I HAVE JUST FRELLING ORDERED A FRELLING [YARN] SWIFT AND A FRELLING FRELLING NOSTEPINNE. Two days ago I didn’t know what a nostepinne was. I think I’ve seen the word somewhere and assumed I was too young/old and that ignorance might not be bliss but was probably better for the blood pressure and the too easily over-stimulated fantasy-writer’s imagination.* And then I brought up the yarn bowl question on Twitter the other night and someone else started talking about her nostepinne and I’m like whoa, are you sure you want to discuss this in public? **
Diane in MN
Does anyone out there have any useful guidelines for when you cut your losses and frog again and when you soldier on
A glance around my house would reveal that I can tolerate a lot of imperfection in some areas, but I HATE visible mistakes in my knitting and will rip (or tink, if I catch any soon enough) back to get rid of them. More than once, if necessary and if the yarn will take it, if I like the project.
I don’t think I’m a perfectionist about anything any more***. Spending a lot of time and effort at something you’re essentially pretty awful at—let’s say bell ringing—will do that to a person.† But I agree about actual errors. Part One of this particular project has only one really gruesome error which I think would disappear when I got to the seaming-up stage, supposing I got that far—and I left it in because I had NO idea what I had done and therefore no idea how to undo it. But especially on something that is, for me, relatively small-gauge, which is to say 4 mm needles [US size 6], and a non-stretchy yarn, which is this cotton-bamboo stuff I’ve made several baby bibs in and I like it but it’s not very forgiving, the—ahem!—slight variability of my stitch-making starts to show up over time and distance. I ripped out my first couple of bibs once each, but they ended up not too embarrassing.†† This New Secret Project is bigger and . . . well. So I’ve got to the end of Part One and put the wretched thing on a stitch holder—it’s getting so that every time I order yarn††† I automatically order another pair or packet of stitch holders‡—rolled it up and put it aside. I’ll think about it later.
Which leaves me with only ::urglemmph:: other unfinished projects and therefore of course I need to start something NEW!!!!
Which is going to be Manos del Doohickey—I’ve left the tag back at the cottage‡‡—and it’s mostly silk with some wool so it’s NOT VERY STRETCHY again, uh-oh‡‡‡, but I want to make myself a LARGE SQUARE (SOMEWHAT) WOOLLY SCARF. Because I’m tired of how difficult it is to find Large Square Wool Scarves. And the reason this is the particular New Project that leaped to mind—despite the small-gauge-unstretchy thing—is because it will be ACRES AND ACRES OF MINDLESS GARTER STITCH YAAAAAAAAAY. I’m always amused at these high-falutin’ knitters on Ravelry going on about how this or that pattern is too boring because there’s too much garter/stockinette/ribbing. I LOVE GARTER/STOCKINETTE/RIBBING. I tend to knit to calm down. I don’t want to have to think! I don’t want to have to memorize a frelling pattern! I don’t want to figure out why my sleeve-shaping decreases look like tiny stairs rather than a nice smooth line like in the frelling photos! I just want to keep looping the yarn around the needles!!!
But first I need to wind these wretched hanks into something I can use. . . .
* * *
* I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I nostepinne in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.
Not all of Monty Python is totally deathless and mesmerising, in my cranky^ opinion, but I would have trampled a few grandmothers to have written that particular piece of dialogue. Although some of my attitude problem may be due to having a few issues with Monty Python. For some reason. I mean, it could have been Sir Rupert. For example.
Minstrel: [singing] Brave Sir Robin ran away…
Sir Robin: *No!*
Minstrel: [singing] bravely ran away away…
Sir Robin: *I didn’t!*
Minstrel: [singing] When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled.
Sir Robin: *I never did!*
Minstrel: [singing] Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out.
Sir Robin: *Oh, you liars!*
Minstrel: [singing] Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat. A brave retreat by brave Sir Robin.
^ And easily grossed out. Just by the way.
*** Although I still want my socks to match what I’m wearing, even if nobody but me is going to see them. Or nobody but me, Peter and the hellcritters none of whom care. I care.
† Circumstances are not helpful. Last Wednesday due to the very mixed assortment of ringers who turned up for practise I rang ONCE. ONCE. I got a lot of knitting done. Speaking of knitting. On Sunday afternoon there were eight of us. Which meant we all had to ring all of the time. Which since most of us were the weak end was a trifle challenging for the ringing master and I was somewhat drily amused to note that I was being relied on to hold it together in a way that I would not have been if he’d had any choice. You know I would get to holding-it-together better sooner if I got more practise time in. Sigh.
†† And I finally asked one of the recipients if the thing, you know, WORKED? Because babies keep getting born, in the alarmingly incessant way of babies, and bibs are something I can, apparently, do. Yes, he said. It’s very chewable, and it goes through the washing machine fine.
††† Not that this would be often or anything
‡ And another frelling tape measure. What do I DO with tape measures?!? Is there a Tape Measure Planet like there is an Odd Sock Planet?
‡‡ Oh please. What is Google, chopped liver?
‡‡‡ McKinley, not that we expect you to be relentlessly intelligent or anything, but the two most outstanding unfinished projects^—which is to say well enough started to count as ‘unfinished’, which are First Cardi and First Pullover, are NICE REASONABLY LARGE GAUGE STRETCHY FORGIVING WOOL, you meatloaf, why don’t you go FINISH ONE OF THEM?^^
^ Plus legwarmers. I think I’m on my fifth pair. You know this weather may be my fault. It’s the middle of May, WE MAY HAVE AN OVERNIGHT FROST LATER THIS WEEK+, and I’m knitting legwarmers.
+ And I am not going to dig up my petunias/begonias/gladiolas/dahlias/osteospermums, so I hope they FRELLING COPE. Maybe I could lay some legwarmers over them.
^^ And the current not-given-up-on-yet Secret Project is also mostly wool.
Somebody tell me why a bull terrier counts as a mastiff type? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mastiff_Type_Breeds *
Is this the Funny Face category or something? Although I was interested that part of the description is that while these dogs have been put to a variety of purposes, they are most often used for guarding because they generally have a strong guarding instinct. Pav is a surprisingly good guard dog, not something I was expecting.** The hellhounds are hopeless guard dogs.*** And on the one hand you think, if it came to that, how seriously is anyone going to take something about fourteen inches high at the shoulder and weighing not quite thirty pounds? And on the other hand you look at that bull terrier head, even the small, streamlined version, so clearly built for biting, and, having bitten, holding on, and possibly you think . . . uh. I quite like my shins in their current configuration, and having feet on the ends of my ankles. Maybe I’ll go burgle someone else.
Meanwhile: there is a small earnest explosion in response to All Suspicious Noises,† which, if it happens in her crate, is all very well, but if she’s in your lap at the time it can be a trifle disconcerting. She means it too: most of the time there’s a twinkle in that sweet, evil little eye††, especially when she’s having a go at the slippers you foolishly left in the middle of the floor or the shopping bag you’re trying to carry in your non-lead-holding hand††† but she is all business when she’s Responding to a Threat, and if I tell her to shut up too soon she will remain on alert, giving me a brief pitying look because I am not taking her professional assessment seriously enough.‡ I write fantasy so I may be imagining some of this‡‡, but it sure seems to me that the best way to get her to shut up is to appear to be listening intently to whatever it is she’s hearing, and then relax. Oh, she says. Well, if you say so. And she stands down.‡‡‡ Of course if it’s some legitimate disruption, like, say, the delivery man bringing my latest consignment of on-sale yarn,§ or Raphael the archangel come to sort out the latest 4,715 little peculiarities across my range of demon-possessed technology§§, there is an interesting metamorphosis from Red alert! Red Alert! Woop woop woop woop woof! to, Hey! There’s something going on! The hellhounds are having FUN and I’m NOT! Let me OUT OF HERE!§§§
* * *
* But when I tried to click on an outside link I got this:
You don’t have permission to access /m/articles/view/Molosser-and-Rare-Breeds-List-Part-1 on this server.
Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Cheez. What is this, the secret Homeland Security site about the creation of a new breed of anti-terrorist dogs which can leap tall buildings with a single bound and when stressed put out a pheromone that neutralises all explosive material in a 30-foot radius? The FBI has had worse ideas.
** I will now receive a cross email from Olivia saying that she told me. Well, she may well have done, but she hasn’t hit menopause yet and doesn’t know about Menopause Brain.
*** Is it a friend? Is it fun? Can we chase it? . . . Never mind, we’re asleep.
† Some of them inaudible to the third-rate human ear. I will not demean my noble, responsible watchcritter by suspecting that some of them may be imaginary.
†† Southdowner sent me a quote from someone on her bullie list: ‘Flipping through the BTCA Record for 2012. How can you resist a breed praised by judges for “a wonderfully evil expression” and “stunning varminty eyes”?! Somehow I don’t think Labradors or beagles are prized for rottenness…’
††† It has fascinated me for over five decades the way dogs figure out some of what pisses you off but not all. Pav knows perfectly well I’ll come down on her if she bites her lead, for example, or if she runs off with one of those slippers—indeed she runs off with a slipper looking over her shoulder with a wonderfully evil expression in her stunning varminty eyes and she doesn’t just run, she bounds, which is ‘nanny nanny boo boo’ in dog language. But she will not get it about the dirty laundry. When I take a slipper away from her she’s all heh heh heh heh heh. When I take my knickers or my socks away from her she’s all sad and disappointed and it takes her a good two seconds to recover her spirits and find something else to destroy.
‡ The hellhounds may half-open an eye at this point and murmur, You sort her out, Pav, we’re holding the floor down. We need to conserve our strength toward resisting our next meal.^
^ Snarl. —hellgoddess
‡‡ Also I am critter soppy.
‡‡‡ I am not imagining it that she lets me take stuff away from her however. I can put up with a lot of torn knickers and scalloped slippers for the fact that she doesn’t gulp down whatever it is in the two-thirds of a very long second it takes me to reach her end of the long extending lead. In fact chances are she’s just standing there looking resigned. She let me take what proved to be most of half a sandwich away from her today. How amazing is that?^
^ She’s not a bull terrier. She just looks like one. As I keep saying.
§ This is my favourite delivery man. Not only does he actually LEAVE STUFF BEHIND THE GATE THE WAY I ASK DELIVERYPERSONS TO DO^ but he has a dog that rides around in the van with him.
^ Has anyone ever seen a female deliveryperson? Female postpersons are totally common, but I’ve never seen a woman deliveryperson. It can’t just be brute strength; some of the blokes look like they have trouble lifting a medium-sized yarn shipment.
§§ It’s been a long day.
§§§ ‘Here’ may include my long wiry tower-bell-ringing-toned spider-monkey arms clamping her to my chest.
Note that I’d be happy to post fabulous holiday photo guest blogs every Sunday night for the rest of my life –Ed*
* Note also that this NOTE would be at the bottom, only for some reason the admin window won’t let me in, and I’m terrified of erasing a photo by accident.
Day three of the photography holiday – and the rain was pouring down! Exploration of the Jewish/Ghetto quarter was postponed in favour of a morning’s look at a selection of each other’s photos, and critique from Philip, our instructor and group leader. Not to be deterred, however, I stood outside the hotel, under an awning, for 20 minutes after breakfast, to see what I could capture of the Venice waterfront in the rain.
Photo critique over, we all went our separate ways as some of the group weren’t keen on going out in the rain. I’m actually really pleased we had a day in the rain – after all, flooding in St Mark’s Square is another iconic image of Venice, and the city remains photogenic, if a little more challenging!
He shook his head. “It’s dead easy,” he said. “We can figure out the details later. Tonight all you need to know is this lever,” creak-creak, “this way if you want the fire to burn up more, this way if you want it to die back a little. You put the wood in here,” clunk, “and you keep an eye on it. You don’t want it burning hard—that just wastes wood”—the lever made a faint scraping noise as he moved it—“you probably want it about there, but we’ll check in a few minutes.”
He looked past me into the vast cavern of the parlour. “I suppose you do have central heating . . .”
“I can’t afford it,” I said, and hesitated, looking at my dog and reminding myself how it was I was renting a house about twelve times bigger than I needed. If I was going to stick a pin in a map, why couldn’t I have been on the Florida page? Although there were alligators in Florida. I would end up in a town with alligators. “And I don’t need an attic and six offices anyway. Hayley said they’d lean on the landlord to put in a wood stove. Another wood stove.” If wood was cheap I really did have to learn how to use the thing. Things.
“Your Guardian should keep the downstairs warm—you may need a fan, and you want to start keeping a big kettle of water on top—it depends on how good the insulation is and how bad the drafts are. And how you feel about being cold.”
I wrapped my arms around myself and tried not to shiver.
“Okay,” said Mike. “Then you’ll want the second stove. Maybe upstairs, if the floor’ll stand it.”
“And an electric blanket,” I said, concentrating on not shivering, although I was beginning to feel a little heat radiating off Caedmon. I needed to carry some book boxes and get my blood circulating again.
“An electric blanket?” said Mike. “Why? You have a perfectly good dog.”
Sid, as if on cue, walked delicately past us and lay down in front of Caedmon.
She looked up at Mike as he looked down at her. “Although she may need you to keep her warm at the moment.” He bent down to pat her. “She’s got more ribs than a Fourth of July barbeque.” She flopped over on her side and raised a leg to encourage him to rub her ski-slope tummy. “If Bridget—and Jim—hadn’t told me you’d caught the Phantom I wouldn’t believe it,” he said, rubbing. “This is not your average one-day-reclaimed wary, nervous stray dog.” Sid’s eyes were half-closed and her relaxed top lip had fallen away from her teeth, giving her a kind of mad half-smile. “They’ve been trying to get anywhere near her for months. Dad and me too, of course, and half the town,” he added. “This isn’t a successful stray-dog area: stray dogs don’t survive the winter. But your Phantom did. We figured she—now we know she’s a she—must have found shelter somewhere. But wherever it was didn’t include food.”
He stood up and Sid’s eyes instantly snapped open and she turned her head up to stare at him. “Sorry, honey,” he said. “I have boxes to carry, and it’s going to start getting dark soon.”
“And never mind tripping over the steps,” I said, “or getting the van back in time for JoJo, we have a neighbour to frighten the socks off. The hand-knitted silk socks with the tasteful lace edging.”
“You’re catching on,” said Mike.
I followed him back to the van and did another sweep for squishy lightweight plastic bags. There were also a couple of five-pound sacks of dog kibble I thought I could just about manage. Thanks to Mike we were almost done. I bore another of those disorienting and rather sick-making waves of excitement and dread: major life change, ahoy. Last week I’d still been in Manhattan, where I’d lived thirty-nine years. Last year I’d still had a husband. . . . I gritted my teeth and clutched my underwear and my dog food. What was that against the front wall of the van? It didn’t look like boxes. I’d been pretty out of my mind, that last night, packing to leave, but I had still been relatively sane when I started loading. It got worse later. I squinted, but it was too dark in the windowless van to see anything. Whatever was back there, it would be out soon enough, and then I’d take the van back for JoJo and pick up Merry and . . .
I looked up at Rose Manor. From the bottom of the driveway it looked as tall as the Chrysler Building. The sun was going down behind it at an angle so while the shadow wasn’t falling on me, the front of the house was still in darkness almost as profound as the back of the van. Anything could be hiding in the shadows on the porch. Cosmic horror was only the beginning.
Stop it, Macfarquhar. You live here now. Yes, I replied silently, I know.
A fortnight or so ago a New Friend sidled up to me at St Margaret’s and said that she’d bought a ticket for a charity concert—so she wouldn’t chicken out of going at the last minute, I know that one, on the day you’re too comfortable on the sofa with hellhounds or similar—but she wondered if she could bamboozle me into buying a ticket and coming too? It was a worthy cause and we could hang out. We’ve made half-hearted attempts to hang out previously but they’ve never come off because we never nail one down by saying THIS place and THIS time and putting it in the diary, you know? Modern life. Who has time for spontaneity?*
So despite a qualm or two about the concert itself I said yes. You can put up with a lot in congenial company. And she and I were finally getting somewhere, you know?
And then last week at St Margaret’s when I told her I’d got one of the few remaining tickets** she looked all doleful and woebegone and said she hadn’t rung me because it hadn’t been confirmed yet but for Inarguable Personal Reasons it looked like she wasn’t going to be able to go after all. . . .
Oh. Feh. So I’m now stuck with a ticket to a concert I was only looking forward to because I was going to see her.
But I had the frelling reservation and, at this point, a close personal relationship with the venue’s box office, who had hired a uniformed guard with two Alsatians and a Darth Vader clone to protect my investment till I arrived IN PERSON and offered my palm print as proof I was the correct individual to cede the ticket to, so I’d better go. I went.
Fortunately I took my knitting.
IT WAS UNBELIEVABLY DIRE. UNBELIEVABLY. DIRE. The concert. It was. AAAAAAAAUGH. Words fail. Words need to fail or I will be banned from WordPress for the rest of my life.*** The one minor stroke of good fortune was that I’d arrived early enough it was worth getting my knitting out immediately so it was already on my lap when these jokers got up on stage and started prancing about doing whatever the frell they thought they were doing ARRRRRRRRRRRGH. After the first . . . incident . . . I firmly picked my knitting up again and got QUITE A FEW ROWS done by the time it was over. I swear I would have run away screaming† if I hadn’t had my knitting. . . .
Which leads me to the next thing. I’ve been torturing myself, and some harmless hanks of yarn, trying to make another gift. Me and my frelling Secret Projects. GIVE IT UP, MCKINLEY. I’ve already frogged this one once. This second time it looks a lot better than it did the first time but it’s still what you might call . . . clearly hand made. Does anyone out there have any useful guidelines for when you cut your losses and frog again and when you soldier on on the grounds that your friend will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to even if SHE BURIES THE FINAL OBJECT IN THE BACK GARDEN IN CASE IT’S CONTAGIOUS?
Siiiiiiiigh. . . .
I also got distracted on Etsy the Evil†† from my (relatively) honest quest for a needle roll††† into yarn bowls. And I made the perilous decision to ask Twitter if any of the twitterverse’s knitters use yarn bowls. Am I just being flimflammed by a pretty face? Hand-thrown pottery bowls are very pretty. Or do they help with what I have dubbed the invisible-kitten problem with your wodge of working yarn? In the rush of helpful answers—including plastic bags, yarn cozies [sic], and teapots—I suddenly had a FABULOUS IDEA.
Was this totally sitting on a shelf waiting to be a yarn bowl through the long years of no longer being required for blanc-mange or what? Stay tuned.
* * *
* Hey, I finished the day’s stint early/it’s raining and I don’t feel like gardening/if I hear my neighbour’s extra-loud telephone bell go one more time^ I shall run mad with an axe, want to grab a cup of tea somewhere? No, sorry, I can’t, I’m working a double shift today/it’s raining so I’m sorting out the garage^^/I have to sort out the garage because I need to hide a body fast.^^^
^ They need fewer friends
^^ No friend of mine would ever use that excuse
^^^ Ah. Okay. Need help?+
+ I found a drowned mouse in a bucket today. Ewwwwwwww. I have no truck with the ‘mice are cute’ brigade and am perfectly happy to trap the suckers, using the fastest, lethalest traps available, but drowning in a bucket is a slow, crummy way to die and made me sad.
** And my email, possessed by demons as it is, failed to accept the confirmatory email from the venue so I’m all AM I GOING OR NOT. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO HERE, CONSULT AN ASTROLOGER?
*** Banned—? From WordPress? Um . . . actually . . .
† Most of the people who preach at St Margaret’s I like and find not merely worth listening to but interesting. But there is one . . . I have been trying to decide if it is worth establishing a habit of knitting during the sermons so that the next time this joker stands up I won’t have to gnaw my knuckles till they bleed so as not to run away screaming.^
^ I realise that a Supreme Being needs a sense of humour, but I feel perhaps we might review some of said humour’s minor manifestations? People who have been at this Christian thing a long time keep telling me that God likes engaging with his mortal children on their level. Okay. So let’s discuss the practical jokes.
†† You know I have been complaining about the mess and confusion of Etsy’s so-called search function and have finally realised . . . it’s all a careful plan to entice you in deeper and deeper.
††† The design I like best is only in a bunch of dumb fabrics. ARRRRRGH. Also I object to spending more than £11,872.33 (most of this is the overseas shipping cost from America) for a needle roll. So this is still an open question.