Thursday, December 2

Mr. Darcy for Cat Lovers


www.austencats.com Thanks to my old NYC slumlord, Debbie, for giving me this postcard. (caption reads: "All this she must possess," added Darcy, "and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading." Yuk-yuk-yuk.


Go ahead, check out the link and post a pic of your cat with a Jane Austen quote. I can wait while you rummage around and look for some white lace and a small bonnet to put on Mittens. Don't forget the oriental carpet and Moroccan bound books. I'd skip the teacups, personally. Snap a few pics. Yeah, google Austen quotes and mull over the perfect one to caption your pic. I'm still here......and you want to know why?

I have never read Jane Austen and I don't plan to. Horrors!!!
Yep, can't do it. Tried and tried. All I wanted to do was throttle everybody by page 150 and blow up the vicarage. I read the Cliff Notes in college in order to fake it for my Lit degree. Recently, I bought "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," but I never got past the cover. Now, that doesn't mean I can't appreciate astute observations of social mores and human foibles. I just prefer them in a more....er, scatalogical?....way. How about "The Poetry Lesson" by Andrei Codrescu? You may know his wonderfully chewy consonants and dry humor from NPR or his online journal, Exquisite Corpse. Anyway, here's the 30 second pitch: "Screwball students(not really, more like post-modernish) collide with Poetry 101 filtered through the slightly Nabokovian(sensual, sexual, detached observation/inner dialogue) lens of a retiring professor at a Louisiana college. Hey, kids, get your Ghost-Companion poet NOW!"

Thanksgiving has passed and I was thankful because I didn't have to cook or clean up. Hell, we didn't even have turkey, even better. My uncle prepared a leg of lamb/veggies/salad/dessert for me, my boys and assorted guests at his restaurant, The Liberty Bar, in San Antonio. Best line of the night: "Dwight, I sure like your meat!" (this is best said in a deep Southern drawl--it cracks up the boys every time) The steak tartare is really really good with oven roasted potatoes and a small salad. Go there. Eat. You'll thank me, plus there's an illustration of my mom in the entryway.

FOs!

BaktusIch Bin Ein Mobius
Baktus scarf(Prism Merino Mia, 'embers') and "Ich Bin Ein Mobius"(FDC Superior, col.23 and Manos Silk Blend, col. 3068) wrap. I found the Baktus pattern on Ravelry and cursed the miles of garter stitch the whole time. Now, it's my 'go-to' scarf and I love, love, love it. It's super long and I can wrap it around my neck in all sorts of ways, although I am trying to avoid Sarah Bernhardt syndrome. 'Ich Bin" is a personal design. I just cast on a million stitches and started up with moss stitch before popping in a row of elongated knit stitches here and there. Another mind numbing piece with spectacular results. Super cozy and wrappable and wearable here in Austin.
Ich Bin Ein Mobius
OK, one last little confession: I have a new addiction. And it is called Law&Order: UK. Bad guys with British accents in London. Doink doink. Sigh.
Jane, would you like a cuppa?

Friday, November 19

Drink, Shoot, F%ck

(how "Eat, Pray, Love" translates into Texan)

I realized tonight that there's been something like a two year gap in my knitting, spinning, blog, photography, and my 'real' life to a certain extent. I just went through a pile of craft magazines dating back to Fall 2008 and I have no memory of buying them. There are WIPs made with yarn I don't remember buying. And fiber on the bobbins that I can't figure out. What happened?

Well, my marriage ran out of gas and I got divorced. My friends, old and new, knitters and non-knitters alike, extended their love and support throughout the process. My brothers did their bit with weekly/monthly calls and football chats. My newly teenaged sons and I redefined our boundaries and how we communicate. (uh, yelling, listening and big hugs) I also rediscovered my inner teenager and then I met a Republican (we cancel out each other's votes) and fell in love. Yeah, it's been that kind of crazy around here. Meaning I'm in a consistently bipolar state of responsible single mom and wanton she-devil. And it all feels normal because they all RESPECT THE STASH. I do try to update my Ravelry page (MaryMary) on a regular basis, but I'd like to 'reblog' if you will. Sooo, let's see what's been happening in the yarncave....

Turkish stitch baby blanket"Buttery Soft Baby Blanket" pattern from Hill Country Weavers. Tunisian crochet, Great Adirondack Bamboo Cotton, 10mm hook. This yarn is the softest stuff ever. Evah. I just wish Great Adirondack did this in solids so I could play with more defined stripes using Tunisian crochet. Tunisian crochet is dead simple but didn't go quite as quickly as I thought it would. I'm adding a solid border in olive green to stabilize the sides. (for future Japanese/Jewish baby in NYC)

Granny Stripes baby blanket Granny Stripes Baby Blanket, Ravelry pattern, Tahki Cotton Classic, 5.5 mm hook. I had bought a grab bag of the yarn from Cotton Clouds and this was the perfect pattern to use up 10 different sunset colors. I did buy 4 more skeins in burnt orange to add a little width and then finish off the borders. (for newborn American/Argentinian baby girl)

El Tomate striped sweaterEl Tomate striped sweater
Tomato by Wendy Bernard, Noro Chirimen with Debbie Bliss wool/cotton, size 44. (nice trick with the earrings, eh?) I tripled the number of decreases from 4 to 12 for the waist shaping and lengthened it a bit. The yarns played nicely with each other and I was inspired by Turtlegirl's Tomato from a couple years ago.

OK, so it took me a lot longer to finish mine but now I'm loving it. I'm finding all sorts of projects in random bags and finishing them....like the Baktus with Prism Merino Mia and my 'Ich Bin Ein Mobius' done up in Manos' Silk Blend (col. 3068) stranded with FDC Golden Line 'Superior' (col. 23) a moody lime green. Both are quite lovely as the weather's getting nippy and I'll post pix asap. And there's been some (paid!)finishing work as well....look for the Red Monster (Vogue Holiday 2007, #13 Mod Jacket) to appear soon. I'm working on the High Line shawl in Malabrigo worsted, col. Paris Ten. Madeline Tosh seems to be the drug of choice in these parts and I'm awaiting the arrival of 2 skeins of Pam Allen's Tern (Quince & Co.).
Stayed tuned.

Sunday, June 13

The Swarm of Shawls: World Cup Knitting

aka Summer Knitting: Vuvuzelas and Lace

(warning: moth picture at end, a really scary moth picture)
At the moment, I am sitting on my extremely comfortable and soporific couch which we call 'The Trap' (once you're on it, you never leave. really.) watching Serbia play Ghana in Group D of the World Cup. Actually, I'm listening to it and working on the 'Garden of Alla' shawl in Hand Maiden Camelspin in the Paris colorway. I'm up to the first full repeat of the main chart and loving the symmetry of a center stitch lace pattern. It looks all shlumpy right now, but it's gonna be a stunner.

And it sounds like every killer bee, hornet and cicada decided to have their own Insect World Cup in South Africa as well, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Somewhere in the Bushveld, Cary Grant is driving hell for leather with an ever darkening sky behind him while Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak, Eva Marie Saint and Grace Kelly are cheerfully buying souvenir vuvuzelas in the Cape Town craft market. They sense there's nothing amiss until Grace gives a sharp cry of pain. The other women gather around her as she stares at the bee sting on her hand. The camera cuts to a shot of a squirming bee on the ground surrounded by their teetering high heels and then slowly pans up to show the native vendor quietly packing up his wares. But I digress.....



mini-cardi w/crochet trim
Catherine's Mini Cardi with crochet trim (free download on Ravelry)
mini-cardimini-cardi, sleeve detailmini-cardi, back detail
I was gifted 2 skeins of the Tilli Tomas Pure and Simple and immediately cast on. I skipped the ribbing, knowing I would add the crochet trim later. Also, I used a size 8 needle and knitted up a size small. This was a calculated risk as I figured the silk would relax quite a bit after blocking and loosen up to a medium. And it did!

Hanami is also on the needles...Hand Maiden Sea Silk in Peridot. I've gotten through the first trellis lace repeat without too many injuries to my knitter's ego. I find this repeat more of a challenge and the pattern calls for 7 of them before you hit the dots. I may have to save this one for the Tour de France as you can go for hours without looking up before the mass sprint at the finish. I can always pull out a sock during the mountain stages. And now I'm going to have a glass of Robinson's Barley Water and leave you with some recent shots of the garden...

radishes, lavender and thymespring peasPeggy Martin rose bushbanana leaf, unfurling

giant moth
AAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!
What the hell is this? Does anybody know? It's gone now. Off to South Africa, I guess....

Tuesday, March 16

Edie Springtime Shawl...

IS DONE!
Edie shawl
I finally sewed on the stars during a marathon viewing of "Cash in the Attic" on BBC and then proceeded to photograph myself in the rain. Hence, the dodgy smirk. Anyway, I love it! Really, I do. It's long enough to drape over my shoulders, a shawl pin helps, and it's lightweight enough for layering or arctic movie theaters in the summer. The short frill around the edges is just enough to offset the stockinette roll and give it a feminine touch.
Edie shawl, full view
Here, let's check out the whole package...gee, looking a little brassy in the hair department. Anyway, I think the crochet stars add a certain crunchy granola touch in a 'I recycle my pricy yogurt containers' kind of way.
Edie shawl, detail
Now, I can get back to my Baktus scarf/shawl that I'm working up in Prism Merino Mia in the 'embers' colorway. The knitting is mindless, but it is a bit like climbing a pyramid as you increase every fourth row before getting to make the grand descent of decreases.

One of the interesting side effects of my divorce is that I've been doing a lot of home cooking for me and the boys. By home cooking, I mean Texan white trash soul food. The boys get all sorts of elaborate ethnic gourmet meals with their dad, so I swerve to the other end of the spectrum and keep it simple. 'Brown Sugar Bacon' from "The Pastry Queen Christmas, by Rebecca Rather, is a huge Sunday morning sleepover hit with the guys while 'Comfort Meatballs' and 'Cheese Grits' from "The Pioneer Woman Cooks," by Ree Drummond takes me to a happy place somewhere between the ages of 8 and 12. (FYI--cut the recipes in half or you'll be feeding the whole county) I've been reading the "Confessions of a Pioneer Woman" blog for ages and her cookbook is a celebration of the hardworking homeschooled ranch life that I occasionally fantasize about when I wear cowboy boots and ride in a pickup truck. I was totally addicted to the installments about her courtship with Marlboro Man while my marriage was quietly disintegrating. (check it out under 'Love Story' on her main page) Heck, I read more dang romances during that period than any other time in my life. Now, I'm reading "Money Shot," by Christa Faust..."They thought she'd be easy. they thought wrong." Let's see...bullets, babes, adult videos and bad guys. Works for me, honey!

There's a recipe in "Pioneer Woman" for 'French Breakfast Puffs' that I'm really craving...would someone please make it so I don't have to gain five pounds after gorging myself on them????

Monday, February 15

No Springtime for Edie

Edie Cardigan soon to be ShawlEdie Cardigan soon to be ShawlEdie Springtime Cardigan, pattern from Knitwhits. Noro silk garden and kureyon sock yarn, color 252

I knitted this up last year and realized that I would look like the love child of Margaret Hamilton and Eisaku Noro after the Soylent Green swap meet if I dared to put sleeves on it. It got put back into the project bag for an extended time-out while I goofed off with some cashmere and silk. Sooo, I came across it recently and thought I would
Crochet Star #2Crochet Star #1
crochet stars to cover the armholes and then crochet a loose frill all around the border to turn the whole thing into a shawl. No problem, I should have this whipped up by the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics.

Lately, I was perusing the new additions at a LYS when my eyes fell upon these pretty little bundles of springtime giddiness:
Noro Sekku, col. 6Noro Sekku, col. 6
Noro Sekku, col. 6Any ideas?