Monday, July 31, 2006

And Another Thing About Living in a College Town. . .

Summers are nice. Traffic is light, parking is plentiful, restaurants aren't wall-to-wall. Then, all of sudden, one day,

they're back.

And they have apparently forgotten every single sight in the town, because tanned arms are jutting out of cars, pointing at things. And some of those arms are attached to hands that, by all rights, should be on the steering wheel. And you cannot find a decent parking place, and store aisles are jammed with parties of college students having conversations with each other and whomever happens to be on their cell phones. And the house vibrates to unwanted (and unliked) music as they drive by, trailing their U-Hauls.


Thank goodness I can come home and take refuge in my little space, with my knitting and my Dr. Pepper. (I try not to think about my little boy being part of one of these Mongol hordes in about a year's time. I like to think he has been raised with a sense of decorum and a set of manners.)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hannah and I went to Atlanta yesterday, shopping all day. But we had a fantastic time. Spent a solid hour in Toys R Us!! It had been ages since we'd been in a Toys R Us, and we were there primarily to look for some rare diecasts for my best friend. Once we couldn't find them, though, we just wandered around. And I found this gargantuan Yoda Pez to add to my collection! How cool is this?!?! Surrounding Master Yoda are a few of my lately-finished-objects. Three dishcloths, which I talked about earlier, and three flowers from Nicky Epstein's Knitted Flowers. The two two-color ones are nice, but the multicolored one is my favorite. I know you can't tell in this picture, but the flowers look crocheted. I made this one with a sample of sock yarn from the Yarn of the Month club, and it seems an excellent way to use those sock yarn remnants.

I'm actually in the mood to begin a real garment, but can't land on a pattern / yarn combination that satisfies me. One will interest me, but I can't make an equally pleasing match with the other. Cast on a hat this afternoon, with some yarn my mother gave me. It is spectacularly colored, but I can't capture the jewel-tones-goodness with the camera. (Tried a while ago.) This will be, I think, my fourth hat in about a week and a half. You just get a fever sometimes, you know?

The Return to School Countdown is on. Man, I hate this time of year as a mother. Getting to buy school supplies when I was in school always thrilled me, but I almost cannot bear the thought of sending these two away each year. And that Briton is a Senior, and will be going away from me soon just deepens the pain.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Note to My One Skein Pal

Your package arrived yesterday, and how magnificent its contents! The fantastic Manos wool, the cute Cool Wool, the photo of Anderson the Cooper (you should see him, fellow readers: almost as cute as his namesake.) And, you asked a question which I will now answer. I asked my One Skein Pal, and she gave the standard, "Oh, really, I can't give you an answer to that." Which is the honest answer, I've absolutely no doubt. And yet, it's maddening enough that I won't take that route.

I'd have to say I'd never make felted bowls. I am completely inept with double-pointed needles, and I'm sure you'd have to use them at some point in the project. Both of the felted clutches are really pretty, too. For the bowl, gray or blue or rose-ish mauve. The purses black or tan or a surprise stripe pattern.

Of course, if you don't felt, let me know. I'll change my answers.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The finished scarf cowl! Really like how this is going to work --- lots of different ways to wear it, not too heavy (as it is made with laceweight yarn), colors terrific. And very easy to make (all in one piece and garter stitch.)

Fortunately, we've gotten a little rain of late, and it isn't quite as suffocating around here. Still hot --- don't misread --- just not as hot. Knitting with anything above the aforementioned weight is again possible, if only in short, air conditioned bursts.

As for the latest sticks-and-string adventures here:

Just as there are knitters who make socks mostly, there are those who make, primarily, dishcloths. Socks escaped me for the longest time, until I came across some nice 2-needle patterns. Then, thanks to the lovely (and painfully absent) Elaine, socks on 2-circulars became a reality. (Yes, Roxanne, I know --- DPNs are within my reach. . .) So, the sock-knitter-ranks grew by one.

Dishcloths, sad to say, have never been the bulk of my knitting, but, rather, projects that are quickly, easily, and gratifyingly done. When that cardigan just won't cooperate, the shawl pattern is found to be one-stitch-off two-thirds of the way through, stopping and whipping up a dishcloth is a great restorer of confidence. Over the weekend, I rediscovered the joy of the simple cloth, making a couple with some Tibetan cotton that, ironically, Elaine had sent me during our Secret Pal experience. I've still a little of it left, and will show all the cloths made from it when it is all gone.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


This whole unicorn gifting story has truly taken off --- thanks to all of you who have commented. Hannah is just crazy about all these little guys. And look at the case! Can you believe the case was part of the deal, too?

If I recall, Jade's first unicorn, aptly named Uni, is the one on the top left inside. And the one named Jade (!) is top right (outside). Just in front of Jade, if you can make him out, is a little green dragon that Hannah thinks looks like the Geico gecko. Guess what his name is . . .

Aside from still ooohing and aaahing over all the figurines, I'm knitting hats and more hats. Three in about as many days. A couple of days ago, I also began a shawl, from a kit bought on clearance at Target. I am truly enjoying that yarn, believe it or not. It is, at its base, a cord, with fluffs of color every now and then, and it is just so lovely to work with. The feel is phenomenal. It isn't breathtaking as a finished product, but I am crazy about how it moves through my fingers.

Thinking this will be my last official month of Stashalong. The dent I have made in my reserve wasn't evident until I started looking through for yarn to make these hats with. I was able to move skeins from one place to another, and completely emptied two storage containers, getting all my yarns into 2 boxes and 1 bag, and regaining a noticeable amount of floorspace! Still won't --- can't --- go on some wild buying spree, but think I'll retire for a bit. It has been great fun, coming up with fresh ideas for yarns bought long ago.

Last full week of summer vacation coming up for B & H. There are doctor's and dentist's appointments to be kept, but freeddom otherwise. I hope the clock just c. . .r. . . .a. . . w. . . l. . . s for them.

Friday, July 21, 2006


The magnificently generous Jade's box o'riches arrived this afternoon. Blogger is being awfully persnickety about which pictures it will let me show, but here are a couple.

Hannah reads the enclosure:

Then finds not just unicorns, but dragons and a breathtaking display case! Every one lovingly wrapped, and unwrapped with great enthusiasm.

Briton was, truly, happy to pop the bubble wrap. (Popping, Jade! Just like you and me!!)
And, of course, Rupert was always nearby, offering to help. Or sniff and lick, at least!

Hannah has taken the case and all its contents up to her room, rearranging everything once again --- I'll get her to take a picture of the finished product, and prove to you what great folks you can meet through knitting.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

When Knitting Shrinks in Importance

This is stunning. And wonderful.

Thank you, Jade.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Modeling is Tough

Mr. Love You Bear was so wiped out by his Mudflap session, he just crashed. Underneath the now complete Scrap Afghan! Katie, from about his mid-shin up, Mr. Love You Bear is covered almost entirely with your yarn! (And the purple wall works for Project Spectrum this month!)

Thanks for all your sweet comments on MLYB. He has a really nice history. We got my husband's cancer diagnosis not long before Hannah started Kindergarten, and Briton started 3rd grade. That year, the school's music teacher had MLYB in her room to take care of hurt feelings, or bad days, or to give hugs to children who did really well in music class. At the end of the year, the teacher gave him to Hannah to keep. The last day of school was on a Friday; Dale died that Sunday. Mr. Love You Bear is very important here.

So, the afghan is finished. I'm making hats and flowers and appliques right now. And still working on the scarf cowl. I'm trying to put together packages for my Secret Pal, my One Skein Pal (in August, I get to reveal myself), and my Knit the Classics Pal. Speaking of which --- I got the most adorable card from my KTC Pal today; thank you!! I'm crafting more than reading right now, but I appreciate the wishes nonetheless.

We saw the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" last Friday --- I posted an entry about it over at MindFull. It was very good. We had gotten a heads-up from a 5-year-old we know about the "scawy" parts and when we needed to cover our ears beacause it was "weally LOUD." He did fail to mention, however, how good --- really good --- Orlando Bloom looked. Just oversight, I'm sure.

I hope you notice that there is a new hand eye button. Thanks to the awesome Jade for creating this for me long ago; I've only now been able to get it here. She sent me several more, but I'm still struggling with them. There's also a new button for Craftylilly. I've been tinkering with the site, as you can see.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

This is Mr. Love You Bear

Mr. Love You Bear is modeling the latest creation from here at hand eye: the hat called "Mudflap." Mr. Love You Bear, while a very good-natured soul, would prefer not to be used as a piece of beefcake, and wishes you all to know that he would rather be shown in a more dignified light.

(Sorry, MLYB --- you're just too cute, and I had to show off. . .)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Mood

So, I'm in a mood. Not one of those moods (although I can go there pretty easily on any given day.) No, this is a knitting mood. Created by my working with all these glorious remnant of yarn, from Yarn of the Month samples in tiny envelopes, to ping-pong-ball-size leftovers, through tennis-ball and softball-size leftovers, through half-skeins. I'm within 5 or 6 inches of finishing the second panel of my Scrap Afghan, but the fever has struck.

So, I'm making hats. And I'll make scarves. And mittens. And gloves, if a pattern which doesn't require double-pointed-needles can be found. And there will be stripes and strips and embellishments and fringes and flowers. Because I'm in the mood to keep seeing what can be done with these little bits of yarn.

The teapots above came home with us from Nashville. The little metal one is fabulous; it has an infuser under the lid and is just the right size for a cup, cup and a half. The yellow one --- well, how many teapots have you ever seen that look like an ear of corn? Come on --- be honest.

And have you ever seen a more glorious feline than Master Gable here? (Remember, you're being honest. . . ) (By the way, that's the Scrap Afghan he's using as a pillow.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

And A Tag, Too!

The very gracious Katrina (for whom I have a tremendous liking and amount of respect, plus, she has outrageously nice handwriting) picked me personally as someone who would answer this meme. So, here goes
A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Teacher
2. Gift wrapper
3. Operator/Customer Service Representative
4. Telephone book deliverer
B) Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. "The Sting"
2. "A Day at the Races"
3. MST3K's "The Brain That Wouldn't Die"
4. "A Family Thing"
C) Four places you have lived besides where you live now:
1. Northport, AL
2. Tuscaloosa, AL
3. Murfreesboro, TN
4. Nashville, TN
D) Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. "House"
2. "Who's Line is It Anyway?"
3. "The First 48"
4. NFL Football
E) Four places you have been on vacation:
1. Panama City Beach, FL
2. Guntersville, AL
3. Richmond, VA
4. New York City
F) Four websites I visit daily:
1. Alan Rickman Daily
2. All the blogs on my bookmarked list (which takes us well beyond "3" and "4"! )
G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. Lobster
2. Tomatoes and cottage cheese
3. Anchovy pizza
4. Baked potatoes
H) Four places I'd rather be right now:
1. Any beach
2. A huge bathtub filled with gardenia-scented bubbles
3. Within physical contact of one of my many crushes (!)
4. In bed

Today was a terrific day for me at school, as Briton was a special guest. He acted some passages from "The History Boys" to help emphasize some lecture points, and was truly awesome. I don't know when I've been prouder of him. The task now is too figure out a way to fit anime and/or manga into the curriculum, so Hannah can be a guest lecturer, too!

Knitting-wise, I am closing in on the end of the second panel of the Scrap Afghan. Katie sent me such wonderful little treasures, that are adding beautiful colors and textures. Some of these yarns are just so pretty --- I find myself wanting to snip lengths of them, send them back to her, and ask, "What is is? Where'd you get it?" Katie, I'll be forever in your debt.

And thank you, Rox, for keeping me entertained whilst I posted!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Well, the resolution may not be the best, but here are photos of what's going on knitting-wise at Chez Dean.

This is the beginning of the KnitPicks scarf cowl I'm making with the Lorna's Lace. I actually started the whole thing over the night we were in Atlanta. Thought I had the pattern memorized, sat down to knit, realized I didn't. So, I just re-started with a pattern I knew I could keep up with.
Yesterday, tired of both the cowl and the afghan, I got into the stash, found some coordinating yarns, and started a pair of fingerless mitts. Got this one finished about midnight. Haven't gotten too far on the second one today.
This is the Magic Yarn Ball purse I finished in Nashville and felted here. I'm going to carry it tomorrow for the first day of class.
These I didn't knit --- probably couldn't knit. They were from my Secret Pal. And aren't they pretty?! Thanks again, SP --- awesome workwomanship!!

Yeah, off to school tomorrow. Anything or anyone interesting, I'll let you know.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sell, Sell, Sell

Now, it isn't my job to convince people to go to Atlanta, Georgia. Nor, usually, unless I am asked, will I offer a suggestion of how to spend time once there. Because I know my tastes, and those of my family, are not the same as others', and what we find fun and entertaining, some might see as silly or banal. Or, Heaven help, just plain tacky.

But yesterday, we went to the Center for Puppetry Arts. If any of you idolize Jim Henson the way we do, you can begin to imagine how our hearts leapt when we walked into a room and found Link Hogthrob, Dr. Strangepork, and FishFace! The real Muppets!!! Look at them! (Ignore Queen Elizabeth in the background; she's not Hensonian.)

Do you know how many episodes of Pigs . . . in . . . SPAAAAAYCE this family has watched? Do you know how many viewings of "Labyrinth" there have been? This was big doings!

But then, you turn, and you see:A full Skexis from "The Dark Crystal"! Are you kidding me?!

The day was priceless.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Instead of Lorna's Lace. . .

I've tried several times today to upload a picture of the divine Lorna's Lace yarn in purple iris with which I'm making a July Project Spectrum neck cowl. No luck. So here's a picture of part of my parents' backyard, with the Japanese Maple, and the statues named, unsurprisingly, Briton and Hannah.

I'm glad it is purple month in Project Spectrum. You can only imagine how much purple yarn I have. Now, how much of it will actually be knit into something this particular month remains to be seen, but I'm off to a pretty good start. In addition to the neck cowl (pattern from KnitPicks), I made myself some felted needle cozies over the weekend. Purple Peruvian wool.

While I was home, I knit out my Magic Yarn Ball, and look at all the goodies that were inside! Ribbons and bells and a little bird and a "K" charm and a bookmark and a tape measure and a stitch holder loaded with buttons. . . On and on and on. My favorite things are a handstitched toile needle and pin holder (maroon and white, lower left corner), and a pin cushion made into a golden pearly shell. That is what was in the very center of the ball. Just tremendous. The yarn itself was made into the purse you see above. This was wonderful thick-and-thin wool, and the purse, now felted, is drying atop my washing machine. I'll try to remember to get a picture of it. We're leaving for an overnight stay in Atlanta tomorrow, and my mind will probably wander.

Oh, Carrie asked why there's a replica of the Parthenon in Nashville. The only answer I have is that Nashville is called "The Athens of the South." Pretty odd I wound up living in another Athens in the South, huh?

Monday, July 03, 2006


So, on the way to Nashville, there was traffic. No. TRAFFIC. And rain. Blinding rain. It took an extra two hours, one of which was spent sitting dead still on I-24 just outside Chattanooga. As per my earlier vacation pledge, Master Yoda went along and provided a calming presence.

One of the best days we spent was at the Parthenon. Though it was closed, and we couldn't go into the museum, everyone seemed to enjoy just the enormity and grandeur of the building.

Note Briton's continued absence from the portrait gallery. And I look as though I'm contemplating the duality of life, or yarn, or heat, or too-long hair. Or something.

And, of course, the yarn shop. I was more than ready to use my Stashalong shopping day, and Hannah was more than ready to spend quality time with Rudy: Much was bought, but little can be shared. Lots will be gifties, you see. As for the knitting I actually completed while there, I think my luck with photo-uploading may be running out, so I'll save that until next time.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

At Home

One of the best things about returning home after a trip is going through the accumulated mail. Now, not everyone enjoys this. But then, not everyone has a delicious bag of yarn waiting for them! Look at this beauty! In my own little world, in my own little way, nothing gives me more squealable pleasure than a whole bunch of wee little balls of yarn just waiting to be turned into something terrific. Add to all the wee ones a free (free!) hank of Gladiolus sock yarn, and you have many, many reasons to thank the lovely Katie for her generosity.

Then, too, one must thank one's Secret Pal for this:

A spiralbound journal whose cover proclaims "sometimes I think life would be easier if I weren't so fabulous" (true, huh, girls?), stunning clear needles with turquoise spirals inside, and Nicky Epstein's Knitted Flowers! Is she a great Secret Pal, or what??

Plus, the mail uncovered a surprise card from Roxanne, a thank you from the person whose Magic Yarn Ball I wound, letters from several pen pals. . . Good stuff all around. And only two bills!

We got back in yesterday afternoon. The drive back was infinitely better than the horror trip up. We were stuck in traffic on and off all the way, occasionally coming to dead stops, once for at least an hour. Couple that with periods of blinding rain (always hitting when I was behind a silver car, which made seeing even harder), and it felt like we would never get to Nashville. It wound up taking us about half-again as long as it usually does. Brutal. But the days were nice, well-spent, I think, and I have a few photos to show.

For now, though, I'm off to marry Katie's yarn and Epstein's patterns, and see what I can come up with!