Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

However, on rare occasions, they will wear Knotted Beanie Caps as shown by Bucky the Homosexual Insult Skeleton. (We credit the naming of said talking skeleton to Kirsten who noted that Bucky was still in the closet the last time I had him modeling a finished hat/mitten project. P.C. aside, we ran with it.) And just to show that it looks perky on the fleshed out and lively, here's Bennie modeling the same hat.

I had pored over many hat patterns looking for something interesting for this soy silk/merino named Karaoke. I finally decided that K.I.S.S. would be a better approach ~ the 'K' standing for Karaoke. And these are the simple instructions:

Using a #10 circular needle, I cast on 92 stitches. (For me, this worked out to about 4 stitches per inch on this handspun yarn that I spun myself. In my own home. On my own spinning wheel. So the yarn was a bit bumpy making for wonky stitches.)

Knit 'round until about 4" or 5".

Decrease as follows: *k9, k2tog*.

Knit 'round for about an 1" then decrease again as follows: *k6, k2tog*.

Knit 'round another 1", decrease again: *k3, k2tog*.

(Note: each of these decrease rows will have 4 stitches left over ~ at least, they did for me because I'm Math Impaired and I did 92 stitches to fit my head, albeit, loosely.)

Knit about 1/2" and then decrease: *k1, k2tog* until down to 5 or 6 stitches. Change the circular needle for a pair of #10 dpn's and I-cord the rest of the hat until a happy length for knotting.

Speaking of dyeing: we did some. These are scrumptious bowls of Rambouillet dyed in Kool-Aid colors with directions from Knitty. This is my favorite way to dye. There are no dangerous chemicals involved which means you can involve . . .

Kids! Who love Kool-Aid anyway.

Ian and Zachary may look dead-pan here, but they did ask if they could get in on the dyeing fun. Catch of the day: Kool-Aid-dyed Rambouillet.

A close-up of the boys' skeins.

And here are the girls' skeins.

These are mine. A Creamscicle orange and pink; a Sunset orange, red and blue; and the girls inspired the last skein with a Sky-blue Pink, blue, pink and a hint of orange.

It helped pass the time on another winter vacation from school. Some people, however, are concentrating on making a permanent dent in the couch. Lap-tops suck. Only because I don't have one, of course.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Serious Time Displacement

This morning, Ray stopped in. He saw the 1000-piece puzzle we had started on my Project Table and got busy. The next thing I noticed, Dirk ambled over and also began fidgeting and fitting pieces. Finally, Bennie could no longer resist and joined in the jigsaw fun. This was all before school. If I had gone over to help, we would have been late. If you have time to kill, seconds to skewer, minutes to murder, hours to hack and saw at then, please, purchase a jigsaw puzzle and enter the Time-suck Zone. Honestly, I spent an hour and a half ~ an hour and a half ~ last night finding all the edge pieces and fitting them together with and without Dirk and/or Bennie. I could have carded and spun two baskets of Rambouillet. I could have started a new knit project ~ a highly involved one, with 30 color charts and bizarre stitching. An hour and a half's worth of painting would have made a serious dent in some creative time. Instead, I let myself get lost in the puzzle. What's worse is that I'm beginning to see puzzle pieces in my dreams.

There is an allure, a curiosity that would kill the cat only because you'd forget to feed it while looking for . . . Just. One. More. Piece. Yes, just one more and I'll start dinner. Just one more and I'll walk the dogs (annoying consequences with this option). Just one more and I'll meet the kids half way up the hill because I'm late getting to the bus stop. I'm not OCD, but the jigsaw will certainly send me into a downward spiral. It something I must finish. Laundry can pile up. There's no mystery about it. (Matchless socks don't count. We all know where the other sock went. The black hole.) A painting can incubate a bit longer on the easel, but if puzzle pieces start figuring into the work then I may need intervention. Puzzling.

And yet so satisfying when that one piece fits so neatly into place.

Before I got all involved in that, these got done:

My chairs feel pretty and Piwaqit likes them.

If I can keep myself away from the Puzzle ~ I mean ~ Project Table, I can get more of this done.

My studio is no longer safe.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

You know it's almost spring when . . .

You can finally bury the rooster that bought the farm xmas eve. Goldie had been on ice in the trailer since then waiting for a decent burial. He was becoming a permanent fixture in my morning animal husbandry chores: open the trailer door, Good morning, Goldie. And there he is, supine and unmoving upon the desk. There wasn't much ceremony involved. Dirk and Ian had carved out a hole in the ice and mud a couple of days ago so the burial ground was set. A snow shovel served as a means of removing a still-frozen rooster from said desk and he was carried off to the Pet Cemetary. It's times like these I'm glad to be living at a dead end where the neighbors are few and the incidents bizarre.

At Goldie's final resting place, near a few other fowl that had passed on before him, we discoverd that the hole wasn't dug to the appropriate shape. Rigor mortis and the prevailing frozen conditions made it difficult to fold his legs in the small, neat rectangle. This required a little more digging, making the rectangle look a little more like the outline of Connecticut. Measuring the dead is always a good way to start any funerary procedures ~ I've seen it in a countless number of Westerns. I figure they're on to something. Thankfully, the ground was easy enough to manage without the pick-axe.

With a rock cairn atop, Goldie is interred at last. I miss his crowing. Well, had missed it since xmas. But as we have six other roosters, there will be plenty of crowing anyway. The big deal about Goldie was that this rooster was a fighter. He'd survived a dog attack, costing us hundreds of dollars at the vet's as there was no way I could tend his wounds as prescribed without having him in our living room. Later, he survived another animal attack that traumatized the nerves and muscles of his neck. (As reported here.) Others may crow, but no rooster could ever replace Goldie.

And now for some finished art:

Friday, February 01, 2008


Brighid's dolly came to me from Kentucky yesterday. She is a beautiful, groovy chick itching to paint and create. While she's pictured here on my Flame altar, it's most likely she'll be hanging out with me in the studio supervising brush strokes. I can finally burn the one I've held onto since Ruth moved to the Bluegrass State. (Not today though; the weather is positively gnarly.)

The dolly I made for Ruth is pictured here having reached her destination in one piece. We opened our packages over the phone, oohed and ahhed and then talked about everything under the sun which is what happens every time we get on the phone even if it's just for a quick query. Such a treat to participate in this swap ~ I'm eager to do it again next year.

And since the weather is utter crap, despite the stirrings of spring, I'm doing the second of four seat covers. I suspect the fourth cover will be purple as the cherry orange colored skeins are being devoured by this project quickly. No matter. I don't I care for matching things anyway.

A little magic whilst knitting never hurt . . .