Rhymes With Fuchsia

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Moving Down in the World

The bad news: Callie is still treed. The good news: she's in a different tree, a somewhat shorter one.

I called the fire department this morning, and was told they don't do cats. I was actually relieved to hear this, as it ended my ethical dilemma over possibly misusing public funds. The guy I spoke with said he'd had a cat sit in a tree for several days, just wait, she'd come down when she got hungry enough. So I thanked him and went out to hang up the laundry.

cat 1cat 2

Yesterday she was in the big fork on the upper right of the first picture. This morning while I was busy with the clothesline she descended about 10 or 15 feet and leapt to her current tree.

You are probably thinking, "That's one heckuva leap," and you are right. This cat needs no assistance getting down. She just needs to decide to do it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Houston, We Have a Problem

You probably can't really tell, but the dark blob under the arrow is a cat. You can just see the edge of the roof of my house in the lower left corner of the picture.

Any ideas?

Update: Thanks for all the suggestions. She's still up there. Yes, she's ours. I have a call in to the animal-control guy, and meanwhile have put an open can of food in the tree — she can't see it, but my theory is she can smell it. I am really resisting calling the fire department (the town budget is tight enough as it is). I hadn't thought of tree services. If she hasn't come down by tomorrow morning I'll try them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Belle Curve

I have almost finished the Dulaan hat, and I'm hoping to get a blue square in under the wire (Ruth told me about blue squares while I was still in auction purgatory, and I didn’t pay as much attention to the deadline as I should have). Since I have nothing to show you today, I’m feeling free to meander off on a tangent. Those of you muttering "so what else is new?" get to stay in at recess.

A few of weeks ago Carole had a wonderful post about pink yarn, on which I used one of my favorite movie lines, "Pink is mah signatuah colah." I love quoting this line, partly because I love the movie and the fun it has with pink (second-favorite line: "The church looks like it's been hosed down with Pepto-Bismol"), partly because I am so not a belle. So, in lieu of photos or actual knitting content, I present, in the spirit of fun, a quiz. My answers are pink.

The Belle Quiz

How many items of L.L. Bean clothing are you wearing right now?
  1. 3 or more.
  2. 0 to 2.
  3. Who is L.L. Bean, and why are you wearing her clothes?

What is your hairdresser's name?
  1. Now where did I put the scissors?
  2. Wendy.
  3. Maurizio.

What brand of makeup do you wear?
  1. The Emperor's New Makeup.
  2. Whatever CVS has on sale.
  3. I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

When was the last time you had your nails done?
  1. Does a sleepover in 8th grade count?
  2. Last month.
  3. Yesterday. Sadly, Sonia can't fit me in again until tomorrow.

Your newest home furniture is:
  1. Five or more years old.
  2. Six or more months old.
  3. Being delivered tomorrow.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
  1. Ten minutes.
  2. How long have I got?
  3. Don't keep asking me that! I'll be ready when I'm ready.

Your window treatments:
  1. Let the sunshine in.
  2. Used to match the carpet.
  3. Match the furniture, the carpet, the wallpaper, and the dog.

What did you have for dinner last night?
  1. Leftover vegetarian stew.
  2. Lean Cuisine.
  3. Page 139 from Martha’s first cookbook, except I substituted my own special sauce.

Your favorite soap is:
  1. Dawn.
  2. Ivory.
  3. Desperate Housewives.

Your favorite movie stars are:
  1. Dustin Hoffman and Whoopi Goldberg.
  2. Clint Eastwood and Debra Winger.
  3. Brangelina.

Scoring: if your answers were mostly:
c – Paint the town pink! And make him think it was his idea.
b – Sometimes you feel like a belle. Sometimes you don’t.
a – Some of us are just Belle Impaired. At least we’re comfy in our flannel.

Thanks for playing! See you next time, when we return to our regularly scheduled knitting.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Joy of Simplicity

Well, the shawl fetched $70, a real steal at the price but enough to make me happy. It was bought by a friend of mine as a gift for her Bangladeshi mother-in-law. I find the idea that something I made will get to see Bangladesh really, really cool.

Meanwhile, I'm making good progress on the Dulaan hat.

There's something indescribably peaceful about making something so simple, and yet so useful. I'm using remnants of Rowan Cork that I got at deep discount and working on size 10 needles. Since I got into socks and lace I always feel vaguely guilty about using anything bigger than a 7 -- but the yarn calls for 11s, and the hat sure is moving right along.

Achilles walked into the picture while I was focusing, so I left him in. I think he and Lulu Kitty should get together.

Speaking of simplicity, I realized afresh today that socks, hats, et al. notwithstanding, this is the most useful thing I ever made for myself and/or immediate family:

remote holsterThe cries of "Honey, where's the remote?" have greatly diminished since I hung this on the headboard. It was also my first attempt at stranded knitting, which came out pretty well, all things considered.

A side note (pun intended): I've put a link in my sidebar to Boomer's blog, Illegitimi Non Carborundum. Officially it's our blog, and Boomer asked me recently why I've never posted on it. "Because I can never think of anything to say that someone else hasn't already said better," I replied. That's part of the reason why I rarely talk politics here. Boomer has no such compunction, and a way with words — feel free to visit.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Thanks for all the kind words on the shawl! From a size hot off the needles of about 20 by 52 inches, it blocked to 27 by 75 inches, occupying the whole length of the blocking board and then some. (I shudder to imagine how long it would have been if I'd actually knit that extra foot. Sometimes running out of time is a good thing.) I'm really pleased with the finished product — not feeling a tiny twinge at giving away something I made would probably be a very bad sign, and that twinge is definitely there this time. And maybe not so tiny.

I took the shawl over to the collection point this morning; the collector, Pat, very kindly consented to model it for me.

The auction to benefit Miss B's school is tonight in beautiful Leominster, MA. The auction accounts for more than half of the money we raise each year to pay for some of the things that keep getting cut out of our budget, so it's a big deal.

The best part: now that the shawl is done, I can knit whatever I want. I've started a Dulaan hat, and sock thoughts (fear not, sock pal: you are on my list) are beginning to come to me on little pattering feet. Or is that patterning feet?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Amazing Lace

I hope my faithful readers (insert low-readership joke here) will forgive me if I continue the hymn theme for one more post. The Auction Shawl, for which I have neglected many things in my life — family, housework, sleep, blogging — is finished and on the blocking board as I type. Hallelujah! as some guy named George said.

On Wednesday I had coffee, that is coffee and knitting, with Julie, followed by knitting group with Ruth, Anne, Dale and Judy. Everyone said, "What a lovely shawl, but it needs to be [length] longer" — [length] varying between one and two feet. I had previously determined that my absolute maximum repeats per day was about three and a half (a repeat being about two inches long), which is how I ended up scaling back the originally intended 29 repeats to 27 and finally resigned myself to 25 because I just had no more repeats in me. I bound it off (who invented this infernal forever-taking bind-off? um, that would be me), wove in the ends (all 44 of them), and took it upstairs to block. It was a little over four feet long, that is Not Long Enough.

This is the twin bed in the guest room: plenty of room for shawl and cat. I could show you a close-up of the shawl at this point, but you've seen all you need to. No one would pay actual money for this thing.

I gave it its ritual bath, spread out the blocking board (5 feet 8 inches marked off, plenty for a poor minishawl), and began pinning.

shawl 1

Same bed, more shawl, less cat. I am far from being the first to witness the Miracle of Blocking, but, like a rainbow, it's no less wondrous every time I see it.

I'm especially pleased with the border.

shawl border

Someone please bid on this, or I shall cry.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

We Shawl Overcome

The auction shawl is underway. I changed the yarn for it twice, starting with Shetland wool (beautiful colors, quite scratchy, and I would probably run out), proceeding to brushed mohair (let us not speak of this again), and ending up with a mill end labeled Nature Spun sport weight. The yarn is single ply, however, and Nature Spun is 3 ply in all weights, so your guess is as good as mine. It's lovely and soft, though, a nice springtime color, and I'm getting to the point of not having to think much about not splitting it.

shawlI promised an original design, which it is, a riff on your basic openwork diamond pattern (from the first Walker treasury and pretty much any standard pattern reference). What I aspire to in the originality department is more along the lines of Mim's Mountain Peaks Shawl.

I'd join the Mountain Lace KAL if I didn't already have my work cut out for me here: I figure all I have to do is average two complete repeats (24 rows) a day, and I should finish in time. Probably a bit more than that, actually, to allow time for finishing and blocking.

Meanwhile, over on Ruth's blog, I'm being blamed for pointing out an error in a Jaywalker sock. Let the record clearly state that 1) I was miles away at work during the Trouble; 2) Ruth clearly identified the culprit, and it wasn't me. Really. I think my reputation is starting to precede me.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


For those of you who haven't already heard or seen it, I did not finish the Olympic Trellis. I came close, completing everything but the seaming. After ripping out a sleeve seam for the third time at the Team Boston closing ceremonies party (hearty thanks to Cara), I came to terms with the knowledge that gold was not in my future, and decided to enjoy the party instead of sweating it out. Please tell me that this does not make me the Bode Miller of the Knitting Olympics.

I will indeed finish the seams, but I have to move on to Ann's 40 Days for Others knitalong. If you haven't seen this, go take a look! The idea is to do something extra for Lent instead of giving something up. Actual observance of Lent is not required. I also promised a shawl to Miss B's school auction, to be held on the 25th, so I'm swatching for that. (I don't count that as charity knitting.)

Before moving on, I'll pause briefly to contemplate knowledge gained:

  • I really can knit a sweater!
  • But seaming reverse stockinette is not the easiest task for a novice.
  • I can do it, though. Like everything else about knitting, it just takes patience, perseverance, a little help from my friends, and a certain amount of swearing.
  • As Wendy pointed out, knitters are the nicest people. I stood up at the closing ceremonies and said, "Hi, I'm Lucia" ("Hi, Lucia!") "and I'm a sweaterphobe. Seaming really scares me, and patterns always get to the end and say, 'Sew seams' like any fool should be able to do this, piece of cake." Since I was sharing space with some really high-powered knitters, including Grumperina and Liz among others, some of them wearing spectacular cabled sweaters, I sort of expected "Of course any fool can do it, what is your problem?" What I got was "Yes, they are scary at first," "Try Nancie Wiseman's finishing book," "Let me take a look," followed by various helpful tips and advice. Thanks, everyone!
  • Grumperina is not grumpy at all, unless maybe you've sold her an error-filled pattern. She was wearing a stunning pink sweater of her own workwomanship and probably design as well, I didn't catch that part, and working on the Meg Swansen socks and the azalea scarf, both awe-inspiring.
  • Carole is just as lovely as I remembered, and that Dale of hers is a prince.
  • Unless you're prepared for brutal honesty, Ruth is the wrong person to ask "Do I need to redo this seam?" "Of course you do," she will reply. As she pointed out later, I couldn't really expect anything less after my Tonya job on her medal hopes.

I would like to thank Ruth for brutal honesty, Boomer for letting me attend the festivities, Cara (again) for such a fab party, and all the great knitters I met, at the party and elsewhere.

Onward, and ever upward!