Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ready to Felt

I knit like a woman possessed since Monday and finished the handle holders for the Noro purse yesterday afternoon. Then I went and bought a zippered pillow cover to keep globs of lint from clogging my washer after reading about the Yarn Harlot having to have her washer pump replaced after felting clogs. So today, once I finish mowing the lawn, I get to sew up the sides of the purse body, put the pieces in the case, and felt them. Ooh, I'm so excited to see how it turns out. I'll be really peeved if I don't like the result because the yarn is so beautiful the way it is, it was hard to think of felting it and losing the natural beauty of it.

I also crocheted like crazy, finishing 2 dishcloths per day this week. I'm up
to 22 total in 2 weeks and I've got until Nov. 9 to pile them up. Don't be too impressed, I'll slack off pretty soon when I get bored with it.

You Rock, Jenny!

Jenny, you are way too busy. Sorry we didn't get to talk more yesterday. Here is a virtual congratulatory hug on being promoted to assistant manager. () Talk to you later.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

One Foot on a Banana Peel...

Yes, Barbara, Lennie is indeed a jackass. But he's lovable (or at least sympathetic) for the ability to see glimmers of humor in his peculiar nightmare. And, as you probably figured from the bar scene, his nightmare is about to turn darkly funny. Not that I'm going to pile on the misfortune, but let's just say that he's on the way down. He's going down.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Oh, excellent!

"You're that jackass Lennie." I love it! Just when he gets too big for his britches a "friendly" bartender takes him down a peg or two. I foresee many twists in this story, all revolving around that little plastic card. A free-speech card indeed.


First Draft?

You say it's just a scribble, Barbara, but it's a cool scribble nonetheless. You create a rich impression with those few words. Write on.



Sorry, Bob, for leaving you wandering in the void. I've been busy knitting and crocheting, but have been writing each night before bed. Here's one from last weekend. It's not much, just a little scribble.

Prehistoric marks on stone are the only evidence of life in this desolate place. Once a long time ago, a wading bird stalked across this muddy flat and left its fleur-de-lis of a footprint behind. Sun baked the mud dry, the climate changed, and the cycle began. Water receded, leaving the land high and dry. No rain came to wash the print away, no playful wave erased it. The mud hardened, compressed, and kept the faint record of the bird's passing on its face until one day it could no longer be lost. The mud had turned to stone and left the anonymous footprint of a long-dead bird to tantalize us, to lead us on to what is to be.

See you Thursday.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Where is everyone? I feel as though I'm wandering through a big, empty house here. Anyway, this is the opening to the next section of "Say What You Want." Just trying it out. (Clement is the guy Lennie is supposed to be meeting)

The Ambrosia Bar was one long, straight shot from front to back. Milky glass globes hung down from the tin ceiling, glowing pale yellow. The bartender was busy chatting up a woman dressed all in black. Clement was nowhere in sight. Every bar stool was split across the top and taped over. Lennie took the stool two in from the end.
The bartender ambled over. "What can I get you?"
"A beer."
"You sure don't need a beer, my friend."
"You're right," Lennie said. "But this is a bar, so it only seems right that I should have one."
He began pulling a small glass full. Lennie glanced at the woman. She took a drink from her glass. The bartender brought Lennie's beer and set it down in front of him. He took a Lincoln that Lennie had set out, stuffed it in the till and brought back a few coins. Lennie was playing with his free-speech card.
"Ever see a card like this?"
The bartender took the plastic, glanced at the back, then tipped it to the light. A modest surprise registered in his gaze. "No," he said, handing it back. "Never did."
"And you won't."
"Oh? Why's that?"
"'Cause it's a free-speech card."
The bartender pushed back from the bar. "The hell, you say."
"With this baby I can write what I want to write and say what I want to say."
The bartender squinted, then smiled broadly. "Okay. Sure. I know you. You're that jackass Lennie what's his name," he said. "And I didn't need damn card to say that, either. Free-speech card, my ass."

That's it. See you Thursday.



One week from today is October 1. I am resolved to spend the intervening week knitting on my Noro purse, finishing it and the handle holders by next Monday, so that I can felt it on my day off on Tuesday, October 2. It is currently 13 1/2 inches long; it needs to be 30 inches. It's in stockinette stitch, that's doable. You're a witness.

I need to finish something besides a daily dishcloth; I'm drowning in a sea of UFOs. (Actually, I've found some things I want to cast on and I don't have that many needles. Besides, it's good for me to finish things, makes me feel good about my sluggish self.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

EEK! (sorry to be so girl-y, but keep reading)

So I was cranking down the patio umbrella yesterday evening and I glanced up at the pulley to make sure I was turning the crank in the correct direction only to see a pair of hornets crawling out of the hole in the pole. Good grief! I quickly detached the top half of the umbrella pole and tossed it and its inhabitants out onto the lawn. Then I pulled out the bottom half of the pole and flipped the table over. Look what I found--that's not a shadow next to the table leg on the right. It's a nest the size of a Big Mac teeming with hornets. Ugh. I scooted into the house, got the bug spray, and dispatched the devils. Now it's safe to sit out there knitting or reading. I am woman, hear me roar! (After I'm done cringing.)

One teensy bit of yarn talk--I got 10-3.5 oz. skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky in True Taupe for $1/skein at Michael's yesterday. Don't know what I'll make with it but I couldn't leave it there.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

All WIPs, no FOs (I'll explain)

As promised in my previous post, here are the pix of my week's yarn-ing.

First, the progress on my Noro purse that I worked on at the LYS knit-along and at Mom's. My plan is to use the other end of the colored yarn for the stripe on the opposite end so that the beautiful green and turquoise is on the purse too.

Second, the Bits & Bobs KAL capelet, which I am about three or maybe even four weeks behind on. But it's my first time using circular needles and I had to frog 2 rows because I purled when I should have knitted or knitted when I should have purled. (That's what I get for thinking, just one more row!, when I should be
going to bed.) I started it with yarn that I had only 3 skeins of (out of a grab bag) and when I tried to get more, found out that there is no more. Grrr. It sat for a day or 2 while I tried to decide whether to just give up and frog the whole thing and forget it or keep going. I decided that it wouldn't look too bad if I knitted the edging with the burgundy and used the off-white from the same grab bag (same make & model yarn, just different colors) for the body of the capelet. I first had to figure out that I wouldn't be carrying yarn all that distance, I'd just use 2 skeins, one for each edge. This morning I did discover, when I finished the last row, why the instructions for intarsia tell you to twist the yarn colors together where they touch. I have a nice separate strip of burgundy on one end where I was careful to untwist the yarns before using them. Oh well, a little whipstitch will take care of that and I was looking at this as a learning experience anyway.

Third is my craft fair dishcloth project. I know it looks like a bunch of FOs, but my plan is to crochet one dishcloth a day until Nov. 10, which is the day Mom and her neighbor have their booth at a church craft fair and they agreed to sell my dishcloths. This is what I pick up when I'm at work or get totally frustrated with whatever else I'm working on. It's relaxing and I love this star pattern because it only takes about an hour to make one--and you get 2 from one skein of yarn! Fast & economical--what's not to like? (I think my favorite is the one with the aqua edge. I've been tying together the leftovers to make one large ball and I crocheted that one from there. I think there are about 6 different colors in it.) So in my mind this won't be an FO until Nov. 9 when I should have about 50 of them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Flying Fingers

I went to my first knit-along at my LYS and it went pretty well. I took my Noro purse project because it's stockinette so it didn't require a lot of thinking. There were a lot of people there--17--which made it hard to get to know people, but they seemed nice and there was some awesome knitting going on. (there'd be a picture here of my purse progress but my stupid camera battery's dead)

I decided on Sunday that if I crocheted one star dishcloth per day until the craft fair Mom and her friend are going to sell at, I'd have about 40 of them. She said she'd sell them for me so I could make plenty of money to feed my cotton yarn habit. Crocheting dishcloths is still an excellent way to keep my fingers busy when the urge to smoke hits me. And it does strike with frustrating regularity. (there'll be pix here too once the battery is charged)

I cast on the Bits & Bobs KAL on Sunday. My first time using circulars; I'm not sure I like them but I've only knit one row, so I can't judge yet. (ditto on the pic thing) I thought about frogging it but decided I've got to keep going because I've got the rest of the yarn on backorder and what would I do with burgundy acrylic if I didn't make this capelet. It's from a grab bag from Herrschners; I foolishly thought I could make something without buying more.

I promise to replace the parentheticals with pictures tonight after work.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


You're not a pest, Bob, but you are leader on Thursday, so you'll be the one keeping the rest of us rowdies in line.

That's some poem, very vivid. I can see the sky gobbling clouds--what a terrific image. I wish I'd thought of it. Hey, maybe those ideas that are pestering you but not making stories want to be poems. It's worth a shot. See you Thursday, critique in hand.


Another Poem

Barbara, please allow me to be a total pest and urge you to drop in on "A Writer's Almanac". There is a poem on today's page that's so good it made me gasp. Garrison read it and I gasped. Then I read it again on the web site, and it's just that good. See you Thursday.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Welcome Back!

Can't wait to hear about your week, Barbara. Sounds like it was an altogether outstanding experience.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

This Is What I Made While I Was Supposed To Be Writing

See? I didn't spend too much time crocheting and knitting when I was supposed to be writing. I worked on my second pair of fingerless gloves because I was killing myself crocheting and it was the only knitting pattern I had along. The pair on the right is actually a deep burgundy color, not black like they look in the picture. It's a very quick pattern to make, even for a beginner, and they're surprisingly warm. (I finished the second pair this afternoon. I love the colors--purple, scarlet, rust & orange. It's TLC Essentials acrylic in Harvest.)

I should have more than one dishcloth to show you because I made a cloth out of each skein in the pile of used skeins behind the star dishcloth, but I gave five of them to the kitchen staff. I was working on the cloths when they sat near me to eat their lunches and admired them. They are so friendly and take such good care of the "campers" at The Clearing, I had to give them each one. Besides, I might get an extra big scoop of ice cream next year! I love ice cream; it's the perfect food.

The purse isn't complete, but it's for a friend who couldn't make it this year and sent me a "camp" package with all sorts of goodies in it, including two skeins of red eyelash with colored globs in it. I thought she needed a purse with accents of her yarn that was made up there as sort of a consolation prize. I found some other stuff to send but I'm not telling in case she reads the blog.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm Home!

Just back from my week in the writing retreat at The Clearing. Lots of writing success, lots of laughing, lots (too much) of eating, lots of dishcloths crocheted. I made 6 dishcloths. I'd take their picture but I gave away all but one of them to the kitchen staff. (I'm hoping to get a bigger scoop of ice cream next year!) I finished a short story, started working on a personal history about learning to dive, and finished knitting one and a half pairs of fingerless gloves. Got to go unload the van and get back into normal life, whatever that is. What I really need to do is start the laundry. Later!

I'm Home!

Hey guys! I just got back from my week at The Clearing--now the laundry begins. It was a good week for writing up there, cool and windy, so it was easy to sit at my desk all morning and write. I think I'm close to being done with the next First Line story and I started writing about taking dive class. I just couldn't face tackling the Horizon edit when I had so much uninterrupted writing time stretched out before me. I'll get to that soon, though, once The First Line story's submitted. Laurel and I used the story spinner a couple times to jumpstart our mornings and that was fun too. Great food, beautiful setting, and bonfires at night. What could be better? The rest of you up there with me, that's what. I bragged about my fantabulous writing group all week and made the rest of the writers pea green with envy.

Jenny, I can't wait to read about the Sheilas; sounds terrific. Bob, I realized this week that writing is the way I make sense of my life, so it's my lifeline too. Adam, as long as you're writing, who cares if it's short or long?

See y'all Thursday night. We're doing Adam's critique, right?


It's a David Lynch World

I don't know, but writing has become a kind of lifeline for me, post NaNoRiMo. The ideas keep on coming, but they don't want to go anywhere. Or maybe I've been forcing them. Who knows - not me, that's for certain. I'm feeling very floaty and unmoored these days - maybe unhinged is the better word - and writing is the only thing that helps keep it more or less together.

Barbara, are you there?

Friday, September 14, 2007


I'm getting stuck more again, too, like I sit down to write and can't get it out. I need to find a way to get myself back in the swing of last month and put into practice the lessons I learned. Some things are different, though. I typed up what I wrote last night, and it came to 1060 words -- not bad, and it's definitely the working beginning of a story if I pursue it. I kind of like Joanie, so I think I may want to feel her out. But I've got other projects to finish first -- first the paper people, the Sheilas, and another story for within Miriam's universe with the mother who chews off her own breasts (my nod to the beavers). I have to work all weekend, but I think I'll try to get in some writing time anyway. Somehow I think it's better than when I have the whole day off.

Feast or famine

These days, post NaNoWriMo, I seem to be either dying to write with no time or cursed with loads of time and no ambition. However, I have no shortage of ideas.

The other funny thing about this period of time after August is that I seem to write long most of the time. Nothing seems like a short story anymore. Maybe I'll find my way back. Or not. Either way I guess as long as I'm writing it doesn't matter.

The story I started last night seems like it could be a decent project for a while. We'll see.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What is it With These Shielas?

And why do I find them so captivating? Jenny, who's in charge of these group meetings? Is there, like, a lead Shiela who runs the show, or what? One question suggests another...or several others. Help. I am awash in questions.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Working on the Sheilas

This is in the middle of the story right now, but I think it would make a good ending. I'm not sure. These Sheilas are growing on me, for some bizarre reason.

The Sheilas come together in this group and they're not allowed to talk about their Sheilaness – how they feathered their hair this morning or put on blue eye shadow or laughed in champagne titters at the men in the elevators. Instead they are supposed to talk about what they did today or how they feel or what it is, exactly, about men in elevators that shatters them so.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Housekeeping Info

Jenny, Adam & Bob--
I thought yesterday that if we are keeping the blog alive (which I am so glad we are--I really missed it) we should use it to share our favorite sites to read or submit to. So, on the left of the window I added a link list entitled "Sites We Like" and this morning I made you all administrators so you can post your favorite sites too. To post a site, once you're signed in, go to "Customize" (upper right corner) and click "Edit" in the "Sites We Like" box, then add the address of the site, click "save changes" and you're good.

I'll be thinking of you all next week. Not! Okay, maybe once or twice when I need someone to whine to or read to. See you on the 20th.

One more thing, I copied and pasted the rest of our NaNoWriMo comments on the blog into a Word file and the final word count of all pertinent posts is: (drum roll) 22,866 words.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Long live the blog!

Who says you just need support (or a place to whine) when you're undertaking the crazy task of writing 50,000 words in a month. I'm glad the blog is back.

I Can't Believe I Forgot to Post an FO!

What was I thinking when I posted my FOs yesterday? I forgot the biggest, most exciting one. Here it is--the completed Vegan Sari Purse in all its glory!

One More Day...

and then I go to The Clearing to write up on the bluff for a week. Yahoo! I realized last night that I can't stop thinking about the people I wrote about last month. I guess I have to keep going until I hit "the end" so I can put it aside for a while and let it simmer.

I'm glad we're keeping this blog alive. It keeps me writing. I liked writing together again last night. I missed exercises while we NaNoWriMo'd.


Thursday, September 6, 2007


I realized yesterday that the Dishcloth KAL people chose the perfect design for September 1--they sent me a birthday cake on my birthday! Wasn't that nice?

And see how far I've gotten on my Noro purse? That's five inches of the black & gray and about an inch of the purple & green (no green yet). It has to be 30 inches long before I knit the handle holders, sew up the sides and felt it, but I'm excited about it. I think it'll be hard to felt and lose the details of color from the threads wrapped around the yarn, but I'll do it. After I get back from The Clearing on the 15th.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Look! I'm Cable-ing!

I started the September Dishcloth KAL yesterday and did both days in one. Then I knit today's rows lickety split. (It might be a--tree?) I wanted more knitting, but not big knitting; I wanted small, fun, maybe even educational knitting.

Ann told me she thought I could manage the August mid-month Dishcloth KAL, mid-month ones always involve learning a new stitch or technique. I decided to print off the pages when they came starting Aug. 15th and save them, since I was in the middle of a National Novel Writing Month challenge with my writing group and was just too busy writing to learn anything new. Our NaNoWriMo ended on the 31st, so today seemed like the day to give cables a try. Sorry the picture is so blurry but there's cables in that there cloth, I swear. And I only dropped a stitch once--so far.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


I know swag usually means stuff you don't have to pay for, but this was so inexpensive I think it qualifies. I stopped at Ben Franklin on my way to Sam's and Walmart, well, not on the way exactly, but let's just say I went there. BF is going out of business and I went a few weeks ago and picked up some knitting needles and a few skeins of yarn but all of it was only 20% off, not that big of a deal. I figured everything would be really picked over because all inventory is now 70% off, and I was right. There weren't any more needles or hooks, and there was very little yarn, but I did manage to find some. What I found was 5 1-1/4 oz. skeins of Lion Cashmere Blend, which is merino & cashmere & a teeny bit of nylon--3 navy, 1 cream, and 1 black. There were 2 in powder blue but I'm just not going to buy powder blue yarn even if it is cashmere. The other 2 skeins are 100 g. of llama & wool--dreamy! Don't know what I'll make with this swag but I'm guessing it'll be for me.

I also swung through Walmart's yarn dept. with the express purpose of buying solid color cotton yarn. I bought 4 skeins of variegated. I'm not even posting a picture. I am incorrigible.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Birthday presents! *and Noro*

I should really be cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming in preparation for having my writing group over tonight for a post-noveling party, but I don't wanna. It's my birthday and I don't wanna. (Could I have a little cheese with my whine?) *ahem* Actually I've spent most of the day knitting on my vegan sari purse handle(s) and baking a chocolate covered cherry cake, so spending probably less than an hour swabbing out the toidy and sucking up the grass clippings and onion skins from the carpet won't take up too much of my day. I'll get to it in a minute, but I want to show you what I got with my gift certificate from Ann. Jenny works at Barnes & Noble and she told me on Thursday that they have my favorite Little Miss Matched socks on sale, so I knew what to do. I marched right over there on Friday morning with my gift card in my hot little hand and snapped up one of each before the vultures got there and scarfed them all up. Then I perused the bargain section and found a knitting book, Chick Knits, that has a very useful looking component they call a techniques guidebook, with excellent close-up photos of actual human hands performing feats of knitting magic like purling and cables and grafting. Plus they have a nice array of stitches pictured and clearly described. And there are 15 project cards graded from 1-3 by difficulty. Hey, I might get brave and knit something more complex than a purse some day. Ann, I wanted to show you that I used your present for good.

After lunch, I picked up my knitting bag to keep working on the shoulder strap and thought the bag was heavier than it should be. Look what was inside! My birthday spatula from my darling husband. Isn't it cool? I love the colors. I'm glad I didn't have to search for my gift spatula this time.

I've been meaning to take a picture of the skeins of Noro Kujaku I got for 40% off a couple weeks ago but kept forgetting. This morning I remembered and here it is. It's a bit hard to see in the pic but every once in a while there's a 2 inch section of the yarn tightly wrapped with the colorful cotton thread that is spread out over the rest. I think it's cool looking. I plan to use it to make the Felted Bag pattern on Lion Brand's website using the black and gray for the body and the sole skein of green and purple for the stripe, with bamboo handles. Should be a good first felting project, simple and rectangular.


Jenny! You made it! I knew last night that you would. I am in tears after reading your long post. You got it; you finally got what I was trying, awkwardly and clumsily, to say all month, and you said it much better than I ever would. This was an exercise in permission--permission to babble on paper, to write what you were feeling. Wear your Novelist pin today with pride. You did it.

See you, Jenny and Adam and Bob, tonight for chocolate covered cherry cake, whatever drinks you bring, Don's ice cream drinks, and admiring our piles of novel written pages!