Saturday, September 29, 2007


My fellah is so sweet. I think he sees all this knitting stuff as just a bit eccentric, to say the least. Yet, to his credit, he bought me a book last Christmas, Speed Knitting by Kris Percival. It's full of easy and fast patterns.*

Thermal has been creeping along, so I turned to a project from Speed Knitting. It's busting some novelty yarn from the stash, using up some frogged mystery yarn from my very first (and quite ugly) scarf, and providing me with an excellent excuse to knit with bamboo yarn for the first time, and can I tell you how in love I am with bamboo?

This is the Sea Foam Shawl:

photo (c) Sheri Giblin

And here's what I've got so far:

I'm almost halfway there. And I'm kind of hmmmm about it. I want to believe! I want to have faith. And still.

Help me out with the poll at left, will you?

*Truth be told, the directions could be better; gauge is always stated as "about x stitches per inch," and the yarn used in the pictures isn't given until the very end.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

About an apostrophe

Last night after coming home exhausted from the second of two jobs (and I'm straining myself with the effort of not discussing either of them here), I finished off the last few pages of Bridget Jones's Diary before falling asleep.

So many women adore that book, including some of my friends, who say, "She's just like me!" or, "I'm just like her!" or, "I do exactly the same things!"

Everyone's neurotic, sure, but that's Bridget's only real characteristic. I'd like to take this opportunity to tell my friends that whether they do or do not obsessively, illogically, and inaccurately count calories, they are each of them more interesting than Bridget Jones. They are interested in things like literature, baseball, football, nerd conventions, astronomy, politics, charitable activities, and so on. My former roommate (confirmed bipolar and possibly borderline sociopath) is like Bridget Jones.

But that's not what this post is about. You see, it's about the title: Bridget Jones's Diary.

1. It's italicized, not in quotes. You place the titles of longer works in italics and of shorter works (like a song or a TV episode) in quotes.

2. The apostrophe is correct as written. Jones's. I see far too often that people flinch in the face of singular possessive with a noun ending in an -s. Stop being so gunshy, people! It is not "Jones'." That construction would never happen. If there were more than one Jones, it would be "Joneses'." Our singular (or singleton) Jones gets an apostrophe-s at the end of her name.

In short, I am going to borrow Hans's motorbike, put a hook through the bass's mouth, and remember the lovely caress's feel.

True, language changes. I don't mind that. But let it change as it needs to: adopt new phrases, welcome new vocabulary, and entertain new constructions. Language should evolve because we use it to describe a changing world and changing circumstances.

It should not change because people are too lazy or, dare I say it, dumb to understand an extremely basic rule of grammar.

Grammar rules are there because good writing is polite. Good punctuation is a courtesy, making it easy for me to understand what on earth you're trying to say. If you can learn which fork to use first at the table (it's the one on the outside, folks), then you can fix that silliness with the apostrophes.

Disclaimer: This post was written by the former assistant editor of a national magazine, someone who enjoyed full lunch breaks of shared rants about the proper uses of a comma with her colleagues. She's become necessarily passionate about these things.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

For all your organic produce


I give you the Saturday Market Bag by Jodie Danenberg, from Magknits.

Up close, you can see that the yarn used for the body is actually speckled with color.

I used 1 completed 2 oz. ball of Lily Sugar 'n Cream Ombre Potpourri (100% cotton) for the body, and a bit of a larger ball of Sugar 'n Cream in natural color (sorry, lost the ball band).

As you can see, the bag stretches quite a bit. To that end, and to avoid seaming, I made the following changes to the pattern:

  • I knit the bag in the round, casting on 68 stitches. Sixty-eight is a bit arbitrary, but it is small than the 90 called for in the pattern, and it's an even number, which you need to knit this in the round. Thanks to this thread for getting me off to a good circular start.
  • I followed disdressed's suggestions and knit two handles instead of one.
  • There is actually one fewer repetition in the body.

Check out the stretch on this baby. Below is the bag holding three full jars of Grey Poupon. (Why do I have three jars of Grey Poupon, you ask? That's a long story involving a former part-time telecommuting marketing job.)

I suggest that beginners wait just a bit before trying this pattern. The "lace background stitch" was tricky to figure out, and not my favorite to work. In fact, while gauge doesn't matter too much on this project, knitting a swatch of the lace will help you read it better when you're midway through the body.

Here's what I think I figured out if you want to translate the lace background stitch into the round:

Rnd 1: yo, *sl 1, k1, yo, psso both, yo* (That second yo is over the needle, not just brought to the front)
Rnd 2: *drop yo, k2*
Rnd 3: k1, yo, *sl 1, k1, yo, posso both, yo*
Rnd 4: *drop yo, k2*

Repeat rnds 3-4 until you feel like stopping. (Say about 12 to 14 rows of lace.)

My stitch marker kept migrating one stitch to the right every other row, so I'm sure I'm confusing myself here somewhere.

I like the finished product. I plan to contribute it as a last-minute addition to my church's silent auction benefitting the Four Corners Mission Team, which I'm joining in October on their trip to Shiprock, NM. This is perhaps a copyright violation, but if you're out there, Jodie, I hope you don't mind? It's for charity.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

And she's IN.

I have finally received my invitation to Ravelry, and yes, it sucked the last two days from my life. I love it. For those who are part of that really huge woolly party, my ID is Cobbalicious. Please find me; I'm having fun!

And here's something I ripped from the blog of Moon Tea (I don't think these people know I rip from them...). I don't know where it originated. A curious list of titles, but the original reader is a woman after my own heart.


Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read. Italicize the ones you want to read. Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.

Movies don’t count!!!!!

And Cobbalicious added a little something extra: put in red the books I loved, and put in gray those I hope to save my friends from wasting their time on.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
3. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
4. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
5. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
8. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
9. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
10. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
11. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden): Starting it 3 times has got to count for something!
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25 . Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible (Okay, not every single book, but just about!)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Currently, my right wrist is bothering me (thus limiting my knitting, poo!), so I am reading The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia A. McKillip and loving it.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


I came home from a "couples shower" (about which I shall say little) this afternoon to discover a deceased... oh, goodness help me... cockroach on the floor of my bathroom.

This is vastly preferred to finding a living roach anywhere, but all the same. Now I have to dispose of its awful, leggy carcass.

Please see poll at left. I shall do my part to rid my home of the thing before the poll closes.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thrill of the Day

At noon today, I won my first close-call e-bay auction. I bought the following:

It's 1050 yards of hand-dyed Tencel. I plan to make a lacey stole or something like that with it.

This was the first time I engaged in a bidding war in the remaining few seconds before the auction ended. My fellah, a true e-bay proficient, stood over my shoulder and coached me through the winning moments.

You wouldn't believe the grand burst of euphoria you get from beating out other bidders. No, I'm not exaggerating. I shrieked and then giggled for 30 seconds. It was an exceptional adrenaline rush. I haven't felt its equal since the '99 college track conference championships. (I was a last-minute substitute for the 400 x 4 relay. Our anchor won the race by mere inches. Whoosh!)

I mean, for $14.59, not only do I get a very pretty bunch of laceweight yarn. As a writer, I also get a nifty new simile: "The rush in her belly felt like the thrill of winning an e-bay auction." What a kick!

As for writing... I fell off the wagon this week, neglecting my writing for teaching a class on Wednesday, attending First Thursday, and working out Friday. But I'm back on board now. Expect the next big project to include more of those realistic touches like bunnies vs. whales, bulldozer drivers on a mission, and that secret subway line in New York you always knew was there. Sweet, huh?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Quick! Everybody get angry about something!

First Thursday is a monthly event on S. Congress, when the stores stay open late and cheesy vendors hawk their crocheted berets (sorry, but en masse even I find them a bit silly) or light-up photographs of the state capitol.

Last night, the fellah and I were enjoying First Thursday. He bought a wooden bowl from India. ("I wish I didn't have a bowl fetish," he says.) I bought size 9 dpn from Hill Country Weavers at 20% off and (I really shouldn't have) this blue vintage dress, also on sale, for only $27 (but it fits and it's cute!).

We made our way through the doom-and-gloom, fire-and-brimstone preachers in bad suits who were threatening us with hell unless we converted to Christianity. We disregarded their poorly designed flyers and laughed somewhat smugly at their expense, as they really ought to have wondered if perhaps one might both be Christian and attend First Thursday at the same time.

Then, at the very next corner, a guy with floppy hair was handing out poorly designed flyers advertising a protest at the state capitol on Sept. 11. It said, "If you can't make it to New York this Sept. 11, don't worry!"

I was a bit confused. "What are you protesting?" I asked him.

"Oh. Lots of things. Environmental policies, you know. There's going to be lots of stuff at the protest."

Dear me.

I do love free speech.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Thermal, you're crimpin' my style. Geroff the needles already!

I can't start either my faux Montmartre or that Sea Foam Shawl until you're done. You see, I have only one 24" interchangeable cord for my circular needles, and you're hogging it, lady.

(Yup. That's six weeks of work, right there.)

It also cuts down on that about which I can blog. Perhaps a picture of a finished object, to cheer myself up?

So simple. Just some 2x2 ribbing in Joann Petalo (60% cotton, 40% nylon, 50 g, 65 yards, 1.5 skeins used), bought on sale over a year ago and probably discontinued. Looks much nicer than I expected from novelty yarn.

This scarf goes to a friend (sorry to ruin the surprise, dear), the first of what I hope are several gifts that use up the stash. I have enough for a second, slightly longer scarf. Any takers?