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We Have Liftoff: 2009 Begins

Dear Kay,
Well, happy new year to one and all. Only three days until school starts again! Never have I been such a fan of education for my children. Let’s just say that when Santa brought a new wah-wah pedal for somebody’s electric guitar, there has been so much “Stairway to Heaven” around here that I feel like I’m reliving Lori Greenbaum’s bat mitzvah party twelve times a day.
Still dragging down here a little, but hanging in there. We managed to dispense with the LEANING TREE OF DOOM on New Year’s Eve, and it felt like we were waving goodbye to the worst houseguest of all time. Just a terrible piece of holiday decor. David said he thought we’d picked the wrong tree. “Remember that first tree we liked? We should have stuck with that one.”
It did, however, not fall down, though I’m pretty sure it would have had extreme engineering measures not taken place. So, due to the screwed-up nature of the circumstances, there are two winners to the Leaning Tree of Doom ’08 Guessing Contest, selected by a random number generator. (By the way, FYI, we had 211 optimists guessing the tree would stand and 176 pessimists/realists/nihilists/schadenfreuders.)
Predicted It Would Fall Winner: Gail at December 16, 2008 02:47 PM: “It will fall on December 20 at 8:08 PM, because I will be partying so hard to celebrate turning the big 5-0 that you will feel it all the way 3 states away! (sorry to cause your tree to fall).”
Predicted It Would Stand Winner: chemgrrl at December 17, 2008 11:57 AM: “Your tree will not fall. It has achieved perfect balance with everything around it, and will thwart that persistent bitch we call gravity. Be steadfast and have courage, little tree! You are a ray of hope for sagging boobs everywhere.”
Gail and chemgrrl, please email me (link is in the sidebar) with your addresses! Yarn will be coming your way.
Out with the Old
eliotincloset.jpg
One side effect of having two new cats in the house is that I spend a fair amount of time trying to locate them. They have really warmed up since their arrival two weeks ago, but they are constantly turning up in places like the second shelf of the linen closet which just about gave me a stroke yesterday. JesusGodCatDon’tDOThatToMe.
kermit.jpg
This is Kermit, the Loch Ness Monster cat. Rarely photographed. He’s figured out where the best afternoon sun location is, and he follows it the way a teenage girl shifts her beach chair. Kermit reminds me a lot of Kramer from Seinfeld: he makes terrible entrances, then freezes and acts like nothing just happened.
They’re great cats.
One search for Eliot led me deep into my creepy closet and took me up close and personal with a lot of miscellaneous piles of handknit swatches and old, misbegotten unfinished objects. In a fit of gumption I piled them all up and discovered that they towered over the cat and thus posed a safety hazard–all I need is to suffocate a cat with my knitting. I threw the whole mess into plastic bags–crappy, awful plastic bags–and stuck it all in the attic without a single bit of archival labeling or anything. It’s just up there, like Citizen Kane’s Rosebud or Indiana Jones’ Ark of the Covenant. I hope somebody finds it fifty years from now and wonders who ever thought a Fair Isle yoga mat cover was a good idea.
It left me feeling very tidy, very new yearish. I had in mind a post that Tara wrote recently about cleaning the slate off. And I thought about Clara Parkes’ massive stash sorting plan–here’s where she discusses the concept of the happy pile and the unhappy pile. Maybe a stash sort would be good for us all?
So Instantly Addictive
Once I launched my final Christmas present in the mail, I immediately reached for the Alice Starmore Donegal sweater that I began a while back. Now that it’s cold again, I’m all over this thing.
donegal0102.jpg
The yarn (discontinued Rowan Donegal Lambswool) is such a small collection of little balls–a bit of this and a bit of that, and before you know, it’s a sweater.
donegalyarnballs.jpg
I’ve cranked about three inches in the past few days, started the sleeve steeks, and feel pleased about it all. It suits the season, this murky tweedy yarn.
Love,
Ann

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. I am jealous about the Starmore.
    Are you sure you didn’t say something more… ah… colorful to the cat in the linen closet?

  2. Donegal is looking fantastic ! I love those murky tweeds, reminicent of heathered moorlands.
    Happy New Year !

  3. I love the sound of your cats. But then I’m a cat person.

  4. I love that sweater. Can’t wait to see it done. Our cat, DD, who left us just before Thanksgiving, was a great sunspot hunter. I hope Kermit channels her great spirit. Happy New Year.

  5. I hope you used clear plastic bags….someone in Massachusetts put a church’s Faith Quilt (a group effort) into a black plastic trash bag to transport it “safely” only to have someone else through it out thinking it was trash. Always use clear recycling bags for textiles……

  6. Dear Ann,
    I thought that storing in plastic tended to cause fiber to rot. (Like who wants to be known for a rotted knitted yoga mat cover?)
    Those waskly kitties! Luuuvv the tail in the closet. At first I thought it was part of an evening gown, but then, it looked all too familiar…
    I, too, am sort of jealous about the Starmore (just saying), and wish I could attempt one (perhaps when I have knitted through my “happy” pile):) :) :) :) :) :) :)–that’s a lot of happiness!)
    Keep on keeping on!
    LoveDiane

  7. PS: How is it that all those “murky, tweedy” colors of yarn translate into lovely brightness?
    LoveDiane

  8. Loving the kitties and the Donegal.
    Congratulations on getting to the tree before it got to you, as well.

  9. I think the two gallon ziploc bags are a God-send. I throw in some cedar blocks and lavender sachets. I love the Starmore sweater and can’t wait to see the FO.

  10. I too loved the donegal sweater. The pattern looks amazingly difficult. I received your Outside the LInes book for Christmas, and have read it cover to cover. While I wait for my yarn to arrive (Local knitting store in LA is bereft of anything I wanted) I am cranking our AT LAST a mohair cardigan I started knitting for my eye rolling teenaged daughter last year. Nearly Done! (Do to your inspirational writing). Which brings me to a point….it uses Rowan nightsilk mohair double strands. IN other words, would that not solve your mohair problem? This cardigan is knit up with two strands of finespun mohair, and I can’t imagine why you couldn’t do two different color strands in your cardi-cozy. It doesn’t seem as if it will be too hot….this cardigan I am now knitting just seems….like it will be a fluffy warm cardigan. So….anyway. Onward.
    By the way, ordered and gave as gifts both your books to my dearest elderly friend who went off to purchase yarn for the every day sweater this morning. Your work travels far and wide!
    Babs

  11. I too loved the donegal sweater. The pattern looks amazingly difficult. I received your Outside the LInes book for Christmas, and have read it cover to cover. While I wait for my yarn to arrive (Local knitting store in LA is bereft of anything I wanted) I am cranking our AT LAST a mohair cardigan I started knitting for my eye rolling teenaged daughter last year. Nearly Done! (Do to your inspirational writing). Which brings me to a point….it uses Rowan nightsilk mohair double strands. IN other words, would that not solve your mohair problem? This cardigan is knit up with two strands of finespun mohair, and I can’t imagine why you couldn’t do two different color strands in your cardi-cozy. It doesn’t seem as if it will be too hot….this cardigan I am now knitting just seems….like it will be a fluffy warm cardigan. So….anyway. Onward.
    By the way, ordered and gave as gifts both your books to my dearest elderly friend who went off to purchase yarn for the every day sweater this morning. Your work travels far and wide!
    Babs

  12. I too loved the donegal sweater. The pattern looks amazingly difficult. I received your Outside the LInes book for Christmas, and have read it cover to cover. While I wait for my yarn to arrive (Local knitting store in LA is bereft of anything I wanted) I am cranking our AT LAST a mohair cardigan I started knitting for my eye rolling teenaged daughter last year. Nearly Done! (Do to your inspirational writing). Which brings me to a point….it uses Rowan nightsilk mohair double strands. IN other words, would that not solve your mohair problem? This cardigan is knit up with two strands of finespun mohair, and I can’t imagine why you couldn’t do two different color strands in your cardi-cozy. It doesn’t seem as if it will be too hot….this cardigan I am now knitting just seems….like it will be a fluffy warm cardigan. So….anyway. Onward.
    By the way, ordered and gave as gifts both your books to my dearest elderly friend who went off to purchase yarn for the every day sweater this morning. Your work travels far and wide!
    Babs

  13. You could always put up a sign saying “No stairway to heaven” like in Wayne’s World :-)
    Love the sweater, murkiness notwithstanding.
    All the best for 2009,
    Dawn

  14. I have sighed over that sweater pattern for many years. And now I can look forward to your photoshoot when you are done it!
    Farewell to the tree! All hail the tree engineers!

  15. Yeah! I can hardly wait for school to be back in session, too! I’m plum out of cooking ideas for three meals a day – not to mention mediating, entertaining, and supervising. I’m ready for some peace and quiet. But I’m sure I’ll miss them when they’re back in school.
    Love the Donegal! Go on – you can finish it.

  16. Cats. There is no telling what they will go next. Ours are currently possessed by the devil we call Cabin Fever. A herd of manic buffalo could not make more noise.
    The St*rm*r* sweater is gorgeous. Wear it in warmth and good health!

  17. I too love tweedy yarn- I have a few balls of Rowan Scottish tweed waiting for me to make something of them!
    Hurray for school! What is worse than having two kids home over break, is having two kids and hubby (he’s a teacher) home over break!!! I work full-time so each night I would come home to chaos- usually messy kitchen, daddy playing playstation and children playing upsupervised…
    Happy New Year!

  18. Oooh, that Starmore. It’s on my “to do” list for this winter, only I have cheated. I replotted the chart to highlight the whirly-giggy thingies and will do them in an Ivory, Sand, and Pink colorway on a background of Kauni Deep Rose and 2 of something else (I forget). So only 2 strands and colors to worry about but with a multicolored end product. I think it’ll work.
    Thank you so much for all your fun and informative posts all this year. Have been a very happy faithful reader. Happy New Year!

  19. I had a couple of cats who were from the shelter, and it took one of them a few weeks to get settled, but then she was all about the snuggles and the love. Hope you get the same.
    Had to laugh about the UFO’s — fair isle yoga mat could be steeked and become a kitty bed, could it not?
    And I LOVE that yarn!

  20. I went through both my yarn and fabric stashes over the last two days and I am only keeping the happy piles, the rest is on it’s way out. It feels wonderful

  21. Such a beautiful bit of knitting you have going there. I can’t wait to see the finished project.
    I am also waiting for the day you write a post wondering where some swatched or UFO is hiding and we your adoring public will have to bring up this stash-in-the-attic.

  22. The yarn does look murky and dark in the bag, but comes together so beautifully in the sweater. Amazing.

  23. The yarn does look murky and dark in the bag, but comes together so beautifully in the sweater. Amazing.

  24. My Nora loves to crack open the hall linen closet and sleep behind the towels. Does give you a start when you reach in to get more towels and she reaches out to swat you. I have to warn guests about her. Now Nick, he just takes over the couch and zones out. You should use the swatches to make a kitty bed, I bet they would love it.

  25. my stash is at its lowest
    just fine by this person
    you may have pink panther cats
    i can just see peter sellers
    opening the door and your
    ninja cats waiting for him
    some where in the rooms

  26. I found your site and you almost had a new customer till I saw how thrilled you were over your new President. Y’all enjoy him, you hear? And I hope to the depths of my soul that everyone who ‘loves’ him gets exactly what they deserve.
    I’ll spend my money where I can find constitutionalists.