Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finished Object

The V-neck Cardi is officially complete! Yay me!

The end project turned out a bit different than I anticipated based on the photo that came with the pattern. This was a vintage pattern from Bear Brands. A late ’50s pattern, I believe, but the actual pattern book is in a box so I might be slightly off with that date. Anyway, the photo appeared to be closer fitting, and longer at the hem. But you know what? I love how this turned out even better.

It’s loose enough in fit that I can easily wear turtle necks underneath, and comfy enough to make it a sweater I wear around the house often in the cold months. The buttons I chose (part of a bulk bag I purchased at Gove City Yarn & Antiques last year) gave it a slightly dressy appearance, and also bolstered the vintage look.

The yarn is Cestari 2-ply wool in a green heather colorway that I purchased in the spring of ’07 from the Needle Lady in Charlottesville, VA. The yardage amounts were perfect. I only have about 10 yards left.

Even though this is 100% stockinette, I learned several new-to-me techniques: grafting or Kitchener stitch, hidden pockets, and double buttonholes.

I only wish every project would be as pleasurable from beginning to end.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cat Company

Among the many ways that my current neighborhood differs from my old, are the number of cats roaming the streets. Particularly homeless/feral cats.

Old neighborhood? Too many to count.

New neighborhood? So far I’ve counted two, and they are both well-fed and freshly groomed. Homeless they certainly are not.

I met “Morris” (not his real name) while trimming up the front garden. He would wander out of the overgrowth and demand attention. I’ve asked a passing neighbor about him and they had only seen him in the distance, so they didn’t know who he belongs to. Now that we’ve moved in, “Morris” has begun paying nighttime visits to our dining room slider. He’s not interested in us, however. He and several of our cats hang out on their respective sides of the glass and stare at each other.

Here is “Morris” and Purr. Neither seems upset. Nacho, one of our males, was communicating with him through the glass for awhile, but finally left to grab a snack and curl up for a nap somewhere.

Not sure what to make of this. In human terms, it would be really really creepy to have a person stand at the slider and stare in. The cats seem to enjoy the company.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Actual Knitting Content

After weeks and weeks of crazy-hecticness—what with the house purchase, working on new house, moving, working on old house, work deadlines, work travel, and all—I have actually managed to carve out some time to begin the finishing process on the V-neck cardi. After all, I’ll be traveling to a higher elevation in a little over a week, and that sweater will be a much-appreciated addition to my suitcase.

As of 5 a.m. this morning:
All the pieces have been knit,
The front bands have been turned under,
The hems have been hemmed,
The front panels sewn to the back,
And the sleeves sewn to the front and back.

What’s left:
Sewing the final seams on the sleeves,
Sewing the side seams on the main body,
Connecting the front panels to each other at the back of the neck,
Closing the button loops,
Weaving ends,
And attaching buttons.

Being a vintage pattern, it lacked a lot of details in the why’s and how’s of the project, so I’m left to figure these out myself. For example, the neck band instructions for both front panels simply said to set the stitches on a stitch holder. In other words, they end in live stitches. However, the finishing instructions don’t address this at all. So I’ve decided that the best solution is to do a Kitchener stitch. That will reduce potential bulk at the back of the neck.

Unfortunately, I a) have never done the Kitchener stitch, and b) my abundant selection of kitting resources are still boxed up.

Fortunately, there are good resources on the internet, including a video on YouTube, so I should be able to figure this out without too much difficulty.

I haven’t been able to get to a knit meeting since June, but I hope to this weekend. The plan is to have the seaming finished and the Kitchener stitch done, so I can relax and chat while weaving in ends.

Sounds doable on the face, but I’m also up against a major work deadline. We’ll see.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Hate Rachael Ray

Strong words? Perhaps, but let me tell you why.

A couple of years ago I happened to catch a part of one episode. I found her show to be devoid of substance, and the star vapid. Still, that is why I don’t watch her show, not why I hate Rachael Ray.

The show I caught had a guest who made such an egregiously-incompetent suggestion regarding travel and one’s identity (her suggestion would have opened up anyone following her advice to identity theft) that I felt compelled to comment.

(BTW, “Dude” who stole my husband’s identity pleaded guilty and was sentenced while we were in Michigan.)

So I went to her forums and created an identity - something that I had to do in order to place a comment. But when I did so I made sure to opt-out of any additional communication.

Again, this is why I don’t watch the show, not why I hate Rachael Ray.

Then a little over a month ago the emails starting coming. One a week. The Rachael Ray newsletter. Blech!

So I followed the opt-out procedures as outlined at the bottom of the email.

And the next week I received the newsletter again.

After doing this for about three weeks, three weeks ago I actually replied to the email as well and told them in so many words that they were violating anti-spamming regulations and that they needed to remove me from their list.

And the next week I received another newsletter.

At this point I dug around their web site looking for any contact point. I finally found one in their privacy policy. So I emailed that address and told them if they did not remove me from their email list that I would write a blog post about how I feel about their show and their star.

And Saturday—like clockwork—I received another newsletter.

So that’s why I hate Rachael Ray. The show’s producers are flagrantly violating anti-spamming regulations, and the star is so disconnected from reality that she is allowing it to happen.

That show is full of wieners, and not just in their recipes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Once in a Lifetime

Okay. I’m going to briefly share an experience with you, but I am going to withhold certain details. In other words, I’ll share enough to raise questions, but I will not satisfy you with answers.

So I’m on this trip... right? I travel. I work. I’m not at home. I’m somewhere very different from home. (I’ll be flying home tomorrow for a brief stint of all of two weeks before I leave again. But I digress.)

And I always see some amazing things. It’s like a job requirement.

But yesterday... Yesterday, the richest woman I have ever met gave me a personal tour of her home. Like I have no doubt of her immense riches. She and her husband live a somewhat eccentric artistic life amid the largest collection of stuff I have ever seen. “And here’s an original Picasso... And this is Napoleon’s dagger.”

And during this visit I also saw what may be one of the original 13 fabled crystal skulls. This is made of amber... I don’t know of that still fits... but at any rate I saw a carved amber skull, and if the Mayan legend is correct, then all thirteen lost skulls must come together in one place to prevent the world from ending in 2012.

Like I said, it was a once in a lifetime experience.

My escort (not my tour guide) was nearly overcome at the realization of what she saw. She decided that she wanted to have her own crystal skull too. Not in seriousness of course. But in that twenty-something fresh out of Alabama’s university system sort of way. So I could not pass up the pen later that day topped with a clear plastic skull that lights up red as you write. She was thrilled! “You’re my new favorite journalists,” she squealed, throwing her arms out for a giant ’bama hug.

This afternoon I also bought the most absolutely perfect fabric for our conference room. Pics will follow in a few days.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Yesterday we went on a hike through the north woods. It was a lovely day: cool, slightly misty. It was meant to be a three hour hike followed by a Polish lunch.


With a guide,

and his dog,

and his gps,

and his map,

he missed a fork in the trail. An important fork. The one that would have taken us back to the parking lot where our vans were waiting.

Instead, we diverted to a campground far, far away, and had to beg the rangers to give the drivers a ride back to the vans so we could all be picked up and finally, finally taken to lunch,

three hours late.

Me, at the ranger station:

But we made it, it was a lovely walk, and I have a story to tell. Things like this often happen to travel writers.

And more importantly, earlier on the trip I found the perfect fabric for my office at a quilt shop in Charlevoix called Hearts to Holly.

Even the store is cute!

We fly home today through rain, and will be home for less than 48 hours before flying out again.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Travel Experience I Do Not Recommend:

Food poisoning.

On evening one of what has otherwise been a fabulous trip, I attended a reception where me and about half a dozen others appear to have consumed tainted food. Twenty-four hours later I quite frankly wished that I were dead. That was the morning of a pre-scheduled interview that I was unwilling to cancel. There would have been no rescheduling. It was now or never.

So I allowed myself to dehydrate so things weren’t sloshing around in the old tum’, splashed water on my white-as-a-sheet face, and trudged to the van. I looked like death warmed over. I felt like it too.

But made it. Did the interview, and returned to the room to collapse for the next 24 hours. Well, that is except for bathroom breaks, of course.

I am largely on the mend, but a boat ride across Lake Michigan yesterday (a bit choppy due to winds coming from Ike in the Gulf) and an unwise lunch choice of morel mushroom bisque set me back for the rest of the day. A stop at the drug store took care of it, and food is now starting to taste good again.

But the trip hasn’t been a total loss. I’ve made great contacts, dug up wonderful stories, reconnected with friends... oh, and I found the most PERFECT fabric for my new office. Pics will follow in the next few days.

I will refrain from sharing pics of my sick experience, however.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Not in Kansas

No, this hotel room is in Michigan where I am working madly on a project with an impossible deadline that has almost nothing to do with the place where I am right now. Project due Friday + dawn-to-dusk unrelated travel work = rising at 3 a.m. and cruisin’ on room coffee and wi-fi so that I might - just might - get this done and uploaded by its impossible deadline.

And at this point you might be recalling that we’ve just moved, and wondering how all that went.

Well, moving is an active verb. This isn’t past tense by any means. Moving means towers of boxes at the new house. Moving means the garage is so full of stuff that we have to park the car on the drive. Moving means that I still have stuff loaded in all my old kitchen cupboards, the darkroom, and the basement of the old house.

All that will have to wait, however, because I am not in Kansas. And for all practical purposes I won’t be in Kansas for several more weeks. And I won’t have returned for long before I’ll be on the road again.