Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A halloween yarn!

This gem of a story came up on the knitty board. I didn't knit for Jeff until we were securely married, and the sweater I made him is his absolute favorite.

The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater

"What are you knitting?" the woman in the waiting room asked. The knitter was used to being asked questions whenever she knitted in public.

"Oh, well, a sweater for my boyfriend," she said, glancing down in admiration at her grayish, intricately cable-infused handiwork, which was even now nearly completed.

"I'm a knitter, too. Have you heard of the curse of the boyfriend sweater?"

The knitter nodded her head in the negative.

"If you knit your boyfriend a sweater, you'll come to regret it: the relationship will be doomed, and you'll wish you hadn't given him a handknit sweater. Or so they say."

The knitter laughed. "Yeah, well, I spun the yarn myself. I can guarantee I'll get it back. It's my own special blend of sheep's wool and wolf. I told him if we ever broke up, he had to give the sweater back, or it would eat him."

The stranger laughed and nodded appreciably, while unable to help herself to a pet of the sweater. She jerked her hand back when she thought she heard a snarl. Was it her imagination? The knitter kept on knitting, as if she hadn't noticed. "It's beautiful," the stranger said nervously. The knitter smiled, never taking her eyes off her needles.

"Wolves are very loyal to their mates," she added, more to herself than to the stranger.

* * *

Two months later, the boyfriend was now an ex-boyfriend and had been for a few weeks, after he was caught cheating with another woman. Strange things had begun to happen to him. A month earlier, after being out of town with his new girlfriend, he came home to find his bedroom ransacked. His clothes dresser looked, well, splintered and chewed, as if a pitbull had been set loose in there. His clothing and blankets had been mangled and torn. Everything except the handknit sweater, which was still lovingly wrapped and unmolested in its original tissue paper, while everything else around it was in tatters.

Now it was Halloween night. The ex-boyfriend was supposed to be en route to a party at Bamboozles, and he was running late. He was still in the process of replacing his wardrobe. What little he did have was now in the hamper, waiting to be washed. And now, without anything else to wear, the ex-boyfriend reluctantly took up the handknit sweater and put it on for the first time. It fit perfectly. He had to give his ex-girlfriend credit: she had knitted him a fine sweater. He felt a momentary pang of guilt for not returning it, but he just didn't feel like phoning her right now. He squelched the feeling down and grabbed his car keys while heading out the door.

The top half of a huge, beautiful rusty full moon was beginning to peek over the horizon. His skin began to itch as he drove, at first a little, then a lot. "Freakin wool sweater," he muttered to himself, and he cursed his ex-girlfriend. A growl near his ears nearly made him lose control of the wheel. Panicked, he looked in the backseat. There was nothing there. The itching intensified. Indeed, the sweater seemed to ripple all over his body, as though alive. He scarcely noticed the full moon break free of the horizon, he was so itchy. He was still rubbing and scratching his body when, at last, he pulled into Bamboozles. He was tempted to take the sweater off, but a sign on Bamboozles said, "No shirt, no service." Grumbling and scratching, he went in.

The place was crowded. He spotted his girlfriend and she waved him over. "I'm in the mood to dance," she yelled over the buzz of surrounding conversations and music. He let her lead him to the dance floor. It was one of those tunes that was all bass and drums, thump! thump! thump! thump! and not much else. At first the dancing helped him itch non-obtrusively; indeed, his girlfriend thought he was just being sexy as he touched different parts of his chest and arms. He was beginning to find it difficult to breathe, but he didn't want to say anything. He certainly did not want to let on that the sweater was made by his ex-girlfriend. But he knew something was wrong when she stopped and stared. The intricate cable work on the sweater began to move like snakes, constricting and loosening, then constricting again. "Is that some kind of costume?" she yelled over the music. He shook his head in the negative. It was becoming unbearably comfortable now, so he tried taking the sweater off.

A wolfen howl filled Bamboozles so loud that everyone stopped what they were doing to see what was going on. Only the thump! thump! thump! remained, and even the music quit upon the second howl. The boyfriend was now on his knees, trying to remove the sweater, but it clung tightly. "Help me, someone! It's biting me!" At first everyone froze, helpless, as they watched the man's contortions. Someone in the crowd whispered, "Is it an epileptic fit?" Still another, "Should we call 911?"

At last emboldened, his girlfriend helped to free him from the sweater. It took twenty minutes of tugging and pulling to finally free him, and her efforts earned her a nasty bite on her hand. For his part, his back and chest were covered in claw marks and bites.

* * *

The next day, the knitter found her sweater wadded up in her mailbox. She sighed as she took out the familiar garment, with its painstaking cabling and homespun blend. She breathed in its animal scents and smiled. She smoothed it lovingly before putting it on over her t-shirt. As she went inside, it purred, happy to be home again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jeff's 30th Birthday

Now that it's all over, and the risk of spoilage is gone, I can blog about the most excellent surprise party I planned for my husband, Jeff's 30th birthday. It started a few weeks ago, when I realized he was getting burned out from work, karate, and DMing/storytelling 3 or 4 different games. I mentioned to our good friend Eric that if he were to throw something, anything, together for his birthday, it would be a wonderful gift.

So Eric planned a classic dungeon crawl. First level characters against goblins, with the hint of a dragon at the end!

Then it occurred to me to really surprise him with this. I handed over a house key to Ana, and arranged for everyone in our usual gaming group to be at the house by 6:30. Hide upstairs with their shoes and the lights off.

I made him his favorite breakfast, French Toast, and Jeff and I spent most of the morning cuddling on the couch watching the DVD from his sister of the Muppets Season 2. Then we got dressed and I took him out to a sushi dinner, followed by a trip to his favorite gaming store. It turned out that chatting it up with a bunch of other gaming nerds really whet his appetite for gaming. He was starting to wax nostalgic for D&D. Now, up until now I had him convinced that I was probably going to run something as a solo game for him. I dropped a few more hints that would lead him down that road, and we went to the grocery store to pick up his cake. He was looking at these tiny little 2-serving ice cream cakes. I convinced him that we needed a bigger one to accomodate for his tradition of birthday cake for breakfast the day after. Oh, and then would you look at that? The price on the next bigger one is only a couple dollars more, and we'll have leftovers!

Ice cream cake in hand and friends parked around on the far side of the house, we get home. I take the cake and tell him to go upstairs and look in the gaming book, that I'd hidden something for him up there. He goes and as soon as he has the lights on, our friends yell Happy Birthday to him, causing him to nearly fall back down the stairs!

He quickly draws up a 1st level character, and much dungeon crawling ensues. Eric did a great job, and Jeff kept whispering to me how awesome this was. All of our friends were wonderful, helping organize schedules, and even coming back early from the Ren Faire to make it to our house on time.

The next day Jeff and I went to the Ren Faire and he got to spend a bit of his birthday money, and we had the usual good time drinking really expensive beer and eating really expensive food.

Jeff has told me that this was the best birthday he's had in a very long time. I'm incredibly appreciative of our friends who helped with the surprise, especially Eric for taking the DMing reigns for an evening (or two, since we didn't kill the dragon yet!).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A little stash enhancement

Today was the 1 year anniversary of the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, the Local Yarn Store that showcases my yarn!

Well, I went to the little party, had some fun, and traded in the other two skeins of yarn in the "cherry cordial" colorway that I'd spun up a few weeks ago. I'd had a few nibbles of interest, but everyone quailed at the final price. Fine. I know where to go where people appreciate my handiwork.

I got this, and still have $47 left over in store credit.

ahhh, that's better. I'll just rub it on my hand and the soreness will go away, right?

Oh, and I updated yesterday's post with a picture of the hand. The yellowness is even more pronounced than it is in the picture, but at least it's the color of a healing bruise.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


A few people were asking how my thumb is doing, so I figured a simple post would answer things.

In a word, better. With much restraint and a little prodding from husband Jeff and crafter friend Ana, I took the entire weekend off from crafting of any kind.

I think I now understand smokers' withdrawal symptoms. I had NOTHING I could do with my hands! I felt all fiddly and kept fondling my handspun yarn and untouched sock yarn. Fortunately we had a spectacular day at the market, sold over 6 dozen cookies, and between all the sales and holding down the tent that was trying valiantly to become a kite, I was occupied. I kept the brace on, except at night and in the evenings, when I did some stretches and assessed how the hand was really doing.

Right now I have yellow-blue bruising from the thumb joint to my wrist, but it's faint which means it isn't terribly close to the surface. It still hurts, and aches if I leave it below the level of my heart for too long, probably because it still is a little swollen. It's no longer twice the size of my other thumb joint, but it's still about half again as big. I type a lot at work, but it really hasn't been giving me too much trouble, since I use my right hand thumb for the spacebar.

A picture for the morbidly curious

I'm going to continue to impose the no crafting healing time on myself until Saturday. Give myself at least a whole week to recover. I am going to an anniversary party for my LYS, but I can just buy yarn and have a good time without knitting. Really I can!

Friday, October 19, 2007

So prior to the previous post . . .

. . . I made some cute additions to my felted vest!

I now dub it completely completed. (unless I decide it needs a zipper)


And, a closeup!


Mitten pockets!

Warm fully woolen felted mitten pockets!

Wait, damn. My stupid splint doesn't fit into the left one! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!

How important are opposible thumbs anyway?

I don't think my Socktober goals will be met this year. I don't even think that I'll be able to finish Jeff's socks in time for his birthday. grrr.

Oh, why you ask?

Here's why.

The actual injury doesn't show up too well in pictures, but this hurts like the dickens. The red dimple you see at the base of my thumb joint is from swelling, and the joint doesn't really move much, at least not without pain. That IS as straight as I can get my thumb, and you can see just how swollen that joint is. It's really noticeable next to the right hand, but of course I can't take a picture of both my hands.

At karate last night we were doing a drill where one person punches fast and the other blocks fast. Lots of fun, we call it "machine gun middle blocks" I'm helping sensei demonstrate, and that man can block FAST! I'm punching as fast as my arms will go.

Not sure exactly what happened, but he ends up accidentally blocking my left hand - right on the thumb. I feel a crunch and then blinding pain. I finish class, take some ibuprofen and go on with the second class. Thumb hurts like the dickens, but I can still move it, so there's not much else that can be done.

So I get home and try to do some knitting. Hey, it's only my left thumb, not like it's my dominant hand, right? I mean, how much do you really use you non - dominant thumb in knitting? Apparently a lot. I get through one "row" of Jeff's socks and have to stop. I'm nearly in tears because of the pain. So today, I sit at my desk, thankful I hit the spacebar with my right thumb, with a nice new brace I bought from CVS.

Here is my brace

And here are my socks.

I got a lot done, actually. Most of this was accomplished at the Farmer's Market. So now I just need to figure out what I want to do tomorrow in the 4 hours of farmer's market. I usually knit!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I have decided to make a goal of 3 pairs of socks finished in the month of October/Socktober.

Here they are, in order of current completion.

Think I can do it? Anyone else have sock goals for Socktober?

Jenny's Fetching

SIL Jenny finally got her birthday present, and I am able to post all the details about it on my blog without ruining the surprise! Happy Birthday, Jenny.

So DH asks me, about a month out, what I think of making a present for Jenny for her birthday. She loved the Fetching gloves I'd made for myself about a year ago, so I decided to combine that with the spinning I've learned so far, the dyeing I've been playing with, and the knitting I know and love to make her a completely one-of-a kind gift.

I start off with double checking with MIL what her favorite colors are. Black and Green, she says. So I begin with my stash of "black" roving.

Not very black actually, and spun up it comes off as distinctly grey. Not a problem. I'll add 1/4 tsp of Wilton's Moss Green, a dash of vinegar, and let it sit.

After dyeing I abused the yarn, which essentially entails lots of hot soapy water and agitation. I don't have pictures of this because I do it in my bathtub, and I'm not risking my digital camera in such a watery environment.

Afterwards, it's absolutely gorgeous. Here it is next to just a little bit of the grey 2-ply that was left over.

And here's a claustrophobic close-up, showing how well the color really turned out.

Then came the simpler part, making the gloves. I did it on my Grandmother's plastic DPNs, which really work well for these gloves.

And here they are, resting artistically on my white roving. Gently washable, and I just heard from her last night, they're just the right color. Yay!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Not forgotten, just busy

I know it's been a while since I posted, but the main thing I've been working on couldn't be posted, as it's a suprise for my SIL's birthday. As soon as she gets it I'll post the pictures.

So what has been going on around here? How about a simple before and after shot?



Aw yeah. Love the Granite Transformations. Totally worth it, and totally beautiful. It's a basic black, but in person it's really sparkly, shiny, with hints of blue and copper if you catch it at just the right angle. I'm still waiting on the sink caulk to dry (that was reinstalled today) but as of tomorrow I"ll have a fully functional kitchen again, new and improved.

And, just to prove that I haven't only been sitting around paying others to put in countertops for me. Here is how much farther I've gotten on the Maizy socks: