Monday, March 27, 2006

Finally! The blankety-blank-blank is done!

You know the corollary to Murphy's Law that says "The last 10 percent of a project takes 90 percent of the time"? Well, it does if it's this throw! The last quarter inch (depth) of yarn on the cone took several hours to work up. Thank goodness the Ciprofloxacin kicked in (taken for my Bartonella infestation, which turns out to be behind a big chunk of my arthritic shoulder, tendonitised knee, inflamed tunnels, and impinged ulnar nerve), so I was able to knit for quite some time on this, instead of having to stop after four rows.

This is the first feather-and-fan pattern I've done, and it was actually rather relaxing to do, especially since three of the four rows were just knit or purled (i.e., very little thinking involved).

So, without further ado:

Mikey, waiting vainly for the sun to appear.

Close-up view of the pattern and yarn.

This yarn, a cotton ragg by Peacock Yarn, sheds. A lot. My black sweats were covered in it as I worked on it the last two nights. There was then a thick layer of lint removed from the dryer's lint trap. There's still some shedding going on as it finishes drying in the iguana room. Ah, well, it is soon to be Karen's problem!

Have I ever mentioned how handy it is having an iguana room that is maintained in the mid 80s? It's great for air drying clothing and relatively quickly defrosting frozen slabs and containers of food you forgot to take out of the freezer early enough to defrost safely in the frige.

Please don't misunderstand me: rapid drying and defrosting is NOT a good enough reason to get an iguana. But as long as I'm paying an excessively high heating bill because of the iguana room dwellers needing to be kept at tropical temperatures all year round, I might as well use it as a multipurpose room!

I have a couple more cones of this yarn, and have been debating knitting up a sloppy-for-around-the-house sweater for moi. Hmmmmmm.....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It's Spring, she murmured cautiously...

...not wanting to incite the Weather Gods who will sic pounding rain, hail, thunder and lightening upon us if we take this glorious day, and not to shabby night, for granted, let alone hope that maybe the coming storms on track will not be has miserably miserable as they have been. Just to prove that today and night have been....quite nice, herewith is photographic proof:

Note: this is not my taste in music. Someone gave me this clock (made from the music CD) years ago and it's been handily hanging on the bulletin board on the wall next to my desk ever since. The vapid smiley face gives me someone else to talk to besides critters and Eggs. Anyway, note that it is 9:15 PM at the time this and the following two photos were taken:

Lookee! It's almost 50 degrees outside!

Lookee! It's 63 degrees inside!!! That's the warmest it's been in here all winter! Here being any part of the house that is not the iguana room or Mikey's bathroom when Mikey is in residence.

While I may have been quiet--and cold--I have not been idle. While continuing to work on decluttering my nest (and buying additional bookcases because my father, who has discovered the joys of Edward R. Hamilton, Bookseller, has suddenly decided it is his job in life to order books for me he thinks I will find interesting. And I do. I just don't have room for them.

Several years ago, one of my 7ft tall bookcases collapsed under the weight of its six shelves crammed full of books. Those books, and some of the books from the identical second bookcase, have been living on my dining room table and a couple of living room chairs. And, uhm, some piles on the floor in various rooms.

So, part of my decluttering is to get rid of books I'm not actually going to refer to or read again.
And, I have. Did I forget to mention that I have a couple of bookcases in the living room, too, and a couple of years ago hauled off 6 bags and boxes of hardcover books to the county library for them to use in their collection or sell at their quarterly sales (which raises money for the library, not me)? And did I mention the 111 lbs of kids books I sent off to Mississippi in the aftermath of Katrina?

What I don't understand is how, after getting rid of ALL THOSE BOOKS, I still do not have enough room for the books I still have, let alone the ones my dad is so nicely (guiltily?) sending me.

(And I know I haven't mentioned what my dad said to me recently, when he told me that his second bedroom currently has over EIGHT HUNDRED BOOKS that will be mine when he dies, a number not including the books he is buying almost weekly that will also be mine come that day. Now, since my dad's parents and most of their siblings lived into their late 90s, and his grandfather well past the century mark, it is possible that I won't be having to figure out where to put his books (and, please God, his bookcases) any time soon. But, still. Not something I want to think about when I'm still trying to organize my own books and figure out what to keep, and what to get rid of and how.

So. That's some of what I've been doing, along with some knitting. Big surprise there, I know.

I finished two pairs of socks. Well, one actual pair, and two singletons. The large sock in the middle is actually a house sock/slipper, knit in worsted weight yarn. I just wore through my favorite pair of Polar fleece socks, so wanted something to tide me over until I find another pair I like.

I've also been knitting squares for the Sonoma Blanket Project:

Someone (probably not me) will stitch or crochet these and other squares together to make blankets. The goal of the project is to give a blanket to every child who ends up at the Valley of the Moon Children's home.

I also knit this hat. It is actually the same pattern I used for Soma's white fuzzy hat, but this was done in a blue tweed yarn I didn't have enough of to make a garment and wasn't conducive to scarfing. So I hatted it instead. The hat is actually quite nice, though it perches a bit awkwardly on Mikey's head. (No, Mikey didn't mind, because when he sees the camera, he knows that means attention will be paid to him, and the boy does love attention.) It will go to The Living Room, the only shelter here for homeless women with children.

I'm also working on finishing a feather-and-fan throw for Karen, one I've been working on for over a year because I can't work more than 4 rows without exacerbating my various inflamed nerves. I am also re-working the belly band on Sidney's sweater. I moved it farther down the ribcage to give his arms more room. I'm at the point where I need Sidney himself to try it on and see how much longer it needs to be before putting in the button holes. With any luck, I can get the throw done today, washed and de-linted, and go over Karen tomorrow with the throw and sweater!

Okay, so I live in a dream world.

Dreamworld Update: Later that same day...
If you tuned into this blog entry when the formatting was scrambled, that's because Polly came by for some help unscrambling a raglan cardigan she is knitting for one of her grandkids, so I vacated the computer for knitting needles, stitch markers, yummy Celestial Season's True Blueberry tea, and Polly's company.

After Polly left, cardigan an inch or so shorter than when she arrived (oops!), and her hubby having been introduced to Mike, I chatted by phone with Juliette about the condition of her leaky waterbed whilst making myself a tuna melt. Well, a tuna melt without the grilled bread and onions. I also made Mike a second meal, since he wouldn't eat the first one I made him today, since he didn't come down to eat when it was first served, and for some reason he refused to eat now, after Baby Atlas (one of the chaco tortoises) had consumed some of it.

So, I'm talking and cooking and making more lizard food, and start hearing noises that signal Mike's exploring the old snake room again. This room, some of you may remember, used to house almost 20 snakes in large enclosures. After the snakes went to their new homes, some with their enclosures, the other enclosures remained, in the (futile) hope that I would once again be healthy enough to resume doing education programs and reptile rescue. Almost 8 years later, I accede to reality, and give the enclosures (including the large one my husband made for the Burmese pythons) to some of the folks in the local herp society who are involved in rescue and education.

And so, where the door to this past life had literally been closed for all those years, it is now open. Mike is irresistably drawn to it, and spends a good 20 minutes daily, sometimes twice daily, exploring every inch of the room he can reach.

His job has been made easier recently by my putting a couple of bookcases in there onto which I am starting to migrate my books and other research and reference materials.

And, apparently, Mike. At elast, he tried. After knocking a couple of notebooks off the top of the stacked books, he decided that this shelf held nothing particularly interesting to him:

But UNDER the bottom shelf, now that is definitely something to see:

Not photographed (because I was laughing while giving Juliette a blow-by-blow account of Mike's explorations) is several minutes of Mike recognizing he is in a cave made by the notebooks he shoved to the floor, and the walls. Big boy that he is (or, was it motivation?), he backs up and begins to emerge:

This was followed by Mike assuming the nonchalant air of someone who has just accomplished what they meant to and so has no reason to be embarrased by what bystanders might consider to be silliness:

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Socks for Tubs

Now, I know some of you think Eggs In Hats and Lizards In Scarves is weird or the sign of a seriously altered mind, so I'm wondering how y'all feel about Socks for Tubs?

Well, Socks for Faucents is more accurate, as you can see from this photo from Darry Conner:

See, Darry & Ted's iguana, Bubbette, hates the sight of other iguanas in her territory (the Conner's home). Iguanas, not encountering mirrors and other reflective surfaces in the wild, don't quite get the concept of "me" when they see their reflection in reflective surfaces.

While some iguanas may momentarily get it when they see the iguana in the mirror being petted AT THE EXACT SAME TIME as they themselves are being petted by someone in Mirrorworld who looks EXACTLY LIKE THEIR HUMAN, it is, alas, a momentary glimmer across the me vs. other boundary that only primates have thus far crossed with any regularity.

Bubbette, unique child of the Universe that she is, carries her territorial defense beyond that of other iguanas. She doesn't just go crazy when catching sight of that 'other' iguana that appears in the mirror when her humans fail to block her line-of-sight adequately, nor is she limited to the iguana that appears in her enclosure or in the windows of the house when the sun hits the glass at a certain angle.

No, sirree, uh, Bubb! Bubbette goes after any iguana of any size that appears in any reflective surface, including the flock of tiny iguanas that appear in the gleaming polished brass of her bathtub's faucet and trim.

While Bubbette was a tiny iguana herself, it was rather cute. As she started getting big enough to do major damage to the integrity of the brass's waterproofing laquer--not to speak of her own teeth--the Conners were forced to come up with a way to protect the faucet and Bubb's teeth.

Hence, Socks for Tubs.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Sweater For Wyatt

After having made the sweaters for Eggs, I was browsing through the patterns at my friend's yarn store, and for some reason picked up and read a pattern I'd seen for a couple of years, but never really looked at before, Muench Yarn's Model 73.

What interested me when reading it was that it was knit in the same way as I knit the little blue sweater: cast on the bottom front, work up and add on stitches for the sleeves, binding off and then casting on stitches to make a neck opening, working down the back, binding off the sleeve stitches when the sleeves are wide enough, and finally binding the whole thing off at the bottom of the back ribbing. So, of course I had to get it and knit one for my nephew who is rather larger than my Eggs. I also got some nice multicolored yarn (on sale!), Gedifra's Donatella, a nice chunky yarn in white and blues.

The pattern as written makes a 23.5 inch chest. I wanted it a bit bigger for Wyatt who, unlike Eggs, is still growing. Following the pattern with the Donatella, I added extra rows for the length, but otherwise used the same number of stitches, and ended up with a sweater about 26 inches across the chest. But I was having a problem with it, because even though it was considerably bigger than the Eggs' sweaters, it was still...small. Okay, so I haven't done any garment knitting before for young children, only infants, and I haven't bought toddler or kids clothes in years, so it's not like I have much for a scale for reference. But, still.

So, here's the sweater....

Looks like a normal kid's sweater, yes? Well, here, I think, is why I was having a problem visualizing this on a child:

Yes, that's Mikey, with the sweater draped over him.

Now, I know that I have historically not had much of a perspective on how big my lizards are. I mean, they're my babies always, and even though I know factually how long they are and how much they weigh, they just don't seem BIG. In the days when I was doing education programs all the time, I did get a sense of their bigness, since I would see them next to or being held by children. But that's not been the case with Mike.

Thus it was startling to SEE, despite factually knowing, that his body, at least, his abdomen, when sprawled out, is about the size of an average (size-wise, since my g-nephew is of course brilliant!) 5 year old child!