Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Lesson In Thinking Outside the Sock

While having dinner with dad this evening, I arrived at an unexpected lightbulb moment: If you're using a small ball of yarn or are the stage where the ball of yarn fits into the toe of the sock you're working on, you can wander around without a knitting bag because your ball of yarn has its own little bag attached.... the sock itself. Nifty, if unoriginal.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An Umbrella Swift Kick

I'm now the proud parent of an umbrella swift. Which means I no longer have any fear of yarn that's put up in skeins or hanks. It still takes me half an hour to wind up a hank of Baruffa Cashwool, but it's much less likely to make me scream with rage at the number of tangles I create while trying to wind yarn from a pile on the bare floor, which is what I did pre-swift. Talk about a much appreciated Valentine's gift from someone who knows me way, way too well. Next time I'm seen in public, I'll probably still be making cranking motions with my right hand because I've spent several days organizing my stash and winding yarn.... it's seriously worth it, though.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Dear Masterpiece Classic,
I'm not sure where to begin, because your offenses are many. The local PBS station has been broadcasting your most recent batch of Dickensian tales as well as the adaptations of Jane Austen and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, among other things.
Since the list of crimes against English Literature is so long, I think I'll start with the tragic mishandling of Oliver Twist. I admit in advance that I'm not fond of Dickens; I like badly done Dickens even less, and after no less than three errors, each of which was graver than the last, in the first ten minutes of the miniseries, I was obliged to turn off the television. In the first ten minutes the errors are these: 1. Oliver Twist's mother arrives at the orphanage about to pop. Dickens does not introduce Oliver's mother as anything more than a memory shared by the most odious Mr. Bumble and his cohort. Mention is made of a letter and a locket, but the unfortunate woman isn't actually seen, and certainly not on page one of the book.
2. Oliver is immediately set up as a troublemaker during the scene with the famous "Please, sir, I want some more". This is achieved by the boy taking the initiative and approaching the adults to demand a second helping of whatever glop the orphans are fed. What happened to the drawing of lots to determine which orphan would be given this task? That's blooper number two, and it's a biggie.
3. There is no board of directors before which Oliver is dragged by the unscrupulous Mr. Bumble. Dickens didn't write it, therefore they don't exist, therefore they shouldn't be in the miniseries. Oliver's confrontation with them and the veiled threat that God Seeth Thou only further develops to his role as a troublemaker.
At that point, I turned off the television and fumed. And then I remembered what you'd done to Jane Eyre. And then I decided to blog about it.
Shame on you, Masterpiece Classic! Fie and shame! You're a British production, you're producing films based on English Literature, and this is the best you can do? I'm ashamed for you and I hope the ghost of Alistaire Cooke comes and pinches your collective toe in the middle of the night for this bad behavior.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kitty Jutsu

Is your cat plotting to kill you?
Camille's only left me one animal, and it wasn't really dead: She caught a mouse and left it in my bedroom slipper, very much alive and very stunned. I'm very amused that this is somehow evidence that she's plotting my demise; the explanation can be found here.

The sock is going better. After conferring with a few fellow Ravellers, the idea is to just do what the chart says and ignore the little voice saying "Wait! That doesn't line up properly!" I've finished one repeat of the chart and just started the second one. Might just have to make myself a pair of these once I finish the current pair.

Frustrations Galore

Je suis très frustré. I cast on for Vinnland tonight, and while I'm totally digging the short-row toes and falling in love with the yarn I'm using, I can't seem to get the pattern to line up properly on the third row of the chart. I've ripped back twice, tried to fix it by adding an extra purl stitch, ripped back yet again, consulted the errata, and am now glowering at the chart while gnawing on my fountain pen. If other people have mastered this pattern, then it can't be that difficult, especially after I finished Azure and the token Nordic Lights trophy sock.
I'll say it again: Je suis très frustré.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stop, thief!

There are rumors that someone in town has been seen in the wee hours of the morning, making off with people's firewood. I can't substantiate this, but if it's true... I really can't bring myself to finish the sentence because I'm torn between being outraged and laughing myself into the hiccups. I might just do both...

Monday, February 9, 2009


Anyone who reads mythology knows that certain elements are always changed to suit the place of origin while there are still commonalities among the myths in question. The following conversation just took place between mom and me while discussing the possible subject of the Spring KAL on Ravlery's Folklore&Fairytale group:
Me: It was a goat.
Mom: A goat?
Me: It wasn't a sheep. It was a goat.
Mom: A goat that did what?
Me: That he was standing on.
Mom: He was standing on a goat to get into his bathtub?
Me: Mmmhmm.
Mom: Peculiar man. That's no reason for him to be lanced or whatever. And I thought your father was peculiar...
Me: (busy giggling)

This came up because one of the stories proposed as a candidate for the KAL is that of Blodeuwedd; a version of it appears in the Enchanted World Series book Wizards and Witches, which is the only one I've read. The short version is that Lleu's teacher Math, son of Mathonwy, creates a companion for him by making a woman out of flowers. Pretty, smells nices, but not very bright, poor child, and ultimately the epitome of the faithless woman... more on that later, or you can refer to the above conversation and draw your own conclusions. Stop reading now if you don't want major mythological spoilers. :P
Blodeuwedd suffers a bit of boredom and takes a lover who, surprise, takes it in mind to get rid of Lleu. Lleu, lucky boy, is one of those people whose death can only be caused if the conditions are just right, and of course he's not likely to impart that information to just anyone. And that's where I'll stop, though I'll add that, presumably (and since I neither read nor speak Welsh, I can't verify this) the Welsh name for a barn owl will look remarkably familiar.
Now, this is where the parallelism bit comes in. A number of stories, usually revolving around a woman who's the captive of a giant or a dragon, make use of the notion that the villain's demise can only come about if certain conditions are met. The woman usually manages to wheedle the information out of her captor and said information occasionally indicates that the monster's only vulnerable place--in many cases, its heart--is stashed somewhere difficult to reach: In such-and-such place, the hero finds a boar, and inside the boar he finds a hare, and inside the hare he finds a this, that, or the other, and after all the layers are removed, behold, we have the beast's heart.
I'm not sure what conclusion to draw from all this, or how it all relates to Lleu, Math, and Bloddeuwedd, other than there are threads going all over the place, and that some of them are almost parallel (geometrically impossible, I know, since lines are either parallel or they're not). And never stand on a goat to get into your bathtub.