All posts by Chris

The leaves have fallen

At long last, I’ve finished the Koigu Falling Leaves socks, making them my first finished objects of 2006… notwithstanding that they were started October 9, 2005. Moving right along, here’s a photo of them nearing completion earlier today – can’t you just feel the excitement?

Here’s the rest of the cat, if you were curious (and even if you weren’t):

“Huh? You woke me up for what?!?!?”

I meant to follow this pattern as written and do the short row toes and heels. In fact, I tried the short row toe from the pattern, but I didn’t get very far into it before the cursing started up (are you having a flashback yet, Ana?!) and I decided I would just use my regular old toe and heel. Whew. Much happier.

I also decided to do the lace pattern the opposite direction on one sock, but you have to get pretty darn close to my feet to detect that they’re the socks are mirror images lacewise.

Top view
Side view (featuring my regular old heel)

I do all my socks toe-up because those are womens size elevens you’re looking at… running out of yarn is a constant worry for me and toe-ups let me maximize the yarn. Good thing I don’t like tall socks, because this is all the yarn I had left:

Tomorrow I’ll reveal what my first Stashalong project will be.

Listing to port or starboard

I’ve read a lot of knitting resolutions over the past few days, which got me thinking about what my knitting resolutions might be. Pumpkinmama’s list finally inspired me to stop thinking and start listing.

Top 5 for 2005
1. New technique
Tragically, I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn any new techniques in 2005. For 2006, I’d like to finally grasp knitting in ends (the video link is partway down the page) and learn Norwegian purling.

2. Favorite finished objects
The perfect purple Anne socks I knitted for Jeanne’s birthday

and the amazingly irregularly shaped felted tote bag I knitted for my sister-in-law’s birthday.

“Mmmm… button. Love biting buttons off of things…”

3. Favorite knitalong
I didn’t participate in a single knitalong in 2005. For 2006, I am part of Stashalong (January 1 – March 31).

4. Favorite shop
Actually, I don’t have a favorite shop at the moment. I’m fond of and WEBS, but try to avoid them. See #1 in the next list for why.

5. Favorite tools
My ReadUpon
My gadget bag

My circular needle case

Resolutions for 2006
1. Knit from stash.
Hence participating in Stashalong. I have a ridiculous amount of stash. I could knit entirely from stash for several years.

2. Find a new knitting group that meets weekly.
2005 saw the implosion of our weekly knitting group and I’ve missed that camaraderie. I have a blast knitting with Jeanne every other week, but have discovered that I need a weekly knitting group to stay grounded.

3. Go to at least one knitting retreat.
2005 was the first year since I started knitting that I haven’t gone to several knitting retreats and that was another thing I really missed. Anyone have suggestions?! I’m particularly interested in events in the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest (especially Sante Fe or Taos), or something on a train. I should also return to the Camp Miller Knitting Retreat, which was the first retreat I ever went to and which led to me meeting most of the knitting friends I now have.

4. Knit more.
In 2005, I completed the fewest knitting projects since I started knitting – 17. Of course, 17 is my lucky number, so maybe it was ok. 🙂

5. Start knitting for the community again. It’s the right thing to do.

ArtsyMama just tagged me and since the tag fits the list o’ five thing I have going here… Here’s my list of five weird things about myself:

1. I am phobic about garbage disposals, power lawnmowers, and power saws – basically anything with spinning sharp blades that could cut off fingers.

2. I have celiac disease and follow a gluten-free diet. I’m also lactose intolerant, but hey, at least I can take pills and still eat small amounts of dairy.

3. I’ve been divorced since 1991. Being divorced isn’t particularly weird, but people are always surprised to find this out.

4. I’ve done the internet dating thing off and on since 1999 – more off than on. During the memorable but emotionally exhausting summer of 1999, I went on about 25 coffee dates in a six week period.

5. Charles de Lint is my favorite author of all time. I think the weird thing here is that so few people seem to know about de Lint. Or maybe the weird thing is that I want to be a Crow Girl. 🙂 I recommend starting with Someplace To Be Flying if you’re interested in finding out more about de Lint. That link takes you to an excerpt from the beginning of the book, so you can check it out risk free.

I tag Pink Rocket, Mama_Tulip, Jeanne, Ana, Eileen, Theresa, Carrie K, Hickmama, Kellie N, and “me” from Bermuda. (Yeah, so that’s more than five. What’s your point??!)

The “rules” are to list five weird things about yourself, then tag five other people. The tag includes telling them about said tag in their comments.

If I missed tagging you and you really want to share some weirdness about yourself with the world, feel free! Drop me a note in comments and I’ll add you to the list above.

Welcome to 2006. May this year be better than the last.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear, but… snow!

This was the scene on my street when I woke up this morning; a few more inches have fallen since.

I haven’t received my “The City of Minneapolis has declared a Snow Emergency and anywhere you’re even thinking about parking is now illegal” email yet, but I bet it’s on its way.

I’m knitting away on my Koigu Falling Leaves socks – I have about 2/3 of the 2nd sock left to knit. (What baby sweater? Huh? Ends? What are you talking about?)

No knitting pictures today because I wanted to show off my new slippers. One of my lifelong desires has been to own a pair of novelty slippers. As lifelong desires go, it’s pretty lame, true. But I had never come across the perfect pair of novelty slippers for me. There were some Siberian Husky slippers at Target once… only in kids’ sizes. An ex-boyfriend had some bear paw slippers (ala Homer Simpson), but they just really weren’t my thing. Then last week, I discovered… black cat slippers.

Oh yeah. Notice how the tails are shaped very similarly to the Chaotic Kitty’s crooked stubby tail?

“What the…?”

Happy feet! The soles on these slippers are about an inch thick and super cushy.

So far Chaos hasn’t attacked my feet while I’m walking, which I think shows admirable restraint, what with the tails and all.

Perhaps because he was much more focused on playing fetch with his tail-free red sparkly mouse.

“I’m a predator. Get over it.”

Big sigh

Last night I knitted with Jeanne again. More accurately, Jeanne knitted,

and I wove in ends on the sweater for my coworker Maranda’s baby (known to be a boy). The baby who was probably born days ago, but Maranda’s (male) boss told her to just give a call and let us know sometime after she was home… We figure we’ll hear back at about the time the baby starts preschool.

Jeanne kindly pointed out that the sweater I’m insisting is sized for a one-year old probably won’t fit an average child until he’s two. Huh. Well then. Why am I bothering to weave in the ends now?! I have years to do it!

When I weave in ends, I apparently emit deep sighs with annoying regularity. Sometimes I catch myself. Last night I caught Jeanne sighing, too, as the sweater she’s working on isn’t one she would necessarily have picked to knit (it’s a special request from her mom) and in revenge, the sweater is fighting Jeanne knit over purl.

Mr. Intensity (aka “Fang Boy”) hasn’t much to say for himself today. Just that he’s keeping an eye on you… and you… and you, too.

A girl and her cat, a cat and his… sweatpants

For the past several months, Chaos had an unusual interest in a pair of green sweatpants. This was not an exclusive relationship, however; he occasionally focused on a grey Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) sweatshirt. I have no pictures because he was usually quite secretive about this behavior. When he wasn’t secretive about it, I was generally gawking at him and trying to figure it out.

Friends pointed out that although it was certainly more simple to have a pair of sweatpants around than a second cat, maybe Chaos needed some company – company more interesting and interactive than sweatpants. However, since the sweatpants have remained on the shelf for the past several weeks, maybe the sweatpants thing was just one of those phases kids go through. (Don’t get me started on phases. His Sweatpants Phase was much better than, say, his Jackson Pollock phase. That was messy.)

What did this relationship consist of? Primarily of him dragging the sweatpants or sweatshirt off the shelf and often into another room. It isn’t easy for a cat to drag a large item of clothing around with his mouth, no matter that said cat is a muscular 15 pounds. I never wear the grey MPR sweatshirt, but when I put on the green sweatpants recently, I discovered that it’s not easy to be sweatpants that have been dragged around by a cat – my poor sweatpants are covered with numerous fang holes.

The Evidence
The Culprit
“Mmmmm… warm laundry…”

“Wait – are those sweatpants I see?!”

My name is Chris and I have a small weakness for knitting bags…

It all started harmlessly enough. My dad gave me a prototype knitting bag that one of the rubber stamp designers he works with had given him.

It’s a cleverly designed bag – it has pockets everywhere and is spacious enough for a good sized project. But I don’t do so well with light colors: I spill mochas and pinot noir on them and then set them down in muddy puddles. So this bag holds assorted tools, zippers, and early projects.

I next picked up a bag at the Land’s End Inlet. It’s good sized, has lots of interior pockets, and is water resistant vinyl.

It came with a mysterious little mat and a nifty little bag that was very handy for carrying extra circular needles. Eventually one of my friends broke it to me gently that it was a diaper bag.


Soon after, while browsing at Depth of Field, I picked up what became my very favorite knitting bag. Alas, after I got Chaos, the lack of zipper on this beloved bag was extremely problematic.

“Cool! I haven’t been in this bag for a long time. I wonder where it’s been?”

(Shhh. The bag has been retired to my closet.)

It was replaced by a handy Eagle Creek tote bag that would be perfect if it was just a little wider. (I am completely weak for Eagle Creek bags of all sorts, from luggage to tiny shoulder bags. I probably have at least 15 Eagle Creek bags of various sorts. But, since we’re just talking knitting bags here..)

Moving right along… Next follows an assortment of bags in no particular order. Most hold yarn in my closet or are used for holding inactive projects.

This bag was from Yarnover, the Minnesota Knitter’s Guild’s annual spring market and class event. An attractive bag, but alas – no zipper.

This one’s from (you’ll never guess) the Taos Wool Festival. Since it’s the size of a small suitcase, it’s most suited for shopping at fiber festivals.

I have a pair of Bagsmith’s handy freestanding project bags. I like them, but mostly use them for storage because they don’t have zippers.

This is my sock knitting project lunch box, purchased for $0.25 at a yard sale a few years ago. Completely cat resistant.

I mentioned my Red Tango mini bowling bag a few days ago, so haven’t included it again here.

Here’s a very new bag that I’ve been using to carry my current sock project. It’s a Laurel Burch, about 6″ tall. Purple cats, black cats, green cats. Doesn’t get much better than that. I like this bag so much that I’m ordering a larger version of it because… obviously I don’t have enough knitting bags.

I also have a larger Laurel Burch bag, which was pictured a few weeks ago (without Chaos). It’s a fun bag that I picked up in Taos last year, but it’s so bright I find it traumatic to carry, so I use it to hold inactive WIPs.

Um, yeah, so maybe I have a small problem with knitting bags. Just maybe…

Free, free at last

We have our family Christmas on Christmas Eve, starting around 3 pm, so yesterday I was up at 6:30 am, baking a pumpkin pie and finishing Bamboozelle.

The pattern leaves attaching the i-cord until the very end. I decided that it would be a lot easier to attach the i-cord first, so the sewing would be hidden by the lining. If I’d really been thinking, I probably just would have knit attached i-cord around the top lip of the basket and saved myself some sewing. Then I started on the part I was really dreading – the internal structure. I’d picked up some buckram to use for this part.

I initially tried connecting the pieces with tape, as suggested in the pattern. It looked pretty good…

but made this weird crinkling noise that bothered me. So I stitched the corners together. (Let’s just note here that I have extremely rudimentary sewing skills. It would be swell if y’all skipped mocking me on the next bit.).

Nowhere near as nice as the tape, but at this point, I was starting to eye the clock nervously, so I pressed onward and started the lining. I had some nice cream-colored satin to use for the lining (and hey, if you need to line something, I have a lot left – what the heck was I thinking??? I can cut ya a deal on some buckram, too), although it looks creamy white in this picture…

Bonus – no blood was drawn during the finishing. Some days, I guess that’s all a girl can ask. For all my moaning about this project, I’m mightily tempted to knit Bamboozelle Leatherette for myself – especially since it requires no internal structure or lining. I do love that woven basket stitch… Back to our family Christmas. My stepmom liked Bamboozelle, my sister-in-law liked the tabbycat mittens, and they both liked the wine charms, so all was well. Whew!!!

I got several great knitting gifts. The first was a copy of Alterknits. Although I may never knit a screen door (one of the projects), it’s a beautifully photographed book that doesn’t cover the same territory as most knitting books, so it works for me. And I suppose I’d better just ‘fess up before Jeanne outs me… I’m helpless in the face of a nifty new knitting book. I have a startling number of knitting books for someone who has only been knitting for five years (um, does it help that only 1/2 the top shelf is knitting related?!):

Moving right along, I also got a fun hat kit from my dad and stepmom – they picked it up during their semester-long stay in Alnwick Castle and environs.

Here’s hoping everyone had a great holiday, whatever that might entail for you. Chaos sends his regards…

Tagged again…

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.
The Houston Chronicles
Kim’s BlogPlanet

Where am I going…and why am I in this handbasket?
Stumbling Over Chaos

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was in grad school for rhetoric and technical writing and was actually involved in a relationship (gasp!).

What were you doing a year ago? Pretty much exactly what I’m doing now, except I wasn’t blogging. It’s a wild life, I know, I know.

5 snacks you enjoy?

  1. Orville Redenbacher SmartPop! Kettle Korn
  2. Brie on Blue Diamond Pecan Thins
  3. Olives (garlic or feta stuffed in particular)
  4. Flourless chocolate cake
  5. Peanut butter M&Ms

5 songs you know all the lyrics to
This is kinda hard, because I don’t necessarily remember that I know the lyrics to any particular song unless I’m singing along.

  1. “The Revolution Starts Now” by Steve Earle
  2. “Mark Rothko Song” by Dar Williams
  3. “America, America” by Libby Roderick
  4. “Statue of Jesus” by the Gear Daddies
  5. “Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi” by Jim White

5 things you would do if you were a millionare

  1. Quit my job
  2. Pay off my mortgage
  3. Buy slightly larger (maybe even 800 sq ft!) condo or loft in the same neighborhood – I want indoor parking
  4. Travel in Europe
  5. Bike across the US

5 bad habits

  1. Blowing off exercise
  2. Eating Orville Redenbacher SmartPop! Kettle Korn
  3. Drinking too much wine
  4. Being impatient
  5. Constantly applying Un-Petroleum Vanilla Lip Balm

5 things I like doing

  1. Reading
  2. Knitting
  3. Bicycling
  4. Playing Diablo II in the winter
  5. Hanging out with friends and family

5 things you would never wear, get new, or buy new again

  1. Bell bottoms
  2. Leg warmers
  3. Tube tops
  4. Thong underwear
  5. High heels

Tag 5 people

  1. Ana
  2. “me” from Bermuda
  3. Eileen
  4. Jeanne – even tho she probably won’t play :p
  5. Hickmama


Jeanne got a picture of me taking a picture of her the other night. Am I glad she just had her camera phone! You’re going to go look at that picture, and all you’re going to have to say about it is “my, what large hands you have there, Chris.”

Bamboozelle is blocking as I type:

Yup, that would be a square Rubbermaid container under there – 680 ml, if you’re particularly curious.

Chaos didn’t particularly care that I finished knitting Bamboozelle:

“Heh. You read the finishing directions yet? Heh. Come back and talk to me when you get through that bit. And where’s the i-cord, eh?”

He was much more interested in tracking down his lost fetch toys:

“I’m sure it ricocheted off my paw into here, but I just…can’t…quite…reach…”

My coworker Rose gave me a very funny book for Christmas: How to Live with a Neurotic Cat. Hmm… wonder what gave her the idea…

Why, yes, that is me reflected in the background (remember the giant living room mirror?).