Educating Jen*

Jen came over yesterday. I saved her from 90 degrees in a construction zone. (She’s renovating her gorgeous house!) I love Jen – we met about a year ago online and found we lived very close to each other and both loved to knit. It’s been bliss every since. I can be myself around her totally (read, I don’t feel compelled to clean my house before she comes over – now that’s a REAL friend!)

One of the things I’m learning about my dear friend is that she’s absolutely clueless about many aspects of pop culture. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing mind you. And in fact it makes it very easy when choosing movies to knit by.

For instance, a snippet of yesterday’s conversation:

Me (scrolling through ON DEMAND movies): Oooh! Ooh! Here’s a funny one. Ever seen Manhattan Murder Mystery? Hysterical.

Jen (looking blank-eyed): Nope. Never seen it.

Me (squinting at her): It’s Woody Allen.

Jen (suspiciously concentrating on her knitting – a gorgeous baby cardigan by the way): Uh huh.

Me (utter shock on my face): Have you EVER SEEN a Woody Allen movie?

Jen (looking a little bit scared of me): Umm. No?

Me (shaking my head with pity): Well we can’t start with this one. You’ve got to start with Annie Hall. It would just throw off the whole balance. Definitely Annie Hall.

Brrring. Brrring.

Me: Hey. If you were with someone who had never seen a Woody Allen movie before, you wouldn’t start with Manhattan Murder Mystery, would you?
Georgie (choking down his disbelief): No. Annie Hall. It’s quintessential Or Hannah and Her Sisters. That’s the best one anyway.
Me: What about Crimes and Misdemeanors?
Georgie: I have work to do.

Suffice it to say, we watched Flirting With Disaster. And then, when she was about to leave, we heard that Anne Bancroft died. You guessed it. She’s never seen The Graduate. I said to her, so when someone says “Plastics” to you, you don’t get it! She says, yeah, no, but I still laugh. Because, you know, “Plastics.” That’s funny.

It’s gonna be a long summer, god love her! We’ve got a lot to catch up on!

I shouldn’t make fun, because Jen was a tremendous sport in helping me photograph my finished Clap-o-TEE!

Look at my girl! She even wore a shirt to match!

She was so good! In my wacked artistic vision I had images of a slowly cascading Clap-o-TEE – so I had her stand on my bed, while I lay on the floor – and gently toss the Clap over my head while I took pictures. Yeah. It didn’t work so well. But we laughed a lot! I ended up with these artsy fartsy snaps:

This was a great project. To reiterate, Alchemy Yarns of Transformation, Silk Purse in the Sea of Cortez colorway. I used a little more than six five hanks (I just used a little of the sixth) and extended the pattern by one round of increases (so two more dropped stitches.) I liked both the yarn and the pattern. Something I would definitely knit again.

Thanks, Jen, for a great afternoon! I’m loving the new you. 😉
(Oh and I hope Oscar’s doing better today. Poor guy!)

* Of course, the title is a nod to yet another movie I’m sure Jen’s never seen, Educating Rita!

My Lost [Knit] Weekend

My weekend was eh.

Don’t get me wrong, it has some really good moments – mainly good food moments, but otherwise – not so good. You see, Summer is my LEAST favorite season. I’ve never liked it. Never. Goes back to being bored and waiting desperately for school. I also hate to be hot – at least in the buggy, muggy Mid-Atlantic kind of hot (drop me in a desert and I’m in heaven). Not that it was hot this weekend – but you know what I’m talking about. Also, I hate Summer because I become a Tennis/Pool widow. Some women lament football season. CursingMama competes with a bike. For me, it’s tennis.

Part of me loves Summer in that G can be doing what he loves – he loves Tennis and he loves the sun. And because of the sad state of his body, he always has the feeling that this is the LAST SUMMER he’ll be able to do what he loves. I would NEVER want to be the kind of person that keeps him from what he loves. NEVER.

But I get lonely. I’m by myself pretty much the entire week. In my little office working. Out taking pictures. Knitting. Don’t get me wrong. I LIKE to be alone. But I can’t wait for G to get home from work. Even just to have him in the house. And when Summer comes, it’s like I’m alone all week, and then I’m alone all weekend.

So, what better to celebrate than to throw a little tantrum on the first official weekend of Summer? There were tears, there were recrimations, there were apologies. I was so pissed off at myself, really, that I scrubbed the stove top (it was disgusting), cleaned the microwave (not as disgusting as the stove top, but close), mopped and swept the kitchen floor (sticky AND disgusting), mopped and swept two of the three bathroom floors (more dusty than anything else.) Who says mental anguish can’t be good for the soul? Or at least the house?

The rest of the day I spent in bed, mad that the TV in the living room was taping FUCKING TENNIS and watched seven consecutive hours of Band of Brothers. It was pretty good and I knit past two decrease sections on Clap-o-TEE. There was no way I wasn’t going to finish it this weekend.

Georgie redeemed himself by making me the best lamb chops either of us have ever had. He was SO proud of himself all weekend! They were amazing really – all he did was marinate them in Balsamic Vinegar and some meat rub and throw them on the bbq. He grilled them to perfection.

Then we watched some 24 (we finished the season – more on that tomorrow) and I started dropping stitches on the Clap. GASP! Something went really wrong somewhere on one of the dropped stitches. Suffice it to say the next morning (I could barely sleep thinking about it) I was up at 7AM ripping out all that I had knit the day before (remember 7 hours in front of the TV!) and then some. Can you say broken heart? I got it all out and managed to knit it all back the same day. How come even though you’re decreasing stitches, the end doesn’t seem to go any faster than the any other part of the project? I finished it last night (well, I need to weave in the ends and drop a few more stitches) watching Empire Falls at around 2AM. It looks good – pictures later.

I also knit this:


The first time, it was looking pretty good and I was getting to a really crucial part when I decided to check for size. Too small. There were also a couple areas that could’ve used some improvement, so I ripped it all out and started over. I’m happier with it now, so that’s good, but my whole weekend started to feel like Groundhog Day. Destined to knit the same shit over and over.

I’m just glad it’s over.

PS – Donna asked if I jumped in the 50 degree pool I posted a picture of on Friday. No, Donna, I don’t do 50 degrees, but the pool was the highlight of the weekend. It was funny as shit to hear people jump in and immediately start screaming about the cold. I’m not kidding. And you know a pool is cold when the kids can’t handle it. Georgie said it was crazy cold (and this is a guy that swims in the Atlantic Ocean in October without a wet suit). Even he was questioning his sanity.

Charting A Course

And yes, I know I’m missing a WS knit stitch. Already fixed!

It’s amazing how much fun you can have with some knitting software and excel. I basically ended up making up the symbols for the twists and cables (I copied the ones from the Harmony book – it’s what I’m used to) and I’m pretty proud of my chart. Georgie thinks I’m crazy. (But hey, he was playing TENNIS all weekend, so what does he care what I do with my time? 😉 )

Even more fun than charting? Knitting up the swatch!

I changed some things from the last swatch, namely, made the small cable (the one in the middle that breaks up the two larger cables) a CB4 instead of a CB6 and there are now only two purl stitches between the big cable and the little cable. (Isn’t it so convenient that the cables are small, medium and large!?!) I’m VERY happy with the third cable – the new one that everyone was SO HELPFUL with Friday night! I couldn’t have done this without you!

And in true geek fashion, I’ve cut out a bunch of component pieces, if you will, so I can map out my plan for the back, fronts, sleeves. It’s like a big puzzle!

In other knitting news, I worked on Clap-o-TEE through the weekend, with some extra special love time on Friday (that was my friend’s birthday.) She hates to be reminded of it, so instead of calling her, I knit for her. Works out well, I think. I’ve now dropped 10 stitches, including the really long one that goes to the other corner (you all know what I mean, right?)

It’s amazing how different this yarn looks in sunlight. Trust me – it positively glows.

What else, what else? We did a little more taking back the house, as G likes to call it, by cleaning out our little front closet with 451 gym bags. Now we only have 401 bags. Sentimental value and all. And while we were moving all the TVs around (because the big one in the living room is still broken and probably will be forever, unless the kind Sony people come on Wednesday and tell us that it really will be broken forever and then, I guarantee you, by midnight Wednesday night we’ll have a brand new big TV) we watched this incredible storm roll through. We have windows in every room, big windows, all facing west. We also live in the middle of a swamp, so we get to see these great sunsets, and clouds, and storms. Well the storm came in about 7PM on Saturday and the clouds were amazing – you know how the air smells wet, before it even rains, and the gray light makes everything look clearer? The amazing thing – the sun was still out – far off on the horizon. The rains brought lighting and thunder and wind and all the while the sun was boldly setting. I didn’t get the camera out because I don’t think I would’ve captured it really and besides, I didn’t want to leave the window where Georgie was hugging me and we were watching nature be poetic.

I also read a bunch of The Time Traveler’s Wife. From a craft standpoint, this book has some serious flaws (what’s the conflict, really?) and the author made one of my DREADED description mistakes on p. 175 – a mistake I love berating my students about. Want me to tell you what it is? The author uses a brand name as an adjective – for instance, a character is describing a room and says “It looks like an ad from Pottery Barn.” There’s only one way to describe this people – LAZY! The author is using “pottery barn” as an easy way out of describing the room, because she assumes that her readers will know what this means. Not only is she being lazy, but she’s also damning her book to lose relevance within time. 100 years from now, no one will give a shit about Pottery Barn and an instant room will not pop into their minds so what are they to make of this? USE YOUR IMAGINATION writers! I understand how hard writing is, truly I do, but that’s no excuse. If you’re going to put your blood sweat and tears into this – don’t take short cuts.

Okay. Rant over. Truly, I am enjoying the book. I easily read over a hundred pages in one sitting yesterday – something I haven’t done in a long time. So it’s all good.

Enough already. Back to your day. Thanks for stopping.


First off, for Chelsea, who wants me to post a flower a day for a week. (Okay, not just me, everybody! So join in the fun!) And for Lara.

Next up, we’ve got one you’ll all know. I feel like it should be on Army Warning Posters by now – beware of pretty girls with the Clap!

Alchemy Yarns of Transformation Silk Purse, Sea of Cortez colorway. The color is much darker than I thought it would be, but I still like it. The silk is interesting to work with – very slippery and fuzzier than I thought – also, don’t know if this is something that should be happening or not, but sometimes I find a spot in the yarn where the dye has not penetrated – you can see the white poking through. Normal? I don’t really care, just asking. I’ve dropped three stitches so far and am almost through my second hank of yarn. I started with seven. Used one and change for the increases – I threw an extra repeat in there – and will probably end up going through the rest of the yarn. By the way, thanks Emma for the tip link – very helpful!

New favorite Children’s Book:

Have you seen it yet? Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems. Seriously, after reading this 479 times in three days, I actually miss it. It’s a hoot, and the kids get to say their favorite word, over and over and over. NO! (This takes it’s place of honor in my kids’ books bookcase along with Bark, George, Rotten Island, and Duck Is Dirty. Classics all.)

I don’t know about you, but whenever I look at this, I see the Grand Canyon times two:

Pinwheel avec holes.

I’ve been too heartbroken to pick it back up. I promise it will be fixed before I head back to my sister’s – for my niece’s second birthday. (She’s having a Dora party don’t you know. She so freaking cute. She LOVES Dora. She calls Dora Dodo. But if you say to her, is that Dodo? She freaks out. No, Dodo. Dodo? you say. NO, DODO. Poor girl. We’re so mean!)

What’s this?

Maybe something, maybe not, but you’ve got to try, right? We shall see.

Have a great Monday!

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

It feels weird to follow up such a serious post with of all things a knitting question, ; ) but that’s what we’re here for right?

So, I’m making Clap-o-TEE. I’m using Achemy Yarns Silk Purse. I have seven hanks – each about 138 yds. I’ve just about finished the increase section (as specified by the pattern), with less than a 1/4 of the hank still left – really it’s not much. I could probably do another 12 rows of the increase section and finish off with the final six, and be done with the hank.

My question to all you Clap experts – what’s the breakdown? If I were to use 2 hanks for increases, would three hanks be enough for the straight rows and two for the decreases? Will that make it too short? Do you use the same amount for increases as decreases? Should I try to do about a hank and a half for the increases? I’d like it to be pretty big. I was also thinking of just doing one hank each for the increases and decreases and if I have left over making some kind of little silk purse to match. What do you think of that? It’s a birthday gift, by the way.

Thanks for any and info on the clap. I’m liking this pattern – I think it’s going to be awhile before the pencillin kicks in.

Have a great day! We’re off to the zoo! The REAL zoo, not the one it seems like I’m living in….