Namely me
Tuesday December 05th 2006, 1:25 pm
Filed under: Non-Knitting is one of those way-too-much-fun sites; it takes information from the census bureau. Checking it out, there are 307 men by my husband’s name in the US. When we moved here, there were four in the phone book.

I had someone email me once, wanting to know so she could be enthused with me over my success, whether I was the screenwriter for a Helen Hunt movie which I know nothing about, and so I can’t say whether the name was, indeed, a match. Later, I got congratulations from someone else on getting my article published in a magazine–Vogue Knitting, I think it was? Did that screenwriter take up knitting? I was going, what? I didn’t think–I mean, it’s not like I’m Bob Smith (although my college roommate is married to one.)

So, looking here, it turns out there are nine people in the US named Alison Hyde. If you spell it with two l’s, which I do not, that’s another 17. My little brother’s unique, and my older brother doesn’t exist. There are two people in the whole country with my dad’s name, and I bet I can guess who one of them is.

Vachel’s pattern
Monday December 04th 2006, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Knit

Little Dee is the best comic strip since Calvin and Hobbes left the scene. It doesn’t hurt that Vachel, the vulture, is a knitter. He’s also the snarky one (my kids may now commence teasing.) If you go to you’ll see Vachel’s pattern, which doesn’t work for a straight-line pattern, but if you’re trying to knit a vulture’s wing, it’s perfect.

Watch out for those ears
Sunday December 03rd 2006, 2:39 pm
Filed under: Knit

I grew up in a contemporary house that doubled as an art gallery, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the woods out back for the natural light to flow over the paintings and the hand-dyed handwoven wool tapestries. I have always liked being surrounded by color.

So that’s my excuse.

Reading Franklin’s blog about the moment he decided he was going to knit himself lime-green socks if he felt like wearing lime green socks, so there, I was laughing, thinking, the umbrella hat!

It was maybe eight years ago. We had the kids back in Washington, DC visiting both sets of grandparents and playing tourist. All the things that were just simply there and taken for granted for my husband and me, growing up, were things new and unexplored to our kids. So. Time to go see the museums, look at the pandas, and ride the Metro with them.

We were standing in line at the US Mint, and it started to drizzle. We’ve lived in California long enough now to become stupid and forget to pack any rain gear. It doesn’t rain in summer here. Period. It rains October to April and then forgets how for six months, and when it does rain, it’s always ocean-fog cold. So here we were that July, we were starting to get rained on, which is no big deal, unless you happen to have several thousand dollars worth of electronics in your ears that you can’t get wet. I took my aids out and put them in my purse, but that meant being deaf until my hair dried again; it was too short to pull back, too long to keep off my ears. I would miss anything they might say on the mint tour if this kept up, and it clearly was only going to rain harder. Great.

Just then I noticed that the street vendor hawking his wares to his captive audience in that line, standing a little forward from us, had umbrellas in his lineup. Only, they were hats, too. You open up this small vivid multi-colored half-beachball thing and instead of a full handle it goes to a tight elastic band to put around your head. Look, Ma, no hands! And it was all of two bucks. You won’t go broke.

“Mom, NOOOOO…!” wailed the first teenager to realize what I was thinking. Then the next. Then my husband pitched in, going, “Tell me you’re NOT going to wear that!” But I did. A dollar bill and a few quarters and the deed was done. Cheerfully mortifying one’s teenagers over things of absolutely no consequence is one of the jobs of a good parent.

Nowadays, I pull it out every Halloween, the world’s easiest and most cheerful costume: Mary Poppins meets Jerry Garcia. (Picture later, now, where is that thing?)

Rabbit Tracks, blocked
Saturday December 02nd 2006, 11:27 pm
Filed under: Knit

Here’s what a little water and wire can do for a little baby alpaca. Pattern on my website, with notes in the 11/30 post.

Peer pressure can be a lovely thing
Saturday December 02nd 2006, 1:39 pm
Filed under: Knit

So. I heard from Evelyn at Knitty-Noddy after I wrote that last post. Whether the 939 page views my stats claim my website and blog got yesterday had anything to do with it or what, I dunno, but. Come next Friday or so, she will have her next special order of Sea Silk in Teal arriving. Hey, y’all: enjoy. Shoot a picture for me of whatever you make with it, wouldja? Thanks!

Sea Silk yarn, 70% silk, 30% kelp seaweed
Friday December 01st 2006, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Knit

Months ago, I took a rather expensive chance on a yarn I’d heard only a little about but was quite curious about, where the only way I could get near any was to order it online. I can’t say sight unseen, since there were pictures; how about, touch unfelt? And that is how the two-skein shawl in my book for my younger daughter came to be. Which also means that it’s off at the publisher’s at the moment.

I looked at Knitty Noddy’s website a few weeks ago, and went OOOH!!! I had been wishing severely that there might somehow be a Sea Silk colorway that was a relatively solid-shade teal. (It didn’t exist in Handmaiden Yarns’ dye lineup.) And that I could justify it in our budget right now if there were. Well guess what. Turns out Knitty Noddy had special-ordered some to be created just for them, and there it was right there on my screen. Exactly what I’d wished for. They had four skeins left. It’s that Constance Harker “Color is everything” quote again: I don’t usually go wishing hard after material goods, but this one was really getting to me. But I’d told my husband I would hold off on buying more yarn for the moment, since I certainly have enough baby alpaca and wool to keep me happy.

Given how fast Sea Silk stocks tend to disappear–which I understand now–I knew those skeins would be gone in no time. There’s nothing else I’ve ever felt that feels like this stuff when you’re knitting it, all those hours it’s running through your fingers, and later, when you’re wearing it: nice. Verrrrrry nice. It does smell strongly of silk, being 70%, in case that stops anybody. But anyway. (Repeat the mantra: I have enough yarn to keep me happy.)

So there I was looking at this, my colorway dream come true in my dream yarn, and said to my husband that there wasn’t anything else on earth he could possibly buy me for Christmas or birthday that I’d enjoy more than two skeins of that teal to go play with. That was it. He thought about it, and said, Okay, then, I guess, go ahead and buy it. But no knitting it before then!

Long as I had him agreeing, I said, okay, that’s for Christmas; how about the Sea Shore colorway–just one skein for my birthday? That got me a bit of a growl, and then a, sure, go ahead. He saw the $100 total and winced, and then the deed was done.

So. The box came. I was home, he wasn’t. I…yeah, I did, I opened it, fondled it, and oh-so-dutifully put it back. Just to check out that shade, you know; after all, monitors always differ a bit, you know. Said to him later, how about if I wind it into balls so it’ll be all ready to just zip away with it come the day?

No! No fondling! WAIT. You’re just going to have to wait.

Well, so I sort of wait; I take it out about every third day, pet it some more, and then stuff it back into the box out of sight. Nope nope nope, can’t knit it yet. Back. Nope.

But you know, right now I’m really glad I was born a week early rather than a week late. Thanks, Mom! If ever a yarn deserved to be knitted at the beach, too, while we’re at it… Half Moon Bay on my birthday with that Sea Shore Sea Silk, dear? A romantic lunch or dinner on the… (You won’t mind if I bring my needles with us, right? I’ll need to wind it up; do you think you could hold your hands out while we wait for the main course? I just don’t want to trip the waitress up by putting it around the back of the chair leaned back from the next table over there.) Dear? Dear?