper by Kim Hargreaves. Simple and elegant designs, not fussy or overly ornate.  My kind of stuff.

Whisper

This seems to be a year for intense stash enhancement.  I haven’t blogged everything I’ve bought (and won’t because yipe!) but a look at Ravelry reveals there have been 33 different colorways (many of multiple skeins) added to my stash since January.  Yes, that last sentence was passive voice. On purpose. Because the yarn just magically appeared, you know?

Anyway, considering all the yarn already in stash, I think we can safely say I have achieved SABLE status (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy). Oh well. At least my heirs will have nice yarn.  Life’s too short to buy or use bad yarn.

Just don’t tell the spouse.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

It’s A Blue, Blue Summer

I finished my beach tunic in plenty of time for the scheduled trip to California. Take a look!
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Pattern: Summer on You by Svetlana Volkova. Click here for my Ravelry project page.
Yarn: Isager Strik Japansk Bomuld, colorway 10. No actual color name, so I’m calling it Sea Glass. Used just under 2 skeins (630 meters/689 yards, total).  This is a 100% cotton laceweight tape that feels almost like paper.  It’s really cool and crisp and a little hard on the hands, but it has amazing texture.
Needles: US 6 and US 7, Addi nickel-plated circulars
Size: 41.3″ bust
Satisfaction with end product:  Mostly good.  It turned out larger than I expected, but I knit it three sizes larger than I usually wear, because I was using laceweight yarn rather than the sportweight the pattern calls for.  I also didn’t do a gauge swatch.  Oops.  So I’ll consider this my bi-annual reminder to NEVER SKIP THE GAUGE SWATCH, ANGELA!

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So, yes, it’s big, but big isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a beach cover-up, which should be loose and light and breezy. Achievement unlocked. Now, it may shrink some once I’ve run it through the washer and dryer, but if it doesn’t, I’m still okay with it.

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I added a few extra rows of stockinette and eyelets for length, since I was going for coverage to about mid-thigh.  Other than that, knit as written.  If I make it again, I’ll definitely do a gauge swatch and I’ll take a good hard look at that neckline, since it turned out so wide and deep (again, that may be due to the size I chose, but some mods may be in order).

I have two skeins of the yarn left, and the yarn store where I bought it is closing, so they’re not taking returns.  Thus, a summer tee or tank may be forthcoming to use up the rest of the yarn.

Okay, ready for my trip to California now!

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

On the needles: three projects

I’ve got three projects going right now (and am fighting the urge to cast on/start crocheting another).

The oldest WIP is a pullover for my mother. I intend to have it done by her birthday in November.

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It’s knit from side to middle, and then side to middle again, with the center seams front and back joined by grafting, if I remember right. I set it aside a while ago to work on something else, so I don’t recall exactly.

Mom’s pullover got thrown over for this cardigan, as part of a Ravelry Vogue Knitting group KAL.

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It’s top down and mostly seamless (there will be a short seam under the arms, and that’s it). But I set it aside, too, because it’s summer and I desperately need a new bathing suit coverup.

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This is also a top down knit in a tiny cotton tape that’s so crisp it almost feels like paper.  It will soften up once washed.  I love the sea-glass color.  I need to have it done no later than the end of July because I’m going to California the first weekend of August.  And I’ve promised myself that I will spend at least one of those days in California on the beach.

While at Stitches, I bought some linen yarn and a pattern to make another bathing suit coverup, but I decided to go with this one instead.  I may repurpose the linen, or I may use it for the coverup at a later date.  Won’t hurt to have two.

Posted in Book stash, Books, Knitting, Project planning, Reading, Technique, Yarn stash

Been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time

This Led Zeppelin moment brought to you by… YouTube

Of course, it’s my blog that was lonely, not you all. You went about your days in ordinary fashion, never even noticing the eight-month absence here. Which is perfectly fine. I don’t really expect anyone to actually pay attention to my ramblings. It’s one of the reasons I feel only marginally guilty when I don’t post for weeks and months at a time.

But I finally found some time to catch you up, the three of you who still read this thing. 🙂

Since we last met, I made two shawls:

The Reyna

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and Arroyo;100_5067 (2)

And one hooded cardigan, the Lochlan.
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I performed in two plays:

The Vagina Monologues
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and A Round-Heeled Woman.
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I read all of 34 books and portions of eight others. Three of those are “did not finish” and five are still being worked on.

And I just got home from Stitches United in Atlanta, with lots of new goodies.
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At Stitches, I took some great classes, learned how to customize a pattern’s fit to suit me, tackled brioche stitch and Irish crochet, won a door prize, made two new friends, and (as you can see above) went a little crazy in the Marketplace. I had an absolutely fabulous time, and came home inspired and ready to tackle some new challenges.

This summer will include taking a dance class, learning an Irish accent, surgery (nothing major), and traveling to California for my 40-year high school reunion. My intention is to be a little more present around here, post a little more frequently. You know what they say about intentions.

Drop me a note in the comments and let me know you’re still here too!