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.”

Sunday, March 30, 2008

It must be kitty birthday

Sometime, when a kitty is very good for a very long time, the universe conspires to entertain her. A squirrel has gotten into the bird feeder, is stuffing his cheecks chock full of sunflower seeds, then is bouncing over to the cat pedastle, right in front of the window, to shell and devour them. It's too bad we couldn't get it on video tape. This is the best show Candy has had in her life!

Meanwhile, a little knit work has gone on. Pink cotton chenille. It has NO stretch whatsoever, so I needed something to make it wearable. And someone had tied a birthday gift for me with a long pink ribbon. Voila, a fetching little bonnet.

The soft bow gives it rather a demimonde chic, don't you think?

I may not be an Artist, but I am certainly a clever milliner.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

it's a top.

I finished piecing the top, and ran out of steam. So I put away and tidied up the sewing machine and all the scraps, and I am letting ideas ferment in the back of my head till the sewing mojo strikes me for the back.
But meanwhile, close-up shots of some of my favorite squares.
Some of them are so loud they need volume control, others are very mellow and balanced.
Except for the placement of lights and darks, the arrangments are delightfully random. It's quite possible that random is my favorite color.

Meanwhile, the Christmas cactus starts that Lyssa sent me (Just folded in paper and tucked into an envelope. How casually hardy is that?)are taking hold and one has bloomed! Does that make it an Easter cactus? A Purim cactus? An income tax cactus? It is welcome and hailed as a strong survivor!

I just got hit by a blog spammer. How do I delete that comment? Don't go there!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

sewing all day

It's almost a quilt top. Three more squares and a border, and it'll be ready to back, batt, turn and tie. This is the bento box pattern, but I seperated the squares by equal sized black squares, and then I set it all on point so it looks like diamonds instead of squares. I have had SUCH fun with this one!! Sooo pretty!

Today we had snow. It didn't stick down here on the valley floor, but the hills got a nice accumulation. This is the latest snow storm on record for Portland. We hates snow, we does! I was happier sewing with my back to the windows, and the Satelite Sisters book on the cassette player. Lots of fun.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

yet another silly hat

Rayon with eyelash and ears. I may have to wear this when the Harlot visits. I'll have to wear something. Something knitted. Something quintessentially me. Last time she was here, I wore the far-seeing hat. Purple with eyes on stalks. You know - me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm back

DH, whos favorite garden tool is the flame thrower, wanted to do some yardwork on Sunday, but couldn't find the chain saw. (Did we loan it to you? We can't remember.) So instead, he made do with the long-handled clippers, and set to work, teaching the tilting plum tree a lesson it will never forget, and admonishing intrusive branches all around the yard. Evidently the magnolia showed incipient signs of overhanging the path of the lawnmower, so, whackety, whack, he clipped it back. I salvaged a few twigs from the yard debris can and stuck them in a vase in the window where they opened and shared their fragrence with us all.

However, this vase has an opening wide enough for a kitty to stick her face in for a drink, were it not for all that annoying foliage in her way. Pepper, being the young amazon that she is, takes matters into her own claws.
There are bowls of fresh water all over the house, but evidently she likes the flavored stuff. Tastes like magnolia bark. Yum.

Due to a bedgetary shortfall at the college, Monday was my last Monday at work, and Tuesday was my last full Tuesday. Next week, more time to blog, knit, write. Less money to promote the books, buy yarn. Ah, the trade-offs.
Administering GED tests does give me lots of time for mindless knitting, though. A hat

And an EZ baby surprise. Buttons, buttons, what kind of buttons?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday fun and games

I was sick for my birthday. DH was working the weekend after. The next weekend, we did some serious power napping and intensive recuperations. But this weekend, we were ready to celebrate. DH took me out to buy a garden bench for my birthday, but the only ones we could find were so cheesy! One had a painted cast metal back depicting contented cartoon hogs in a wallow. Another had a dreadful representation of a sunset with palm trees. A third had smiling playful bears, and a fourth (oh shudder) was infested with dear little bunnies. If I had gotten the dear little bunnies, I would have had to spend time painting on bandoliers and headbands and ammo vests. Anything to reduce the high-fructose corn syrupy sweetness. Guerilla bunnies might have a certain cachet. But we decided to keep shopping.

We Traveled down to the uber-chic NW 23rd ave. to hit Lush cosmetics. On the way, we passed this family of pigs that has been accumulating over the years in front of a local tavern. I finally remembered to bring my camera so I could share them with you. If these pigs were backing a garden bench, I might have gone for it.

And on the way home we passed this remarkable stand of city-owned forsythia. You can see them from across the river, creating a lovely splash of yellow in the march greyness.

Then, two blocks from our house, we saw that our neighbors had a garage sale going and they had - a roll-top desk for only two hundred dollars. With the chair on wheels! Long have I yearned for a roll-top desk - with pigeonholes and tiny drawers and the top that will generously roll down and conceal my ongoing mess. Oh I'm so glad I rejected the garden bench. I would have used a garden bench only about three months in the year, but a desk - a desk is a year-round night and day friend. I am now considering a picture, wallhanging, something perfect to hang above it. I love my new office!

The cats hate it, though. The old desk sat just under the window and was perfect perching for scanning the neighborhood. Life is tough when you're short and fluffy.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Taxes are done!!! (I hope)

Here's the Saturday sky 7:20 AM I slept so well last night. And I dreamed that I had inherited a huge, run-down 1890 mansion in a stunning location. It was full of beautiful, beat-up furniture, all sorts of vermin, and multiple dumpsters full of junk. I rolled up my sleeves, comandeered the services of the resident squatters, and started cleaning the place up. And when we had made a good start, DH took me out to the nearby cliffs and took me hang-gliding. It was a marvelous, marvelous dream!! I woke up sooo happy! I also woke up a lot later than ususal. Mostly I hop out of bed at 5 and hit the floor running. Today, the kitties couldn't kick me out of that sweet dream untill 7. DH continues to snooze and good for him! He needs it. Besides, he can do anything he wants after giving me that awesome hang-gliding trip. Woohoo!!

I worked all day Thursday pulling the taxes together. Finding the proper forms and assembling the necessary numbers. Then yesterday I stuck the whole boiling into the mail and sent it off to our accountant. I would rather clean toilets in a public rest-stsop than do taxes. At least I know how to clean toilets. But I get the tax data together with a sense of visiting-the-dentist anxiety and low-level panic that is worse than being followed by a police car on the freeway for 40 miles.

So I rewarded myself with some more fun with colors, using up left-overs from the cranes quilt. This pattern is called "Bento Box." I didn't make it up and in fact, I've already sort of twisted it awry, but isn't it fun?

I'm going to see what I can do with a bunch of other scraps as well. I have some greens that should play well with this, and maybe some other colors. If I put them on a black background, it should be a Carribean carnival on a warm southern night. Where's my fruity rum drink with the little umbrella?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What can you do with a mitered square?

You can pick up all around the edges, placing stitch markers at the corners and decreasing two stitches at the markers every other row till you have only 100 stitches left. Then you work a couple inches of 2/2 rib and celebrate -

- your jaunty new hat! Even my photography assistant approves of it. (Though he tells me I should ahve put up a nice solid-color background. Maybe next time.

Meanwhile, for Lucia and Georgia O'Keefe, magnolias looking so suggestive . . .

My, you certainly look happy to see me!

Hail the return of Persephone! The vernal equinox is upon us! Woohoo!

Wish me luck. I'm starting our taxes today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

time marches on

It's finals week at Clackamas Community College, and the living is NOT easy. Some teachers are getting the notion that they can dump all their final exams on the testing center, and our administrators are letting them get away with it. We are already at the point where people have to sit and wait for a seat to take their tests, and it will only get worse as the deadlines approach. I guess, when someone who works finds out that she will not be able to take her final because the test center is full during her only window of opportunity, and takes the problem, in fury, to the college prez, then things eill change. Until then, we peons in the trenches will try to placate nervous, fretful, stressed-out students (and their parents.)Oh joy. I am SO looking forward to the end of this week!!

Life in the valley is lush. Forsythia are fountaining exuberant floral ejaculations of yellow, flowering quince are blushing scarlet, apple trees are beginning to pop their buds, the magnolia in our backyard is getting very sexy looking, and undergrowth is greening up gloriously in the wetlands. It's raining raining raining raining which keeps things green,green,green all summer. March showers bring full watertables. April showers bring Mayflowers. Mayflowers bring pilgrims.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Saturday sewfest

MJ and I have turned into rather a good team when it comes to piecing quilt tops. Every so often we put our stashes together, let them play and see what emerges. Well, the last time we got together, as we were putting things away, we happened to juxtapose her big chunk of coral with my big chunk of flying cranes, and a colorway was conceived. As it gestated over the weeks, I became sensitive to the call of other colors that would like to play along. Hence the visit to JoAnnes for five buttons when I emerged with $17 worth of calypso colors that were all sdancing and drinking cuba libres and singing "Day - o! Dayyayyayy o! ..." So Saturday, MJ and I gathered together with our co-joined stashes and began to piece.

I was cutting and pressing, and MJ was sewing. She timed herself and discovered that she was finishing one square every 8 minutes. Then I got out my second Singer, the fifty-year-old British-made steel portable, and we both sewed and pressed, and in ten hours. from first consideration to final photo, we had completed a pieced and tied quilt. We have SO much fun with this! I found a home for the last one, so this time, she gets to find a home for it.

DH looked at it and said, "Is it just me, or are there a lot of bird butts in this?" Oh - well, I guess the coral really does pick up the bright tailfeathers on those cranes.

It's still singing and dancing and drinking rum. Yes, it looks loud and hot, because it is! And we laughed all the time we were making it.

For those who don't have any yet, here are a few daffodils. Spring is just rolling along here. The willows are turning that lovely sour green, and the flowering plum and ornamental cherries are mad with joy.

During the past week I managed to turn out a couple of hats. Candy consented to pose in their vicinity, as long as I didn't ask her to do anything.

Friday, March 14, 2008

My civic duty is done

The court case was interesting and educational. We were hearing the case of a young man who had been arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants. He pled not guilty. His driving was not at fault, but when he got out of his car, a beer can fell out, and a strong smell of alcohol hung about him. Also, he seemed unsteady on his feet, so the arresting officer gave him three field sobriety tests, which he is reported to have failed. The defendant's lawyer contested that he had done well enough on the tests to assure a reasonable doubt of his guilt. The defendant refused to take a breathalyser test. There were some people who felt that there WAS in fact room for reasonable doubt. I felt that, since two officers, the arresting officer, and the officer who was handling the breath analyser, felt that he was clearly intoxicated, and since he had, in fact, failed the tests, he probably WAS under the influence, even though his driving had not been symptomatic. You don't wait till he wipes out a van full of boyscouts if you believe him to be unfit to drive.

The guy we picked as jury foreman was retired police and was luckily trained to facilitate meetings. He kept us on track and moderated our debates. Pretty soon, the people who were unsure began to swing to guilty. He did, after all, fail all three field sobriety tests. There could be excuses for failing any one, but not all three. And if he was innocent, why didn't he take the breathalyser? We wound up with eleven guilty votes and one not guilty. I stayed behind to thank the judge for treating the jury so nicely, and he mentioned that this was the young man's fourth offense and he was headed for prison.

So I have sent a young man to prison. A young man who persists in driving while under the influence of intoxicants. And I strongly doubt that is the extent of his misdemeanors and felonies. Prison is a dreadful place, and he will no doubt emerge as a more hardened and skillful criminal. Is that better than leaving him free as a hazzard to society? In the short term, yes. And if short-term solutions are all you have, then so be it. But what can we do with people who don't WANT to be good? I don't know.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm on a jury

In my county, the jury waits in a seperate building before being called to the courthouse. In this seperate building, you can have your knitting, your pocket knife, your concealed handgun, and your gelignite explosives. They don't care. However, when you are called over to the courthouse, you are put through a metal detector and have to drop all the above, as well as belt-buckles, shoes, keys, and multiple metal face and body ornaments. I was allowed to have a ball point pen, but not sock needles. Grumble, grumble! However, we didn't get called till 11:30 AM, so I had three and a half hours of waiting time to knit.

We left all our contraband in the waiting room, and they lined us up and marched us from one building to the next in a long queue (thirty possible jurrors from which to select 12.) After processing us through the metal detector, they then marched us up stairs and filled the tiny courtroom. The judge thanked us very nicely for being good citizens, and explained the process to us. Then they excused us for lunch and told us to re-assemble in the waiting room at 1:15. At 1:40they again marched us to the next building, re-checked us through the metal detectors, re-seated us in the courtroom, and the prosecuting and defending attourneys introduced themselves, and asked us questions. Finally we were herded into a dinky jury room, and the attourneys made their choices. And since I got picked, I can't say anything more about that.

They did give us parking passes for today. They pay $10 a day for jury duty, and parking costs $4 a day. You sure don't do this for the money. But I will get a longish lunch hour in Scenic, historic downtown Oregon City, so I'll try to remember to bring my camera. The courthouse is a venerable old building with wonderful architectural details and worn granite floors. And one of my favorite pubs is a block away. Maybe I'll blow that $4 I saved on a nice hot bowl of soup.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Riding the Rhino

Wish I could say I have found the magic bullet, but nothing seems to stop this virus on its ponderous process. It just keeps plodding along. Still, hot apple cider and Sudafed during the day, and good old Nyquill at night, keep me up and moving. I worked all day yesterday and managed to survive. Today I have actually been called to jury duty. This should be interesting.

But thank you. thank you for all the good wishes. It could be you and you alone who are keeping me up and moving. I am so grateful.

I got yet another Blueboo hat finished yesterday, and STILL have a smide of yarn left. Blue Moon Yarns have terriffic yardage!! Hats are quite mindless, and excellent for charity knitting because they provide a lot of warmth for the ammount of yarn used, they fit a wide variety of people, and they are virtually instant satisfaction. I'm starting another hat for jury duty.

Monday, March 10, 2008

daylight saving time stinks

This losing an hour of sleep business is a lot of nonesense. Even the sunrise was sullen when I left for work. And as the door locked shut behind me, I had that hideous feeling that I had - oh crap, I did. There are my keys on the desk, right next to the door. So I went to the very good hiding spot where we keep our spare key. It's not there. Those damn squirrels carry away anything that isn't nailed down. Things that are nailed down, they leave for the raccoons. So there I am, outside, while all my keys are inside, and the kitties are smiling happily through the window from their warm little nests. Theyn didn't even try to help. See if I ever try to get THEM thumbs for their birthdays!

I tried calling DH, to no avail (Thank GOD I had remembered to stick my phone in the bag before I toddled off for my day's adventures!) DH works about five minutes away from home. I figured that since he's a bit under the weather himself, he forgot to take his phone today. So I finally decided to call a cab, go to DH's job, borrow his house-key, cab home, get my keys, take his keys back, and I'm babbling again, aren't I? Anyhow, I rolled in to the office 30 minutes late which ain't bad all things considered. I still feel like crap on a cracker, and I have a cough like a howler monkey with the croup, but the other part-time gal is laid up from shoulder surgery and I'm all we have left. ot that I was needed all that badly. We had fifteen people signed up for the first session, six people showed, and one of them had come on the wrong day. There were 10 people signed up for the second session. 3 showed. No one was finctioning on all six cylinders today. DH had his phone by the way. He just didn't hear it. The noise of the machine shop, and the hearing protectors he wears might have something to do with that.

Strong peppermints seem to quell the cough, and I got lots of knitting done.

A pink hat with ears,
and a Blueboo hat

With alternative styling for those days when you feel implacably perky.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Still under the rhino

This rhino-virus has got me down, but I'm fighting gamely. What I find most disconcerting is the fever and dehydration which sneaks up on you and makes you too stupid to wonder if maybe you might be dehydrated. Yesterday, I was pouring myself a glass of orange juice and spilled a bit. First I put the OJ back in the fridge. Then I found myself standing in front of the spill with a spoon in my hand wondering, "What's wrong with this picture?"

DH has been heroic about tending me, but he's pretty pooped and run down himself. It's 2ish - 3ish in the afternoon, and he's still sleeping. And somone is gonna have to clean the litterboxes any minute now or the cats will explode. A friend of mine has a teenaged son with a similar complaint (the rhino, not the exploding cats) and tending a sick adult male heir ranks right up there with poking grizzly bears with a short stick, and taking meat away from hungry tigers on the list of jobs no one wants. I can DO litterboxes! Dealing with someone who wants to be seen as a man and still have his mommy make it all better is a juggling act far beyond my capabilities. Am I babbling?

Janette in Australia sent me a wonderful, delicate set of china for my birthday. She is the most generous, thoughtful girl! It has been over a decade since we met on the Woolworks chat boards as we both helped novice knitters fix their booboos. When DH and I went to Sydney, Janette had a respiratory crud that laid her low, so she sent her lovely husband to take us on a tour of the nearby country, He showed us a splendid good time, and wound up taking us back to his house so Janette and I could at least look at one another across the hedge and smile and wave. (Actually, being the girl she is, she invited me in and showed me her yarn, her books, and her kitties.)

Friday, March 07, 2008

oh, fiddle dee dee!

I woke up feeling just not up to snuff yesterday morning, but ignored it. My friends are coming to knit, and I have so much to do! I cleaned, and found myself getting more and more pooped and feeble. Then as I was wandering a a bit of a daze throug the grocery store I noticed there was Jello in my shopping cart, abd I had to bow to the inevitable. I never buy pre-made Jello unless I'm sick. And today I feel like crap on a cracker. Fever, cough and flooding sinuses. Now I have to call around and canel. Rats!! I even had the table set already, so let's at least have a virtual party, OK?

For Lucia, an elegant setting with classy french cats on the cup.

For Dave, ai don't have much in plaid or the greeny/browny tones you like except for this cammo cloth placemat. Enjoy!

For Janette, Calm classic blue and white. Sit down, have a sip and a chat with us, and let someone else ride herd on the adorable grandbabies for a bit.
For Lyssa, Dragons on your napkin ring, and a big cup so you can enjoy lots of your caffeine of choice.

Amy, tell us how the Ladybug and the cave troll are doing, and then we can create the jockstrap of punishment for the prickweenies at school.
Kate, Something pink and frilly for you and Tilly. I love the glaze on this hand=thrown mug. Wish I had been the one to make it.
Willow,yellow and blue cheer for you.

And beloveds, I'll have to stop here, because I'm just too weary to continue. I am imitating the seven dwarves: Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy, Achey, Whiney and Snot. Happy trails, troops!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Birthday score! (and a knitting hint)

Amy Lane, of writerslane fame sent me an extravagant birthday present! There's a Chinese brocade bag with a top zipper and an inner zippered pocket, and the bag is the perfect size for carrying the knit in public projects! And in the bag, she tucked the most clever needles - a toothpick of wood with a loop of nylon attached. Super easy for these old eyes to thread! And she added some sweater-shape point protectors, so the needles and knitting won't get away, one from another. She had a splendid card of a porcupine with the motto, "I don' need no stinkin' needles." And she sent the CD of her family Christmas. Oh, and by the way - a skein of Petite Voodoo silk and merino fingeringweight yarn. Ooooo! I rubbed it all over my face and neck. Sooo soft. And unlike kitties, no claws.

So, enough bragging. Today we have a quick lesson in how to use up those odds and bobs. Take three partial balls of yarn that sort of talk to one another and play well together. I like to stick within color families, but strong contrasts will work, too. Take the biggest ball and a needle that seems right for it. (worsted weight, 8. Sport weight, 5. fingering weight, double it and use a 5.) How wide would you like your scarf to be? Measure that length three times, put in a slipknot there, and do a long-tailed cast-on. now, pick up the second color and seed stitch across. Pick up the third color and seed stitch back. Well looky thar! Color number one is sitting there, waiting for you. Pick it up and seed stitch across . . . Repeat until you run out of one color. seed stitch the next row and break off the yarn. Using the last color, bind off in seed stitch. Weave the ends in.

Voila! (vwa-lah, or vi-o-la, as you prefer.) It's a short scarf? Good. Someone in the world wants a short scarf that will just cross his throat and tuck into his coat. And you have knit it. Good job!

I don't think there is any way to do this wrong. Tell me if you find it.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Another orphan sweater ready to go

Ok, so it still needs blocking. But all seams are sewn, and the pocket is placed. Blue Moon's Blueboo with Cascade dark gray. Two rows of gray and one of varigated. You need a circular needle to do this if you are using only two balls of yarn and knitting stockinette flat. The sleeves are alternating rows. Again you need a circular needle. I'm wondering what else I can do with a circular needle, knitting across a row, then pushing the work back and knitting across the row again with another color/ stitch pattern / ???

If you enlarge the picture you will see some little harbingers of spring snuggled up under the out-stretched arm. Go ahead. Click on the picture. I'll wait. Dumdeedumdum. Dumdeedum. Yep. Those are violets. These are purely volunteers. I have no idea how they got there, but good luck to them!

(sings) "Sweet vi-olets. Sweeter than all the roses. Covered all over from head to toe. Covered all over with - - - sweet vi-olets!"

For dinner last night, DH fixed me a delicious dinner of poached cod and steamed rice with herbs and good flavors. We eat in front of the TV. I sat down, and Jack decided that the fish was all his. Your life is not complete until you have been mugged by a three-legged, half-blind, geriatric cat. You 've got to give him credit for high hopes, determination, and cunning. I finally relented and gave him the last few forkfulls. OH did he chow down. The fish fairly flew off the plate. As for the rice, well it's amazing how he can suck off all the fish flavor without actually eating any of the rice. He was a satisfied old cat last night. May I have as much success in getting my way when I'm old and feeble. May we all!