Syndactyl Salutations

Thoughts on writing, knitting, and the world around me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Library Day

I've been rereading stuff I have at home for the past week or so. This is not a bad thing, but I've been doing it not because I've been dying to reread things, but because I didn't have anything new around to read. Today I decided to remedy that situation.

At lunch I went to the library and got three books:

The Finishing School, Muriel Spark -- I've never heard of her or it, but if I don't have anything particular in mind (I forgot my book list today) I often grab something off the new(ish) book shelves.

No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting, Anne L. Macdonald -- I love social histories, and come on, it's knitting.

The Art of Mending, Elizabeth Berg -- I've read several of Berg's other books and I know it'll be a relaxing, quick read. Sometimes you just need that, you know?

Guess which one I started while I was waiting for/eating lunch?

After work I went to the local library book sale (I need to mention that, for some reason, I've begun collecting young adult novels from the mid-60s and earlier. I don't know why I do this, but I do, and am building quite a collection...) :

Teen stuff:

Hi There, High School, Gay Head -- Okay, not technically a novel, but how could I resist a teen etiquette guide originally published in 1953?

"HI, THERE... The doors swing open on a new school term. You're back and you-- but there come Bev and Bud! You catch their conversation.

"Hiya Bev!" Bud calls. "Say, where did you get that swell sun tan?"

(That is the first few lines of the preface. I was going to go longer, but, frankly, I just couldn't.)

I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, Hannah Green

First Love, 14 warm and glowing stories selected by Gay Head

The Highest Dream, Phyllis A. Whitney

The Chocolate Cobweb, Charlotte Armstrong

A Summer To Die, Lois Lowry (I know this isn't in the time range, but I like Lois Lowry)

A Steady Kind of Love (original title: How Wide the Heart), Elisabeth Ogilvie


The Day the World Went Away, Anne Schraff -- I think I read this as a teenager. This edition is, oddly, put out by XEROX.

The Dispossessed, Ursula K. LeGuin

Witness, William Kelley and Earl W. Wallace -- Yeah, that Witness. It was filmed here 20 years ago. Ebbie claimed the book was better than the movie, but according to the cover, the book is based on the screenplay, so we'll see.

Well, this was quite the confessional post. It definitely has the most links I've ever put in a single post. I'll let you know how these fine selections are as I go through them, provided I can remember as I finish them.

Wish me luck for the school picnic tomorrow, it's only supposed to rain in the morning...

(Oh, with an author with the name "Gay Head" in my list TWICE -- and here once, I'm really glad I don't check stats on how people get to this site.)

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Big Sack

This is me. This is my first sweater. Knitblogland, meet big fuzzy green Big Sack. It's growing on me, but I think I need to wear fewer sack-like garments in general. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Just Enough Beer

I'm not much of a drinker. I had a Black and Tan with dinner at O'Halloran's Pub a few blocks from my house. It was just enough to make me nice and sleepy without making me drunk or heavy-feeling.

Ebbie is out jamming this evening, and I just wasn't in the mood to sit at home alone all evening. At first I was going to go to giant corporate restaurant X and have a glass of prosecco with whatever I chose for dinner, in memory of an Italian restaurant in Germany, but the line looked too long and I couldn't be bothered. So I sat in the cafe of giant corporate bookstore Y and leafed through a magazine instead. I had Washing Silver with me, but, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't even open it.

After leafing through, but not buying, the magazine, I checked the prospects of X again: still too busy, at least to my mind. The sun was setting as I went back to my car, and I kept wishing I could catch the light on film before it (typed:"I") disappeared. I was mildly annoyed with the people leaning against my dirty white car in the parking lot, but not enough to do any more than look at them pointedly as I put my key in the ignition.

I was still sort of fixating on the sunset as I started home, so I drove up to a parking lot that sits higher than most of the stuff around. Great idea, I took probably half a roll of film as the light changed, doing my best to keep power lines and ugly buildings out of the frame. I don't quite know what I ended up with, since I'm still working entirely with film, but it'll be fun to find out.

I need to reload the camera tonight so that I can take it with me tomorrow and take photos of the various exuberantly blooming trees around town. I was going to today, but it just didn't happen. Except for the wisteria in the front bed, I got that on my way back to work after lunch.

I hope you had a good day and are having a nice evening.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mom Socks

I'm not really good at socks yet; I make one basic pattern and still have gusset hole issues. You wouldn't know it from the reception these grey socks got from my mom when I gave them to her. She put them on long enough to model them (see, she even got artsy), then took them off because she wanted to save them "for special". I'm just ecstatic that they fit, and I am hoping that my dad's will fit him when I finish them. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Welcome Back Sophie!

Someone found my bag! It was found in a laundromat a few blocks from where I had left it, the reason I didn't get it back sooner was because the people who found it figured the owner would come in to claim it. When no one showed, they looked for ID and called.

The only thing missing was a book of stamps. It means I'll have to buy more stamps, but I think I can live with that. But my sock knitting and sock needles were intact, and I have to replace fewer things than I'd expected.

I realized last night that I hadn't knit a stitch since I lost my bag. As soon as I could after I got it back, I did a bit on my sock, and this evening I've turned the heel on my dad's sock and have begun gusset decreases. Still don't know what I'm going to do about Klaralund yet. I'll have to think about that one tomorrow.

I don't generally like to get too attached to stuff, but I definitely took the loss of the bag and the partial sock hard. I am sure it was because of the work I put into them. It has to be, right?

By the way, Michelle, thank you for your kind words in response to yesterday's post, they did help.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Resting Quietly

My nephews died a year ago today. I took the day off because I wasn't sure how I would react. It has not been extreme. I have spent the day resting, reading, thinking. It is a lovely day, and was suggested that I maybe go to the park. I have stayed at home all day instead.

I did not go to the cemetery, I don't often visit graves of people I once knew.

I have not spoken to my family. I hope it doesn't sound horrible or ungrateful, but I just couldn't. If anyone calls me, of course I will speak to them. I, however, was unable to pick up the phone.

I miss the children, and abhor the resultant situation, but being quiet for today was enough for now. Tomorrow I will get up and go back to work and take the rest of it as it comes.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Lost and Scattered

Yes, I am an idiot. I walked away from my bag the other night, and when I realized and went back, it was gone. I know I've been sort of out of it lately, but I can not figure out how I did not notice that I didn't have my bag with me. I always have my bag with me.

The worst of it is, in addition to losing all sorts of things for which I had to make numerous phone calls, I also lost Sophie, bookbookbook, and my sock kit with the second sock of the second pair and all of my US 2 needles. Ebbie checked dumpsters in the vicinity, but came up empty.

I am bereft.

I am also really annoyed by the person who decided he or she could just take my possessions, rather than turning them in. I know this happens all the time, I just wish people were more honest.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Odds and Ends

1. I finished Mom's socks. They fit and she was thrilled (so was I). She even modeled them for me, and I have the photo developed, but I haven't scanned it because the scanner is buried under desk stuff.

2. I started Dad's socks Saturday evening. I am on the brink of turning the heel on sock #1, knitting socks in worsted does make them fly.

3. I started Klaralund on Tuesday, but did not swatch. I checked gauge today and found that, 3" in, unwashed size is too small. I'm debating with myself whether to rip and go up a needle size or hope it'll stretch a bit in the blocking. I am a lazy knitter.

4. The wisteria in front of the house is loaded with buds and a few of them look like they're about ready to burst into color, I can't wait.

5. I did my taxes today. Mailed the feds, need to write a check to the state and make a copy of the local. Yes, I'll be due a refund, and I STILL put it off until the last minute. My taxes are incredibly simple, I just hate having to do them. It's irrational, I know.

6. Work has been horrible this week for a number of reasons, let's not discuss it.

7. A.C. Moore had 25% off all yarn through Tuesday. Monday I went and got Patons Classic Wool in Natural Mix, Paprika, and Royal Purple (instead of Leaf Green and Deep Olive -- I put them back, because I just finished a green sweater, for goodness' sake!) and a slightly less luxurious clone of Cashmerino Aran in grey. I have specific projects in mind for both of batches.

8. I have realized that practically everyone with a blog and plans for Maryland Sheep & Wolf--er--Wool (thanks Rachael) will be there on Saturday rather than Sunday, which is the day I will be able to attend. I guess that means I'll have the run of the place, and whatever yarn may be left by the time all of knitblog world gets done on Saturday.

9. I'm more glad than anyone knows that tomorrow is Friday.

10. I just couldn't leave it at 9, so I guess I'll mention that I have a three-day weekend this weekend.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Good Question

Namely, why don't I subscribe to The New Yorker? I enjoy it, I read it from time to time. I picked up the latest issue this afternoon because of what Anne wrote about it. The piece she referenced was a great article, which I read over lunch (resulting in a slightly delayed return to work), and I'm sure it is in the company of several other very good articles, which I will read very soon.

But back to the subscription thing. I know there are several blow-in cards in my issue, I may have to change my non-subscriber status, it is rather embarrassing. I should at least use my English degree by reading decent writing, even if I'm barely using it to write any.

Another gorgeous day today, I'm not even sure why I'm inside right now, I should probably be outside pulling more weeds or something, or at least working on Mom's sock (or reading The New Yorker) on the front steps. Maybe I'll do that, or maybe I'll take a nap.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Lemon Pound Cake

I have become quite fond of lemon pound cake at my nearby Borders cafe, some may even say dependent upon it. I have been having outings with Washing Silver recently, and at each of them I have had a slice of lemon pound cake, along with a varying beverage. Today it was lemon pound cake with an orange Italian soda. Revisions of Washing Silver are moving slowly. Actually, they're just plain moving backward. I am in the "cut out what doesn't belong" step, and I have discovered the following along the way:

  • I like the basic story, still, but I do think some fairly major things need to change or be rearranged.
  • Writing a complete story arc in three weeks requires that you skim over a lot of things.
  • My characters are acting in a vacuum, and I desperately need to give them some scenery and props.

I'm sure I have learned other things as well, but the only other thing that popped into my head was the fact that some days I have more confidence in my ability to put this "book" into a workable form than others. That didn't seem like an appropriate bullet-point, especially since today was something of a doubting day. Today's twenty pages were looked at in honor of Cari, who finished the second draft of her novel earlier this week.

The other reason I looked at the manuscript today is that I didn't look at it over the weekend at all. I was too busy finishing Big Sack. It's growing on me. I'll try to remember to have Ebbie take a picture of me in it tomorrow.

It's about four inches longer than I'd really like, and I did something wonky with the sleeve seams, but it looks like a sweater, and it does fit me. I was thinking about redoing the sleeve seams, but I am afraid of accidentally cutting the wrong strand of yarn and doing something VERY BAD to the sweater. I almost said "unravelling", but that would not be a problem. The yarn ended up being more hairy than I'd expected it to be, which ended up being an issue when I realized that the turtleneck I had done was hideous and made me look like a bullfrog in mid-call. Ripping was an adventure because the stitches had bonded very nicely in the scant few hours in which they'd known one another.

There will be no more ripping of this sweater. It is my first sweater, I have learned from it and had the fact that I should not wear overly baggy sweaters often reinforced by it. But it will stay in the form it is now and get worn from time to time because it is my first sweater.

I will start Klaralund next (paying closer attention to gauge), but not until I finish my poor mother's second sock and cast on for my father's first sock. Yes, I am aware that I managed to finish an entire oversized sweater before I finished a pair of socks, I am also aware that this makes me pathetic as a knitter. My only recourse is to blame the 10" orange aluminum dpns I'm using for the socks. I find them intimidating and slightly dangerous (the thought of possibly putting an eye out occurs to me when I use them).

I am going to call it a night. We're having a nice, soft rain that will, hopefully, help me fall asleep quickly. I've been enjoying the lovely weather we've been having, and haven't even minded the frequent periods of rain too much (because if it's raining, it's too warm to snow).

Enjoy your evenings.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Yes, I finished the second sleeve of Big Sack early this afternoon, and I just finished seaming the sleeves to the front. I just need to sew the back to the left sleeve , then I can pick up the stitches for the neck. I still haven't decided whether I want the rolled neck or the turtleneck. Probably the turtleneck, for some reason.

I certainly hope I've done the seaming right. It looks like it should be okay. I did it from the tops of the pieces down the diagonals. I started it from the other direction at first and had to pick it out because it was looking awful. Keep your fingers crossed that this sweater stays together, okay?

I haven't gone out today, it's rainy and I am content to just be here. I've re-watched Before Sunset and kicked Widget off of my sweater numerous times. He is now wedged behind me on my chair, sleeping.

I've had a nice feeling of contentment for the past couple of days. Nothing has actually changed in my life that would signal a shift toward happiness, but it has filtered through. Yesterday was lovely during the day. I went for my usual walk to market, got the veggies we needed and a black Russian bagel with cream cheese for lunch. I sat on one of the benches outside of market to eat and people-watch. I thought about knitting or writing a bit, but I didn't, I just sat instead. Sometimes that's exactly what I need.

I took my time going back to the office, I took a couple of photos of spring on my way, and if I ever finish this roll of film, maybe I'll post them. I stopped at the convenience store along the way and got a 25-cent Fudjo bar. It's not the highest quality quiescently (I love that word!) frozen treat on the planet, maybe. But it's a good one, and quite the bargain for a quarter, especially when eaten in the sunshine on a beautiful spring day. My higher-ups at work were envious.

Like I said, no earth-shatteringly good news, or anything, just general contentment. And it's carried through to today when, by rights, I should be in a funk because the weather has turned again. Instead, I'm thinking of putting another of my old-standby movies on while I do another sweater seam, then try to decide whether I'd rather pick up stitches on my mom's sock or the neck of Big Sack.

I hope all of you are experiencing some level of contentment. Enjoy the rest of your weekends.

P.S. To add to the contetntment, Ebbie just brought me a pot of tulips!