December 2007 Archives

Bigger, longer and unchomped


Some of you might remember a certain little beast doing quite a job on my old niddy noddy. The poor thing was cut down savagely in the prime of its life. I probably could have sanded it down, refinished it and put it back to use, and, who knows, maybe I will someday, but it certainly hasn't happened yet and I don't see myself doing it anytime soon, so I've been using my leg as a niddy noddy since then, or just winding right off the bobbin, onto the ball winder.

But between you, me and the lamppost, I'd been wanting a longer niddy noddy. The short one is fine for what I can spin off a spindle, but off the wheel, I knew I wasn't getting an accurate yardage count because I'd have to wrap the yarn around the noddy so very many times, that it would bulge out substantially.
Plus, these Kromski niddy noddies are really a pretty good price.

AlSoSe_skein and noddies.jpg

And what's that pretty skein up there, you ask?
Why, it's some more of the fiber from my Almost Solid Sampler pack. I grabbed three shades in two fibers,
BFL in Hosta
Corriedale in Delphinium
Corriedale in Juniper Berry


The camera doesn't show the blues very accurately. The middle bobbin is like a dusty indigo color while the outer bobbins are a little less saturated but similar in hue to what you see.

I got about 130 yards of all three colors combined and then another 20 or so yards of just the two outer bobbins combined and maybe 3-4 yards of just the green yarn. You can see the streak of very green color in the finished skein.

AlSoSe_skein on kate.jpg

Embiggening the photo should allow you to see the individual colors of the skein a little better.



That is all.

Beautiful Christmas Day


Christmas day, we slept in late, then donned our winter wear for another trip to Mt Hood National Forest.


Thea spent the whole ride there, looking out the back window. Whenever we'd stop, both girls would cry with excitement, hoping we'd be getting out and into the snow.

But our first stop wasn't for hiking, it was to put chains on the tires.


Leo insisted he needed no help, so we stayed snuggly warm in the car while he worked his butt off.

We found a trail we hadn't been to before and began our hike. Leo and the girls went bounding off the trail for a little run and all found themselves hip deep in snow.


Panda didn't seem to mind.

But Thea and Leo had a bit more struggle with it.


Nope, he's not kneeling, he's nearly standing upright.

I don't think these other pictures need captions, except to say we had a most wonderful time.






See lots more pictures here. Hope your Christmas was just as lovely.

Reader's choice


All that merry and happy stuff for whatever it is you want to be merry and happy about.


The girls, Leo and I will be enjoying a Merry Christmas of no obligation and, perhaps, a little hiking. Who could ask for a better present?

Giselle is now available


<naama 286.jpg

Get the pattern here

Despite some delays along the way, it's so gratifying to have this pattern finally available.

The design may be mine but I can't dismiss the many hours that others put in to make this pattern a quality product. Self publishing has it's merits, but knowing that my piece has been test knit, proofread, tech edited, professionally photographed (even if the model is a bit amateurish*) and nicely laid out is wonderful, and a bit humbling.

Thank you to those of you who have been waiting for this and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Garment designed by Marnie MacLean for Stitch Diva Studios.

All photographs are Copyright Jennifer Hansen 2007. All rights reserved.

Orange garment knit by Sarah Wilson

Red/Silver garment knit by Marnie MacLean

Cropped version knit by Danna Spiro who also provided copy editing

Technical editor Donna Druchunas

* Teehee, just playing with you. I'm not fishing for compliments



I finished Astoria.

Astoria front alone Astoria front layered

If I hadn't flubbed the sleeves, the first go around, I probably could have finished this baby in a week.

Most setbacks slow my momentum substantially, and this was no exception, but since this piece is one of those ubiquitous top-down raglans, there was no reason not to finish it up. Almost all the work was already done, and having tried it on, I was sure it was a design I'd enjoy wearing.

Astoria front full length Astoria with helpers Astoria back full length

The finished piece looks just like I hoped. The body darts allowed me to get a good custom fit and I think the wave motif pops nicely against the deep gray and purple.

And for all of you voyeurs, here's a look at the garments naughty bits.

Astoria floats

I ended up with plenty of leftover yarn, after the piece was done. I could have made the sleeves much longer but I didn't think it would look right with the length of the garment. Like Goldilocks would say, this seemed "juuuuuust right."

For those who might ask, and several of you have already, I'm not sure if I'll offer a pattern. Right now, I'm just happy to have a deadline associated with this. We'll see. It's simple enough that it might be worth it to write something up.

On an, arguably, unrelated note, you see those jeans up there? I like them. They fit me well. You see how, in that top left shot, they sit on my hips, near the hem of Astoria? Those are considered a high waisted cut. Can you believe that? When did our waistlines get so low that 3 inches below my belly button is high waisted? Or is my torso so freakishly long that there isn't a mom-pant alive that can pass my hip bone? Let me tell you though, it's nice to wear a pair of pants that doesn't threaten to show the world my knees from a bird's eye view. You know?

Lucky Seven


My sweet ray of sunshine, Miss Panda Bear, turns 7 today. Well, as a rescue, we aren't entirely sure of her exact birthday, but it appears that this is the likely day.

Our family had a dog when I was very young, but, in reality, Panda is my first. I would have sworn, up and down, that I did not have it in me to be a dog person, before I met her. I thought of dogs as being drooly, stinky, needy and loud.

When Leo and Panda met for the first time.

Perhaps I was tainted by my experience with dogs in my neighborhood. Most were allowed to roam freely about our cul-de-sac, and were often poorly mannered and pushy. Others were tied up outside, year round, and spent their days barking and lunging at passersby.

Panda's first few weeks at home. She could be very silly.

In my teens, some of my closest friends had dogs, but almost never the sort with which the family felt inclined to spend long hours. These dogs were appreciated, well cared for and content dogs, but they weren't ever taken on hikes, or, for that matter, even long walks. They didn't sit with their people and get pet while everyone watched TV, they tended to just be high energy distractions. There were exceptions, but they were rare.

Panda's first trip to the beach.

So when Leo and I moved in together and he said that his first goal would be to find a place that allowed pets and get a dog, I felt a certain trepidation.

With those sweet eyes, she could have gotten away with being much more poorly behaved.

I don't think we had lived in LA for more than a few days before my best friend and animal trainer extraordinaire, was telling us about a sweet 9 month old Border Collie mix who needed a home. She was one of an accidental litter of puppies born in December, who had been used in a commercial. The owner decided he didn't want them back so the training company agreed to place them. The entire littler, who looked mostly like cattle dogs, were quickly adopted out. The lone straggler was a timid, and gentle girl named Houston, who looked far more Border Collie like than her siblings.

Panda loves to be picked up and held like this.

Leo and I met Houston and she clung to Leo immediately, which was incredibly out of character for her. We paid the dollar adoption fee, and brought her home that night.

She didn't pee for almost a day. I woke up every couple hours, that night, to give her another shot at it, to no avail.

I wasn't sure what we had gotten ourselves into.

Houston, now Panda, had just been spayed a week before and could lie on her back for hours getting belly rubs, to dull the itch of her hair growing back, but as soon as we stopped, she'd duck under the coffee table or bed and hide from the sounds of kids playing outside.

Panda's always been a fast learner.

Soon, she started to open up at home, becoming a snuggly, loving and affectionate girl, as well as a keen learner and surprisingly well behaved addition to the household. Still, leaving the house was an exercise in frustration. Panda would attempt to drag us, bodily, back home, while we would endeavor to find positive experiences for her to help her overcome her fears. We could ask her to sit, and she would, but her whole body would quake with fear and she'd drool incessantly until we would bring her home. There wasn't a treat in the world that made the experience fun for her.

You can't keep this girl out of the water

It wasn't until we brought her to the ocean, that we saw her full potential. At home, the distant hum of airplanes in the sky, would send Panda into a drooling, quivering trance, but at the beach the roar of waves crashing upon the shore, was a symphony for her. She was in her element. We began to make beach trips a regular event for her and the result was a happier dog at home.

At seven, Panda seems more content and happy than she ever was as a younger pup. Even though her black spots are becoming speckled with white hairs and her coat has grown less silky and more fluffy, I still see that thoughtful gleam in her eyes and thirst for adventure.

Seven? She doesn't look a day over three.

Each year with Panda, continues to be a gift. Here's hoping we have many many more ahead.

Happy birthday, little girl.

A weekend of goodily goodness


Panda is today's Grown-Up Daily Pup.

*Sigh* I had so much fun this weekend that I'm all the more sad it's Monday. On Friday, Leo and I watched bad movies while I spun up my batt of sparkly BFL that I got from Amy back at the Fiber Frolic, in Maine.

sparkly2.jpg sparkly_withflash.jpg

Photos never do sparkly things justice, so take my word for it, when I say it looks lovely without being garish, almost like it was lightly sprinkled with silver dust. I spun the singles up and then plied it into a 3-ply using the Navajo plying method. The photos are pre-wash and thwack. I have about 98 yards of approximately DK weight yarn. I will definitely work this into something, but what, I'm not sure.

On Saturday night, we celebrated a friend's birthday by going out for dinner and playing pool...very very poorly. If any of you watch the American version of The Office, it's like when Kelly and Pam played ping-pong. That certainly didn't take away from the fun.
Actually, it probably made it more fun. The best part is, I got to flip off a hummer.


If that weren't all good enough, on Sunday, we packed up the girls (who were feeling plenty stir crazy with all the rain we've gotten) and headed to Mt. Hood for a good hike in the snow.





See all the pictures here.

Clicky clicky


Rookie mistake


After knitting the colorwork on both sleeves, I realized that I made one of those head slapper goofs, that can only be fixed with a rip.

After determining the number of stitches I'd need to decrease before the cuff, I determined how frequently I'd need to work decrease rounds. Pattern calculating-101. So where did it go awry? Each decrease round reduces the stitch count by 2 stitches, yet I was calculating as though only 1 stitch were reduced per round. Silly mistake, and constricting too. Oy vey.


On the left is my finger numbingly tight first go at the sleeve. On the right is the reworked sleeve, new and improved to allow for blood circulation.


Another look at the happy arm.

Nothing like a little ripping to keep me humble.

Raw fish and Santas Everywhere


What a great weekend. On Saturday night, Leo and I started our evening with the most delicious sushi. It has been so long since I had a really good sushi meal, I was starting to think I didn't care for sushi anymore. This restaurant, Hiroshi, is in the Pearl district and open for very limited hours. We had attempted to try this restaurant on several previous occassions, to no avail and were starting to think that nothing could live up to the hype, but we were wrong.

Oh, I wish we had a proper camera with us so I could show you some shots that would do this sushi justice. Instead, you'll have to settle for shots off of Leo's iPhone.

Delicious sushi 1 Delicious sushi 2
I don't remember what these were called, but they were just two of
about 6 different rolls, nagiri and sashimi that we tried.

As Leo put it, it sort of makes everything else we've had in town taste like bait.

All of this just set the mood for an evening filled with drunken Santas.


There were hundreds of Santas in the city. It was unbelievable.


I think my favorite costume was this Leia/Anakin pair. Illogically fantabulous.


And of course, hundreds of Santas by a menorah just seems nearly poetic. I'm not sure what kind of poem but I think it might be a limerick.

I think we got the biggest laugh, though, out of this.

Dumbarse 02 Dumbarse 01

A couple of rocket scientists decided to double park their giant SUVs on the street car tracks during the normal hours of operation. The poor conductor had to get out of the street car and explain to the drivers why this was a poor parking solution. We couldn't hear what she said, but it didn't sound "I'm sorry Mr Conductor Sir, please, accept this gift of my first born child and a chocolate bar and do give my apologies to the passengers while I move my vehicle out of the way." So I can only conclude that she is a jackass, as is the second driver who was off puttering about in the building for several minutes longer. Feel free to disdain as you see fit.

What my parents are up to


Any of you wondering where I get my crazy tree huggin' pinko commie left wing views, need look no further than my parents. Check out this press release from PrioritiesNH, featuring my dear mum and dad. All links added by me

The house I grew up in with a subtle political statement in the driveway.

Giant rolling piggy banks spotlight Congress's mixed-up budget priorities

"Pig Mobile" rolls through Amherst/Milford area to compare U.S. spending on Pentagon vs. education, world hunger and AIDS

An eye-popping pink Pig Mobile is bringing its political message to the Amherst/Milford area this week.

The Pig Mobile, a creation of Ben and Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen, is being driven by Amherst residents Ben and Roseann Day. They'll pilot the Piggies around the Verizon Arena in Manchester Sunday night when Oprah Winfrey campaigns with Sen. Barack Obama.

"The Pig Mobile presents a message important to both conservatives and liberals and does so with great humor," said Roseann Day. "Many Amherst residents are lucky enough to be well educated and have good jobs. I feel increasing their understanding of how our tax dollars are spent will motivate them to elect politicians who will work to spend our tax dollars more wisely."

PrioritiesNH is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating citizens about how the federal budget spends their tax dollars and to helping them demand sensible spending priorities. Its campaign is working to change America's budget priorities to reflect a national commitment to education, health care, energy independence, job training and deficit reduction -- at no additional taxpayer expense -- by shifting funding from obsolete Cold War and nuclear weapons.

The Pig Mobile consists of three oversized piggy banks that illustrate how out of whack America's spending priorities are. The enormous lead pig symbolizes how much we spend on the Pentagon each year ($504 billion), a figure that doesn't even include money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Behind it, a much-smaller pig represents what the federal government spends on K-12 education ($40 billion). And the third, wee little, pig shows America's dedication to fighting AIDS abroad and to lessening world hunger ($10 billion).

"Citizens should be given the facts how the government spends our taxes," says Cohen. "And there's no better way to understand the giant numbers involved than to compare them to spending on stuff we all care about - like schools and world hunger."

Roseann Day would like to see some of that wasteful spending redirected to public education. "I've love to assure that every American has access to a public education system that can make Americans more competitive in the global market," she said.

Ben Day said he'd spend it on "scientific and mathematical education, on health care, and to fund 'green' projects to reduce our nation's carbon footprint."

"Of course, as soon as you stop spending money on things like running our Air Force and Navy, you cut out a huge amount of fuel consumption, most of it a total waste," he added.

The pigs were constructed with pink fiberglass. The lead pig, a Chevy cargo van, pulls the others on a trailer.

For more information - or to arrange a ride in the Pig Mobile - please contact PrioritiesNH at 603-224-3800.

Bad knitter, no cookie


I have no good excuse for casting on a new project when I have plenty of existing projects on the needle. Bad knitter. Bad bad knitter.

In a recent trip downtown, I stopped in at Knit/Purl. I actually don't really have that much inclination to buy yarn, these days. I like my stash and knitting my own handspun is really satisfying, but I had this image in my head of a stranded sweater in an easy care fiber, that I could wear on my outings with the dog.

Less than 30 minutes later, I walked out with 5 skeins of Cascade 220 superwash. They only had 2 skeins each of purple and gray and only one of the natural, so my design is driven by my limited yardage.


Ravelry makes us name our projects, so I'm calling this Astoria, after the quaint little town on the Oregon coast.


The garment is shaped with darts instead of side seams and still needs a neckband and sleeves.

I'd like to do full length sleeves, but I'm not sure I have enough yardage to do so. I'll certainly have enough gray and white to add the stranded motif to both sleeves.


So far, this project has been very satisfying. I knitted and washed a swatch but otherwise, I have just designed as I've gone along. I wasn't even sure if it'd be a cardigan or pullover until I finished the neckline shaping.


The colorwork pattern is very loosely based on one I found in my Vogue Stitchionary. The inspiration motif is called Arles, in case you are playing along at home, and is on page 78 of volume three. That one is stacked, turned sideways and tiles in the other direction, but I thought it could be made into a fun wave motif so I reworked it to fit the design and tile correctly.

Let's hope this rash of starting will result in a subsequent rash of finishing, so I can get me that cookie. What, there's not really a cookie? Dag nabbit.

My dogs are weird


One might be a basket case

I wanted to sit next to Panda but there was no room on the bed.

The other is channeling her inner long haul trucker.

Breaker Breaker 1-niner. Just passed a brown paper bag by the chew 'n choke in Cow Town. Don't feed the bears. Catch ya on the flip flop. Over and out.

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