Roughing it at home


I probably don't mind moving as much as some people do. In general, I have a slight pack rat mentality, but when it comes time to pack boxes, I'm a drill sergeant. While there are exceptions, my general rule is that if I haven't seen it, thought about it, touched, or used it in at least a year, it's probably something I don't need in my life. This is rather refreshing to me, though it does mean that I end up needing to re-buy things I may have tossed by accident. Leo is also a bit of a pack rat, but his philosophy is "Throw it in a box or trash bag and we'll sort it out at the new place."

We diverge greatly on this topic. I say, “Why move something I don't want or need?” But his take is "Let's make SURE we don't need it. Better safe than sorry." This makes for rather comical packing sessions. Picture Marnie approaching a pile of items that need to be sorting for either packing or Goodwill. Marnie begins heaping EVERYTHING in the Goodwill pile. Old family heirloom: Goodwill. Free CD from bar visited a year ago: Goodwill. Wine glasses so delicate that we never use them because we keep breaking them: Goodwill. If it has been tucked away in a dark cabinet for a year or more, it gets little more than a passing glance before heading into the pile. And then Leo turns around to say something to me. His eyes grow large as they land upon some cherished whatnot in the pile, then another. I already know what's coming and I yell, "TAKE NO PRISONERS!" But then he gets those puppy dog eyes as he snatches something dear from the pile. I relent.

Though, on the other end of the spectrum, when it comes to books, I'm like a mother with too many children. I know I can't possible house and care for them all but every one of them is dear to my heart. Leo took to packing the books himself and threatened to toss them all, their numbers were so great. "Don't you dare!" I exclaimed. All of a sudden, this drill sergeant went soft.

We have agreed, though, to get rid of most of our old furniture, some dating back to well before Leo and I met. This is mostly because we couldn't really justify the cost of moving it and after going from several places in Boston to Burbank and then to Playa Del Rey, it was all starting to get a bit tired. So between periods of scrubbing down the house to get it ready for moving out, I've been trying to sell this stuff on Craigslist.

This all keeps me fairly busy, but between all that, I do have some time to fill. With no TV or radio, I've been getting a lot of reading done, listened to a few audio books, and of course, I've been knitting and spinning.

The Silky Wool top is cranking along at a good pace. Isn't the stitch definition great? I’m probably another inch or so past what you see here. I’m experimenting with the construction of this piece a little which will become more apparent once I finish this main body piece.

I've been trying to spin some Yak from the Bellwether sampler. This is definitely not going as well as the Pygora, but I'm getting the hang of it.

And for a little bit of exercise, while I'm stuck at the house waiting for the next prospective buyer, I've been using this baby.

It's an Indo Board, and one of the few examples of something Leo is ready to give up and I want to keep. I don't do any sort of board sport but I find it terribly fun to risk my neck playing with this. As a responsible blogger, I need to go on record as saying that you are, indeed, risking injury using this and while I find it fun, I recommend that if you do try one, you do so at your own risk.
We have wall to wall carpeting which makes this less perilous to use. A grassy lawn would offer even more security. I’ll play around with it for a few minutes here and there just to get my blood moving and the next day my tush and abs will be just a little achy (in a good way.)

It’s a bit stressful being away from Panda and Leo, it’d be a lot more fun to do all this stuff together, but we’ve been making the best of the situation and time is flying by with all there is left to do.

Oh and the best news of all, it looks like I may be able to keep my current job and work remotely from Portland until the end of the year. Talk about taking a load off my mind.

Like classic knitting burlesque


I could throw out the now ubiquitous term "knitting porn" but I wouldn't want to sully these amazing images that way. This is definitely high class burlesque.

My friend Bill did some consulting for a company in an old mill building in NH. Inside, they had this knitting machine.

It's a Vanguard Supreme, and I can't stop looking at it. Versions of it are still made today and it appears to be used for knitting things in the round.

If you are as smitten as I am, take a look at the rest of the peep show after the jump.

I loves me some silky wool


I've actually been working on this piece, in dribs and drabs, for a while now. It's not that I'm not enjoying the process, I really love the yarn and the idea I have, I hope, will be great. It'll have princess seams and waist shaping, all things that I think look lovely. I’ve just had so much else going on that it hasn't been a project I could really give the proper focus to, so I knit a row here and there and put it down for a little while.

One thing you'll find about me and my knitting is that I knit almost everything with a provisional cast on, and this project is no exception. I feel like it gives me a lot more options. I can always cast it off normally, if it turns out I don't need those stitches.

Now that most of my worldly goods are in Portland, I'm sans ball winder (until the gracious Ms Julia takes me in on the 15th) so I'm reduced to winding my own center pull balls.

I use an empty prescription pill bottle. If you want to try this at home, look for one that is fairly tall. Circumference doesn’t make a huge difference. Tuck one end of the yarn in the container. Close the container to secure the end then wind as though using a Nostepinne. When you are done, open the bottle and slide off your center pull ball. It's not as convenient as a ball winder, but it works in a pinch.

In move news, Leo and Panda are doing very well in our new home in Oregon. He's already emptied the whole truck by himself.

And Panda has taken to the place like a fish to water. She hung out by our giant tree:

And watches our neighbors from a choice vantage point.

It appears that our lawn could do with some tending, but we'll get to that when we can. For now, I'm just happy to know that everyone is home safe and sound. Pity party is still in overtime but it's winding down a bit.



My Nods to Jaywalker are done and here be the pattern notes.

Pattern: Nod to Jaywalker
Designer: Me with inspiration from Grumperina's Jaywalker
Yarn: 48 grams of Lang Jawoll Jacquard 159. However, I needed a little bit of a second 50g skein in order to complete the socks because I lost some amount of yardage matching the stripes of the two socks.
Needles: US #2 set of 5 DPNs

About: The sock is a standard toe up design with both a short row toe and a short row heel. The chevron is made of sets of paired increases and decreases which, to my eye, give a slightly softer look than the more defined chevron used in Jaywalker. This is in no way better or worse, just different, you know?

The socks are technically a touch too small for me, circumference wise. I worked off my stockinette gauge instead of the gauge of the chevron, but I don't mind it. It doesn't bind at all, it just stretches a bit between the chevrons.

I used a tubular bind off at the top and did so with complete disregard to where the row technically began and ended so I'd have a very deliberate looking last stripe. I think this helps prevent the slight irregularity of self patterning sock yarn.

What the heck am I talking about? Well, instead of waiting until I got to the end of a round to start the bind off, I knit a complete round of my last color (purple) regardless of where that purple color started in the round. When every stitch in the round was purple for a single round, I began the bind off from there. I think this is a nice way to finish these self striping socks. The sock on the left is at that point where I'm about to begin the tubular cast off. I'm mid round, but it doesn't matter because it's where I have a single complete purple round of stitches.

I did something similar with my Peppy Long Stockings only with those, I knit until I completely ran out of the red shade and then did the tubular bind off with the yellow. The effect was not so good. It gives just dots of yellow across the top instead of a nice clean stripe. It just doesn't look as purposeful.

Sorry for the crappy photo. It got dark when I was thinking you might want to actually see a picture of what I meant.

One might ask, "Marnie, why not just bind off at the end of your color stripe of choice, so that the stripe is the same width as it appears throughout the sock?" That would be a splendiferous idea, indeed, but it does pose a challenge. It would mean plotting the exact point where you'd have enough yarn to perform a tubular bind off without going into the next color. It could be done, but would probably require some frogging which is not so fun with tubular bind offs. In the end, the stripe would probably still be off by just a smidge, so why not make it look like you bound it off that way on purpose?

Of course, all these points are moot if you forego the tubular bind off for a more traditional bind off. In that case, frogging is much easier and it may make sense to try to plot the bind off to use up almost the complete last stripe. Just note, you still need to leave a tail to weave in and it should be a tail that matches the area around it.

So the socks are done and I’m working on my silky wool project until I begin some work on a certain someone’s book. More on the the former soon. For the latter, you’ll just have to wait.



I wanted my next post to be about my new socks, but forget that, I'm gonna have myself a pity party and you are all invited. Get your hats and your noise makers, suck the helium out of the balloons and talk like Mickey Mouse, because I have a bad case of the “poor mes” right now.

At 11PM last night I kissed my puppy and Leo goodbye and they drove off into the starlit night for Oregon. And perhaps I cried maybe a bit because a month away from the two of them sound heart wrenchingly lonely. And maybe I worry that they'll be abducted by aliens and I'll never see them again because while I don't actually believe in alien abductions I do believe in horrible unexpected things happening to people I love, so I'm sad. But Leo has been sending me pictures from his phone of the little girl enjoying her trek to lands unknown (at least to us)

The move has been no small feat for us, and the ordeal doesn't end any time soon. To start with, since we are both trying to be frugal and we are moving on different dates, Leo will be unpacking the truck by himself. On the plus side, we've decided to sell most of our larger furniture, but on the downside, we're still keeping both motorcycles, our queen sized mattress and box spring, our 32" TV, and a few other choice back breakers.

As a side note, Leo drew quite a crowd driving the motorcycles up the ramp of a moving truck. I’m pretty sure everyone was waiting for him to fall off the side or crash into the boxes already sitting in back.

Speaking of moving trucks, I'm not going to name any names, but we are not happy with our moving truck experience. The company in question (whose name may rhyme with "poo-ball") has set us off our schedule by a whole day. Originally, we were scheduled to pick up our truck on Monday morning at 9AM. We were supposed to find out which LA office we were to pick up our truck, no later than 5PM on Sunday night. At around 6PM we were informed that they didn't know when or where we'd be able to pick up the truck the next day, that they hadn't even scheduled us a truck yet and that they'd call us on Monday and let us know. We made our reservation over two weeks prior and since one of us still has a job to go to, we were looking at a long couple of days.

So after several hours of listening to hold music and being told by countless customer service reps that the branch office would be notified of the urgency of our need for a truck, we were finally told we could pick up a truck in an office that ended up taking about 45 minutes to get to. Good times.

We worked for two solid days with only the barest minimum of sleep, but we finally got most of what we hoped to pack, into the truck. Now, I need to get all the remaining flotsam and jetsam out of the house (to Goodwill with what we they'll take and to the trash with the rest) then try to sell the furniture on Craig's list.

On the upside, it'll be a lonely and grueling two weeks to get the house in order, but after that, I'm staying with a friend who has graciously offered to drive the scenic route to Oregon with me the weekend of the 26th. We'll be taking a long slow journey up the cost, camping as needed to refresh ourselves and stopping for every scenic view we deem worthy. Since I'm easily amused there may be a lot of stops along the way.

I want to thank you all for attending my pity party. Please feel free to take home any leftovers that you’d like. I definitely won’t eat them all myself. I’ll grab your jackets from the extra room and see you out the front door.

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