Marsha

Last week’s drama

We found out he was missing in the early morning, while getting ready for school and work. In the early afternoon we posted about him in our neighborhood online group, and I made a flyer to distribute to our nearest neighbors.

One neighbor put us in touch with a friend of hers who is very good at finding lost cats and dogs. Seriously, she’s like a cat whisperer with magic powers. Brenda stopped by our house that evening, explained some cat behavior stuff to us (which culminated in her firm belief that “he is almost certainly within one house of this one, probably hunkered down under a deck or a bush”), and gave us some suggestions (and some extra-stinky cat food) for luring him back home.

On the front porch, we put some of our clothes (with our smells on them), one of the litter boxes, Widdershins’ favorite sleeping pillow, and some of the stinky cat food. The hope was that he’d follow those familiar odors home.

We also left a cat-sized opening in our back slider door and planted another bowl of the stinky food just beyond it. And to provide another option for shelter, we left the garage door open about six inches and put yet more cat food in the garage. And then we went to bed.

Around 5 a.m. I heard some meowing outside my closed bedroom door. (We had our other cat, Aisling, locked in our room with us so she wouldn’t run out through the open slider door.) Sure enough, it was Mr. Widdershins! His thirty-six-hour-long adventure had concluded, and he’d come home. Needless to say, there was much rejoicing here!

P.S. Of course he ate ALL of the stinky cat food we’d left out for him, first. (I am pretty sure the 5 a.m. meowing was him saying, “I want more food.”) We just knew that his hunger would bring him home!

Marsha

Before and after

Back in March I wrote about a bowl I’d made in porcelain and decorated with a ginkgo leaf. At the time, I had no idea what I was going to do with it.

In late September I participated in a wood-kiln firing and included this bowl in my share. I glazed it uniformly in “Ash Grey” and am pretty pleased with how it turned out!

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Marsha

Frogging my new project!

I’ve been knitting merrily along on my colorblock Lopi sweater, and yesterday afternoon I knit to about two inches below the armholes and started thinking, “I wonder if this is too large.” So this morning I put the stitches on my 52″ Denise cable and tried on the sweater. The results were comical:

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Yes, I do believe that falls in the “too large” category! What happened?

I had very carefully knit and measured a gauge swatch and ended up at 3.5 stitches per inch. When I dug out my ruler this morning, though, I found that the actual sweater was coming in at 3 stitches per inch. And no, it wasn’t a matter of knitting flat vs. knitting in the round. I had knit the swatch flat, but the first section of this sweater (the gray part) was knit flat and only when I switched to the blue yarn did I start knitting in the round. When I measured this morning, both of those sections came in at 3 stitches per inch. And my sweater was sized to fit someone with a 44″ chest!

I am pretty sure I’m cursed when it comes to gauge. Whatever number I get on my gauge swatch ends up being different from the number I get on the actual knitting. This happens almost every single time. I think rulers and measuring tapes are all conspiring to gaslight me.

I have ripped out the whole thing and will start it anew tonight, this time following Ann Budd’s numbers for the 38″ sweater at the 3-stitches-per-inch gauge. I’m actually not feeling too discouraged about this. Bulky yarn knits up fast, and I really want to be sure I’m 100% pleased with the final result. So it pays to take the time to do it right!

I’ve had a motley assortment of Reynolds Lopi for several years now—multiple skeins in each of several colors, but not enough of one color to be able to make a traditional Icelandic sweater (most of those call for at least 5 skeins, usually 6 or 7). So I’m going to combine them in a way that (I hope) doesn’t result in something that looks like clown barf.

My gauge is 3.5 sts = 1”. Unfortunately, that’s not covered in Ann Budd’s book (I really wish she’d add half stitches to her tables!) so I have to do some math.

I want to make a 40” sweater, which means I should be aiming for 140 sts (3.5 sts x 40”) at the chest. The pattern charts list 140 sts as the chest measurement for the 46” size (at 3 sts = 1” gauge). So I’m just going to follow the numbers in that column!

I’m going to break the color blocks into thirds that are (I hope) the same length vertically. I’ll probably make the first color border right after the armpits, and place the second color border the same distance further down.

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Here’s the color scheme I’m going with (inspired by Annamária Ötvös’ Got the Blue pullover, which I intend to knit next):

Shoulder saddles in Denim Heather
Top of body in Light Gray Heather
Middle of body Denim Heather
Bottom of body in Navy

Top of sleeve in Denim Heather
Middle of sleeve in Navy
Bottom/cuff of sleeve in Light Gray Heather

Marsha

I made this!

I’ve long liked the idea of making things out of wood. And I’ve long liked Adirondack chairs. I finally got to combine both of these interests by making my own chair!

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Technically, this isn’t a genuine Adirondack chair, because it has a slightly different construction that (aside from the curve at the top of the back) is made with all straight cuts. I used plans from Ana White’s book, The Handbuilt Homewhich is mostly well written except for the major measurement error for this piece that I didn’t discover until I had already cut, sanded, and painted everything and was all set to start putting it all together. (Grrrr. Yes, this was somewhat annoying.) Fortunately, I managed to find the correct measurement (not on White’s website or on her publisher’s page, though—only in comments by other frustrated woodworkers) and, after buying/cutting/sanding/painting another piece of wood, was able to assemble the chair.

I love the color (which Sylvia helped choose). And I love the mostly-upright-but-slightly angled position, which is comfortable but not so reclined that using a laptop is difficult while sitting in this chair.

Marsha

In search of a recipe

During my recent trip to NYC I had a cherry lime rickey for the first time. (“What’s this ‘cherry lime rickey’ thing on the menu? I have no idea what is, but its name is way too fun for me not to try it!”)

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I LOVED IT. (In fact, as carbonated beverages go, in my book it’s almost right up there with Moxie !) The ingredients are seltzer, cherry, and lime, so figuring out how to make this at home shouldn’t be difficult, right?

Well, it’s not quite that easy. Googling around has led me to tons of recipes that vary in lots of little ways. For example, some call for cherry syrup, others say to use cherry juice, and others recommend grenadine (which is weird, because technically that’s supposed to be pomegranate flavor). And don’t even get me started on the great debate between lime juice and lime syrup.

So before I go shopping for ingredients and start experimenting, I figured I’d see if anyone out there has a great recipe for a cherry lime rickey. (Bonus points if your version tastes exactly like the one at Veselka!) Anyone?

Marsha

(In)credibility

Hulk

Marsha

The Whale

Two friends and I are about to launch a “let’s read the classics we should have read a long time ago” project together. First up is Moby-Dick. Even though I dated a Melville scholar for a few years in grad school, I somehow managed not to read this (or any other Melville, for that matter).

It makes sense for us to read the same version of the text, so after some discussion we settled on the Norton Critical Edition (2nd ed.). I spent some time examining several other editions, too, and in light of that it’s pretty funny that Jan just happened upon this yesterday:

 

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Marsha

Grammar rules

I wonder if I should share this with my editing clients . . .

writing

Marsha

Knitting for the birds

Usually by the time some “knit [insert name of garment or item] to help out the [insert name of animal]” campaign gets widespread attention on the Internet, the organization that issued the original call for help has already reached it’s original goal. Also, some of those campaigns aren’t actually helpful. (Remember the “knit jumpers for penguins” thing? Here’s a bit of info on how that turned out. Hint: it was not a very effective way to help penguins.)

For once, I’ve managed to catch wind of one these campaigns while it’s in full swing! WildCare in San Rafael, California, is asking for knit and crocheted birds needs to help orphaned baby songbirds during baby bird season (i.e., NOW). You can submit your e-mail address here to get a link to the free pattern PDF. (They even have a Ravelry group, which was locked at the end of August when the 2014 campaign ended but will start again with the 2015 campaign.)

The FAQ is pretty interesting, especially these parts:

Is this like penguin sweaters? Do you really need nests or are you going to sell them for money?We really need nests. Our Birdroom director at WildCare says they’re like towels in a nursery, one can never have too many. Our commitment is that every single nest we receive will go to a bird rescue facility.

Why do you need so many nests?  Because bird poop happens. Nests get very dirty over the course of a day in the Birdroom. Each baby bird must be fed approximately every 45 minutes from dawn till dusk. Although the nests are lined with tissue, they still get dirty from food and poop and need to be changed. When your baby birds need to be cleaned, you just put them into a new nest and put the old one into the dirty laundry basket.

 

 

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