Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Contemplating a blog change

Maybe The Two House Painters. Or The Two Box Packers. Or the Two Stop-that-Angus Yellers.
Because the above three activities have been taking up all of our time, and knitting and spinning? Not so much. Sure, I'm knitting away on a sock (Sorry, secret Sock Pal, I know you're out there, and I truly am stalking you, but I haven't had time to make a secret anonymous e-mail so I can taunt you properly.)

Instead, check out proof of our activities.
This is what we did on Monday.

Here we are tending the lawn. I love my acoustic lawnmower.

Here's what we put in the front bed we dug up and planted two weekends ago.

And here's where the Fool went all manic with a weedwhacker and dealt the vegetation a severe setback.

The other day, I was moving junk around in our basement, trying to clear a path to put more junk in there, and I found some of my mom and dad's stuff, unexpectedly, when I wasn't looking for it. It made me a little weepy later that day, and while The Fool was hugging me and letting me sniffle on his shirt, Angus came barreling into the kitchen and bit my ankle. Which made me cry harder, not because it hurt, but because, what the hell, the cat bit me for no good reason?! What kind of beastly creature does that? It almost negated the lovely nap Angus took with me last week, where he curled up on top of me and would not leave (see below). Angus' karmic bank balance is all over the map.

By popular request, Angus Ankle Biter, shown sleeping on top of me. He really, truly, is not as innocent as he looks.

This morning, Spoot and Angus had a squabble over who was going to sit in the Fool's open dresser drawer. I decided to mediate. (The answer, btw, is 'no one is going to sit in the open dresser drawer; everyone is going to hop out so Meg can go to work.')

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Fool is having a Fair Isle crisis

What with the packing, he's misplaced his copy of Simply Shetland 2 and now doesn't know waht to do next on his sweater.
Anyone out there got a copy?

Saturday, May 19, 2007


What a busy day. We dropped off two boxes of books at a book recycling event (and didn't leave with more books), we went to Menards and bought a hose nozzle (as are homeowners now), some roller covers (as are homeowners with big painting project) and a small paintbrush (as have ridiculous amount of trim to edge around.)
Then, on a whim, we went to a garden center. And we bought some plants, although we were very restrained and did not buy everything pretty that we saw (which was all of it.) We got some groundcover for underneath a couple trees in the front yard, and we got some flowers.
We put a second coat of red paint up in the kitchen, and it looks much less blotchy.
I regained some more yard with my reel mower.
Then the Fool and I dug out the entire front flower bed, which had a lot of crabgrass and dandelions in it, and put in our flowers and plants (herbs, coneflower, black-eyed susan, phlox, strawflowers and some little blue stinkers, lobelia, maybe? Yes. Lobelia.)
Our garden theme is "Plants We Liked."
We gave them a good soaking with the new hose nozzle, and now, we are giving ourselves a good hosing down before we go out for Mexican food and go to the Old Town School of Folk Music to hear the Old Blind Dogs and Fairport Convention.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Desperate times

.... call for desperate measures.
Tonight, I packed the stash. I point out to the Fool that it only took one box.
A big box, sure, but only one box.
So we're both stuck with the projects on the needles until the big move is completed in June.
To sum up:
The Fool - one Shetland sweater, one pair of socks.
Me - one lace shawl, three half-pairs of socks, one rabbit hat for a baby.
Angus helped himself to a ball of green sock yarn the other night during his Reign of Terror (Brown Sheep - good taste!) and a ball of purple yarn tonight, and as we had to pack it sooner or later ... I picked sooner.
Sorry, Angus. It's tough being an arse, isn't it?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Angus has an opinion

Fearing that Angus' love for yarn was perhaps due to boredom, last night, chez Socknitters, we embarked on an intensive evening of Entertaining Angus.
In between making dinner (Cajun shrimp on corncakes, arugula salad) and packing boxes for The Big Move, we threw crumpled balls of paper for Angus to play hallway hockey with.
We flung the cat tassel around for Angus and Mab and Spoot to jump at.
We got out the laser pointer.
We scratched his ears.
We put catnip on the cat tree for everyone.
The Fool cleaned the litterboxes.
The Fool took Spoot for a walk (not technically entertaining Angus, but we thought we'd spread the love.)
I tried not to shriek too loudly when Angus mugged my ankles.


This morning, while I was packing my bag for the day, I discovered Angus had taken my half-knit Flower Basket Shawl and stuffed most of it under the couch.
Do you know how much scuzz gets stuck to mohair? A whole lot.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Little Fink...

Guess what I found when I came home to replenish my Moorland skein, after that dramatic knitting experience? I discovered that someone had been in my stash...

See the two fang marks in the ball band? We suspect it was a vampire, or possibly someone in the household who has no respect for knitted objects:

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Sheep and Wool Report

It's been a bit of a whirlwind weekend, but those of you who read our blog often probably have already figured out that we prefer it that way. Either that or we are gluttons for punishment. So staying true to form, we arrived at Washington National late Friday night and left early Sunday morning. That essentially left all day Saturday to hang out with the sheep and pet lots of wool.

The day was packed with dramatic knitting. Meg finished her sweater in the car as we sat in a five-mile traffic jam to get into the fairgrounds. This was quite an accomplishment, as it was her goal to finish the sweater for the festival. Yay, Meg!

The drama continued when I realized I didn't pack a backup ball of the Moorland colorway for Kai. It appeared doubtful that I'd be able to finish the requisite number of rounds with the amount of yarn. I had faith I wouldn't come up short, however. Ends of balls have a tendency to be just long enough. In this case, that couldn't have been much truer.

We met up with Crazy Lanea and several of her friends. I sat down for a few old-time tunes at their booth, which was great fun.

Meg here:

All things considered, we were remarkably restrained at Maryland. Our friend Maura came up for the afternoon, and although she doesn't knit, she quilts.

She also likes to look at lambs.

And since everyone wants to know this sort of thing, this is what we came home with: Two bars of soap, a skein of Sea Silk to be turned into a stole for the Fool's mom for Christmas, a big skein of laceweight to be turned into some kind of complicated shawl, (I'm halfway through a Flower Basket shawl in mohair, and I seem to be developing some kind of ... nascent lace fia ball of sock yarn the Fool liked and a kit for a knitted hemp shopping bag. And sweater buttons.

We also picked up some roving and a scarf kit for Thorny, who is having a rough time of it these days. Her mother passed away unexpectedly last week, and we thought we'd send some sympathy fiber her way. Although we know the traditional gift is "a casserole," she lives out of town, and that would be complicated.

There are more adventures afoot this weekend, after which we are calming down, seriously. The problem is that we agreed to take all these gigs, and then life interfered ... but we still had all these gigs to go play. We are playing for a contra dance in Cincinnati Saturday night, and then the Fool is continuing on to Pittsburgh for Mother's Day, and I am driving back home.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Asheville, knitters in the wild, the great Grey Eagle

What a week. We got the new acoustic lawnmower in the mail, and I love it. We've additionally been having tractor trouble, so the Fool has tried to convince me that we should get one of these
to replace the tractor. I remain unconvinced. Later in the week, I went to hear Loreena McKennitt with some friends, while the Fool got his hair cut so he won't be mistaken for a brown-haired sheep this upcoming weekend.

Last night, I sewed the sweater together and cast on for the first button band. Tonight, we are leaving for Maryland, and if we don't get this entry up and written, we will be two Interesting Weekends behind, never mind the Minor News of The Household, or Look At The Paint Colors We Picked, or More Pictures of Angus, Spoot and Mab.


So the third big part of our trip was playing in Asheville, North Carolina, where people are crazy about contra dancing (and lots of other kinds of social dance). When the Fool and I visited last June, we were amazed that there are two weekly dances - Monday and Thursday nights. We learned this trip that some organizers have since put together a third weekly dance, in an effort to make the Monday and Thursday night floors less crowded. Instead it turns out that people just arranged their schedules to accommodate three nights of dancing. Contra dancing is so ingrained in the culture that the alternative weekly paper makes jokes about it in comic strips.
I was a little nervous about playing in Asheville.

No worries. The Grey Eagle, a music hall that also serves great Cajun food (the chef messed up and sent us two orders of fried green tomatoes rather than one ... rats!) is a friendly crowd of good dancers.

Adina is a very organized caller. She color codes her dances and writes them onto index cards.

Adina was sporting a bonny chicken necklace.

Contrary to popular belief, bands and callers do actually talk to each other up on stage!

While we were eating dinner and Adina was sorting through her cards, we pulled out our knitting. One of the local dancers joined us with her knitting - a sock for a guy with very large feet. Truly a labor of love. And then AnneMarie from the comments turned up to say hello in person - it was fun to finally put a face to the name.

Earlier that day, when the Fool and I were hanging around downtown Asheville (Chinese noodles for lunch, shopping for pottery and nifty arts-and-crafts things for the house, visiting the LYS), we decided to refresh ourselves and pause to knit a bit at Malaprop Books, a great independent bookstore with a coffee counter attached. The Fool bought a book on maintaining septic systems, because we seem to have inherited one of them, and my knowledge of septic systems is ... nil. I wrote in my journal for a bit and we drank our coffees, and eventually pulled out the knitting.

I noticed a group of three women doing that surreptitious "I'm trying to look at you but I don't want you to notice I'm looking" thing, until finally, one came over, introduced herself, outed the trio as knitters in the wild, attending Camp Stitches, and asked what we were working on. Pleasant knitting geekery followed.

Then we walked back to Adina's house to get ready to leave for the dance, and paused outside the civic center to horse around with the public art.

Gotta love Asheville.

Nearly forgot

The only limerick I have ever written for publication, on a story on the annual Tribute to the DuPage River environmental event, and by popular demand of three readers:

There once was a skink, which you oughta
Know is from the order Squamata
With a tail shiny blue, he eschewed the zoo
For a tribute to the DuPage's waters

Can I mention how uninterested I am in working today and how interested I am in things to do, eat and see in Maryland?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The first step

The Fool: So I've been reading the Yarn Harlot's "Cast Off," and ... do you think we're in denial about our stash?

Home stretch

I had to skip breakfast and morning caffeine, and came screeching into my 9:30 a.m. staff meeting, barely on time, but ... the cardigan body is blocking on my back porch as we speak.
The sleeves have been drying on the dining table for the last couple of days, driving the cats crazy as they all jockey for quality time to sit on my knitting. Angus is the worst offender. The sleeves are coated with white fur.

"Don't you have to be at a staff meeting in 40 minutes?" the Fool asked.
"I do? Shit!" (I live at least 40 minutes from the office.)
"I thought you looked at the clock when you got up."
"No, no, I never look at the clock. Makes me crazy."

(Were up working late at the house last night; yardwork and painting.)

So I threw the just-finished sweater body at the Fool and shouted, "Quick, into the sink with the woolwash! I have to get dressed!"
How can you not find the wool wash? It's under the sink. Where it always is.
"Find the salad spinner!"I shouted, a few minutes later, trying to squeeze the water out.
"Have you seen it?"
Have I seen it? No. Did it grow legs and walk off?
"In the kitchen, sweetie."
"Oh, it's over here on the butcher block cart."
Oh my God, he can't find his butt with both hands.
"That's OK; I think I've got it squeezed out - open the back door, quick, I'm late!"

I started seaming at lunch. I'll finish on the train or at home tonight. If I can just get the shoulders bound off and the sleeves sewn in, pick up for the button bands and maybe knit those tonight ... I can do the collar on the plane tomorrow and weave in the ends.

Just in time to wear my new sweater to MS&W. Top of the shopping list?

Cool buttons.