Oh brother


My brother, Matt, came to Portland this weekend, with his adorable girlfriend, Aileen.

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Their visit was a whirlwind of thrift stores and rummage sales and we saw very little of them but what we did see, was great fun.

Whilst M&A were off in distant towns, roller skating and buying This American Life paint by number kits, Leo and I were taking Thea for her first trip into downtown Portland to visit the Saturday Market (albeit, on Sunday.)


And while we were there, I was craving a hot dog, slathered in mustard.


Don't judge me.

Sunday, all the humans decided to see what sort of nightlife was available and Portland didn't let us down, though, admittedly, the crowds were much smaller than on a normal night out.

We had live Irish music, greasy eats and good beer, over at Kells


After that, we decided to do a little dancing at Boxxes, the club across the street from M&A's hotel. For some reason, two women came into the club, walked to the bathrooms, stripped to their unmentionables, and walked back out to mingle. After a few minutes, they put their dresses back on.


One wonders what necessity there was in going into the bathroom first.
There's also the general "why?" question that was running through my head.
But Leo and Matt didn't seem to mind.

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After shaking our bonbons a bit, we all headed off to our respective accommodations.

There's a lot we didn't get to do while Matt and Aileen were here, so hopefully they'll be back soon. I'll even forgive Aileen for not liking dogs, since she is so crafty (in the good way) and fun.

More dogs, less knitting.


This, from my non-knitting friends.

I know, madness.

Still, I'm nothing if not accommodating.

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I ran these by a focus group (Leo) and apparently they went over a like a lead balloon. Since customer satisfaction is key here at Marnie, Speak! I thought I'd made a special LOLdog just for him.

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Most pictures may be clicked to enlarge.

Since the last tutorial on using Excel for pattern writing, I've refined a lot of how I manage my spreadsheets. I've been playing around with different formulas in Excel to find ways to make pattern writing easier. You know what that means, another tutorial.

Download the spreadsheet and play along at home. I'll be making references to various parts of the spreadsheet so go ahead and open this baby up.

NOTE: The attached spreadsheet is just a sample and contains measurements that may be useful but which may not meet the standards for some publications. You are welcome to use what I have for your own design purposes but it'll be you who has to ultimately support any patterns written from it, so do your research first.

Special notes:
I've used Ysolda's measurement chart as a reference for many of the basic sloper measurements.
I'm using Amy O'Neill Houck's tutorial on estimating yardage to create my yardage estimation formulas.

The goal

So, like last time, I'm just giving you instructions for a basic shell. All the same formulas can be used to build sleeves. Just use this as a starting point.

A rough schematic of what we are shooting for

Honey versus Vinegar


NOTE: This post is sort of a rant and a long one at that. For the sake of all of you who have better things to read, I'm including some random eye candy that you should feel free to look at instead.


Recently, Annie posted about needing to take a little breather from teaching after an unpleasant email. I wanted to write her and tell her not to take it personally but I can't because I would have responded the same way. It seemed like such eerie timing because I recently received a rather terse string of emails from someone working on one of my patterns that gave me that same sort of feeling about designing. No, I'm not hanging up my knitting needles and Excel spreadsheets, but it was still one of those interactions that made me feel like "why bother?"

If a little is good a lot is better


After all your sweet encouragement and suggestions, I decided to order pretty much every photo you guys recommended to me.


And, actually, I also got this shot printed, but when I laid these out to take the shot, I was being so gentle handling the prints that I didn't notice it was sitting right behind one of the other shots.

So that's 18 pictures printed and I think I'll enter them all and just round the donation up to $20, since it all goes to support the Humane Society. Yay.

I'm definitely not expecting to win first prize, but I think I have a shot at one of the 2nd or 3rd prizes, which would be nice.

Meanwhile, we're having some seriously summery weather up here in Portland right now. Yesterday, I decided to play hooky from work (is it hooky if you ask your boss if you can take a vacation day, last minute?) and spend some time knitting and playing with the pups.

We went on over to Lost Park and played a little fetch in the sun.

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That's right girls, you run, run like the dickens.

Oh at first, Thea was all kinds of frisky, running around, playing keep away, and tug-o-war. But it wasn't long before the hot hot weather had her tuckered out.

Sooo tired, must put head on ground

They had themselves a nice long drink of water after that. Of course, as soon as I picked up the squirrel again, they were sure they wanted to run some more, but I thought it'd be good to give them a little rest.

On our way out of the park, we got a nice surprise. Leo had stopped by to give the girls a kiss. He was out to put some gas in Leela (the bike) and took a little detour to see us.


Sexy! A great way to end a nice run in the park.

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