v. to knit or purl in a series...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

If You Think This Makes Me Happy

Well, you'd be right.

Early this afternoon, my v. nice postal delivery person (I'm trying to build up good postal delivery karma so that I don't have to go to the Bad Place again) brought this box of yarn to my door. Inside the box were 11 skeins of Knitpicks crazy cheap (and Soft! and Lovely! and Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!) Wool of the Andes in cranberry, plus two skeins of the Knitpicks Merino Style wool (also lovely and cheap and really soft) in strawberry and rhubarb. The Peruvian yarn is destined to be Rogue, and the merino will be a pink/red striped hat.

Um, and these may have also jumped into the box:

Knitpicks Sock Garden sock yarn in the Geranium colorway. Seriously? This yarn, which is 100% merino wool, is so gorgeous and soft that it's taking all my willpower (which admittedly, even at the best of times, isn't much) not to kick my Ribby Cardi to the curb in order to give all my knit-love to the sock yarn.

Actually, that's not really true. I'm perfectly content with the Ribby Cardi. In fact, it's a great project, and I am very pleased with the color.

I'm sure that many of you read Margene's post from a few days ago, asking the question "What Makes YOU Do This?" and prompting many bloggers to really think and reflect on that thing that drives us to knit (and in many cases, to blog, too). I commented on Margene's post, and I'll tell you what I said: I started to knit because I wanted to give gifts that were imprinted with my love for the recipients. I lost some people very dear to me in 2004, and I don't know what I would have done without knitting.

Let me share a few little things with you:

I went to California in May of 2004 when my G'pa was moved to the nursing home, my best friend K's mom passed away, and K gave birth to twin baby boys, all these things happening within days of each other.

The first two baby hats and the first two baby blankets I knit were for those two little boys. As I knit for them, I thought about K's mom, and K, and her little boys who would never know their maternal grandma.

Of course, I hadn't planned for that trip, and so the expense of the trip meant that I wouldn't be able to stay in a hotel close to G'pa in order to be able to see him over the course of two days. I planned to drive the 2 1/2 hours to see him and the 2 1/2 hours home in the same day so that I could at least spend one full day with him. I told my plan to one of my good friends, and in the time it took me to walk back from her office to mine, she had booked me a hotel room in the same town my G'pa lived in, and told me to consider the hotel room her early birthday present to me.

This is the friend who will receive the first sweater that I ever knit. Yes, that sweater - The Very Bad Sweater.

While I was in California on that trip, Caroline (of the socks) wanted to make sure I had some fun while I was home, and we spent a ridiculously fun evening in Old Town Sacramento and then she and her (absolutely darling) husband took me to see a Giants game.

Care has received a Zeeby's bag, a scarf, and my Freakin' Market Bag.

I wouldn't have been able to go on that trip to California at all had my Aunt Cheri not asked me to stay with her, and while I was there, she was my rock. She gave me shelter, she fed me, and she always knew exactly what I needed.

I knit a poncho and a skinny ribbon scarf for her.

For me, when there's just too much to say and too many emotions to adequately articulate, a handknit gift well-planned and lovingly executed seems to say everything I can't.

As if I needed anything else to make me feel content on this chilly night, let me leave you with this:

That's my Franklin Covey planner with fresh refills, 5 gel roller pens (sparkly, of course), the back of my Ribby Cardi, and a nice glass of wine. And yes, that is Mike's "What Are You Doing?" picture set as my desktop wallpaper. If you know us, it's fitting.

Happy Weekend, All.

Edited to add: I've just re-installed AIM onto my laptop and am ready to chat! If you have an AIM screen name, please leave it for me in the comments, or send me an IM at extrafancydg.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Ho *shiver* Hum *shiver*

I've started every day this week with what seems like boundless energy. I putter around my house wishing I had the day off to clean and organize, certain that when I get home from work I am going to accomplish everything on my various to-do lists.

Then I end up standing outside for 30 minutes waiting for my shuttle, and by the time it arrives* and I start to thaw out, the only thing I can wrap my mind around is putting on my sweats and burrowing into my couch.

Because, you know, it's f*cking cold in Boston. I'm not even playing. I know I'm from California, and that's supposed to make me something of a weather weenie, but let me tell you, EVERYONE is complaining about how cold it is.

To celebrate how cold and bitter I'm feeling, I've decided to show you some progress pictures, which really illustrate how s.l.o.w. I'm moving this week.

My Irish Hiking Scarf. You'd think with how cold it is, I'd feel some sense of urgency to get this thing, maybe, like, done, but you'd be wrong. I haven't touched this scarf in days. I grunt and grimace every time I put on my muppet pelt but I still can't bring myself to work on the Irish Hiking Scarf.

This is the progress I've made on my Ribby Cardi. I really enjoy knitting this. I had some quality car knitting time yesterday morning when it took us 1h and 20m to go 6, seis, sei, six, yep SIX, miles. But I was knitting, not driving, so you won't hear me complain. Nope.

And just so you don't think it's completely slipped off my radar again (or alternately, just so you don't think it's being punished again) I give you the OTHER sleeve of the VBS. It should be moving out of my house and into its new owner's house sometime next month. Yay for the sweater. Yay for blocking.

I was really glad to learn that I'm not the only pen wh*re out there, and for those of you who asked - I become positively giddy when I get to buy office supplies. One of the things I'm hugely excited about with my new job is that I will get to devise my own filing system, which will certainly include color coding and hole punching and lots of file folders.

Happy (more productive than me) knitting, all. :)

*Oh yeah - when I get on the shuttle, I still have one train and one bus left to ride before I end up near my house. Ha-rumph.

*Edited to Add: In the comments, Jennifer asked what "parking ban" means. I'm happy to explain: a parking ban goes into effect when a snow emergency is declared. You are required to move your car off of main roads in order to allow snow plows to clear the snow off of busy streets. I happen to live on one of those main roads, which means that if there is a parking ban, I can't park on my street without risking getting tickets and/or towed. For more information, you can go here.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Sometimes the Cosmos Gives You a Pen

Or, Why the hell did I move here?

Let me explain. I moved to Boston in July of 2000 and had very romantic ideas about Winter. I wanted snow. I wanted snowmen. I wanted cold, clear days and sparkling icicles on trees.

I thought those things would be nice if they happened through about January 2nd, and then I was pretty confident that it would be Spring. I also had crazy notions about spring in New England, but I can't handle thinking about Stupid Spring yet.

Winter certainly has undeniably lovely aspects. The icicles, the cold clear days, those things all happen each year. But the seamy underbelly of winter...that's what I'm talking about. You know what I mean: yellow snow. Gross! Dirty snow. Ick. Stupid icy sidewalks. Like I need any help falling down. But even darker and dirtier is what I am about to admit to you here - I am now part of the Shoveled Out Parking Space Mafia. I spent a couple of hours digging out a parking spot that I'm not even able to park in today (stupid parking ban. stupid UNDERSTANDABLE parking ban, but still) and it made me pretty uncharitable toward my fellow man. Every car that drove by was a potential parking space thief. I had already decided that should someone take my hard earned spot, I would leave a nasty note on their car, asking them if they had shoveled out the spot and therefore felt entitled to park there. I thought about bringing out some strange piece of furniture to mark my spot. Yes, I thought about doing this even though I knew that I couldn't park there because of the parking ban. My suspicious nature and my own sense of entitlement apparently know no bounds.

After trudging to work today, my sunny California soul desperately unprepared for the mountains of snow, and the ice and the, well, cold, I realized that I was in fact being much less polite than I strive to be in my daily life. So, later this morning, while shlepping out to an off-site office, I held the door open for a girl who was doing the Find Your Keys, Find Your Badge, Don't Drop Your Mittens Shuffle, in an effort to regain some of my customary politeness (I always did get an E for Excellent in Citizenship, thanks). A few seconds later I found a pen on the floor. Now, that might not be too exciting for most of you, but for me, well, it's a Pen! I love Pens! I am a Pen Wh*re! If you have a nice pen, visit with me, and then suddenly you can't find your pen, well, I'm not confessing, but it wouldn't be beyond reason to think that somehow I coerced your nice pen into going home with me. Pen Wh*re, I tell ya'.

Do you know what I thought when I saw the pen on the floor?

I thought: You hold the door open for someone, and the cosmos gives you a pen.

Then I giggled.

It turned out to be a crappy pen that makes my handwriting look wonky, and I hate it when my handwriting looks wonky.

So, maybe I haven't totally readjusted my karma yet, after all.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sunday Morning, All Snowed In


Plus This:

Equal This:

That's the view from my front porch this morning, my super-duper bed head (the perils of short hair) and the scene from my couch right now: a cup of coffee, a lit candle, my favorite blogs, and the Godfather Trilogy. I'll be watching the trilogy until the Playoff Games start a little later today, and then it might get a little rowdy.

Not bad, eh? Not bad at all.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Hi, How Have You Been?

I've been a little busy.

I'm trying to wrap things up in my current job and get prepared for my new job, and all in all, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I'm going to work part-time for my current department for some period of time(does that "some period" make you as nervous as it makes me?) so I don't have to have everything finished by Friday, but part of me would prefer a clean break, rather than this unspecified period of transition time.

On the plus side, Mrs. Bookish and I had lunch together yesterday, and I saw her Very Cute Self no less than four times today, and that was very, very cool.

To keep myself sane, I've been knitting a lot, and thinking about knitting a lot, and planning upcoming knitting projects. A lot. I did finish Mike's Irish Hiking Scarf:

I'm really pleased with my first cabled item, and Mike really likes it, too. He wore the scarf all day yesterday, and, I'm totally serious here, I think he likes it better than the cashmere (blend, but still) scarf I made him in November.

Note to self: Boys don't always make sense.

Although there were moments when I thought about stabbing myself in the ear with my cable needle to relieve the boredom of knitting Mike's scarf, I've decided I need to have one, too.

Don't ask why. I'm stressed. Maybe I just can't put one more new thing in my brain until I can let go of some of the useless stuff currently taking up real estate in there. Who knows.

It is just about the most gorgeous merino wool you ever saw, though.

I never told you that I had to go to the scary post office last week to pick up a package of yarn. The package was from elann, and the yarn was this:

10 skeins of Peruvian Highland Wool in color 4144, a rich teal blue. I felt completely incapable of picking out two colors for my ribby cardi, so I've decided to do the entire thing in blue.

Don't let all this talk of cluttered brains and ribby cardis make you think I've forgotten about socks, though.

Far from it:

This is my *very* modest sock yarn collection. Today's enhancement includes two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, the Tuscany colorway, and two skeins of KPPPM in a great mixture of pinks, blues, greens and oranges.

Thanks for all your great comments about the finished socks. I look at them and have a hard time believing I actually knit them with my own hands. I had a moments of perfect happiness while knitting each sock. I'd reach the heel flap and think "oh yeah, baby, this is what it's all about".

It's a busy life, but it's a good one.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Baby, It's Cold Outside - Part II

But it's warm in here.

Stay toasty, everyone.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Something Different, Something Explained, Something Shared

I made the decision to start blogging on the fly, and though I knew the blog would be primarily knitting-related, I felt a little funny about having a knitting blog. I mean, I read and loved many knitting blogs, but it felt different when it was ME doing it. So, I named my blog “Tongue Tied Muse”, which is the name I always planned to give my first book of poetry (should there ever be a first book of poetry, of course), thus feeling like I was leaving myself open to have a blog that was not solely knitting related, should I choose.

Over the past months, though, I’ve realized that 1) most knitting blogs are much more than knitting blogs, and 2) I’ve started to think of “Concateknit” as the real name for my blog. So, hi - welcome to “Concateknit”.

Although I don’t talk about it much, poetry is a very important part of my life, both what I read and what I write. The word concatenate became important to me when Mike and I first started to date and spoke to each other through the songs and poems we wrote. About two years ago I wrote the following poem “Confluence”:


Confluence: n. a flowing together of two or more streams.
I sat by a riverbank with you,
Toes in the water,
And we tried to explain the nature of the moon.
You said, “The moon is a word mother”
I said, “The moon is where the unborn babies live.”
Then I wiggled my toes and was quiet.

Synergy: n. the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
Your fingers beat a small tattoo upon my back
As I stood next to you.
As I turned to face you,
Stood on tiptoe to whisper in your ear,
I laid a balancing hand over your heart,
And my breath against your cheek was an aria,
Composed of heart rhythms,
And vertebra vibrations.

Collaborate: n. to work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.
I gave to you three birds:
A sparrow, a hummingbird, and a woodpecker,
You returned to me a phoenix.

Concatenate: v. to connect or link in a series
Driving through the rain we stopped at a red light.
You glanced at me,
And when the light changed to green,
You sped through the intersection
Only to pull over to the side of the road,
Jump out of the car,
Run to the passenger door, pull me into the downpour,
And kiss me—laughing.
Later, when I asked what caused you to do that you said:
“I wanted to know what it would be like to kiss you in the rain.”

Intertwine: v. to join or become joined by twining together.
My verbs are seduced by your rhythms,
And love is a language
Wrapped around your body and
Pinioned to the sky.

Alchemy: n. A medieval chemical philosophy concerned primarily with the transmutation of base metals into gold.
You entered the mausoleum of my body,
And with one hand on my face, and one hand over my heart,
The stone encasing my limbs fell to dust around me,
And left in its wake a new skin,
Which you rebuilt as a temple.

Yes, I do realize the irony of posting one of my poems for the first time on the day I really commit to a more knit-centric title for my blog. Actually, I think I’m just finally getting what my blog is really about.

Anyway, for those of you crazy, uh, brilliant, ahem, kind enough to link to me one way or another, I’m sorry that you’ll have to update my title, but I thank you in advance for taking the time to stop by and read me, and for being such an integral part of this adventure with me.

Next up - Sock II and S.E.X.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Uh-oh, We're In Trouble


Can you see my toes peeking through the fabric of these, some of my most favorite socks? I received these socks from my friend Caroline on my 26th birthday, the first birthday I celebrated in Boston. Every time I wear these socks, I think of Caroline.

Obviously, I think of Caroline a lot.

What's a girl to do who is about to lose one of her favorite pairs of socks, especially as it's winter, and her feet are always cold, and she hates, absolutely hates, boring socks?

I know...She should knit socks!

Above we see our (and by our I mean me and my feet) little FO, Socksy 1, leaping out of the sock drawer, ready to keep my tootsies toasty through these long winter days and nights.

No sooner had our little FO leapt from the sock drawer than he rushed to work:

With one foot still in danger in frost bite, Socksy I has advised me that I should stop blogging and trying to be clever and start knitting Socksy II.

Tune in next week (or maybe tomorrow, I've been a little, ahem, obsessed) to see if our naked foot gets clothed or if I have to wear raggedy socks forever...

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Are You Worried About Your Feminine Hygiene?

If you are, please visit here and here to learn how to stay nice and fresh so that your DH won't stop loving you. Go ahead, take a look. I'll wait.

Freaked out yet? Yeah, me too. The links to these two ads were posted by someone on a list I belong to, and I thought they were worth sharing with you. I find the ads hilarious in a What The Fuck?!? kind of way. It also makes me glad I was raised by my dad, because there was no way he would ever have been able to have a conversation with me about my "freshness".

Seriously, though, I'd love to find one of these in print so I could frame it and hang it in my bathroom.

I am finding it hard to segue from vaginal douching to knitting, so I'll just start with a picture:

It's a sock, just in case you were wondering.

My first sock to be precise. I've been recently inspired by some great knitbloggers to pull out the sock yarn and teensy weensy dpns and get started. The picture above is what I had accomplished by about noon yesterday. I am using Plymouth Sockotta and US Size 3 dpns (which really aren't that small, I know) and following the Basic Sock pattern in the "Knit A Dozen Socks" booklet. So far I have been able to follow the pattern easily, but I haven't reached the heel flap yet, so if you hear some heel flap centered cursing coming from somewhere a little south of Boston, then you're probably close to my house.

My little sweet socky, which is in no way related to vaginal douching, is sitting on top of the book I'm re-reading, "Nice Girls Finish Last" by Sparkle Hayter. Sparkle Hayter is an author who is part of a genre of mystery writing called Tart Noir. If you like mystery novels with smart and funny heroines, check out Tart City for an introduction to some great female mystery writers (and a rockin' good time, too).

Speaking of rockin' good times - I've had plenty this weekend (how's that for a segue, hmm?). Although Friday night did not begin auspiciously (read, "I took the wrong train and ended up in North Quincy"), I ended up spending a lovely evening with Keiko, Jackie, Wendy, and two very nice friends of Jackie (friends that she has recently recruited to the fiber side). We enjoyed Jackie's lovely home and hospitality, and a fine time was had by all. All those bloggers in one room and you'd think someone who have a photo essay documenting Mrs. Bookish "investigating" the wine, but no...You'll just have to take my word for it that it was Funny.

We continued the revelry last night by having dinner at the Milky Way with Jackie and her SO Eric, Wendy and Rob, and then we bowled! There was a lot of good luck butt wiggling, some beer, some knitting, and a very good time indeed.

Today I will try and finish my first sock while watching the NFC playoff games.

Tomorrow I'll try to take the right train home from work.

It's a good life.

PS-The "What Are You Doing?" photo of Mike has become my desktop wallpaper. Hee hee hee...

Thursday, January 06, 2005

I Think I Owe You Something

Part I: Randomness

I've made big with the talk about my crazy organized drawers and closets. I've been promising you pictures for a while now and in lieu of any interesting knitting content, I decided to finally put my camera where my linens are.

So, I opened some drawers and doors and here's what I have for you:

I started with one of the sideboard drawers in the dining room. Napkins, coasters, and cocktail accoutrement live in this drawer. My friends know that I ahem, enjoy martinis (Stoli dirty martinis, extra dirty, thanks), and so I've been given a few pretty stirrers over the years.

Then I moved to the kitchen:

Yes, they're alphabetized. No, I don't have a problem with that.

I made a little stop at the linen closet (are you excited yet?):

And then I thought it was time for a little trip to the t-shirt drawer in my dresser:

I have quite a few t-shirts with kitties on them. One says "Fierce" and the other says "French Kitty". No, I don't think it's strange to have my t-shirts organized by color and weight. I think it's quite practical, in fact.

At this point, Mike started looking for me, asking:

"What are you doing?"

Last, but not least, my handbags:

Part II: The rest of my clothes closet

Part III: The stash
Part IV: Who knows - maybe the pantry, maybe the storage unit...

Happy Weekend All!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Life Is Good

No really, it is.

I mentioned that I will start a new job soon and I couldn't be more excited. I will continue to work for the same non-profit organization, but I will be doing more hands-on grant-related work and working with a group of terrific people. This just feels right. I feel lighter than I've felt in ages, and I just can't wait to start this new phase in my career. Wow, it really is starting to feel like a career. How crazy is that? I won't be working down the hall from The Bookish Girl, but I'll only be an elevator ride away. :)

Obviously the new job is a good thing, but it isn't the only one. Mike and I spent a wonderful New Year's Eve with Keiko and Tim and many other new and not-so-new friends. I called my aunt at midnight and told her how thankful I was that she is the matriarch of our family and what a beautiful example she sets of the true meaning of family. I welcomed the new year with a kiss, some champagne, and the feeling that the world held untold possibilities.

The good stuff just keeps coming, too. I had two wonderful packages waiting for me when I got home from work today. The first package included a CD that my cousin Stephanie made from a reel-to-reel tape of one of my G'pa's barbershop quartet performances. This is special for so many reasons, not least of which is that my G'pa had his vocal cords and voicebox removed when I was about twelve years old (stop smoking now, okay?) so when I listened to the CD tonight, it was the first time I had heard his voice in almost 20 years. Mike is going to make one of the tracks into an MP3 so that I can upload it here for you to listen to if you like.

The second package had this inside:

It is a beginner's needle felting kit from Fiber Trends, and a lovely gifty from my Knitter's Review Secret Pal II. The crazy thing is that she had this sent to me in November and I've only received it now. Oh, and did you know that my KR SPII designed this, this, and last but not least, this? Yep - my KR SPII was the fabulous MK Carroll. If you aren't familiar with her designs yet, I have a feeling you soon will be. I swear I may learn to crochet just so I can make that swankarific sushi TP holder.

In the midst of all the holiday craziness, I never showed you my last FOs of 2004:

The Heart Scarf from the Knitty Fall Surprise. The Bookish Girl knit one of these scarves for her grandma and I thought it was really sweet. I knit mine using Patons Divine rather than Reynolds Blizzard, but it's soft and squooshy just the same.

Sophie 4. I think I'm done with Sophie for a while. No, seriously, I really mean it. Well, I want to mean it, but you know how it goes...

My Irish Hiking Scarf is coming along very slowly, and I felt like I wanted to have a little something else going on to keep from stabbing myself in the eye with my cable needle, so I started this:

It's the boatneck sweater from Debbie Bliss' "Baby Knits for Beginner's" using Brown Sheep Company's Cotton Fleece. Mike's sister and BIL are expecting their third son, so I think this will be a sweater for him. I've read that Debbie Bliss' sizing can be a little on the large side, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

Well, lovies, it's been a pretty good week so far, and it only promises to get better.

Welcome 2005 - I'm very glad you're here.

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