Friday, July 31, 2015

An Explanation for Those Not in the Know

A few years back when the Harry Potter books and movies were all the rage a few people designed knitting patterns for things either seen in the movies or as an homage to a character or situation much loved by fans of the series.  In Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Harry's best friend, Hermione, starts knitting hats that she hides around the Gryffindor common room in an effort to give the house elves that clean and cook for the students their freedom, which they actually don't want.  (it'd be a long explanation, just trust me)  Dobby, a house elf freed by Harry Potter in a previous novel and now working at Hogwarts School, collects them all and wears them one on top of the other so this hat that I'm knitting looks like five hats piled one on top of the other.  I was intrigued by it when I bought the ebook Unofficial Harry Potter Knits last year, I picked up a big bag of small amounts of tapestry yarn when LC destashed before her move to Arizona, and finally decided just to go for it.  So I picked out colors that were in the neighborhood of the ones shown in the pattern photos, did some figuring since my yarn's a couple sizes bigger than what's called for, and started knitting Hat #1.  I got Hat #1 attached to Hat #2 yesterday, need to knit a few stripes on that one, and then move on to Hats #3, 4 & 5.  It's silly, I don't know who'll wear it, or even who it'll fit, but I want to make it so I am.  *nods confidently*

Last night when I should have been getting ready for bed I cast on and knit a few rows on Sudoku Lime block #8.  It'll be the right thing to knit on tonight at Friday Night Knitting because there's so much talking going on that it's hard to follow a pattern so simple, no-thinking-required knitting is best for group knitting, and these blocks are exactly that.  This Sudoku throw has been loitering in the background since 2008, it's time something got done about it.

We've had a pair of oriole kids coming to the feeders this last week.  They're the ones that I thought were a whole different variety of oriole but they're not, they're oriole teenagers.  A pair of them come to fight over who gets to eat the grape jam first and this morning one of them had to have a bath.  Now that's a bath!

The only flower worth noting right now is the Gerbera daisy I bought at Easter that is rising, phoenix-like, from the crown of old leaves with new green leaves and a bright red flower starting to open.  Way to survive, daisy!  I need a book of plants--flowers and veggies--that thrive on neglect.  Or is it only weeds that seem to thrive through drought and hail and overwatering?  I seem to remember a botany prof in college saying that weeds are perfectly good plants growing where you don't want them to.

July 31--Greg Hadel, New Directions.  London stared at the compass cupped in his hand.  The weak spring sun glinted off the brass case and made him blink.  The arrow pointed off to his left.  That meant he was facing east but the sun was sinking over the hills to his right.  That should be south.  The needle pointed north.  He'd learned that as a kid in Scouts and then later on it SCUBA class.  It had been hard to trust his compass underwater so in the early days he had made a lot of ascents to doublecheck his heading.  He looked down at the white face with its black degree marks and bold, block letters for the cardinal directions.  The needle pointed to his left and the sun was sinking to his right.  One of those things had to be wrong.  The sun set in the west.  Even allowing for his being above the 45th Parallel his right should be west.  The sun hadn't moved.  The Earth rotated on its axis turning where he stood away from the sun.  Staring at the needle wouldn't change where it pointed.  Something about trusting his compass underwater kept niggling at his consciousness.

Hm, that has possibilities.  We've got a couple errands to chase today so I should probably post this, finish my coffee, and get dressed.  Sayonara!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I'd Forget My Behind if it Wasn't Attached

When I left for work this morning I had my notebook with last night's prompt writing in it but I didn't have my USB drive or my digital camera with the pictures I wanted to put on here today.  Which meant I couldn't really write a blog post while I was at work.  Then when I got home I had to chase down a couple of bank deposits that I accidentally put into the wrong account (found 'em, whew!) and after that cook supper because I am the master of broiling thin pieces of pork without drying them out.  Ask Durwood, he's a fan.

Last night I finished knitting Hat #1 of the Dobby's Hat(s).  Do you see that little piece of yarn tail at the top?  That's the bitter end of the first tiny skein and not quite enough to finish Hat #1 but since it's attached under the rolled brim of Hat #2 I figure it wasn't the end of the world.  I slipped stitches to where I thought I was supposed to be and put it aside.  Then I cast on Hat #2 (twice--of course I didn't have a long enough tail the first time).  In fact I stayed up too late doing that so I punched the snooze button quite a few times this morning.  Today at work I knitted on Hat #2 for an inch and then attached Hat #1 and #2.  I felt very smart until I realized that if I continued the way I was currently knitting the short rows part of Hat #2 would be over the short rows part of Hat #1 and that would be wrong and even more cockeyed than it's meant to be.  Happily I wasn't very far into it so I could tink back about half a round and put myself on the right track.  I am very glad that I printed out all of the pictures actual size so I can use it as a guide along with the written directions.  This is a fun and interesting pattern.

July 30--Kevin Shafer, Emperor Penguins.  Four of the birds stood in a tight line like shy boys at their first cotillion.  Their black and white tuxedos of feathers were accentuated with pale yellow below their chins.  Gail thought they looked particularly shy, made only a little brave by being together.  She wanted to giggle with they let out with a shrill, whistling honk, she thought it sounded just like a boy's voice breaking, but then an answer came on the icy wind blowing down from the glacier.  She had been awed by the size and colors of the icebergs the launch from the cruise ship had threaded through on its way toward shore and the penguin rookery.

Okay.  It's almost 9 o'clock, about twelve hours after I usually write this stuff.  I think I'll go knit.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SO Much Better

After supper last night I unlimbered the knitting needles in the car knitting bag, cast on, and knitted a couple repeats of Car Knitting Warshrag #9 in a much better, more appealing color blend than the ghastly Pepto Bismol pink of the previous iteration.  Ahh.  I meant to only get as far as I'd been with the first try (through one repeat) but the colors pleased me so much I kept going.  Also Rizzoli & Isles was on and I wasn't going to switch projects in mid-show.

Once I moved onto the couch (when Durwood changed to the boxing channel) I picked up the Dobby Hat(s) hat #1 brim and got it to the point where the short rows begin, so almost to where I was when I frogged the first attempt of that hat.  (Lots of frogging going on around here lately, isn't there?)

I gave the Rapid City Scarf a bath (the Mosaic Practice Hat was in the tub too but it's not dry yet), pressed out as much of the water as I could, and then patted it out to dry.  It went from a roll of knitting with beads on it to a fairly flat scarf with beads.  Blocking can sometimes make a meh project into an ooh! project.  PH said "always block" one night at Guild and I've tried to follow that, except for stuff like wash & dish cloths and preemie hats.

This morning there were two orioles on the oriole feeders.  These pale cousins of the Baltimore Orioles are Orchard Orioles... I think.  Anyway, it was fun to see two of them at once.  Usually there's just one of the brighter, Baltimore Orioles and it's hunched over drinking from the back hummingbird feeder.  I just did a little search on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site and they're probably juvenile or female Baltimore Orioles.  Oh well, we love seeing them as they're pretty uncommon in our neighborhood.

July 29--Zack Burris, Dancer.  The dog moved like a ghost on the path that threaded its way along the bluff.  Dawn was an hour away and the waters of the broad bay to the west had just extinguished the last trail of moonlight on its surface.  The dog hadn't come this way before but his pace was even and sure.  His senses read the calling cards of others of his kind, wild and domesticated alike, and he resisted the lure of smaller creatures he might prey upon.  He had been on the trail for over a week, moving through towns, dodging cars, and loping across pastures and plowed fields.  He knew where he was going and who he would find at the end of this trail  His devotion to her had never wavered.

We've got an early appointment with our financial advisers this morning so I've got to get a move on.  This is supposed to be the last day of the high humidity, I can't wait for the weather guessers to be right.  Ugh, I hate the muggies.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I Can't Do It

I can't keep knitting that hideous blind-picked dishcloth even if it's only a dishrag or a warshrag.  I just can't.  I know I'd make excuses not to work on it, try to leave it in a waiting room, or drop it off the bridge onto a coal freighter.  So I frogged it and I'm going to replace the pink (ack!) with a nice neutral beige that will accentuate the more vivid colors in the variegated yarn.  I've learned my lesson and won't choose 2 colors of yarn that are too close to each other but I'm not risking a blind choice again.

I finished Sudoku Stone block #5 yesterday, mostly at work.  I went down and counted all the done blocks so my current plan is to knit the remaining blocks of the colors I only need two or three more of, then I'll tackle the ones that need eight more.  That's a good plan, right?  Anyway it'll do until I have another brainstorm.

Late yesterday afternoon when I was tidying up the store I got a Dove chocolate out of the freezer.  This is what the "fortune" on the wrapper said.  I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed, hot, and tired so a piece of candy telling me to "go anywhere but home" almost had me turning right out of the parking lot instead of left.  Usually I find the sayings in those things kind of trite and Hallmark-ish but that one, man, that one really hit me.  I didn't keep it.  It'd be dangerous to have laying around of those days when running away from home seems like the best idea I've had in years.

July 28--Daniel J. Cox, Giant Panda.  Elizabeth thought the panda looked like the grand prize from a carnival game.  It had wedged itself between a tree branch and the trunk and was chewing on a long piece of bamboo.  It didn't look ferocious with a lot of sharp teeth like a grizzly, it had a sort of smile on its short muzzle.  She didn't remember ever hearing of someone being attached by a panda.  She stood at the door to the panda enclosure, a rake and broom in one hand and a pail of panda food in the other trying to work up the guts to go in.  The panda cocked its head watching to see what she did.  She knew she didn't have meat in her pail, only leaves and some pellets of something that looked like what they used to feed Duke their dog, Purina Panda Chow most likely.

Okay, I gotta go, Jeopardy!'s starting. Alex would miss me.

Monday, July 27, 2015


See what happens when you close your eyes and just grab yarn?  Pink solid and brown/turquoise/white variegated, but I said I would so I'm going with it.  It's a warshrag not a prom dress.  It'll either spend its time scrubbing spaghetti off plates or scrubbing dirty feet so it doesn't have to be pretty, only functional.  That it will be no matter how hideous the colors are together.

I finished the Scrap Doublethick Cloth last night before supper.  Of course I knitted 2 too many rows to have enough yarn to bind off so I ended up carefully tinking (k-n-i-t backwards) those 2 rows and finishing with a mere yard of yarn left.  It's a little longer than the pattern specifies but, once again, it's a washcloth or dishrag so *shrugs* who really cares.

We've been seeing a few monarch butterflies in the backyard lately so I went over to see the milkweed blooming merrily away, and peeking out from a volunteer shrub are two pink stargazer lilies.  I thought all of the ones I planted along the lot line there had given up the ghost.  Evidently not.  The purple coneflowers are happily blooming too and the daisies and bee balm can't seem to stop.  Not that I'm complaining, you understand, I would like it if they bloomed all season long.  This year I am definitely going to dig up and divide the daisies, spread them around to other parts of the yard that can use their distinctive brand of cheer.  Daisies everywhere!  Hmm, I wonder how they'd do down by the street where the plows heap the snow all winter.  I might have to take a shovel's worth down there and try it out.  I'll have to weed there first, but I should probably do that anyway.

The tag on the gourd plant warned that it likes to sprawl all over so I keep trying to redirect it onto the fence.  It has those twirly, sproingy holdfasts so I end up breaking them off and weaving the end of the vine into the fencing and it's finally long enough to reach the fence.  I'm foolishly excited that there are blossoms on it so gourds might grow.  Grandpa Stephan grew gourds and made them into birdhouses; I want to do that too.

July 27--Arthur Morris, Little Blue Heron Silhouette.  Tia lay on the chaise in the sun watching the heron fishing in the shallows.  She knew she shouldn't lay out in the sun, it wasn't good for her skin and would probably give her skin cancer but what else was she supposed to do?  Manning left every morning on some errand or another leaving her stuck at the villa.  When she complained and said she wanted her own car he told her not to be stupid, that he would take her wherever she wanted to go.  Besides, he said, the only stores on the island sold cheap tourist crap.  She wanted to ask how she could know where she wanted to go if she never left the house, never went out of the walled garden, but he didn't like it when she talked back or asked too many questions.

It was great to have DD visit for a couple nights a week apart but it wasn't enough.  I know we're planning to go there in only 32 more days and stay for a week but I want her NOW.  Thirty-two days will go fast.  It'll still be hotter than Hades in Kentucky but I am certain our motel room will be air conditioned and everyplace I want to go except the races will be too.  Now if I could only work out how to teleport us down there by then...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Look What DD Made!

DD came back from her week at The Clearing yesterday with a box full of things she made during her very first time working on a lathe.  There're spindles and a mallet (for hammering the wood onto the doodad that holds it onto the lathe), a whole bunch of bowls, and even a couple of little boxes.  Boxes!  Little round boxes with fitted lids and room inside for tiny treasures made from a single piece of wood that she made in her first days of making sawdust.  We were amazed and impressed.  You can see by her smile how proud she was and how much fun she had making it all.  She hopped up this morning and tootled off back toward Lexington so she kind of blew in and blew out but it was great having her for the few hours she was here.  We're planning to go there in about a month so it won't be long before we get to see her again.

Remember I said that I was going to close my eyes to choose the yarn for the next Car Knitting Warshrag?  I went downstairs to do that yesterday and well... I just couldn't bring myself to leave things to that level of chance, so I picked out these.  I also gathered up four small remainders of cotton not enough to make anything with on their own and have almost finished knitting them into a doublethick cloth instead of starting the car cloth as I intended to, but I might just take the car knitting yarns back downstairs, dump out the bins of solid cotton and variegated cotton, close my eyes and just pick.  (Good lord, Barbara, it's only a warshrag.  For god's sake, woman, get a grip.)  Also way back in the dawn of (my) knitting time I started working on a cotton throw patterned after a Sudoku puzzle.  That's been scratching at the back of my awareness for a while so I dug it out to see how much is left to do, and it's not too bad.  I've got over half of the squares knitted and maybe with my added experience I can crank out one a day, perhaps at work, and get this thing assembled in time for next summer.  Which means that I haven't knitted another stitch on the Dobby Hat(s) in the last few days but let me just get this doublethick cloth done (later today) and the car knitting one sorted out and I promise (cross my heart) I'll get back to the house elf hat(s) because I am intrigued by the pattern and the challenge of it.  Really.

I heard something thump the patio door this morning and when I went to look all I saw was this drift of feathers in the grass.  Something got it, maybe a mourning dove, they're kind of slow and dithery.  I imagine they're on a lot of hawks' menu.

July 26--Ron Kimball, ROO-0060.  There is no cock-a-doodle-doing allowed withing the city limits so backyard chicken coops are girls-only clubhouses.  Ella built a small wheeled coop big enough for two chicken even though the city ordinance said she could have up to four.  No roosters, though.  Evidently roosters were just too rural, giving a farmyard air to an urban lot.  Two chickens worth of eggs were enough for her needs and their coop was small enough for her to keep it clean.

Now I'm going to go see about finishing that doublethick cloth and being a little less Germanic about picking warshrag yarns.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Patio Umbrella Finial

I rounded the corner into the kitchen this morning and there was a new temporary finial on the patio umbrella.  One of the Red-tailed Hawks came to survey the buffet on our patio.  I talked to the neighbor, they have seen them too of course, and their bird book identifies our pair as juveniles.  Seeing all the white feathers on this one I'm inclined to agree with her.

But much to Durwood's dismay they haven't eaten up all the chipmunks.  I'm not sure why he doesn't like them but maybe because they burrow in the garden and can get inside in the winter.  I think they're kind of cute, and I always liked Chip & Dale cartoons.  (all I could find were movies with Chip & Dale cartoons on first so be warned, clicking this link can be time consuming)

The apples on the tree in the lot behind us (it's an eye doctor's parking lot) are starting to look like apples.  There might just be some applesauce or pie in our future.

I finished Pool Fish #2 last night at knitting.  I picked up the stitches on the body instead of knitting the dorsal and pectoral fins separately and then trying to sew them on securely.  It worked very well, except next time I'll pick up them all up from back to front so that the fins are the right shape, at least for my picky eyes.  LC won't mind or even notice, plus I have no illusions that these pool fish will look anything other than seriously bedraggled after a time or two in the kiddie pool.  I wove in the tails on the warshrag I finished yesterday afternoon and knitted a few rounds of ribbing on the Dobby Hat(s) brim but neither of those are worth wasting film on.  (remember film?)

This morning I made a batch of breakfast burritos for Durwood.  This is 10 6" flour tortillas and 1 8" one, a roll of pork sausage, diced bell peppers and onions sauteed together, with a dozen eggs scrambled over them, and a half-pound of grated cheese sprinkled on before rolling and wrapping.  I really hate the sick yellow plastic wrap I use but Mom had at least one package of each of the colors and I'm determined to use them.  I thought the yellow would be the least noxious looking.  I think blue or green would be even worse, don't you?  Well, we'll see when the yellow runs out.  But Durwood loves having them in the freezer for a quick, easy breakfast and I don't mind making them.  I'd much rather do that than buy the salt and fat filled ones in boxes in the grocery.

July 25--Chris A. Crumley, Reef Sharks.  They come out of the blue, far out where there is no visible bottom.  Three gray and silver shapes, iconic shapes every cell in your body recognizes from the broad toothy mouth to that triangular dorsal fin that starts the "Jaws" music playing in your head.  The first time you see them the voice in your brain shrieks a falsetto "shark!" and you forget to breathe or kick.  Your eyes are fixed on their sleek and graceful forms as they swim past going about their business with barely an eyeroll in your direction.  It happens so fast that you find yourself hoping they'll circle back so you can pay more attention to their color, their entourage of remoras, and their air of ultimate ownership of the space they occupy.

And now I'm going to go to the library because there's a book about hunting for a sunken pirate ship waiting for us there.  I might even let Durwood read it first.  I am just that nice.

Friday, July 24, 2015

An Oriole Visits

Durwood called me yesterday afternoon to say that he'd seen an oriole on the hummingbird feeder.  Now how a great oriole could contort its robin-sized body to drink from one of those bitty things is beyond me.  So I said maybe he could make some birdie juice so I could refresh all of the nectar feeders when I got home from work, which he did and I did later.  This morning I saw a flicker of bright orange in the apple tree just as Durwood said, "there's the oriole again."  So I sat down, got out the camera and waited.  In a very few minutes there it was again, dipping into the dish of grape jam for a snack.  Oh, and it has to be Welch's Grape Jam, orioles turn up their beaks at the cheaper kind, but they're worth it.


The lilies, pink and white, are both still gorgeous.  See?  The coneflowers are coming into full bloom.  I like them too, even though they are pink.


I ripped out the Dobby Hat(s) beginnings at work yesterday, cast on more stitches, and knitted a couple rounds.  This is better.

Durwood had an appointment this afternoon so I took along Car Knitting Warshrag #8 since it was so near to being finished, and finished it.  Now I'll weave in the tails, dig out a couple more skeins of dishcloth cotton, and cast on #9.  Can't drive around a town with drawbridges in the center of it without a project tucked in the driver's door pocket.

July 24--David Mechlin, Tarpon and Silversides with Diver.  The tarpon swam past like a bar of silver, its underslung jaw open just a bit to be ready if it chanced upon an unwary fish.  The three-foot-long fish looked like it was forged from polished stainless steel and its shape hadn't changed over the centuries.

My friend Lala and I decided yesterday that we need to get up off our rusty, dusty behinds because we're both feeling overtired and are sitting too much, so she took a quick break from work and climbed 4 flights of stairs.  I kicked off my shoes and got through 15 minutes of the 20 minute yoga app I downloaded on my Kindle last week before a pair of customers came in, then after supper I did 15 minutes on the treadmill.  (That's my excuse for not writing much last night.)  I fully intend to do either the yoga app or 15 mins. on the treadmill later after knitting.  I need to get a move on.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Not Quite Right

No, not me (well...) and not Durwood (uh...), no, the Dobby Hat(s) hat #1 looks too small to be the size my swatch said it'd be (swatches lie, those dirty little liars!), plus I'm going to have a bunch of the yarn left 'cause I'm almost done with this part and I've got too much yarn left to just toss it but not enough to do anything with.  Grrr.  Seems like I'll be frogging this and casting on more stitches.  Once again I'm taking a stab in the dark, and just when I was feeling so smart about planning this, with math and everything.  *pouting*

What's exactly right are the lilies.  Almost all of the white stargazer buds have burst open.  I kind of wish they'd open one at a time to extend their life but, wow, who can argue with this?  And the pink one are trying to hide behind the rosebush but I see you.  This is another time we need smell-o-vision because they smell heavenly.  Oh, and never get their pollen on your clothes, it doesn't come out, not even with bleach.  Ask me how I know.

July 23--Joel Eden, Briefcase.  Diane thought it was such an old-fashioned case when she noticed it in the airplane overhead compartment above her seat.  Most everyone carried backpacks or soft-sided bags that zipped shut.  This was a hard-sided leather box with latches on the sides and a combination latch in the center...

Once again the Sandman overtook me in mid-sentence (evidently hyphens and parentheses were on sale this week) and I dropped into the void. I wouldn't mind if I didn't wake up feeling tired too, and there's a big weather front moving in and my old parts are aching like crazy.  Bah.  Maybe I'll stay awake for tonight's prompt, it's an underwater one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Quickie

I kinda laid in bed for, oh, an extra 45 minutes this morning so I'm running a bit behind.  I was determined not to skip walking on the treadmill so I did that and I can't skip blogging but I still need to eat, brush and flush, dress, and get to work by 10 o'clock.  This will be short, not my usual ramble.

On our way to gett Durwood's hearing aids fitted with ear molds we stopped at a farm stand for fresh veggies.  We might have gone a little nuts.  I was drawn to the gigantic kohlrabi (isn't it cool looking?) and the Georgia peaches (that are like rocks right now but will ripen in a few days).  Durwood wanted tomatoes (of course) and the lone bunch of beets.  There was a handful of sugarsnap peas in the bag but those didn't make it home.  Car snacks, you know.

I did frog the cast on for Dobby's Hat(s) and redo it after supper.  This is one of those patterns that I can't wait to see it grow on the needles so maybe I'll be a bit faster at making it.  I'm usually a pretty slow knitter.

Another cherry tomato's getting ripe.  I wanted you to see how they grow, like grapes off both sides of one stem.

Today's feature flower is a purple coneflower.  I tried to keep the daisies out of the frame but they're pretty much the ultimate photo bombers.

Didn't write last night, I was just too tired, so this is all you get.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


They're opening!  The stargazer lilies are opening!  They're beautiful and they smell great.  I (finally) went out to trim the mums back so they'd stop blooming in July and bloom in September and October like they're supposed to.

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm obsessed with taking pictures of the daisies.  But they're so pretty!

I got a couple swatches knitted and the stitches per inch counted so the math was done, the pattern adjusted, and I cast on the Dobby's Hat(s).  Of course, I have too long a tail left so I'll rip it out, measure off about 6" and cast on again.  I felt very smart when the numbers worked out.  We'll see how long the smart feeling lasts once the knitting starts.

When I took the swatches of mosaic knitting off the poster PH gave me a couple weeks ago there were little notations underneath them that I interpreted as a volume and page number.  I found Barbara Walker's first stitch dictionary on eBay for under twenty bucks so I ordered it and it came yesterday.  There the stitch patterns are, right where PH said they'd be.  I'll be keeping an eye out for the other volumes for a good price.  (this one came from the Orange County, CA Goodwill)  I'm in no hurry.

July 21--John Warden, Brown Bear.  The print was a big one, like dinner plate big, and the claws had to be at least three inches long.  Being on this trail with its shoulder high brush on both sides seemed like a really bad idea.  Fran fished in her jacket to find her whistle, put it between her lips, and began to blow.  Not loud and shrill like panic blows but regular tweets with each exhale to warn the big-footed bear ahead of her that it wasn't alone.

Those words did not flow from my pencil "like falling off a log" like they did the night before, but then I wasn't writing about diving, was I?  I think I'll go read on the patio.  It is my day off, after all.