...the absent-minded ramblings of a sometime diva, hyperactive yarn ya-ya.

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Name: Cyndilou :)
Location: Texas, United States

Just a little piece of sunshine and rainbow set free to wreak happiness on the universe.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Sad Happy day

Today, I attended a memorial service for my kindergarten teacher. It's funny sometimes, how someone's passing can bring people together who haven't seen each other - haven't even thought about each other - in years. I got to talk to my fifth grade teacher, whom I haven't seen since I think my father's funeral in 1994. Other faces from the past appeared on the scene, like a surreal family reunion. Our old maintenance person, the first pastor I remember there, the organist who used to argue with my father all the time about how the music should be played for the choir...

Tonight I am sitting here with my mother and her boyfriend, knitting (crocheting for Mom) and watching old movies in the heat, and we're simply enjoying each other's company after a long day. This is the same kind of feeling that Mrs. Schlaeger engendered - happy to be in each other's presence, even though not always completely comfortable. She was very methodical, but very loving, and every child who passed through her classroom remembers her for the wonderful person she was.

God be with you, Mrs. Schlaeger. We'll miss you.

Friday, August 29, 2003

On vacation

Yes, like so many others, I am taking a last minute, late summer vacation. I will still have a little computer access, but I can't guarantee how often I'll get to use it. :)

Vacation knitting/hooking:
- finishing the collar to Baby Olé
- completing the matching hat for BO
- as many pairs of booties as I can squeeze in (just got two more orders today!)

After that, we'll see... I picked up 3 old issues of Vogue Knitting today, including their first anniversary issue. This issue has a Kermit the Frog sweater pattern that I absolutely must do!!! Oh the turmoil: to finish a WIP or start a new one. :D

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Photo op!

I'd hoped to get the entire shawl collar for Baby Olé finished tonight, but it wasn't meant to be. I did get it more than halfway done, though:

I also finished this for a gift (note: if you know me and are expecting, don't click the link - it may be for you! :).

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Quandary solved

Alrighty, the collar to the Baby Olé will not be inside out after all. The pattern calls for Row 1 of the collar to be knit on the right side, but it means the right side of the collar rather than RS of the sweater. That first row actually needs to be knit from the back-side of the front (although the sweater should still be right-side out).

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the collar now, and it is a lot easier once you've gotten it going. I'll try to post pictures tonight!

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Short Row Shenanigans

Wrap and Turn, Wrap and Turn... How the heck do I do a wrap and turn? Argh - I know I know how to do it: I've done it before. Of course, at the moment I try to do it, I find that not only can I not remember exactly how it goes, I don't even have one of my reference books with me.

Yup, still working on that shawl collar for Baby Olé. I did get the requisite number of stitches picked up finally - now all I have to do is manage to actually knit the collar. Tonight I have rehearsal and I also have to make baby shower invitations, so it looks like I have a date with Olé tomorrow...

Sunday, August 24, 2003

No milk today

Yes! Someone else who occasionally listens to...well...odd, and possibly retro, music. I am very much a fan of The Monkees, and Herman's Hermits evoke a bit of that Monkee-mania in me. :)

...And in another odd coincidence, at least one of the ladies who knits on Saturday afternoons at the LYS also shares this predilection toward strange music -- she asked if anyone else felt like singing "The Cat Came Back". (With apologies to wabisabi - but I have to chime in on this one... :)

The Cat Came Back
as sung by Trout Fishing in America

Now Old Mr. Johnson lived all alone
He had an old yellow cat that wouldn't leave home
He tried everything he could to make the cat go away
But the cat came back
The very next day
Thought he was a goner
But the cat came back
'Cause he wouldn't stay away...

Now, I am not endorsing abandoning your pets - I love cats myself. This just happens to be a fun little song. :)

Bungee Knitting

Oye, I have not gotten too much knitting done this weekend. To be fair, a good chunk of the weekend was spent crocheting a gift that needs to get finished quickly. (Sorry D, I'm a hooker - what can I say?) The other part of the weekend (besides church time, of course) has been spent trying to hold a loose temporary crown in place. Silly emergency dentists-on-call can't be bothered to come into the office to fix it even if I tell them I can't get it to stay on no matter how many times I temp-cement it. Sigh. Well, as long as I'm up anyway - Baby Olé really needs to have that collar finished.

Pick up sticks stitches

Every time I've picked up stitches for a knit item, the experience has been different. This time, I am trying to pick up stitches for the shawl collar on Baby Olé. For whatever reason, I simply cannot get the count right, because in certain spots the end of the row does not want to allow my needle (or even a tiny crochet hook) through to grab the yarn. Nu, maybe the 15th time is the charm (how's the hat coming, Debala?).

Larry had asked in comments a couple days ago whether the collar would end up being inside out based on the instructions as written. Even though I haven't gotten quite that far, I've examined it a few times and I think I see the problem. It says to start on the right to pick up stitches, but if you start on your right the collar may indeed come out upside down. I think you have to start on what would be the baby's right. I'm just going to pick up all the stitches around the edge and then start from what appears to be correct as per the instructions. (mumble mumble -- right side facing indeed -- if the silly thing is sewed together, ONLY the right side is facing if you have it right side out! But which way do you turn it? -- end mumble)

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Saturday fun

Well, I stayed up waaaaaaaaaaay too late last night working on baby booties and stitch markers, so no pics this morning. Ah well, I'll work on Baby Olé this afternoon and maybe have a picture of the shawl collar in progress to post this evening. :D

Friday, August 22, 2003

Welcome, Holden!

Speaking of raining babies... Welcome to the world and happy Birth-day, Holden! Many congratulations to the new parents! :D

It's Raining Babies!

It seems like all the younger women I know are expecting these days -- makes me feel a little left out. :) Baby Olé is progressing well, and I have to make another set like it, plus quite a few pairs of baby booties for the expectant mothers.

I can't wait for the different showers - part of the fun of making handknit and handcrocheted items is the look of surprise and pleasure the recipient has when they open it. Sometime before Christmas I should be able to add the pics of my baby things to my photo album -- it has to wait until then so that a certain person is surprised about what she gets... :D

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

KIPping like crazy

Yes, I've been Knitting In Public - quite a bit, actually. A couple hours at the auto repair shop on Thursday, a little on Saturday at the LYS, 45 minutes or so during rehearsal Monday night and yet more last night, and even a few minutes at the dentist's office today. And what do I have for all my efforts? Eros scarf #4, completed - huzzah! :D

I also took a few minutes this evening to finally get Baby Olé on the blocking boards. If it dries quickly I'll sew the side seams tonight, but otherwise that will be tomorrow's task. I really need to get the shawl collar done and the rest of the set completed before the baby shower in a couple weeks. Oye!

Monday, August 18, 2003

Mozart's Requiem

Mozart is my favorite composer of classical music. Tonight, we just finished our first Austin Civic Chorus rehearsal for Requiem, a heartrendingly beautiful composition. If you've never had the opportunity to hear this piece, I highly recommend you do -- this will be the first opportunity I've had to perform it. We're doing the piece as written in Latin, and the pure emotion poured into the prayers and benediction moves me.

Our director noted that a experiencing work of art can leave you a changed person - can cause a transcendence, if you will. At the very least, it has certainly encouraged me to strengthen my relationship with God.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.
--Philippians 4:8

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Look what I can do!

Under the heading of "cool things I accomplished this weekend":

During yesterday's session, I finished the cloche hat I started Thursday night. It is from a pattern written by Marlo with the only modification being that I used a sportweight cotton. Same hook size, though. I am using Omega Sinfonia in burnt orange and cream. (...and no, Vanessa, you can't have this one. :)

Today, I learned to do this:

It is an invitation for a baby shower, folded into the shape of a diaper. No, I am not expecting (sorry, Grandma - and don't worry, Mom!) but a very good friend of mine is, and I am in charge of the invites. Cute, eh? :D

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Car repairs and other time wasters

*Warning* This is a little rant. Feel free to change channels. :)

Never. Ever. ...believe a mechanic when he tells you that it should be only 15 minutes for them to check out your car.

Yesterday was such a...farkucht...day. Most of the day went by normally, and although I have to work overtime this weekend, my day was brightened by the fact that my boss was willing to order me a salad when he ordered the rest of the team pizza. I even cheated (a teensy bit) by having a very small slice of the birthday cake we bought him.

Once work was over, I wanted to head to Nordstrom's. Yes, Austin has now arrived - we have a Nordstrom's as of yesterday! Unfortunately, my car had different ideas. Since we had 3 days of rain previously, my poor car was a mess and I decided to give it a wash. Of course, the car battery died in the wash bay. I had to push the silly thing out of the bay myself (where are all the courteous Texan gentlemen when you need one?) and walked to the nearby service station, who sent someone over to jump my battery. Needless to say I was hot, tired, and disgruntled, so I went home and sulked for a bit.

After I'd let off steam for a while, I decided I'd better take the car to get serviced before I got stuck again. So I headed to the car center at WalMart, the only place I know of open past 7 pm. I got my car in at 7:30 and was told that a battery check-up should take no more than 20 minutes. 45 minutes later, I finally see my car driven into the bay. An hour and a half later the technician comes in with my keys, hands me the bill and says, "We replaced your battery - have a nice day." Argh argh argh argh. Well, to cut off this rant before it gets completely out of hand, I was not a very happy camper.

Ok, end of rant -- you still reading?

On the good side of things that happened, I can report that Baby Olé is now mostly complete. I've finished the body (and weaved in all those ends!) and just need to block it and sew the side seams. I have not decided whether I will do the shawl collar or something simpler, but I suspect I'll at least give the shawl collar a whirl. I also got almost a foot done on the fourth Eros scarf.

...and now, it is almost time for me to go to my weekly therapy knitting session down at HCW. The day is looking better already. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Counting one's blessings...

One very important thing to remember as we walk through life is to count your blessings. I dislike council meetings because they take soooooo long, but hey - it was 3 hours almost uninterrupted knitting time!

I finally have the second sleeve of Baby Olé almost complete - 4 more rows and I can block it and sew it together. After that I only need to finish the shawl collar.

Oh, and I was bad again and made a trip to Hobby Lobby (shame on me!) -- but they opened a brand new HL near my church and I had to go take a peek on my way to Council...yeah, that's the ticket. I ended up picking up two balls of Bernat Boa in Phoenix, because it is a gorgeous red-orange combo that I simply adore. I also picked up two balls of Sinfonia cotton: one burnt orange and the other cream. I am going to crochet a cloché hat with a big ruffly flower on the side - burnt orange for the hat itself, and cream for the flower. Go 'Horns! :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Doing it the LEFT way!

Do you know what today is? It is International Left-Handers' Day! :D . So. go left to the top, do it the left way, and always remember that only left-handed people are in their right minds!

Me? I think I'll celebrate the day by doing some crocheting...left-handed, of course. :D

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Where is my swimsuit?

Wow, the weather is gorgeous today! I stepped out for a spot of lunch (someone *please* tell the cafeteria to start making regular chef salads again!) and it felt like Spring! Well, maybe mid-Autumn... :D It's only 81 degrees outside - so why am I at work instead of at some theme park somewhere?

Then again, Yentala posted a picture of the Saturday knitting group at Hill Country Weavers. Oye, I need to get more sun. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Some pictures maybe?

Yes, I think so... :D This is that Eros scarf that I've been putting off completing for so long. Straight garterstitch does get boring, even if you're doing it in cool yarn on big needles. Oh, and I also have a picture of the first part of my Secret Buddy gift -- WARNING: If you're in the K&C SBE and don't know if I'm your buddy, do NOT click on this link.

Tonight's plans? To cuddle up with my PS2 and get some serious Final Fantasy action going on -- hey, I've been neglecting the poor thing. :D

Happy Joy dance!

This has been a great weekend! A great weekend for my knitting, that is -- I finished three (count 'em, 3) projects so far. Add to that the fact that K&C is back open, and I lost 6 1/2 lbs this week, and I am just bursting with joy. :D (OK, so the weight loss isn't knitting related -- but I'm happy anyway :).

So what did I finish? Well, first I practiced a little catch-and-release knitting on that wrist warmer I was working on. Yup, it headed straight for the frog pond, and re-emerged as a little catnip mousie. I still have to stuff it, but the knitting is all done. It was my first ever cable, too! Saturday afternoon at our knitting circle, I finished both the first part of my Secret Buddy gift, and Eros scarf #3. That makes four projects finished (not counting the chenille shawl) and at least one to go before I can start a fair isle project.

...although, since working my first cable, now I am considering changing that to something with cables in it...

Friday, August 08, 2003


K&C is closed. R.I.P. :(

(BTW, we'll miss you, CA!)

Thursday, August 07, 2003

When I'm good I'm very good, and when I'm bad...

...I buy yarn. :D Oh, yes, I was bad -- today is, of course, FIRST THURSDAY down on South Congress and I just had to go down to Hill Country Weavers for a few hours. So, I apologize to my stash for failing in my pledge to not add more, or at the very least not start any new projects, until I finished 5. I've only finished 1 and frogged 1 more, although I've gotten a bit of work done on some others.

But don't you want to see what I got? This is some lovely Noro Kureyon (color 130) that I picked up for the diagonal scarf pattern. I also picked up a skein of Linie 191 Maxima in color 27. This is some serious chenille! I just had to start working with it immediately. I even finished the shawl. See?

Click me!

I also felt it was time for a blog name change to go with the new look (thanks for the name ideas, Deb!), so welcome now to Yarn Utopia! If I'm not talking about yarn, I'm certainly spinnin' one. *g*

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

It's so hot...

...and the courtyard smells like pickles brined in nail polish remover. Yum, eh? I found the culprit of the smell when I went downstairs to the (un-airconditioned!) laundry room to start my long-delayed washloads. One of my smoking neighbors contrived an ashtray of sorts outside their front door. It is actually a milk jug, that happens to have collected a bit of water. Sehr ekelnd!

Well, despite the huge Texas mosquitos that want a bit of me, the view is still rather pretty.

I still can't wait until I can manage to afford a house, though. The thought of my own backyard, landscaping, gardens...*drool*

Speaking of hot - la hermosa Deb suggests nekkid knittin' in this Texas heat. Unfortunately for me, nekkid laundry would seriously offend the neighbors.

Back to the knitting, already!

Yes, despite the heat and the severe lack of clean clothes, I have been knitting a bit. Of course, I cranked down the AC first. Tonight's project: Turning a frog into a mouse. I did indeed frog that cuff I decided I didn't like the color patterning of, and I am making a stuffed mousie or two for a co-worker's cats from it. If they come out well, I want to make a couple from some spare wool for the charity mouse-along -- the one I am making now will have no catnip in it as IIRC S's older cat reacts badly to it.

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Katherine, who correctly guessed that my post topic was related to the similar spoken line in Papa Gene's Blues, by the Monkees. K, you have mail!

Yes, I am a Monkee-maniac. In fact, somewhere around here I have the chart for a Monkee blanket (guitar logo) that I never did start working on. Hm...sounds like another WIM added to the list! :D

<Cyndilou wanders off, humming bits to The Porpoise Song...>

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Stripe it, Magic Fingers!

Okay - who recognizes the song reference in my title for the day? Winner gets bragging rights, and perhaps a ball of yarn...yes, a ball of yarn: one skein of Lion Brand Polarspun in Polar Purple.

Speaking of Lion Brand, that's what prompted my whimiscal title for today's entry. I stopped by the large Hobby Lobby near my work, but they didn't have any of the new Magic Stripes in yet. The stocklady did say that it was on order, but although she looked through her new yarn boxes for me, she couldn't find it. We DID find lots of Bernat Boa and Eyelash and Hot Socks and...a lot of good stuff. I am eager to try the Bernat Boa to see if it works up like Apart - which I love, but simply cannot afford in the quantities I need for the fur capelet I want to make. Of course, I don't even know how much the Boa is retailing for...

Back to the Magic Stripes: I went to the HL closer to my apartment (which is notoriously bad on stocking yarn, especially new yarns) and they did have a couple balls of Magic Stripes. Exactly two. One was Denim Stripes and the other I can't remember but it was blue/white/brown/gray. Neither was completely to my taste, and I saw that they take size 3 needles for the Lion Brand pattern rather than the 5s I was hoping for. I have plenty of sock yarn in my stash anyway, and only one size 3 circular.

Well, back to work on my secret exchange gift.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Mixed signals

So, how do you know if it has been a good day or a bad one? Work has been just hectic - almost mad - and today was no different. I've been absolutely exhausted for the last week and I certainly haven't gotten much knitting done outside the Saturday sessions.

On the other hand, I did stop into Hobby Lobby on my way back from work for a little retail therapy. No, no - I didn't break my promise to not buy yarn or patterns until I'd finished at least five projects (four still to go!). I did pick up this little beauty, though:

Isn't she a doll? This is Fibre Craft's new Victorian Lady doll. Although the box doesn't specify, she appears to be about the same size as their 15" classic doll models. According to the FC website, she is 14.5 inches tall. It may be just the hairdo, but she does look taller than the 15" dolls when you hold them side by side. I suppose I could get out my doll stands and tape measures, but that would spoil my fun. :)

Speaking of fun, how fun is this?

Yes, that's the glow-in-the-dark yarn I mentioned a few days ago. I finally took it out of the bag to look at it and see how well it glows. Well, it turns out that it is really a nylon filament, sort of like a ribbon yarn in width. It does glow very well, although I was unable to take a picture of the glow to show you. At 215 yards per ball, I think these three might make fun hats for some of my nieces and nephews when held with another yarn. I may yet change my mind on that, but it will have to wait for a while anyway. For the interested, I got this yarn from HeartStrings FiberArts. If anyone out there in cyberspace has used this yarn, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on it!

Oh...and I think it ended up being a pretty good day after all. :)

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Hot Summer Nights

It really should be illegal for the heat index to be near 100 after sundown. I about melted before the evening breezes started, but I am very thankful for those breezes!!!

Tonight I went to see an off-off-Broadway production of Crazy For You at the Zilker Hillside Theater. Here are some pictures if you're interested. I must say, of all the ZTP shows I've seen over my years in Austin, this has to be one of the best done. Hats off to the cast and crew!

Weren't we supposed to be talking knitting here?

Before I spent six very sultry hours in the Texas heat, I did get to hang out at the LYS for our Saturday knitting session. I even got some knitting done! Eros scarf #3 is now more than halfway to completion, and I started on the second sleeve for Baby Olé. Perhaps this challenge thing has been good - if not for me, then certainly for my WIPs. The new IK and VK mags are certainly not good for my willpower, though -- although I can probably pass on Vogue, there are several great projects in Interweave just begging me to try them. That Colorwork, or maybe the Tipsy Sailor...

But enough about me...

There's a new addition to the blogging community. Presenting...Deb! She's one of the ladies that make up the crazyfun time we have on Saturday's at HCW, and a grad student to boot. Welcome to the dark side the blog world, Deb! :)