Thursday, May 31, 2007

Masters of Which Universe?

While I don't normally shriek with laughter at the prospect of certain things being made into movies--or remade, for that matter-- I just have to do so over this one. Back in the dark days of 1988 or so, I remember sitting down with my friends and watching Masters of the Universe. And enjoying it. Skeletor just plain rocked... until he got his metallic cloak and mask about three quarters of the way into the film. The Sorceress, on the other hand, looked like a reject from a Doctor Who episode. Not that I have anything against Doctor Who, especially as played by Tom Baker.
During my browsing of MSN's pawky gossip blurbs, I found an article saying that, yes, Masters of the Universe is slated to be remade and directed by Joel Silver. As yet, no one has been tapped to don the pink and purple ensemble of cartoon's Prince Adam, let alone the crimson cloak of his alter ego, though the article did have a few possibles noted, including (gag) Steve Austin. Most of the other possibilities didn't really seem to fit, either, though I doubt the role really calls for much in the way of... acting.
I haven't decided yet if this falls into the category of Movies Which Should Never Be Remade Under Any Circumstances. We'll see.

For the moment I'm giving up on the Northern Lights pullover. The pattern either isn't suited to being worked as a Fair Isle design, or I'm just not ready for that kind of challenge, so I ripped out a week's worth of work. That was rather painful, I must say. The Lopi yarn is instead going for another Spartan: maroon with light gray Fair Isle work this time, and at some point, I'll try to figure out how to work the Spartan pattern as a cardigan. I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of challenge, either, but we'll just see how it goes.
I keep saying I'm going to start writing yarn reviews on here, so maybe my next entry will be a review of the twenty-odd-year-old Lopi I got on eBay.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Today is a sad day. Last winter someone dumped a pair of black cats in our neighborhood, and being the softy that I am, I took a shine to one of them: black, with a little hint of white fur on his chest that looked like someone had taken a paintbrush with white paint and just daubbed at the tips of the hairs, talkative, but with a fairly mellow voice, friendly and affectionate, eager to have someone take care and love him, as maudlin as it sounds. He'd come around the front door and bewail his loneliness and desire to be fed something that wasn't out of a garbage can or scuttling through the weeds; it wasn't until about a month ago that he started letting me sit on the ground a few feet away while he ate his dry food, and a couple weeks later he started letting me pet him. About that time, he started trying to come in the house, but I didn't think it was a good idea. He proved me right yesterday by spritzing the china cabinet in the dining room. Silly boy.
Well, a couple weeks ago, I made an appointment for him to go get tested for feline leuk and worms, and to get the usual vaccines. Today was his appointment, and he was really well behaved about it: didn't cry very much, didn't fuss, was good about getting into the carrier, and about the ride to the vet. The bad news, however, after he arrived, was that he tested positive for feline AIDS. From what the vet told me, it works similarly to AIDS in humans, which means the immune system weakens, then shuts down, allowing the cat to die from relatively minor infections like colds. The problem is that the vaccines for things like rabies and distemper backfire because of the weakened immune system; the cat gets sick from the vaccines, but it's not likely to get better. That means that there are two alternatives. If you don't have any other cats in the household, you can keep the cat indoors full-time, isolated from any contact with other cats who might be carrying even minor bugs. The cat can still sneak out, of course, and pick up something. The other alternative is obvious.
The receptionist at the vet's office said he was lucky someone cared enough about him to take care of him.

On the plus side, I'm almost finished with the Spartan pullover. Got the body of the sweater done, and most of one sleeve, so I just have one sleeve left, and the sewing together of various pieces.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


This afternoon was nice. Finished the bottom part of the pullover and got together with friends for lunch. It was nice to reconnect with old friends. After lunch we headed to the little ice cream place across the river, then sat out on the grassy hill above the curb to talk about the nature of the beast that is the male of the species and lament our various troubles with the social scene in town, which was periodically punctuated by our excalamations of "What are you gawking at?!" as men drove by and peered at us. After ice cream we went for a long drive in the country and remarked on how nice it was to still be able to see large tracts of undeveloped farmland with lots of trees and mustard plants... and such quiet! No one driving with the bass of the stereo turned up so high it rattles the neighboring cars' windows and mirrors or gives the drivers headaches.
I introduced the idea of the three of us chipping in to buy a hibachi grill and a bag of charcoal, and that way we can get together a couple times a month to grill stuff and engage in grumbles and girl talk over hamburgers and smores. They seem well disposed toward the idea, so we'll see what happens. Yum.. hamburgers. With pickles.
Oh! More yarn arrived today. I found some Lopi yarn on eBay for a good price. Even with shipping it was roughly half of what I would have paid for it if I'd bought it at a shop or from an online purveyor: blue, gray, and light brown heathers which will go to make a pair of fuzzy bed socks and something sweater-ish.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Did Someone Call You A Sheep Kebab?

MSWF 2007
After my experience last year, I was able to not be completely overwhelmed by all the gorgeous stuff on display and be a bit more selective about where I went and what I bought. I still had to look at almost everything.
A lot of the same vendors who were there last year where also there this year, like the lady who uses plant dyes in interesting combinations, and the people with the alpacas, and the bunnies, and all the neat dyestuffs, and there were some things that were new to me, like the lady who had the hand woven shibori fabric and rugs, and the different types of sheep in the barn. I'd seen the names of different breeds, but I can't tell the difference between a blue-faced Leicester or a Wensleydale, let alone a Corriedale from a something else. The black-faced sheep have freckles, the Romneys are HUGE, Karakul are shaggy with straighter hair, and the Jacob sheep have four horns, so they're easier to spot. Wow. Lots of different types of sheep.
I paid a lot of attention to the sheep this year and explored all the livestock barns. I was a bit disappointed to find that blue-faced Leicester sheep don't actually have blue faces... go figure. This got a laugh from the sheeps' owners who happened to be standing nearby when I expressed my surprise. The sheep didn't seem very amused, though, especially since someone walked over and asked them if they were destined to become sheep kebabs. Ouch...
One of the other things I noticed was that the crowd was about 75% female. There were a lot of men sprinkled among the vendors, but most of the ones who were there as visitors were being dragged around by wife/girlfriend/whatevers. At one of the booths I visited, there was a young girl trying to explain to her boyfriend why she felt it important to have nylon in sock yarn; the guy just looked confused. I guess he thinks yarn is yarn is yarn. Hopefully she'll be able to straighten him out just a little bit. On the other hand, I actually saw a few men knitting and spinning, one of whom was a member of the Central Maryland Knitting Guild. I was so surprised I actually had to take a picture of this! It's like seeing a mythical creature, apparently. Yes, I am well aware that knitting used to be a strictly male occupation. Check out No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting if you don't believe me.
There were also a couple booths for charitable organizations, one of which was the Red Scarf Project. The folks who ran the book had some folding chairs set up outside the tent; visitors could take a minute or two to contribute some rows to the scarves in progress, which would then be donated as part of the project.

"The Red Scarf Project, a project of the Orphan Foundation of America, or, collects red (and other unisex-colored) scarves to send in Valentine's Day care packages to college students who have aged out of foster care. These brave young people are going it on their own and trying to improve their lives and the community by attending college. The care packages are welcome tokens of encouragement to young people who otherwise receive little to no mail." (

Anyway... did way too much shopping, some of which I didn't really need to do, but... dammit... must have wool!
Stopped at Stacey Rothrock's booth and bought more of her lovely dyed roving. Red/purple this time. As usual, her work is gorgeous. Caught up on news with her, including the recent (well... sort of) arrival of her twins. The little uns were home with grandmother, so Stacey was able to come to the show and hang out with her dad and do woolly stuff. I was surprised--and gratified-- that she remembered me from last year, and I promised to send her pictures of what I knit with the yarn I spin from her roving.
After a lot of hunting around, I stopped at the Earth Guild's booth to buy some non-pickling alum. I swore up and down I didn't need a five-pound pail of it, but in retrospect.... Mom tried to to talk me into buying some soy fiber from them, but I declined. Maybe next year.
At the outskirts of the fairground, we found Pine Tree Knits' booth where the owners were having a giant sale on yarn from a company that's about to go out of business. I got eight hanks of yarn (six blue, two gray) to make a sweater with, and I know precisely which pattern it's going to be used for. Also picked up another set of size 3 DPNs.. my birch ones keep splintering, so I'm trying bamboo. We'll see if these hold up better. Maybe I'm just a forceful knitter?
During one of my rambles through a barn full of sheep, I ran across an elderly couple with baskets of Navajo-Churro roving, so I got two balls of it. One's gray-brown, and one's white. Can't wait to work with it. The wool is amazingly soft, it's like butter. Odd comparison, but it's true!
Ran across the Clover Leaf Farms booth with oodles of gorgeous handpainted roving in really vibrant color mixes, and at mom's insistance I got 8 oz. of a variegated purple tussah/wool blend. This will be a challenge because I've never worked with silk in any form. It's predominantly wool, so that might make it easier to handle... it' soooooo deliciously soft. I hope I have their business card, because if I run out and want more... don't wanna wait until next year!
I'm going to be an extremely busy little bee....