Saturday, June 30, 2007

Questions about babies

Admission: I know about as much about babies as I do about nuclear physics and I don't know anything about nuclear physics so when it comes to brand new humans I'm flying blind.

So here are my questions and the why of these questions will be revealed tomorrow when I have time to snap some photos and gather my brains after a fun-filled afternoon at the township dump. (It was Annual Dump Day. Do I know how to have fun or what?)

1. Do six month old babies still burp?
2. Do six month old babies need burping cloths?
3. Had you ever heard of a burping cloth before I posed question #2?
3. How big is your average six month old baby?
4. Why would anyone of right mind knit a garment (the aptly-named soaker) designed to absorb urine? (NOTE: When I typed the question I had no idea that cloth diapers still existed or that "soakers" served a legitimate purpose. If I inadvertently hurt any knitterly feelings, I'm sorry. What I don't know about babies and parenting could fill the Library of Congress.)
5. How big is the foot of a one year old child?
6. If I decided to knit a pair of socks for said one year old child, how many stitches do you think I'd need to cast on. I'm thinking 30 but am I knitting for Big Foot?

Thanking one and all in advance, I remain
Bewildered in Central NJ

Friday, June 29, 2007

Two Contests - one ending, one beginning

This is a strictly business post. It might be dull but I promise you the yarns are anything but.

1. The winner of the Lion Brand Beginner's Knitting Kit contest will be drawn on Sunday which means you have maybe 36 hours left to enter. All you have to do is send an email to me at Wicked Splitty with LION CONTEST in the subject and I'll do the rest.

2. Yarnapalooza kicks off on Sunday July 1st with the drawing of our first of 31 (or more!) lucky winners. That's right: 31 days, 31 (+) winners. What's not to like? You know the drill: send an email to 31Yarns with Contest (or Yarnapalooza if you're feeling formal) in the subject and you're in. If you live on planet Earth you're eligible!
Good luck!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Nancy!

Seven things you should know about our Nancy Herkness:

1. Nancy is a wonderful writer. (Example: Shower of Stars)

2. Nancy is a team player in the best meaning of the term

3. Nancy has gorgeous red hair

4. Nancy knits like a dream

5. Nancy is kind

6. Nancy is great fun to laugh with at Sardi's!

7. Nancy is a poet

And one thing you need to know about me:

1. I'm so glad she's my friend!
Happy birthday, Nancy!
drawing courtesy of yours truly

The perfect gift

I had to share the perfect print my Darling Children gave me for my birthday. I hope you can see that it says "The Knitter" and shows a lady knitting away while her cat looks on. That's me all dressed up for my birthday night out while my sister smiles in the background. She and her family flew up from Virginia to surprise me for the celebration. We had such fun! Obviously, it's the month for birthdays, and all these years I thought June was for brides.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Laptops, Storage, Step Socks, and other less important things

available from Brookstone

I've been sorting through all of the terrific comments about how to organize a stash. You guys are brilliant! (Scary, but brilliant!) I have lots of stuff crammed into dark blue Rubbermaid trash cans in the basement and while it does the job of keeping yarn safe from marauders, it doesn't 1) please the eye or 2) make finding what I need easy.
I've been doing the Ziploc thing since I started knitting again in 2003 and can't imagine life without them. Those humongous bags can hold a ten-pack of something gorgeous without splitting a zipper. (More than I can say about 2003's jeans . . . ) I guess the ideal solution would include Ziplocs as the first line of defense and then something big, relatively solid, and transparent. I think I'm going to go room by room and see what can be commandeered into service and what has outlived its usefulness. The closet in the guest room is a perfect example. I used to store my "I'm a published author" clothes in there. (As opposed to the tee shirts, jeans, and truly hideous pajamas I keep in the bedroom closet.) Well, the thing is I don't much go to conferences any more and I can't remember the last time I did an autographing. (2004 maybe?) It seems to me that the guest room closet might be just the place to stow my stash. (And did I mention that Goldisox put together one of those "California Closet' deals for me in there with all sorts of shelves and baskets years ago. This is truly starting to sound like the way to go.)
A new laptop should be arriving some time today. I almost feel sorry for the poor thing. I wonder if the laptop grapevine let it know its probable fate.
This is not a paid advertisement but if you haven't tried Austermann's STEP yarn get out there immediately and treat yourself to a skein. No, I didn't see much difference when I was knitting with it but OMG once you wash it, it turns into something close to angora! Beyond soft and gorgeous. I feel like stealing Goldi's socks right off his feet.
I managed to squeeze in an hour of knitting yesterday and loved every single second of it. I have maybe 2/3 of a ball of Outback Mohair left and I figure I'll keep going until I have just enough left to cast off. Since this is for me I can forsake the fringe unless, of course, I rummage through eBay and pick up a random hank or two.
Did you read what I wrote: "rummage through eBay and pick up a random hank or two." Isn't that how I ended up with all of these bits and pieces in the first place? Isn't rummaging through eBay the first step on the path to major stash enlargement, something I'm trying to avoid.
Pretend you didn't read it.
I'll try to pretend I didn't write it.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Day After . . .

One of the Outback Mohair shawls circa 2003
I was no sooner released from Sock Bondage when the What's-Next monster swooped down, grabbed me by the throat, and sent me rummaging through mountains of yarn in search of my next adventure.
I'll admit I didn't have much of a brain for thinking and/or planning so I was delighted to stumble on a 1/3 completed Plymouth Outback Mohair shawl I'd begun easily three years ago during my Mohair Madness phase and then discarded.
Yes, there was a time when I believed I would only knit with mohair 24/7/365. I was utterly besotted with the stuff. I loved it so much I knitted long strips of mohair and all things sparkly and glittery and draped them over the lampshades in my office while I pretended to be Colette.
Okay, so it's embarrassing. I admit that. But what knitter hasn't glommed onto some fiber or another and fallen so hard for its wonderfulness that he or she was ready to forsake all others and cleave only unto [fill in the blank]. It's all part of our affliction.
Anyway, there was the partially finished scarf, still on my trusty plastic Susan Bates #15US circs with two extra balls of leftovers at the ready. (That was the point of this shawl, if I remember correctly: I had so many various bits of leftover Outback Mohair from other projects that I decided to use them in a shawl-of-many-colors for me.) We were going out for the day yesterday (and thank you, everyone, for the wonderful birthday wishes!) and that meant lots of in-car time which meant lots of glorious knitting time while we listened to Anthony Bourdain read from his bestselling Kitchen Confidential. (Word to the wise: never order fish on Monday.)
This was the perfect driving project: already in progress, nothing taxing to the brain (k1, yo, k to end of row; rinse and repeat), and immensely satisfying.
All in all, a wonderful day.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Barbara,
Happy Birthday to you!

You share this natal date with my dear husband, Jim.
Or, as he told me on one of our first dates, when I asked about his birthday: "I was born on the same day as Rosemary's baby."

Hope you have a great day


Say Hallelujah!

Let me say it again: The Step Socks are done. Finished. Completed. Ends woven in, little bobbles corrected. They are now happily residing on Goldisox's (big) feet where they will live in splendor, harmony, and lanolin/jojoba comfort for eternity.

They'd better because I'm never going to knit another #*@(!! sock again as long as I live. That's it for socks. Socks are the devil's workshop. Socks exist only to make middle-aged NJ romance-writing knitters barking mad.

These socks almost broke my spirit, along with my Addi Turbos.

And don't you even whisper the words, "Hey, Bretton! They don't match," because I know they don't match. I don't do matching socks. The day I attempt matching socks is the day you can reserve a lovely room for me in one of those places where the walls are softly padded and everyone whispers.

But right now I'm not whispering, I'm yelling at the top of my lungs, "The Step Socks are finished! The Step Socks are finished!"

Say hallelujah!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

YARNAPALOOZA 2007 - 31 Days, 31 Winners


RTY opened its doors one year ago and to celebrate Barbara Bretton will give away yarn (the ultimate stash reduction!) every day during the month of July. Yes, that's right: 31 days, 31 lucky knitters! The other RTY bloggers will be joining in too (Nancy Herkness and Fran Baker are on board) so watch the blog for updates.

We're collecting entries right now so if you want to join in the fun, send an email to us here with Contest as the Subject then cross your fingers.

Good luck!

NOTE: If you live on Planet Earth you're eligible! US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Afghanistan, China, Brazil, Germany, Peru, U.K., Malaysia, Romania, Turkey, Sweden, Zimbabwe, Finland, Japan . . . anywhere at all.

Questions? Email Barbara any time.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Wedding in Paris

Cindi, I think we both need to take Promo 101 immediately! I've been so busy yammering on about stash and The Sopranos that I forgot to post the fact that our own Cindi Myers, the extremely prolific Marie Ferrarella, and I are currently appearing at your local bookstores as part of the A Wedding In Paris anthology.
This was a complete and total blast to write. I mean, what's not to like? I got to pretend I was in Paris, strolling the Rive Gauche, drinking in the sights and sounds of what is arguably the most beautiful city on the planet.
Imagination is a funny thing. Some days I'd shut down the laptop and actually be shocked to discover I wasn't in a funky hotel overlooking the Seine but sitting on a sofa in central New Jersey! For a few wondrous weeks I was a Parisian and I loved it.
Want to read an excerpt? Click here.
Knitting content to follow later today . . .

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Solemn Pledge

I hereby promise, under penalty of (fill in something appropriately dastardly and knitterly), to post once each day between now and July 31st.

I'm not saying the posts will be interesting. I'm not saying they'll be worth your bandwidth. But I'm gonna do it anyway. Call it part of my ongoing search for discipline in a happily chaotic life. Call it a walk on the wild side of organization or Bretton's Folly, which it just might be, but my gut tells me this is what I need to do.

It's too easy not to write. It's far too easy to let one day slip happily into the next and the next and suddenly you open your eyes and a month has slipped through your fingers before you even realized it was happening. Sorry, but when you hit your fifties time is too important to let slip away.

So here's the plan: a post every day both here and over here that will jump start my creative juices and have my fingers dancing over the keyboard in mad abandon as the pages of my next book leap onto the screen effortlessly.

Uh huh. (Imagine what I'd be like if I drank.)


As Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

They love us in Australia!

We were delighted to learn that Romancing the Yarn was mentioned as one of the “Websites and Blogs We Love” in the May issue of the Australian-based magazine Get Creative. We were in very impressive company which, of course, included The Wendy. What an honor!

GC comments that “Knitters seem addicted to blogging, possibly because the format allows for highly individualistic expression—just like the creative crafts themselves.” Hmmm. Or maybe we knitters just have addictive personalities.

Of course we were curious to find out more about a publication with such excellent taste in blogs and discovered that Get Creative has excellent taste in many other areas. It’s a gorgeous, glossy, colorful periodical with articles on all kinds of crafts.

Here’s what GC says about their mission:

Everything we produce is about encouraging and inspiring all of us to have a go at new things, expressing ourselves creatively and spending time with our family and friends. In this modern world it is easy to lose sight of the simple, enjoyable activities that bring colour and warmth to our lives and the lives of others.
The great thing about craft activities, though, is that nothing has to be perfect. The fun is in having a go.

I love the Australian flavor of their description!

Check out GC’s website at It has fabulous photos of projects from past issues of the magazine. You’ll be salivating to “have a go” at all of them!

Plea for Help from a Student of Chaos Theory

I mentioned my hapless attempts at organization, didn't I? Here I am with my 57th birthday on the horizon (Monday!!) and I'm still struggling with the same basic problem that vexed me at 17: I don't have an orderly bone in my body.

It feels good to say that out loud. I am not an orderly person. I don't live an orderly life. (Maybe that's why I get all itchy whenever I look at a knitting chart: it puts me in mind of uniforms and lights out and no margin for error.) If I had my way (and Goldisox wasn't my polar opposite) I would have everything I own within an arm's length: books and laptops and printers and phones and yarn and needles and magazines and pattern print-outs and cups of tea and ginger-spice cookies and DVDs and CDs and--well, you get the messy picture, right?

So here I am embarking once again on another (destined to be fruitless) quest for order and organization. I am starting small. Currently I'm listing all of my yarns in a little dime store notebook. Of course that means I have to find all of my yarn and that's proving to be a whole lot tougher than it sounds.

Remember when I found my John Adams photos in the soup tureen? Well, that's just the start of it. I have now found yarn in the vanity cabinet in the guest bathroom downstairs, in the basement, in the guest room upstairs, in the wall unit in the living room, hidden in the coffee table in the family room, in the trunk of my ancient Buick, behind the sofa, the china closet, in the other soup tureen, piled up all high and pretty in a giant wooden salad bowl, tucked safely in a wine rack. Oh yeah, and there was the runaway ball of Kureyon tucked inside a pewter vase.

See what I mean? I have a problem and it's not the one you think. I actually find it easier to deal with the chaotic craziness than try to figure out a way to establish order. What happens once I catalog everything? What in the name of EZ am I supposed to do with all of this stuff? Do I separate it according to color? According to fiber? According to weight? Do I try to cram it all into one room, one closet, under one bed? Is it really time for a (gasp) knitting room? (I'm having trouble with that one since I'm not doing half as much knitting right now as I'd like.)

How do you handle your stash? Where do you keep all of your goodies? Do you have a running list of your fiber assets? Do you keep a notebook, put them on computer, hold them close to your greedy little knitter's heart? Do you stuff them in closets or in your basement or in big Rubbermaid bins?

Where do you put it all??????


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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Socks That Wouldn't Die

<--photo c. 1826
I'm not going to mince words here: those stinkin' Step socks are sucking the will to live right out of my body.
Yes, I'm still working on the same Step socks I started working on at least eighty or ninety years ago. (During Sock Hop, maybe?) A nice serviceable grey patterned yarn infused with lanolin and jojoba and more bad juju than a kinder knitting goddess would have allowed. (My sister 1776 addicts will recognize the paraphrase.)
I've been knitting on those damn socks for so long that I'm at the point where I'm seriously tempted to string myself up by the 47" cord of my Addi Turbos and call it a day.
How can one pair of simple, standard issue socks kick a knitter's butt the way these Step socks are kicking mine? I'm not a novice knitter. I have at least a modicum of expertise in the process. Okay, so I'm no Elizabeth Zimmerman but I can knit and purl and turn a heel with the best of 'em. So why on earth have I been making every possible newbie mistake a knitter can make on these poor unsuspecting socks? Picking up the gusset stitches without turning the heel. Dropped stitches that weren't discovered for fifty long rounds. (Wanna have fun? Try picking up said stitches in a moving vehicle.) I have the distinct feeling that a malevolent knitting gremlin sneaks out of my stash at night and unravels all my slow and laborious work while I sleep so that I'll stay two measly inches away from starting the toe decreases for the rest of my natural life.
Or even longer.
The problem, of course, is the fact that I am quite possibly the World's Most Stubborn Knitter. I'm not going to let myself cast on for a new project until I finish these blasted things and at the rate I'm going that could be a looooong time.
This is where an all-or-nothing personality really hurts a girl. I tend to get a little crazy with freedom after I finish a book and leap into all manner of household projects in an attempt to create order where chaos usually reins and each of those projects takes up a considerable chunk of my allotted daily 24. I mean, do I really need to catalog all of my yarn? Is it entirely necessary for me to go through the many boxes that contain my postcard collection and wax nostalgic over pictures of Coney Island and Luna Park? And, let's face it, my pantry has lived happily in disarray for twenty years now; another twenty wouldn't hurt at all. Oh yeah, and there's a new book that needs to be worked on and research for said book that needs to be dealt with and the harsh truth that no laptop has ever left my lair alive . . .
I'm convinced these Step socks are emblematic of something bigger. A major flaw in my personality. Conquer the socks and I'll be able to conquer anything? Well, maybe not quite, but if I conquer the socks at least I can start knitting on something that isn't grey.
At this point, I'd settle for that!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father Knows Best

Or so we let him think. LOL! Anyway, I just wanted to say Happy Father's Day to any male - be he a father, uncle, brother, husband, SO or friend - who might be reading our blog.

This is a Father's Day bouquet for my husband from my garden, arranged in the Mother's Day vase that was leftover from the flowers my son sent.

Confusing? Say goodbye, Gracie.

Goodbye. And have a good one!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Whackus Interruptus

So there I was on the sofa, heart thundering wildly inside my chest, breathing hard and fast, waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . AND THEN NOTHING!

I don't have to tell you how The Sopranos ended. Everyone knows by now that the screen went to black. Finito. The Big Fade-Out. One second we were looking at the diner/ice cream shop through Tony's eyes and then we weren't. It was over.

And I was seriously pissed off.

Let me give you an idea how the conversation went between Goldisox and me that night.

ME: Something's terrible's on its way.
HIM: Better be soon. There's only fifteen minutes left.
ME: I know something awful's coming.
HIM: They'd better hurry. There's only eight minutes left.
ME: C'mon! C'mon already! Whack somebody! Whaddya waiting for?
HIM: Four minutes.
ME: So help me, if you give one more time bulletin I'm gonna--
HIM: Hey, look! The screen went black.

Last shows are rarely good shows. I didn't even like the final episode of the classic Mary Tyler Moore Show until a few years had passed and I was able to appreciate the beauty of the group hug. (Newhart [the Vermont show] was the rare exception. When he woke up and described this dream about running an inn in VT and the camera pulled back and we saw Suzanne Pleshette in bed with him--well, that's about as good as a TV ending can get.)

I've been thinking long and hard about The Sopranos swan song and while I can't say I loved it (not even close) I'm trying to understand what in the name of all things whackable David Chase was thinking. Was it a slice-of-life ending? Life goes on the way it went on for nine years and six seasons, just more of the same. Why did he torture us with Meadow's multiple attempts at parking her car?(Nancy, I read that the parking on that Bloomfield street is legendary for its awfulness. Is that true?) Want a lesson in how to build tension to the breaking point in a viewer? The last fifteen minutes of that episode is the equivalent of four years in film school. I swear to you I broke into a sweat and almost hyperventilated. Was Meadow going to be killed? Was she going to walk into the diner in time to see her family executed? Was the building going to explode as she approached the door?

Was it all a dream and Tony was about to step out of his shower in North Caldwell, slip on his white bathrobe, and lumber downstairs in search of smoked turkey and mortadell'?

Who the hell knows. Maybe Chase wanted us to see and feel what life would be like for Tony from this point on. Looking over his shoulder, scanning faces for trouble, knowing the FBI is a half-step behind and getting closer. I'll admit I kind of think the fade to black marked the end of Tony Soprano's life. Abrupt. Brutal. Cruelly final.

Kind of fitting, all things considered.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Opinions on the last Sopranos?

Are there other Sopranos lovers on the blog besides Barbara? I'm curious as to what you guys think of the last episode.

Feel free to chime in with comments!

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Fuhgedaboudit: Knitting and Purling at the Bada Bing

It wasn't my intention but I scared the #*@( out of Goldisox yesterday.
He was out and about doing whatever it was he had to do out there while I treated myself to a blissfully delicious afternoon of knitting (more about that in another post) and The Sopranos.

Yes, The Sopranos. I'm going to pause and take a ladylike sip of iced tea and adjust my white gloves while you grapple with your surprise. I love The Sopranos. My father turned me on to the show in 2001 and I've been a devotee ever since. Want a university level education in the dark side of human nature? Look no further. Melodrama, Greek tragedy, farce, a splash of dark romance (I mean, the crowd at The Bing is a veritable Bad Boy convention), laced with mind-numbing violence.

Let me say this: I don't enjoy violence on television or in movies. No slasher films for me. No blood and guts. I can't take it. So explain to me why I can sit there happily knitting away on a sweet, innocent Step sock while Tony and Christopher drop Ralphie's head into a bowling bag and not blink an eye.

Which was what was going on when Goldisox (who doesn't do The Sopranos) came home.

"Another Sopranos retrospective?" he asked.

"Yep," I said as I worked one of my gusset decreases. "Tony smashed Ralphie's head into the linoleum. He and Christopher chopped him up and put his head in a bowling bag."

Goldisox, noticeably paler than he had been mere moments ago, looked at me with horror in his blue eyes. "They chopped off his head and put it in a bowling bag?"

"Yep," I said again, merrily knitting my way across the row, "but it's not like Ralphie didn't have it coming."

The look of horror in his eyes intensified. "You think what they did is okay?"

"Well, Ralphie did set fire to the stables."

"Aren't you the same woman who makes me set flies free?"

"Apples and oranges," I said as I gave the second stitch on the new needle an extra little tug. "I mean, it's not like when Sil gunned down Adrianna as she tried to crawl away. Even I had a problem with that."

"Okay, now you're scaring me." He took a step backward. (He really did.) "I didn't know you knitterly types were so violent."

"Hellooooooooo," I said. "Remember when I pulled out my needle by mistake when we were paying a toll on Garden State? Remember what I said?"

He looked from the Ralphie Cifaretto bowling bag to his innocent wife wielding very pointy metal objects, and he remembered.

Poor man slept with one eye open last night.

(Sopranos fans can read my predictions here.)

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Contest Before THE Contest

This is the Contest before THE Contest. (Don't you love a nice little mystery to think about on a warm day in June?) A small little something-something designed to turn unsuspecting souls into knitters.

It's simple, straight forward, unthreatening. Perfectly designed to bestow confidence and a sense of accomplishment on a first-timer. I found this kit at CostCo and if that doesn't tell you knitting is Big Business these days, nothing will.

If you've always wanted to knit but never found the time or the nerve or a good teacher, have I got the contest for you. (Or maybe you're a terrific knitter looking to swell our ranks. Know somebody who could use a how to kit? Then this contest is for you too.)

Send me an email here with the words LION CONTEST in the header and you'll have a chance to win Lion Brand's terrific how to knit kit you see in the photo and copies of A WEDDING IN PARIS and JUST LIKE HEAVEN. (BTW, A WEDDING IN PARIS also features our own Cindi Myers! Two Romancing the Yarners in one handy-dandy anthology.)

Yep, that's all you have to do. Send me an email and I'll pick a random winner on July 1st.

Good luck, good reading, and good knitting!

BREAKING NEWS: Avalanche Buries Central NJ Knitter


A rogue avalanche struck the new K2P2 mountain range in central NJ. burying three knitters in center pull balls the size of VW wheels.

"First I heard a rumble," one eyewitness (who asked to remain anonymous) told this reporter. "I looked up in time to see some Opal Petticoat come crashing down on a poor red-haired woman."

Police believe the red-haired woman in question had been muttering over a half-finished pair of Step socks and never saw it coming.

Photo credit: US Geological Association

Friday, June 08, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Central NJ Mountain Range Adds a Small Hill

The mysterious mountain range that appeared in central NJ north of Princeton increased today by one small hill. To add to the strange nature of this geological anomaly, the hill is already populated with pricey homes with names like Socks That Rock, Lisa Souza, and Spunky Eclectic. A small elephant was seen attempting to scale the heights.

A middle-aged red-haired woman, who goes by her Chippewa name She Who Needs To Get Back To Work, was found unconscious at the base of the hill, clutching a half-finished Step sock and a badly curled Addi Turbo size 0US.

So far nobody has come forward to identify her. Police are asking for your help. If you know the identity of the anonymous knitter, please contact Knitters Anonymous. Your identity will be protected.

Photograph supplied by NASA.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Mountain Range Discovered in Central NJ . . . film at 11


A new mountain range has been discovered seven miles north of Princeton in central New Jersey. Eyewitnesses said that the sudden emergence of a "rainbow-colored series of mountains" snarled traffic between Philadelphia and New York and has led to widespread speculation that this is only the beginning of a major new geological era.

The major peak is currently flanked by two lesser peaks of equally vivid coloration. A truck driver motoring south on Route 206 claimed he saw sock-shaped clouds and the words "Surrender Barbara" in the skies over Somerset County but that remains unconfirmed.

NASA claims sightings of new and larger ranges in Oregon. Details as they emerge.

Aerial photos courtesy of NASA

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Okay, I'm through traveling for a while (just got back from OKC and Dallas) and am ready to play "Tag."

1. Like Barbara, I have a grandfather who was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hector William McKenzie was his name; his father was George and his mother was Mary White McKenzie. After Mary died, father and son moved to Clay Center, KS, where they had relatives who welcomed them with open arms. Hec was my maternal grandfather. My paternal grandfather, Edmund Charles McCoy, was born about ten minutes after his mother, Mary English McCoy, set foot on US soil. That makes me a proud McKenzie-McCoy.

Abraham Lincoln is my guy. Not just for all the obvious reasons, though, they're certainly important. But also because of his courage and "get on with it" attitude in the face of so much personal tragedy. And because I can read his speeches over and over again and never tire of those beautifully-arranged words. (FYI: this is a photo of the small statue we keep on my grandmother's Stickley Brothers desk. I carried it outside because it didn't show up all that well inside.)

3. I often wonder if anyone's really "listening" in this noisy world we now live in.

4. I once beat 22,099 men and women in the Mayor's Christmas Tree Bowling Tournament with a handicap score of 649 (I had two 200+ games and one in the 180s). First prize was a first-class trip to Las Vegas for me and my husband. We had a blast and, ironically, I couldn't lose at the craps tables no matter how crazy I bet.

5. I like to cook, and I'd love to write a low-fat/mostly sugar-free cookbook containing all my converted recipes. What think y'all of that idea?

I didn't make these hand-knit socks - they were a gift (and cost $35 US, if you can believe that!) - but I am going to love wearing them. They're made from cotton/linen yarn and I believe they'll keep my tootsies nice and warm come winter.

7. I'm writing a book set in 1930s America and am using my mom's diaries that cover the period 1933-1943 for research on clothes, music, movies, weather, etc. I'm also considering doing a blog of her diaries and wonder if anyone would be interested in the day-to-day life/historical aspects of a young woman in that period of time. And I'm trying to think of a name for the blog ... suggestions welcome!

Have a good one, all.


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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Joy of a Very Large Ball of Yarn

That's the back of my mother-in-law's sweater: 26 inches wide and 22 inches long so far and it's almost all stockinette stitch. Is it a little monotonous? Well, yes. However, it has one huge advantage: it's all been knitted with one single ball of yarn and, as you can see, I have more left to use.

This makes me happy because I won't have the tedious task of weaving in a whole lot of loose ends, a job I detest because it comes when I want to bask in the glow of finishing the project. Only it's STILL not finished. All those pesky ends are dangling and I have to dig a needle out of the bottom of my knitting bag which takes forever and then try to neatly conceal the extra yarn. Ugh!

So for large projects, I'm singing the praises of this giant ball of Cascade Eco+ which weighs in at a hefty 250grams/8.75 ounces and unwinds for an impressive 437 meters/478 yards. It's very reasonably priced too. That's a normal ball of wool on the left and my new best friend Cascade Eco+ on the right. Nice and muscular, right?

What's your favorite yarn for a big project? Does anyone have a secret for overcoming the tedium of weaving in the ends?

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