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Because I just never shut up

Househole Duties April 7, 2014

Filed under: laughter,life — kathy @ 10:22 am
Tags: , ,

Hello, my darlings!

Been ages since I posted, and I must say how I’ve missed it.

Briefly, my sweet mother had some health problems and I was back home to help out for a bit, and when returned here, there was mucho catching up to do.

Funny how it all snowballs, though. While I caught up around here with the life stuff I needed to do, the house turned into a hell hole…well figuratively speaking, anyway. It’s always been amazing to me to see that a little neglect goes a long way. Let’s start at the nexus of the house: the kitchen desk. Oh evil bane of my pretend Donna Reed existence. What is it about this rectangle of engineered quartz that attracts crap from every being in this house? Yes, “beings.” I have found shed cat claws and whiskers on this desk. As long as mail is being delivered to this house, this surface will be covered in little piles of paper.



I took this “clutter quiz” once and found that I am a “stacker.” No kidding. (insert eye roll here) My other issue is that I tend to collect paper stuff, like carry out menus and business cards. I can’t tell you how many “frequent buyer cards” I have that are partially filled–many from the same establishment, although I think none of them are valid any longer. So it should be simple to clean this, right? Right.

Not  very welcoming guest room, if you ask me.

Not a very welcoming guest room, if you ask me.







The guest room is another problem area. When you have no basement, and no attic, where do you put the out of season stuff like winter coats and extra blankets? I do give oodles of clothes and bed linens away, but I must tell you that sometimes I wish I hadn’t given certain things away so quickly. You know, old worn out sheets make pretty decent drop cloths for painting. And on my recent trek to Chicago to help my folks out, I had to borrow a warm coat from my mother. Not complaining; just saying, is all. So when faced with the guest room…well, what the heck do I do with this stuff? Where do I put the portable air conditioner? The garage, right? Sorry, the garage is where we keep Christmas decorations, 3 litter boxes, large packages from Costco, my huge pots for dyeing yarn, and the rest of all that stupid garage stuff.

I do not want my life filled with crap stuff. But I want to be able to keep some of it. Or at least not be forced to give it all up because I can’t fit it. What about family history? That’s what basements and attics are for, and because most of the houses here have no basements and only tiny attics (we have neither), people have to park in the streets–their garages are full up of their family’s legacy.

But I digress, as usual.

The guest room is currently the home for old bed linens (World Market just had an amazing sale, and I needed to pout our 10 year old bedspread out to pasture) while I slowly detach myself from them. The thing is, what if I donate it and a few weeks later decide that the new bedspread isn’t working? Then what? Do I Goodwill hop in search of my old stuff? That doesn’t work anyway–

Words escape me...

Words escape me…

I think they scatter our donations far and wide. I accidentally donated 3 small plates to Goodwill during our epic renovation, and try as I might, I never found them. I hope they like their new home.

So that room needs a big ole cleaning.

I am skipping over the teenager’s room. Besides the fact I don’t want to invade her “privacy” or embarrass her, I decided that my numero uno New Year’s resolution was that I will not waste one more day of my already rapidly being spent life cleaning her room. So I will hold my nose and close that door.

But the room at the end of the hall, well that’s another story. If you have any sort of artistic pursuits, you understand “the office.” Actually, nowadays it’s more like “the cat bathroom.” Been trying for years to think of it as “the studio.” No such luck. Between the litter dust on nearly everything that’s exposed, all the chaos of stuff stacked everywhere, and having to share the room with other people, it’s my least favorite room in the house. If we had a basement, so much of this stuff would be there, all organized nicely on shelves. Shelves with doors. Ah yes, cabinets, even. I’d put in all the junk shoved in here: my sewing machine, my metal smithing and Precious Metal Clay (PMC) supplies, old paperwork, and old drawings.

Ah well, goin’ in. I just need a shovel, a bunch of garbage bags, and one of those psychologists from “Hoarders.” Wish me luck. LOL ;)

Do you have one of those rooms?

Ah, the wisdom of the sign makers at JoAnns Fabrics... ironically, they are trying to sell you more crap to cram into your life.

Ah, the wisdom of the sign makers at JoAnns Fabrics…
ironically, they are trying to sell you more crap to cram into your life.



I’m loose. February 18, 2014

Gauge-wise, that is. Now, now. ;)

No matter what the project, after some 40 years (yes!) of knitting I know that whatever needle size the pattern calls for, I swatch one to two sizes smaller. Right off the bat, I do this.

By the way, anyone who popped onto this blog because of the heading who doesn’t knit or enjoy someone blathering on about knitting, is more than free to leave. Thanks for dropping by!

I named my project "Darling Byzantine" after my all time favorite Madelinetosh colorway, Byzantine

I named my project “Darling Byzantine” after my all time favorite Madelinetosh colorway, Byzantine

On to this knitting journey: Darling Emma, by Joji Locatelli, was no exception to my gauge swatch rule . The pattern calls for size 4 needles, so I pulled out a pair of US3s and swatched a reasonable 6 inch square of Tosh Merino Light (same yarn as called for in the pattern, BTW), soaked and blocked it (I always block my swatch–it really does make a difference.). Much to my surprise, I found I actually had more than the necessary stitches per inch. On the other hand, due in part to the yarn’s subtle thick/thin quality, in some places I didn’t have enough stitches per inch.  You know how it goes, you move that little metal gauge window  from one spot to another all over your knitting, counting those little “v’s” and trying to find several sections that clearly show you’ve hit the gauge’s sweet spot. In this case, it seemed like overall, I had more stitches per inch, which caused me to make the executive decision to go up to the size 4 needles. And to do it without swatching. There was the dicey move.

So dicey that, 4 repeats into this lovely sweater that I’ve been dying to make since last summer, I find my gauge has loosened to the point that (the sweater is a rather wonderfully easy knit, with an easy-to-memorize lace pattern, so I knit pretty fast) according to my calculations, if I continue to knit using US4 needles, the sweater will be at least 5 inches too big around. And while I like my sweaters on the drapey side…that’s just too much. Worse, I  could run out of yarn.

So I will have to rip. Waaaa. And it’s too early for a gin and tonic.

At least Stitches West starts this Thursday, and I still have Christmas money left over. :)


What would you knit? February 7, 2014

I mean, if time, cost, and availability of yarns needed were no object (I’m not including personal knitting ability as a factor, as I’m a firm believer that if you love something enough, you can learn the skills needed to knit it. Period.)…

What would you knit? What is your dream project that, once you wove all the ends in, you’d put it on and wear it just about everywhere you could possible think to wear it, fielding complements as you went along?

My Magnum Opus

My Magnum Opus

I don’t even have to pause to think of what I’d choose from my huge Raverly queue. For the last 22 years, I’ve dreamed of knitting Kaffe Fassett’s “Long Leaf Coat.”

It is my personal knitting magnum opus. Everything about it is a challenge, finding the pattern, tracking down the manymanymany different yarns needed, and because the entire coat is intarsia, weaving the ends in might take a week on their own.

And if I could look like this whilst wearing it, all the better. LOL.

And if I could look like this whilst wearing it, all the better. LOL.

Nonetheless, I decided 10 or so years ago, that I’d pull everything together and finally do it. So first, I had to get my hands on the pattern. Again.

The original Rowan magazine I’d purchased when it first was published in ’92 was destroyed by an overzealous vaporizer a few years after I purchased it. Even back then, I couldn’t track down a replacement copy. Then the internet was born. (Angelic chorus here) In ’02 I went on a mad eBay search to find another copy; after being outbid multiple times, I finally secured not just 1, but 2 copies at a cost of about $80. Yah, I know. It was an accident. But at least I relisted that extra copy and got $60 bucks back when it was all over. I find now that that Rowan has reprinted the pattern in a new book. :| Right.

Next came assembling the something like (this is a guestimate, mind you), 6000 yards of assorted (like 33 different yarns) DK and fingering weight yarns. And being Rowan, since they only name some of their yarns (huh?), even within a yarn line–most have numbers only so you have no clue what color you’re after. Let’s add an additional difficulty. All the yarns needed have been discontinued.

Back to eBay. I managed to pull together about 70% of the yarns needed, as well as a wonderfully helpful color card. And now with Ravelry, I think I might be able to fill in the blanks, or at least get a good idea of yarns I could substitute. :) What did we do before Ravelry? (Angelic chorus again.)


Crazytown. That’s just the top half of the pattern

And then there’s that chart and all that intarsia. Hoo boy. With all due respect, what was Mr Fassett smoking when he designed this glorious sweater? Every row of each leaf is created by holding 2 strands of 2 different color yarns at a time. and the leaf veins are done with duplicate stitches/embroidery. Oh the headaches. Oh the yarn bobbins. Oh the ends to weave in. Oh what a work of art.

I think the only way around the endless ends issue is to weave some ends in each time you pick up the piece before you continue knitting. And I’m planning on bringing the charts to be enlarged so I’ll have a clue what I’m knitting. At least that’s what I’ll do when I finally start this someday. I have about 15 projects I’d really like to finish before I actually pick this up, and it might take me years to finish, however, I will make this sweater.

I think I'll lightly color in the leaves after enlarging the chart.

I think I’ll lightly color in the leaves after enlarging the chart.

What I want to know is, who knitted the sample for the pattern? That person(s) should be canonized. Seriously.



So, what would you knit? I’d really love to know!


Mayme Corsage Cowl…a free knitting pattern! January 15, 2014

Hello, dear friends! A special shout out to those dear knitting friends who live in the frigid tundra region of these United States, as I have something to share here that might be something cheery you can use.

After what seems like forever–at least to me, anyway–I’ve managed to work the cowl I submitted to Uncommon Goods for their consideration into a FREE pdf pattern for you guys. I originally named it the “Jaunty Corsage Cowl,” however, a recent news story about a homeowner renovating her 1910 home and the postcards to “Mayme” that were found secreted behind some kitchen baseboards caught my eye. Seems like Mayme might’ve had a little romance on the side, since the name of the sender didn’t match her husband’s name in the town records. Hmm.

At any rate, I could not resist a name that sounded exactly like a lady who’d sport a lovely striped cowl with a happy flower corsage when the weather turned frightful. So the Mayme Corsage Cowl was born.

The pattern includes both the knitting instructions, as well as how to create the felt flower corsage pin. So without further ado, here it is…just click on the link just below.

mayme corsage cowl3


As I wrote out the pattern, I started thinking how pretty this cowl would also be made from two shades of a natural color yarn, like an oatmeal and a tweedy brown, or two shades of handspun, either fastened with a lovely heirloom brooch instead of the felted flower corsage.

Oh the ideas are bubbling away…

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this pattern!

You can finish this in a weekend!

You can finish this in a weekend!



Love Haight January 4, 2014

Filed under: life — kathy @ 2:29 pm
Tags: , , , ,
People I don't know, enjoying themselves

People I don’t know, enjoying themselves

I don’t know what it is about San Francisco. I must be getting to be a really really really old fart, because I just don’t get why so many people  in San Francisco are, in my opinion, so freakin’ crazy looking/acting. Bug tells me it’s because people are just expressing themselves, but I maintain, how much of an individual can you be if everyone around you is covered in tatts, piercings, and wearing their hair like the punks in the 80s? Whatever. I digress, and I haven’t even started to blab. Sorry.

So last weekend, Captain Romance and I were out and about doing errands when we got this wild idea to just drive to the city. And honestly, we don’t go to the city often because everything about it is challenging: the crazy hills and one way streets, the parking, finding a good place to eat, and the overwhelming number of panhandling homeless (who evoke in me this weird combination of extreme sadness and outrage). To be fair, we don’t go often enough to really get a lay of the land there, and if time allowed us the opportunity, I suppose we would. There are a few places in the city we really love to go, like the Ferry Building, and authentic dim sum places in Chinatown, but not that many.IMG_1433

However, recently CR and an old pal of his visiting from out-of-town went down to the Haight to check out one of the microbrew gastropubs there…Magnolia SF. And as luck would have it, CR remembered how to find it. Low and behold, there it was, right on the corner of Haight and Masonic. And luckier us, we found a parking spot a reasonable 7 blocks or so away.

More folks I don't know, having a great time...

More folks I don’t know, having a great time…

Wow, what fun! And what delicious pub grub. I had this insanely delish Open Face Mushroom Melt, and CR had a fab Linguisa sausage on a bed of huge white beans. Oh yes, and we got a flight of beers to share, since we couldn’t decide which ones to order.

It was a great meal, and afterwards we walked up and down Haight, which was a flurry of activity, checking out the shops (shoe mecca there, girls! Especially Fluevog!). Oh, and we even ran across that shop that was featured on A&E Discovery, “Loved to Death,” which was full of weird little oddities and taxidermy.

Okay, so after a chilly afternoon of food and exploration, I must admit I found another bit of SF to love.



What I wish I were doing instead of finishing this d**n sock December 26, 2013

D**n Sock

D**n Sock

1. Finishing my Ollalieberry Girl sweater

2. Starting a couple of knitted baby girl gifties

3. Eating (more) homemade fruitcake

4. Sorting through my manymanymany skeins of fingering weight yarn for 7 skeins to use on the Albers Cowl in my queue

5. Starting the Darling Emma I swatched for this past July

6. Tidying/organizing the pit of hell the studio/office, yet again

7. Taking a walk

8. Taking a nap

9. Laundry

10. Having a beer with the most interesting man in the world—wait I married him ;)

I know I said I’d never knit another sock for a size 13 foot, but what can I say, I love him. And this pattern from Tin Can Knits, Rye, is quick, fun, and free. Except for the d**m heel flap, but those are both done now, so even that’s a non-issue. So okay, that does it. Staying up until this sucker is finished. Period.

A lovely old ornament from my BFF Meggie, on my vintage tinsel tree

A lovely old ornament from my BFF Meggie, on my vintage tinsel tree

Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful and Merry Christmas!

And if I could please ask also, for a prayer or healing thought for a friend who’s suffering through some heavy duty cancer treatments. The cancer, which was serious to begin with, has spread from his brain through to his lungs and lymph nodes, and although I know the doctors are doing all they can, any extra prayers or healing thoughts wouldn’t hurt…at least in my mind. I’m sure his wife and two boys would be grateful as well.


Crunch Time December 22, 2013

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 11:24 pm
Tags: , , ,

Yep. Here it comes again, same time as last year. I suppose it wouldn’t be too difficult to plan ahead and get stuff done before the season is upon me. Still, somehow it wouldn’t be the same if I wasn’t spending the entire month of December racing to finish all the gifties I’d planned (since summer) to give the dearies in my life for Christmas. And I suspect I’m not the only knitter out there who’s in the same spot this time of year. ;)

Make a wish!

Make a wish!

On top of all this season’s festivities, the Bug has her birthday at the beginning of the month—this year she turned 15—!!! When the heck did that happen? Gone are the days of making a quick gift for her since she’s small woman sized, not kid-size.

This summer (see, I kinda started December “present season” in the summer) she picked out a couple of skeins of Madelinetosh Vintage and asked me to make something stripy for her. So the week before her birthday, I remembered what she’d asked me to make for her. Here’s what I came up with:


Actually, there are 2 of them, one for each hand.IMG_1394

I ended up improvising my own pattern, a little twist that added to the time it took. I tried using a free striped mitt pattern from Ravelry, but the thumb gusset was crazy, and the way it was worked, the color change jog (I do know how to eliminate that jog; in fact Knitting Daily did a bit on a way do it about a week ago.) wound up on the top of the hand on one of the mitts (which you couldn’t tell from the lovely pictures because they were so artfully shot—what can I say, the woman who wrote the pattern is a professional photographer—a damn good one, I must say.

But I digress.

I love how they turned out. The jog runs neatly down the inside edge of each hand along the thumb. I’d say I’d write out the pattern and make it available for free here, but I feel like explaining how to do the thumb gusset would be a little too difficult to do clearly. I left the color change jog in my version because I didn’t want to mess with that on top of the thumb gusset. But if I ever get inspired to write it up clearly, I’ll fix that, too. And actually, it doesn’t look bad to me, more like a seam.

Anyway, since then, I’ve been knitting at least three more gifts (which I cannot show now, ’cause that would spoil the surprise) along with a dozen or so bronze or sterling pocket rosaries and chaplets for gifts. Whew! My poor fingers. But I do think I’ll have a fun pattern to post after the holidays.

Well, I’d better get to work. I have one more thing to finish. I’m cutting it close, but I wouldn’t have it any other way this time of year. LOL

What are you guys working on at the eleventh hour? I’d love to know I’m not alone out here. I’ll send plenty of good, fast finishing vibes and prayers your way.

P.S. Many thanks to all of you friends who checked out my Etsy yarn shop, and extra thanks to those of you who treated yourselves to some. I hope you enjoy it!

Merry Christmas!



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