Damien

Antonne

Have you ever seen anything as pure and innocent as this little kitten?

Wanna see what our little angel does when he’s not sleeping? (Those of you with weak stomachs, avert your eyes. What follows is not pretty.)

Catnipmouse

The above disemboweled carcass was a hand-knit catnip mouse. Kay knits and sells them at The Lamb. Cats adore them. That is, if they know how to play. Play, Antone. It’s a concept!!?

It had whiskers and a tail and it gave the kitten hours of entertainment pleasure. Now look.

The disposal of the remains required epic vacuuming.

Wednesday Miscellany: The Pernicious Sleeve Edition

Last night I curled up on the sofa for an exciting evening of seam ripping--in mohair. I had finished my La Fiesta Bolero, but one raglan sleeve looked wonky, so being something of a quality monger, I decided on a redo. So I start picking and digging and following loose ends that instead of releasing the seam unraveled finished work. (Note to self: No weaving in of ends until thoroughly satisfied with garment.) This made me want to draw blood, which the cats seemed to sense. They gave mama a wide berth.

After an hour or two of the above frustration, I freed the sleeve and examined the carcass in my lap. (Ladies, please prepare yourself a strong beverage before continuing, as this next bit is truly horrifying.) Gentle reader, I had ripped out the wrong sleeve.

Stay tuned as our not-so-titian-haired heroine rips out yet another mohair sleeve. And then admits herself to detox.

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Since I'm mad at my knitting, we'll talk spinning today...

1. Spinning in the Old Way, the rewritten and newly illustrated version of Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' High Whorling, is out, yes, we're embarrassed to admit, since May. It's a must-have for spindlers, new and old, especially those of us who prefer being on top (though the text translates for bottoms, too.) 

2. Speaking of spindles: Greensleeves Spindles has a line called Queens Sceptre named after the six wives of Henry VIII. The Anne Boleyn is crafted from Redwood Burl and Bloodwood. Of course.

3. New blog in the 'hood: Deb Robson, the genius behind Nomad Press, the Colorado-based publisher of Knitting in the Old Way and Donna Druchunas' upcoming tome, Arctic Lace: Knitted projects and stories inspired by Alaska’s native knitters, has started her own blog, Independent Stitch. Go say “hi“ whorling ;-)

4. A new spin: Pluckyfluff, the godmother of the extreme spinning set, is now selling a limited amount of whackadoo spinning supplies, including sparkle, jelly cord and solar-activated thread.

5. Hip to Spin: Knitgrrl Shannon Okey's take on knitterly spinning--Spin to Knit--is out this fall and includes profiles of cool urban spinners and interesting ways to incorporate hand-spun yarn into more traditional goods.

6. Bead cool. And, if you want to incorporate beads into your spinning or knitting, Desert Gems, one of our larger local bead shops has a massive sale on gemstone beads, seed beads, findings and Czech crystal running through Sept. 18.

Get Nake-id Real Estate

See this sofa…This is where I am currently sitting. Except the room looks all messy because I’m surrounded by books, papers, blankets and cats.

Living3

This sofa is sitting in this house. Sweet photo, huh? Our friend Shanna took it.

Silver cliff

This house looks out at these mountains. I totally swiped this photo, which I suspect our friend Bob Thomason shot. You can tell I filched it because there’s no snow in them there hills now.

Sangres

I’ve spent many a happy hour sitting on the above couch, looking at the above mountains and knitting. Napping has been a favorite activity as well. (I’ve also cooked, cleaned and written plenty, but that’s not sales talk now is it?) This could be you. ‘Cause the Micro Ranch is for sale.

Two-bedrooms of 1955–era dream home in breathtaking Silver Cliff, Colo. (Think Cicely, Alaska with longer days.) There’s even yarn for sale in this burg. And nice people who raise alpacas.

Why would we sell such a treasure? Because we’re buying an even smaller place where we can put the above couch and sit and nap and gaze out at the magnificent blue-grey spires of the Sangre de Cristos. A place with a tractor.

 

Knitting with nettles

As a little girl, I had this record album--remember those, black with a hole in the middle?--that told the story of Snow White and Briar Rose. Though I listened to it incessantly, I'm not sure now whether a wolf caused all the mayhem or a billy goat. Had the wicked step mother with the personality disorder entered the picture, or was Snow White dating someone else's boy at the time? Did she prick her finger on a spindle? Was she involved in a homoerotic diad with Briar Rose? It's all a blur.

I have a dim memory of not taking to Briar Rose; I recall a simpering blonde, which as a girl wasn't nearly so fearsome as this “briar“ idea. Not being a gardener, I still think of a “briar“ as a thatch of tangled roses, a weedy thicket of thorns and scratchy spines. I imagined entrapment in such a place, dark and loamy and full of stinging nettles.

Which brings us to yarn. Aloo, which most of you probably know, is spun from Himalayan nettles and this scares me just a bit. Stinging nettles. Briar Rose. Gives you the willies, don't it?

But Interweave's One Skein has a darling pattern for a bath mitt and puffy, which is tempting me to put Freudian issues aside, grab some Knit Lite needles and get over my fear of the dark.

 

Wednesday Miscellany

While I like the idea of WTF Wednesdays--there are plenty of social and political happenings that warrant this particular phrase. In our own little corner of the world, the WTF Award would have to go to the Boulder DA, whose handling of the JonBenet case and John Karr's arrest has lit up one or two phone lines on the local talk shows. That they hadn't confirmed his whereabouts--Florida--on the night of the murder, I mean really, what were they thinking?

But since we occasionally get visitors from religious leaders--OK, one--I've been trying to keep the verbiage at a relatively tame PG-13. So to hell with WTF Wednesdays, we'll stick with Wednesday Miscellany.

1. A peak experience: The Estes Park Alpaca Market runs Sept. 2-3 at the Stanley Park Fairgrounds in Estes. There's Fleece, roving and yarn to be had.

2. 'Paca Palooza: In case you didn't get enough alpaca lovin' in Estes, you can attend Alpacas on the Rocks, Sept. 23-24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday at the Jefferson County Fairgounds. Again, you'll find yummy alpaca products.

3. Crochet Today: There's a new crochet mag that's just hit the shelves. Crochet Today is full of hip-to-hook patterns--and an itsy-bitsy story by yours truly. I'm liking the log-cabin-quilt-inspired throw and Little Lady's Purse.

4. New “Project Runway” episode tonight.

5. Desperately seeking big plastic buttons: Here's a sign of the times--do you know what comes up when you google “big buttons”? You get ads for blog buttons and remotes with extra-large buttons for users of a certain age. Anyone know where I can score big-ass (whoops), four-hole, classic, plastic buttons? The kind you sew on by hand without benefit of electronics? Got some designs in mind...

Celebrating summer's end

In my mind, Sept. 1 marks the end of summer. Having never really left school—I’m forever bashing about college campuses—the year starts in the fall and ends in late spring. That’s when we had proper school years that started after Labor Day and continued into the first days of June.

 

I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait until summer ended and spent hours planning my outfit for the first day of school. Today, I find myself in a similar state of anticipation—delighted that this long, hot slog of a summer is coming to an end. There’s a bite of fall in the air, sweaters to be worn and summer’s tedious projects put to bed.

 

Anyone else glad that summer’s over?

Garden tour 2006

Depending on will, energy, time and funds, this may be our last garden post of the season. Our planting window is closing fast, but given the lateness of the date most of the new flora was 30 percent off.

For those of you tracking the progress, here’s an early morning shot, which shows, well, not much. Trust me, we stuck a bunch of plants in there. Those spindly things in front are Russian sage. There’s also rubbeckia, two butterfly bushes, some golden rod, some kind of red flower, the name of which eludes me but sounds something like “macarena,” and some snap dragons. We plan to still build a berm and there are bulbs to plant. We’re hoping all these wood chips and rocks don’t become a giant litter box for the neighborhood cats.

Southsideplanting

Butterfly

Our mini-third tier garden

Earn a really mediocre part-time income

Some of you know that for the last few months I've been trying to nudge my career in a different direction. More magazine work. More time for the novel. Mo better. You may also remember that earlier this spring I was embroiled in a project that was about as dynamic as writing a phone book, but involved thinking. During this time of temporary insanity, I joined a multi-level marketing skin care cult and have been happily alienating plying friends and family with product for weeks. That was a whim. Being a freelance writer, well, not such a whim.

I'm one of the fortunate ones. I make a decent living writing, especially if you think in 1985 dollars. I have regular work. I pay taxes. I buy yarn. And, I work from home with Mitch and the cats. Except for the work part, it's all quite lovely.

When people ask about freelancing, I'm never quite sure what to say, because I've been doing it since I was 22. Part of my success has to do with staying put. I have deep, deep connections, and happily, have only burned one or two bridges in my time. I have a couple of niches; among freelancers there is great debate on this one--do you specialize or generalize? In the perfect world, you do both; keep your options open, but have one or two areas where you can place fringey stories. Right now I'm trying to expand from higher education and knitting into a third--alternative health. Mix it up, otherwise you'll disembowel yourself with your fountain pen.

Oh, and make deadlines. I always tell people, a monkey can successfully freelance if he uses spell check and makes deadlines because he's competing against crazy freelance writers.

And now I'm going to hit post because I have to get back to my brilliant career.

Bolero

You can never have too many…

Earrings, handbags, balls of yarn, good friends and cardigans. So when three skeins of Fiesta’s La Boheme (at half price) slithered into my shopping bag, I was forced to consider a new project. (Kay, who urged me to pop for the third skein, observed, “With three, you can make a bolero.”)

The Crystal Palace web site provided this free pattern. And cross-country air travel resulted in the completion of two fronts, a sleeve and half a back. It’s looking quite promising, don’t you think?

Bohemebolero

Now, you fill in the blank. You can never have too many…?

Getting Nake-id on the radio

Hear my radio debut this week on http://westernskies.krcc.org/archives/index_081506.html scroll down to “commentary.”