O is for…

Hold that thought for a minute, because first – Lisa of Black Sheep is having a contest: if you pledge in support of her son Brett’s MS 150 bike ride, you’ll be entered in a drawing for something fun.

Some of you might remember that I skipped O in the ABC-Along and I’ve fallen terribly behind – I should be on R, but I haven’t done Q (or O) yet. So, let me present…

O is for Oddity. This ever-so-Odd “knitting machine” is something I found at the thrift store a few years ago and was forced to buy – I sure couldn’t resist the hyperbole:

The KNITTING MACHINE: Knitting! Made fast, easy & beautiful! No knitting experience needed! Knit GRANNY CIRCLES in seconds! Create afghans, pillows, purses and shawls incredibly fast! Patterns for 24 projects included! As seen on TV! Full 1 year warranty!

Wow! Of course, if using this machine means that my living room is going to look like the one pictured on the box and booklet……. Chaos seems pretty skeptical, doesn’t he? (I highly recommend clicking on these pictures to get the full effect from the larger versions.)

“I think you’ve reached a new low here, Mom…”


Hmm, you can see why he was startled, can’t you?! Here’s the machine (made of lovely and sturdy plastic), the project booklet, and a somewhat alarming looking project that the previous owner left in the box. After consulting the booklet, I believe that’s “Peter Pinworm” – I’ll wait while you wipe coffee and Cap’n Crunch off your monitors…

Here’s a page from the booklet, explaining how to knit a “puff” (aka a “knitted granny square,” albeit not square). I’ve always wondered if I could use this thing for making the ever-do-tedious felted bag handles, but based on the warnings, I would have to be very careful with worsted weight yarn… unless it was Orlon. Ewww! I don’t think they make Orlon yarn anymore, do they?! And that’s a good thing…

Manic Random Wednesday

Mostly because I’m feeling wildly disorganized!

SRP Update
Sick as a Parrot by Liz Evans, 327 pages. Ok, ok, I only picked it up because it had a weird title… But now I want to read the rest of the books about British PI Grace Smith… and read them in order!! It was cleverly funny and it kept me guessing up to the end. What’s not to like?

Options to Blogger
Lots of people have been switching from Blogger recently, because of the ongoing frustrations. Carrie K just switched from Blogger to TypePad, and I noticed some questions in her comments about cost and such. Here’s the pricing information for TypePad. You can test drive it for free for 30 days. The basic level ($4.95/mo) includes 100 mb of disk space, and 2 gb of bandwidth per month. For comparison, I’m currently using about 150 mb of disk space (I do use a lot of pictures, but I edit them so they don’t take up as much space as “raw” pictures), and 8 gb of bandwidth per month.

WordPress.com offers free blogs. I poked around their site and couldn’t find any information about disk space and bandwidth restrictions for the free sites – can anyone point me to that information? I do know Frarochvia, EvaLux, and Heather have all recently switched from Blogger to WordPress. I have to say that I really like the look of WordPress blogs better than Blogger blogs, but you know me – I read ’em all! 😉

I’m using WordPress through Dreamhost, which offers an awful lot for $7.95/month: 20 gb of storage, 1 tb (terabyte) of bandwidth/month, free domain registration, up to 675 email accounts (um, yeah, I’m really not taking advantage of that one), free software such as WordPress, and a 97-day money back guarantee. I would recommend that you be at least a bit techy if you go this route.

I’m not sure how Blogger/Google can afford the amount of disk space and bandwidth required to support so many free blogs, so I have to wonder if the problems will get worse, or if storage and bandwidth restrictions will be applied.

Further Rambling
I found two fun books of knitting patterns yesterday at the thrift store. Which baby picture is more odd?!

And here’s where Chaos spends his mornings – from this corner of the living room, he’s able to keep an eye on birds outside the windows:

“Mom! You gave away my secret spot!! I can’t believe you’d do that to me…”

This one’s for Marina, who has been ever so patient

SRP Update
Ok, somehow I didn’t realize SRP ended on Thurday (August 31) and not on Labor Day. D’oh!
Repair To Her Grave by Sarah Graves, 291 pages. Yet another Home Repair Is Homicide Mystery. I might have finished them all now. Or maybe I have one left. Hmm.

Janelle of Eclectic Closet is having a reading-related contest. Leave a comment before September 15 to enter.

I won a contest! It was a surprise contest – apparently I made Valerie’s 100th comment, so she sent me a wonderfully thoughtful package – it’s almost eerie how well she knows me. Check out the purple and black tissue paper and the crazy cat lady card! 😉

A skein of lovely purple Sugar’n’Cream (although, since Valerie suggested it was for a dishcloth and not a bib, I now suspect she’s yet another of y’all on Chaos’ payroll) and some very cool pen bookmarks. Thank you, Valerie!

Ok, poor Marina has been reading for months, waiting for the answer to a question I posed back in January, when I posted this picture and asked if anyone could figure out what was going on here. The cats in question are Chaos’ mom Riley (black) and his brother Diablo (white), taken at my brother’s house last summer – and nope, my brother wasn’t trying to make pressed cats.

These naughty cats jumped between the screen and the glass on the breezeway. The first few times they did it, they were able to push out the screen and escape the house. However, in this picture, they have just discovered that my brother cat-proofed the screens from outside with blocks of wood. These cats are very trapped.

Here’s the the little wooden ledge that my brother had to build to keep the cats from jumping down between the screens:

Sorry you had to suffer through so much purple for that, Marina!

I’m not sure Chaos remembers he has family…

“Just feed me, dammit, and be quick about it! The service in this place is abysmal.”


I had a busy (for me) weekend. I’ll talk about Saturday tomorrow (maybe the yarn will be dry by then!). So on to Sunday, when I met lots of bloggers at the Twin Cities Knitters’ Picnic. Tragically, in my efforts to contain my “cargo” to my tiny bicycle bag, I remembered my knitting but forgot my camera… Whoops. Um, so just imagine 25 or so knitters, sitting around on blankets under a tree in the Lake Harriet Rose Garden, knitting and eating and talking and laughing.

Here are the knitbloggers I met:

Kelle of Knits and Giggles
KnittyMama (I met KnittyBaby! And Little Man! And the Husband Who Has No Blog Nickname Yet!)
Christy of Purling Away, owner of the Minnesota Knitters webring (Christy took pictures!)
A new resident of Minnesota, Moraie Knitting (tragically welcomed by the evil hailstorm of last week)
Rina of Rahardjo Knits (Rina took pictures!)
Nancy of Clicking Sticks
Catherine of Yogurt and Granola
Melissa of HyveTyrant
Rebecca of Onspock
Tipper of Daily Fiber Therapy

Hopefully I didn’t miss anybody!

SRP Update
Tool and Die (323 pages) and Nail Biter (260 pages) by Sarah Graves. The two most recent Home Repair Is Homicide mysteries – with a very startling development in Nail Biter! I sure didn’t see that coming…

Jerry is having a contest to test her Random Knitting Theory #1. Deadline is Friday, September 1.

Here’s my entry for the contest: I knit continental, sometimes combination and sometimes using Norwegian purling, depending on the situation. Oh yeah, and it’s awfully hard to take pictures of your own hands!

Chaos could not be reached for comment on today’s blog post.


In which Chaos receives a love letter

Argh! I screwed up the link to Danielle’s contest yesterday… Thanks to Jeanne for letting me know. Here’s the contest info again: Danielle won a big ol’ bag of yarn from Mason-Dixon Knitting and is celebrating by having her first contest! Leave a comment for her, guessing what she’s knitting (toadstools maybe??) before noon on Tuesday, August 29.

Ok, Marina alerted me to one of the most mind-boggling garments ever, as photographed by Susan of therainysisters.com. You’ll scroll down through many lovely pictures of Susan’s award-winning State Fair knitting, but keep going until you just have to stop and say, “WTF?!” You’ll know which picture. I’ll wait……….. Ok, wouldn’t that be fun to wear someplace dressy?? Hee hee. Sock monkey insanity…

Deb and I took Annie Modesitt’s combined knitting class at Creative Fibers last night. (Amy couldn’t make it because she was sick – get better soon, Amy!) So I often knit combined (picking/continental) already – you cannot beat it for speedy seed stitch in the round. Or, as I realized last night, ribbing back and forth. I picked up some tips on combined knitting decreases and we also learned to cable without a cable needle, which is very slick indeed.

But the most exciting part of the class? Getting there. Right as I was about to leave, a mighty storm assaulted Minneapolis. It didn’t look like the sort of weather I should go out into, but darn it, I had a class to get to… Memorable images from the drive include water geysering several feet up out of a storm drain, people with their pant legs rolled up and carrying their shoes wading across streets in knee-deep water (when it’s raining that hard, I’m not sure what the benefit to carrying your shoes is), and having to turn around and take a different route because the water was too deep for my low slung car. No pictures, because I was far too busy clutching the steering wheel and peering out past the flailing wipers, looking out for deep water.

So, you’re probably all curious about the aforementioned love letter. It was sent anonymously, signed only “Miss Kitty,” and reads:

My Dearest Chaos, For some time now I have been reading your blog on-line and each day I fall in love with you a little more. You are so handsome and regal, even when you are subjected to cruel tortures such as modeling bibs for your mommy. I know we can never be together, but I shall always love you from afar. Always, Miss Kitty. P.S. I hope you like the gift. I saw it in the store and of course thought of you.

The gift is a little collar tag that says “PURRfect.”

When asked who this could possibly be from, the Chaos Kitty merely looked coy and a bit smug.

“Hard to say. Chicks dig me, you know.”

The rest of the (bib) story

I survived the switch upgrade, which didn’t finish until 5 am. I didn’t have to work yesterday, but I ended up only getting 3 hours of sleep because I had a plumber coming by at 9 am. At least I got to bed early last night and feel pretty darn good today.

Danielle won a big ol’ bag of yarn from Mason-Dixon Knitting and is celebrating by having her first contest! Leave a comment for her, guessing what she’s knitting (toadstools maybe??) before noon on Tuesday, August 29.

Norma’s gearing us up for the Red Scarf Project 2007, which will have its own blog this time around. Anyone who knits a red scarf to donate to the RSP and posts a picture to the blog will be eligible to win prizes, such as a skein of handdyed yarn from Scout! Both Norma and Scout have great explanations of how to save one of the many button choices to your own server and get it into your sidebar. That was something which completely mystified me when I started blogging, so take advantage of the info!

Cheryl’s having a contest to guess who will win the Wing of Moth shawl knit-off.

SRP Update
Mallets Aforethought by Sarah Graves, 294 pages. Another Home Repair Is Homicide mystery. I enjoy this series, but I’m not making any effort to read them in order – which I would if I felt passionately about them (like the J.D. Robb mysteries… mmmm… Roarke…). Anyway, I think this book had a relatively large “continuity” gap near the end. Hmm.

And now, the rest of the bib story alluded to yesterday…

“I can’t believe I fell for this again! The shame…”

“Nor can I bear to look at this thing… it’s so girly.

“Watch my fancy footwork as I begin my escape!”

“I am but a blur!”

“Whew, that was tiring…”

“Wait, it’s still there?! Not for long…”

“Ha! I triumph yet again!”


The switch upgrade continues on… *yawn*

Sonja is having a contest to tell her the most creative story about why the Mona Lisa in Lion Brand’s ads is smiling. You have plenty of time to leave her a comment – she’s not selecting the winner until October 1.

Hopefully I’ll make it to the Twin Cities’ Knitters picnic this Sunday. Anyone else going? Here are the details:

The Twin Cities’ Knitters picnic: Sunday August 27, 2006, from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at the Lake Harriet Rose Gardens in Minneapolis (4125 East Lake Harriet Parkway). “Bring your blanket, your picnic lunch and – of course – your knitting! We’ll meet under the trees behind the Rose Gardens (closer to Kings Highway than Lake Harriet). Visit the Minneapolis Park & Rec Board Rose Garden page for more information and a map to the location.”

Look what I made (Sugar’n’Cream patio pinks, top down) – really, the parents keep raving about how great these bibs are, so what’s a knitter to do?!

Little does Chaos suspect what excitement awaits him…

“Mmmm… sunbeam…”

Moderne log catin

I might have to work on a switch upgrade tonight, which means working overnight. I won’t know until later today. But maybe I’ll have the chance to get caught up a bit on bloglines, trying to stay awake.

Thursday evening, I’m taking a class on combination knitting from Annie Modesitt at Creative Fibers. Hopefully I won’t get kicked out of class, since I’m taking the class with notorious troublemakers Amy and Deb!

SRP Update: Love You Madly by Linda Palmer, 307 pages. Book three of this relatively new series about soap opera writer Morgan Tyler continues to be enjoyable… and not just because she has a black kitten. 😉

In addition to the Regia Silk sock, I’ve been plugging away on the Moderne Log Cabin Baby Blanket. I’m about 2/3 done with the pair of intarsia blocks on the right. Then I just have another pair of narrow intarsia blocks (burgundy and olive) to add to the top before I can start the tan edging. Project Spectrum tan!

*sniff sniff* “Hmm, is there something under here?”



If you’re in the Twin Cities and you’re planning to attend the Mountain Goats concert at the Triple Rock Social Club on Thursday, September 14, please let me know! Right now I’m going alone.

A while ago, I asked if anyone was going to be at the Taos Wool Festival (October 7-8), as it will be one of my stops on the Knitblogger’s Fall Tour I have planned for myself. If you are on the path between Minneapolis and Albuquerque and going to be around from September 30 – roughly October 15 or so, please leave me a comment or send an email to chris at this domain. I’m trying to get my exact schedule and route figured out – currently, I have stops planned in Ft Collins, Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque, and Taos (for the festival), although not specific dates yet.

SRP Update
He Huffed and He Puffed (250 pages), Good King Sauerkraut (214 pages), and You Have the Right To Remain Silent (249 pages) by Barbara Paul. These were the second, third, and fourth NYPD Lt Marian Larch mysteries. The second and third Marian Larch mysteries are described on the covers as “mysteries with Marian Larch” – she is definitely not the main character. In fact, in He Huffed and He Puffed, I wasn’t sure it was a Marian Larch book for the longest time! You Have the Right To Remain Silent is the first book in which Marian Larch is as important as the crime she’s investigating. This book could also be described as The Apostrophe Thief, part one.
Love Is Murder by Linda Palmer, 275 pages. This is the first Morgan Tyler (soap opera writer) mystery and even though I have absolutely no interest in daytime drama, I’m definitely enjoying this series (which I am unfortunately reading out of order). I’m about to start the third book in the series, which I hope will feature the black kitten she acquired in book 2. 🙂

Belated Saturday Sky… So belated that I took the picture Sunday evening! This is a view of downtown Minneapolis from the south shore of Lake Calhoun.

And to prove that I actually do knit sometimes, here’s my charcoal grey Regia Silk waffle sock for Project Spectrum – now with more cat butt than ever!

Eye Candy Friday with Random Bits

Ok, although I’m not officially a part of Eye Candy Friday, I thought this overgrown motorcycle in our alley was pretty cool. It reminds me of a Charles de Lint story, maybe something from the Borderland

SRP Update
The Renewable Virgin by Barbara Paul, 215 pages. The first Marian Larch mystery (1984)! Bless the Minneapolis Public Library system for maintaining mystery series integrity. (Yes, Cute Library Guy was there, but I was too shy to talk to him… I know, I’m a dork.)

I’m liking the charcoal Regia Silk in the waffle pattern (two rounds of knit 2, purl 2 ribbing, then two plain rounds). Hopefully I make a lot of progress on it over the weekend so that it seems worth photographing. This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but my Cabernet Adamas shawl is still a ball of yarn and likely to remain that way for a while, so no more Amazing Lace for me. And I still need to knit some Bitchin’ (baby) Mittens – yikes! Oh well, at least I finished the TrekAlong, right?!

In other personal knitting news, I had a pattern accepted by MagKnits for the December issue! All I’m going to say about it is that you can make the project from a single ball of Kureyon…

I still have a few more local purple architectural features to take pictures of, but to tide me over until I get around to it, Trek sent me this purple house from New Jersey. We should all forgive her for the slightly illegal action she took to get this photo, becase I love this house. Thanks, Trek!

And how could we end the week without a little Chaos, looking ever-so-sweet after his shenanigans of a few days ago… Have a great weekend, everyone!

“Whatever do you mean, Mom? I am the very soul of sweetness and innocence!”