Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tahdahh! Voici le blanket modular!

At last the baby blanket is done! What do you do on a windy day when you want those photos optdoors in the sunlight and the wind keeps flapping the flipping blanket? Why, you just grab a few more clothes pins, give that sucker a bit of a stretch, and clip it down at both ends!! That bit of a shadow across the bottom is from a limb of the marvelous maples across the street. Should I have shot the picture outdoors in the shade instead of in the sunshine? It looks a bit washed out here.

Of course, I had an interested audience for my front-yard labors. Isn't Candy a pretty girl?

Next project, Tim's farceeing hat. This is gonna be cool! Today, I need to look through the stash and see what I have that will work in the hat. Tomorrow, knit on!
Meanwhile, I struggle with the western. I need a gag for the inner critic. He's a mean bastard.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Out for a Sunday drive

Sometimes, on a Sunday afternoon when there is nothing pressing, DH and I like to get in the car and just drive around. Sometimes, we drive around out in the country. Yesterday, we drove around in the city. Sort of checking out old neighborhoods we have lived in and seeing how they have changed. On the east side of town is a little dormant volcano known as Mt. Tabor. The whole top of the mountain is a wonderful city park. This is the view from the east side of Mt. Tabor, out to Mt. Hood.

Mt. Hood, by the way, is one of our best weather indicators. If you can see Mt. Hood, you know it's going to rain. If you can't see Mt. Hood, you know it's raining.

One of the changes we have noticed is the way neighborhoods close to the city center, which twenty years ago were decaying slums, are now centers of gentrification and urban renewal. It's wonderful to see the old houses, built in the teens and twenties, now being renewed, repainted, re-landscaped, and re-loved! People are using much more daring color schemes now, as well. Lots of fun to see a dark khaki house with vivid Chineese red trim and a light grey roof. The mustard yellow house with the intricate kelly green, purple and teal trim would take a bit of getting used to. I was too stunned to drag out the camera for a photo in time.

A true Portland icon which has been around since my mother was a fifteen-year-old wild-child is this marvelous restaurant.

It used to be in Chinatown, above a storefront. Chinatown was a "bad" neighborhood at that time. The streets were populated with winos and weirdos and pushers and hookers. You walked up a dark flight of narrow stairs, wading upstream against a slow river of exotic aromas. The place was always open, and quite ecclectic in its clientelle. Jazz musicians mingled with med students and business men and, of course, large Chinese families. Every visit was an adventure, and when I went to college, a dinner at Hung Far Low was considered quite a bohemian date.

Chinatown has gone upscale, and rents have gone through the roof. The delightlfully seamy old location has been cleaned up, and the restaurant has moved out of downtown and into an emerging Asian neighborhood. There are many Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and Korean restaurants and grocery stores in the area. The neighborhood is still low rent, but doesn't have the "slumming" cachet of the old place. Still, we just might have to take ourselves out for noodles one of these rainy nights.

The blanket is just a few half-squares awaay from completion. Photos tomorrow.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

My 201st post!

The end is in sight. I need seven more full squares, and eight half-squares to fill in the ends, and the baby blanket will be ready to deliver. Since there has been noplanning involved in it at all, does it count as a random act of blindness?
My visit with Linga G. yesterday was untrammelled delight! Thank you Linda! She is a woman of wit and generosity, and I have loved her for decades. Yes - almost three decades. We get together after a lapse of months or even years, and it's as if we saw one another yesterday. We laugh from the belly, with heads thrown back. We share tears. We brag and kvetch and spread out the blessings like a big down comforter. I went over to celebrate her birthday, and came away feeling as if I was the one who recieved the presents. Thank you Linda!
I am at an age when people are dying around me. Friends and family are passing, and there's no telling who will go next. Take the time, today, to sit down and write a love letter to someone - anyone - who will leave a hole in your life when they go. Tell them what it is about them that you most enjoy. Put it in writing and mail it off. This is an opportunity to say those things that you always assumed they knew and have never put into words. Keep a copy for yourself. It's a blessing for both of you.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Happy birthday Linda!

Glory, glory! Sunny Saturday sky! Thirty eight degrees with a brisk breeze, but sunny! Hooray!

The blanket continues to grow. Yes, I did dye the yarn myself. Iused a nifty dye powder called Dyelon that I found at the Mill End fabric store for the yellow and the peach. And I used some Australian dye powder in the shades of opal (bluish,) ice (greenish,) and gallah (big fat magenta pink!!) The pale pink is Rit. I also dyed t-shirts, socks and underpants, because I had the dye and I ran out of yarn.

I made Linda G. a pair of pop-up paws for her birthday and couldn't show them untill today when I get to deliver them. Linda is taking a wonderful approach to her birthday: she is celebrating all month long! I used the slip-stitch from my self-heating mittens and knit them on size 8 (you gotta size up for slip stitch) with Cleckheaton wool.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

The car show

I love going to the car show. Not because I am such an avid fancier of automobiles - God knows I can barely tell a sedan from an SUV - but because car shows are such great entertainment. There are big vehicles such as this multi-thousand-dollar jacked-up, pimped out pickup with the sort of oversize tires that always make me think the guy driving the truck is overcompensating for fears of testicular inadequacy. The roof ot this truck is about ten feet off the ground.

There are little vehicles that cause me to wonder about the sanity of the potential purchaser. A tiny Suzuki motorcycle with training wheels? TRAINING WHEELS?!? On a motorized bike?
You are putting your precious, fragile child who can't even ride a bike yet in control of something with a motor?

And there are cars that are SHINEY! Cars that say, "Go fast!!" Cars from the future. This one is chrome-plated. Really. And it travels with a whole squad of guys who do nothing but dust and gently, gently buff it. If you really get off on polishing your car, are you auto erotic?

Every year DH will try on a male-menopausemobile, and every year he finds them undesireable. Here, he is pointing out that you pretty much have to fall into it, and then it's just about impossible to get out of with any dignity. He likes the practical, manly Ford Explorer that we already own. He did cast interested glances at one of the customized trucks that was so virle that you practically had to throw raw meat to it before you could get in and drive, but it turned out that he was interested in the mechanics of the drop-down running board, and thought the truck itself was just silly.

I knitted socks. People stared. I'm six feet tall and wearing a big red hat. Do you think anyone noticed the knitting?

It was interesting to observe the marketing approach for each maker. The Volvo dealers wore white shirt and conservative necktie, but no jacket. The Mercedes dealers wore expensive suits, tidily buttoned up. Honda reps wore polo shirts and dockers. Chrysler had lots of sexy spokes-models in evening clothes pointing out the special features of the cars in sensual voices, then referring any questions to the salesmen who materialized like genies as needed.

The colors are not very exciting this year; mostly blues, greys and odd shades of green. Ford has a grey shade of yellow that is pretty putrid. I think it was Volkswagon that has a dark, dark navy with metalflake that shimmers in highlights. I want a dress that color! Nissan has a green that shades from goldy to bluish - very pretty and I'm sure very expensive and hard to maintain. Someon had a cute little trophy-wife car in Power-Puff Blue. Very girly! Oh, and there was one Chrysler that was deep, dark eggplant, almost black, with rich, dark, dark red highlights. I wanted to pull off my clothes and roll around in that color!

And then we went to The Screendoor resaturant for dinner. MJ's parents are from the deep south. DH's dad was from S. Carolina. Mr. R. was stationed in the south. They all have an appreciation of southern food. The Screendoor produces superb southren food!! I started with a bowl of soup - butternut squash, collard greens and bacon soup. OMIGAWD, that is FOOD!! I slurped down the whole bowlfull and was thinking about ordering more when I realized that I also had a fried oyster po-boy and slaw coming. DH and MR. R. had fried chicken. MJ had fried catfish. I was told that in the south, it ain't fried, it ain't food. When the entrees arrived, conversation departed. The only sound was the click of silverware on plates, and a gentle murmuring of delight from my quarter. "Mmmmm. Mmmhmmm! Ummm. Oh, yeah, that's so good!" Really, it wasn't loud enough to distract the other patrons in the cafe, but DH sort of snickered at me. I defended myself, saying, "But honey, it has pickles in it! Oysters and pickles! It's sooo gooooood!" I licked my fingers. I ate till I hurt. Everyone else took home leftovers. I consumed my entire repast like a localized swarm of locusts.

I have never had more raw oysters than I could eat. Wonder what my limit really is?

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday off to the car show

GED at the jail went well, as always. As I was making my way through the warren of corridors and locked doors, I waiting on one side of a door, waiting for Control to let me through, and on the other side was abunch of prisoners lined up along one wall of the hallway, waiting for innoculations. We could see one another throught the little window. My first reaction was anxiety (don't want to get caught in the middle of something) but then I realize they were as uneasy as I, so when the door unlocked, I was able to smile at them, make eye contact with a few, and say a cheery, "Good morning, gentlemen!" as I strode on to my classroom.
And they all smiled and said "Good morning" back. Except for one who remarked, "Is it morning out there?" "Yup," I called back over my shoulder, "Cold and foggy. Even the crows are coughing." They all laughed.

I got so involved with the writer's group that I forgot to pull out the camera. Two of us were knitting, and one was spinning on her drop-spindle.

Today, though, we are going to the car show, to put our butt-prints in the seats of Jaguars and Mercedes-Benzes and maybe even a Roller if they'll let us grubby peasants actually open the doors. I am definitely bringing sock and camera.

Last year, the poor fellow showing off the Cadilac SUV tried to appeal to me with its luxury. I looked it over and asked, "Does the carpeting in the back come out? We get chicken manure from a neighbor to put on our strawberries, and I don't know HOW I'll get it out of that carpet!"

(and the inmates in the asylum say, "We put sugar and cream on our strawberries, and they call US nuts!")

The baby blanket grows.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm feeling much better now

You guys are so sweet! Thanks so much for your good wishes. They worked. I'm feeling a bit stiff and bruised around the neck muscles, but I'm moving freely and getting ready for work. I'm taking another GED test to the jail. Then I've got my ladies' writers' group, then a massage and chiro appointment to finally get my neck straightened out.

DH and I even made it to dance class last night. It's good exercise and great fun. And after taking the same class five times, we are starting to get good at it.

I will get a chance to knit socks in public today, and there will be ample time at writer's group to work on the blankie, so I'll have pictures tomorrow. Blessings and all good wishes to everyone!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

no title Tuesday

Linda in LA asked how to do those side triangles.

Just pick up 16 stitches along the top of the side square, turn and knit. On one side of the blanket, you will need to knit a row, then turn and knit two together. On the other side of the blanket,start out by knitting two together. Knit every row, decreasing by one every other row. The edge you decrease on will be the straight edge. Don't over think this, it's self-explanatory. Just decrease where you would have decreased if you had the whole square and a stitch marker.

Miz G. in Bend might have a home for some of my excess linen.

Look interesting?

Dave's yarn came! Dave's yarn came! Now I can join the Dave's yarn knit-along! Ain't it purdy?

I was just getting stuck into the taxes thing yesterday when my neck went into spasm. My chiropractor was able to get me in right away, and since it was such a severe spasm, she suggested we try a machine that uses electrical impulses to stimulate the muscles, the theory being that the muscle will become tired and relax. I am the one person in a thousand who has a bad response to this therapy.
All the muscles in my upper shoulders and neck went into spasm. It took another hour of massage and ultrasound to get them to release. I then went home and spent the rest of the evening with icepacks and nurse kitties.(Fly sat on my lap and licked my fingers for twenty minutes. On her stint, Candy tucked in and growled at me if I tried to move. "Sit still. Get better, damn it!!") So today, I am stiff and sore from my bra-strap up,and I still have to get to work on the taxes. Wish me well.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I gotta prep the taxes

Much as I woulod love to spend the whole day playing on the computer, I gotta pull my socks up and earn my keep around here. In default of superior beings,I am the household goddess of paperwork, and it's time to make it pile up and do my bidding.

So here's a post of progress on the baby blanket. Wish me well as I gird my loins for hand-to-hand combat with (shudder) numbers!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The grasshopper mind rules today

The modular blanket progresses apace. Very pleasant knitting with the TV. Can't really do it in the movies because there is so much pausing to select the next color.

Here's the Saturday sky, one day late. A cold but sunny Saturday, and all the snow is melting away. It's a wonder how warm 38 degrees feels after several days of 32 degrees and clouds. DH and I went for our weekly walk around the Mall with the other senior striders, then hit the hot tub at the gym, and thence on to breakfast at the superb Sully's Cafe. And then we returned home, he went back to slaughtering demon cows, and I initiated some power napping. Geeze it's nice to be lazy old farts!

And here is Roxie knitting socks at McDonalds. I am wearing my intarsia cabled sweater which got a red ribbon at the state fair the year I knit it. As you can see, I don't really go much for sober, matronly colors.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


In accordance with Lucia's plan, I am knitting socks in public.

Dinner with C and J (and the DH) at the Olive Garden Restaurant. Our waitress told us that she attends Lewis and Clark College, and people are always knitting in class.

And here I am, working on the sock while at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company (where they make truely superior peppermint bark!!)

The Beaver is the State Animal of Oregon, and the mascot of Oregon State University. This nine foot tall monolithic snow beaver appeared in our neighborhood three days ago. We believe the beaver's presence may indicate the allegiance of the domestic resident.

And lest you think I have shot my wad,knitting-wise, I took the remnants of hand spun with me when I proctored a tax board test on Friday and got a start on a modular baby blanket. Size 10 needles. Co 16, place st marker, co 16 more. Knit every row, knitting two together every time you slip the stitch marker. 32 rows or 16 ridges and you are done with your first mitered square. Make two. Put them side by side. Pick up 16 from one edge, place marker, and pick up 16 from the other edge. Make another square. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

hey look, another sweater

I finished the second sleeve and seams for the sweater I designed on line for you. Now I need a thirteen-year-old with ruddy cheeks and seven undershirts to model it for me. It's stiff, but just about windproof.

Now I am using up the odds and ends to make a blankie. (or maybe a bunting. We'll see.)

Meanwhile, I am spinning some yarn for Lucia's inspired sock knitting in public party. I'm at the plying stage and thought I would show you how I handle those runaway cakes of singles. Two wide-mouthed, wider-bellied vases picked up for a quarter apiece on the last day of a garage sale. (I smile apologetically and say, "All I have is fifty cents. I know you're asking a dollar each for these vases, but if you don't sell them today, what are you going to do with them? Would you consider letting me have them at a deep,deep discount?")

Here is Blackjack, aka Jack the Ripper, aka, Jackaroo, my sweet babboo. I have made him a nice loungable nest next to the heat vent under my desk. He is as comfortable as possible and all it would take to make him blissful is a plate of tuna and to get rid of that damn splint.

It's still snowy, and I still hate it. It has passed the pristine blanket of unsullied white stage, and is getting to the soiled and melty stage. Yesterday our writer's group was cancelled due to snow, so one of the gals got on line and challenged us to have a virtual meeting with poems about the snow. Most of them are very sweet, admiring Mother Nature's blanket sort of things. Mine?

Colder than a dead eskimo.
Colder than a polar bear's bedroom slippers
Colder than a tin toilet seat on the shady side of a glacier.
Colder than a witches tit in a brass bra.
Colder than a well-digger's belt buckle.
Colder than a step-mother's heart.
Colder than a spurned debutant. (thanks, Amy)
Colder than
Colder than
Colder than shitsicles!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

we got snow

This is one of the best snowstorms we have had in years. This is the back yard.

This is the front yard. I am already sick, sick, sick of white, white, white. Yes, there is a stark beauty to all this. I don't appreciate it.

Wonder why?

Fly bugged and nagged and cried at me untill I finally let him out. It wasn't what he had expected.

We did this several times until I got sufficiently fed up and tossed him into the snow. Not a happy kitty!! However, he decided to be content with life inside after that.

Lucia requested a picture of the vest I was wearing day before. Here 'tis. Stockinette in one piece up to the armholes, split without decreasing, sew shoulder seams, pick up around the armhole and work a few inches of seed stitch. Pick up aall around the fronts,neck, and bottom, and work a few inches of ribbing. There was extra yarn, so I added pockets. Oh, gosh I do love this vest. It goes with everything I own, it's warm and comfy, it covers my butt, and it has pockets!!

Of course, being stuck at home does have its advantages. YOu can hang out in your bathrobe and get some knitting done. I finished a pair of fingerless gloves for young Stoss who is, at age 20, supporting his mother and younger sister. He works with DH. I think he is a worthy young man!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's snowing here now.

Snow makes me feel sad, so I am playing happy marimba music (by White Rhino)and wearing happy, cozy pink sweat pants and a happy pink sweater and happy pink socks. I am even wearing makeup and earrings to cheer myself up, damn it! The schools are closed, and the kids across the street are frolicking. Good for them!

This should all be melted by tomorrow afternoon. Maybe I will gird my loins and go make snow angels while I still can.

Here is the blue hat I made for Dh's bald co-worker. Ah, the joys of using up leftovers!

Yesterday, I got in two thousand, two hundred very spicey words on the western romance novel. Today, I intend another thousand. Transitions can be troublesome. I have to get them out of the bedroom and off to work. And I've been having SUCH fun with them in the bedroom!

Stay warm!

Monday, January 15, 2007

check this out for snow

One of my blog buddies is now living in my old hometown. Check out her photos! This will be especially exotic and exciting for Janette and Grandma Flea in OZ.

And Lucia has a contest that sounds like lots of fun! Check it out.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, kitties are snoozing in the sun. Fly, on the left, has pillowed his head on the catnip sock, and is steadfastly ignoring the taunts of the blue squeaky mouse. Jack, on the right, is healing just as fast as he can, since he abhors his splint. I love the translucence of cat ears in the sunshine, don't you?

Today, one thousand words on the story. You are my witnesses.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday sunshine on ice

The temperature is predicted to get clear up to freezing today. But the sky is crackling clear, and sunrise spilled all over the old walnut tree, here.

OK, afterthought neckline. Figure out where you want the neck to be, pull up a stitch there, and snip it.

Yes, with scissors, cut it. And then, pull that strand of yorn out of the stitch next to the one you cut. And the next, and the next. It's sort of un-kitchnering the fabric.

Go in both directions for a while. If you make the opening even, you can do a turtleneck. I went for a shawl collar, so I pulled out stitches down the front to the armhole level.

I knitted this with a size ten needle, but used a size 3 to pick up the live stitches on both sides of the new opening. And then, to make a shawl collar, I did my well-beloved k2, p2 rib back and forth for several inches.

Finally, I sewed the collar down, and there we are, afterthought neckline.

When you are knitting back and forth, and you decide it might be neat to put in inset pockets, you can use this technique to make an opening for them. I was knitting a shawl, and decided it would work better as a cardigan, so I opened armholes this way and knitted the sleeves in the round. No seams that way. I hate sewing seams.

I have been glacially lazy this weekend. DH and I went to the mall and did our four laps (two miles) and that has been IT for our weekend activity. I DID go outside to get the paper, and again to dump the solid waste after I cleaned tha litterboxes, but I just don't have the cohones to take myself out into that razor-edged wind for any but the briefest necessities. Heck, just walking around at the mall, my ears got so cold it was giving me a headache. Had to ask DH to blow in them to warm them up. (That was very nice. Warmed me up all over!)

The Friday mamo went quite a lot easier than I had anticipated. Usually, it hurts so bad I break into a cold sweat. But over the last two years, menopause has been doing her cronely work, and between the missing collagen, and the two extra-strength Tylenols I took before I went in, heck, it didn't even bring tears to my eyes. Also, I wore my poncho over my gown, so I didn't get the bone deep chills that usually afflict me. Why do they have to keep examining rooms so cold? I think I should buy them a heating pad to keep on the plates.

And instead of a cookie, I bought myself a full-sized Cinnabon. YUM!! sugar and fat and synthetic flavors and refined flours . . . I was in hog heaven!!

I am knitting a hat for a bald co-worker of the DH. Then I am knitting a pair of fingerless gloves for another co-worker of his. Then I will finish this green sweater. Then I will hammer down on the Western. I have been fiddlefarting around because I have not had a deadline. So I commit to you, my ethereal friends, that I will write the final twenty thousand words by April the first. Nag me for reports, ok? Thanks!!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

And the clouds blew in

When I went out at 5:30 this AM to get the paper, the sky was as clear as an infant's conscience, and as cold as a polar bear's bedroom slippers. When DH and I left the house at 7, the clouds were slipping in from the West like a lid being pulled shut over the valley. The sunrise managed to slip her rosey fingers under the edge for a few glorious minutes. Just long enough to wave good bye. And now, the sky is grey, grey, grey. At least, getting up early gives me a glimpse of cloudless climes.

Another handspun sweater is getting hammered out. Pale green this time. Big enough for a well-grown teenager.
With my usual neurotic precision, I marked for sleeve placement. (In other words, I folded the work in half, eyeballed what I thought would be adequate for an armhole, said, "That's close enough." Placed two pins. Folded the other side over, and placed two more pins.)

Now to pick up along the sides, and knit away.

Oh, damn! I forgot to make a hole for the head! Tomorrow, I'll show how I deal with that little detail.

Friday, January 12, 2007

sweaters in the sunshine

Back before I had a digital camera, I whipped up a couple of sweaters for the orphange in Romania, so I decided today to get pictures of all of them (brag, brag!) and I had promised my blog buddies Janette and Grandma Flea in Australia to send a picture of a cold dogwood tree. Here are three cozy happy sweaters. Two are handspun, home dyed, and hand knit.The grey one is knit from some wonderful vintage wool I grabbed at an estate sale for about fifty cents a ball.They are sitting in front of a cold little dogwood tree. I will send pictures of the tree as the season makes changes.

As for the sweaters, I have started a larger pale green one that is not yet ready for photos. And I have a growing accumulation of small balls that will be going into a wildly stripey vest.

Meanwhile, the January cold snap has hit. It was twenty degrees out there while I was trying to pin the sweaters into pretty arrangements for their photo shoot. My finger tips turned the most interesting shade of purple.

I'm off for my annual mammogram. If men had to go through this, they would have already developed a system where you could put on furry mitten, rub it gently across your breast, and phone in the results. Believe me, guys, "turn your head and cough," is not the worst thing that can happen to you as a regular medical procedure.

But I have loaded up the basket with knitting to soothe me, and some extra cash so I can go buy myself a cookie when it's all over. Wish the nurse would give out lolipops to us big girls when we're good.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pink sweater done!

Here is my pepermint candy sweater for the orphanage. Solid color would show off the details beter. After knitting both sleeves and sewing the side seams(whip stitch. I'm lazy), I then picked up along the front, across the back of the neck, and down the other front, and knit three inches of k1,p1 rib. Then I bound off up to where the armhole started (using a size fifteen needle in my right hand to make the bind off loose and stretchy.), ribbed across the back of the neck and down, then bound off up the other side to where the armholes start. Then, for the next three inches, I knit two together at the beginning of each row, and bound off. There was a little yarn left. I knit a pocket.

This should fit a three-year old. Or a skinny five-year-old. I had some sparkly clear plastic buttons which went on the front, and were anchored on the back with some chunky old brown buttons. For fastenings, I took my crochet hook and, holding the yarn behind the work, pulled up a loop to the front, then pulled up a loop in the next stitch, and pulled it through the first loop. Repeat to the edge of the fabric. Work a chain about an inch long, then again chain through the fabric an inch back from the edge. Tah Dah! Button loops! If the description doesn't make sense, I'll make a sample swatch with white yarn and show you.

And look! Looklooklook! It got sunny today. This is me in my hand-spun, hand dyed (with Jello) hand knit poncho and matching hat. This is how I look when I'm taking my own portrait. I love my portraits. The sun is shining. I love everything! Sunshine triggers my inner Yorkshire Terrier. Happy,happyhappyhappy!