Monday, March 26, 2007

Emboldened by my experience with the Irish Diamond Shawl, I took another plunge into the Area Beneath the Side Table and unearthed this:

This is the Syrian Shawl from "Victorian Lace Today"; I started this on my ill-fated (for knitting) trip to Long Island and had to put it down almost immediately. It's an enjoyable pattern and one that I will definitely explore in the future. As I may have mentioned previously though, I REALLY don't like this colorway of Schaefer Anne. It makes me hurl. And so now, the Syrian Shawl is this:

Bye Syrian Shawl.

I really felt the need to cast something on, so I poked through some old books, including erstwhile favorite "Folk Shawls". On an impulse, I decided to make the Icelandic Feather and Fan Triangle.

For me this was an interesting choice. First, I don't like Feather and Fan at all - it seems cloying and insipid, reeks of baby blankets and just generally doesn't spin my wheels. However, it is an easy and fun pattern to work - I wanted a lace pattern that wasn't completely mindless, but didn't require a lot of concentration either. Second, the stripes on this shawl are not acceptable, so I decided to use only one yarn. I had some old Koigu marinating in the stash for a couple of years that I kept almost selling on Ebay, but something always stopped me. I don't know if this picture does it justice, but it's just a nice combination of cream, green and light brown, with startling little flecks of violet every once in a while. Classic bizarre perfect Koigu. Very organic, very vernal.

Here it is, in an artsy pose that seemed a little spring-y (because it's outside, I guess....) What I didn't realize from the picture in the book is that the Feather and Fan part is only the stripe-y bands at the bottom. The top and main body of the shawl is all garter with some eyelet rows thrown in every once in a while. Very soothing and mindless:

Opening Day Countdown: FIVE DAYS! The Phillies have been abysmal this spring, but we have high hopes nonetheless and of course.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

St Patrick's Day Tale of Woe
[note: written five days ago, but I couldn't find batteries for the old camera...]

Gather round, kids, while I tell you a tale of hope and heartbreak! Last night, I decided to poke around under the living room side table, the repository of all knitting works-in-progress and unearthed this:

This is the Irish Diamond Shawl from Folk Shawls. I am using (the now sadly discontinued) Rowanspun 4-Ply in a devastatingly beauteous deep green, with ungodly perfect flecks of red and yellow. Its rugged beauty hearkens back to the Old Country, home of my forefathers (well, one branch of the old family tree anyway....). It also smells really good - very wooly, for want of a better word. It's not a soft yarn, but it's satisfyingly crunchy and basic. Here's a close-up of the yarn; doesn't it look like a mysterious beautiful mossy forest??? C'mon - doesn't it??

Anyway, I started this shawl last year and found after slogging through the Irish Diamond pattern for 100 rows that it was extremely boring. I thought about ditching the whole thing, but instead put it aside, hoping that I'd return to it with Fresh Enthusiasm at a later date. Which I did yesterday. How appropriate, I thought, to begin this again on St Patrick's Day! Great-grandfather Kieran McCulkin would be proud!

So I pick it up, and lo and behold the row counter is still correct, and I only have 12 more rows of the stupid boring Irish Diamond pattern before a new and exciting pattern happens. So I contentedly work a couple of rows and feel proud of myself for not letting it languish and completing an old project before mindlessly casting on for a new one, and then I realize that something Really Bad has happened in one of the repeat sections. And that, though I made it work on one row, I cannot continue fudging that one section. And sadly, being the way I am, I know there is no way that I am going to rip it back god knows how many rows and try to re-orient it. So now the Irish Diamond Shawl is this:

Friday, March 16, 2007


Umm, remember when it was 75 degrees, oh, TWO DAYS AGO??

Look, my poor Phillies flag is all frozen from the sleet and snow that's been falling all day. It's ker-AZY weather!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What's the best thing to watch with a still-slightly woozy 7-yr-old? This!

For once, one of my brilliant ideas panned out. Gus and I both watched this enthralled yesterday. He liked it because it was goofy and crazy; I got a stone-cold thrill every time one of the cartoon Beatles opened his mouth to sing. I've never been a huge Beatles fan - I was just a little too young and missed most of the hoopla, but their songs are so perfect and iconic and fresh-sounding they're on a whole different plane.

I took Gus back to school this morning. His buddies all crowded around him, asking him where he was and if he felt better, etc. Gus paused masterfully, and then said proudly, "I threw up SEVEN TIMES!" And all the little 7-yr-old boys went, "WHOAAA!!!!!!" Needless to say, he is an object of worship and devotion to them today.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Okay, one more story about John Vukovich, from the mighty righty blowhard Curt Schilling's blog:

We’re in Three Rivers Stadium playing the Pirates. Jason Kendall has had some success off me, and Vuk keeps harping, “He can’t hit a curveball, Schill.” We’ve argued about this at least 50 times. Seventh inning, Kendall at the plate, first pitch curveball, home run. I look over at the bench, and Vuk is shaking his head. I am so mad I can’t see straight, blaming Vuk for throwing a bad pitch.

The inning ends. I walk into the dugout, pass Vuk without looking, and hear, “I said curveball. At no time did I say HANGING curveball.”

We love Schill here chez MM. I understand he's the most loathed man in baseball, but he's a fan's dream. He'll spout off about anything, and most of the time he's right or at least he'll say what's on his mind and not toe the party line. In this day and age, that's rare and refreshing. And of course, there's Game 5 of the 1993 World Series. 'Nuff said.

I finished two socks yesterday,

keeping Gus company because he has a stomach virus. We lolled in bed, and I knit and got caught up on every PBS and Nickolodeon show on tv - go ahead, ask me anything!! The nurse at the pediatrician's assured me that we would all catch it next, so that's really something great to look forward to.

I'm off to see "Die Meistersinger" tomorrow at the Met with my dad. I'm not a huge Wagner fan, as he is, but this one has some comic (for Wagner) moments, and the music's lovely. I think the last time I saw it at the Met was when I was in college (which was, of course, just a mere heartbeat ago), so I'll be interested in how much I remember.*

*Gus's stomach virus caught up with me and I had to stay home and lie on the couch, concentrating on not throwing up all day. Knitters alert - the virus is called Noro-virus (I kid you not). Obviously, there was no way I could avoid it. Now I'm sitting at the computer, willing myself not to throw up. Maybe I should go lie down again......

A final shout-out to Gus's Aunt Laura, cake-maker extraordinaire, who produced this beauty for Gus's Art-themed birthday party. Please note fabulous Jackson Pollock-esque icing:

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Notes from Spring Training:

Marcus Hayes, of the Philadelphia Daily News, has solidified his position as my favorite local sportswriter with this quote from the end of his regular column the other day: "The Reds were happy that Jon Lieber drove his famed SuperTruck to Sarasota so they could witness firsthand its imposing might." Wa ha ha ha.

Former Phillies coach and possibly the most endearingly [if you didn't have to work with him] irascible man in baseball, John Vukovich, is reported to be in grave condition from a brain tumor. He was a member of the 1980 Phillies championship team and coach from 1988-2004 (including the glorious 1993 near-miss season) and then moved up to the front office, so anyone who's followed the Phillies has many indelible images of Vuke, camped out at third base.

He's only 59.*

Nothing much to report on the knitting front. The extended winter has been good for the shop, since knitters respond directly to weather and most put down their needles when it gets warm (not me!!), but not so good for my knitting funk. I think I need some sun and spring-y weather to get me re-energized. Plus I look so ASHY!

*Vukovich died this morning. Great story here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Hey, I was watching "MASH" last night, and in one scene Hawkeye was knitting. And not just fake-y show biz knitting, but knitting with the yarn tensioned around his fingers.....just like me! How odd is that?

I'm still in my knitting funk, but I started a sweater for Gus nonetheless from this book, which has many great older boy sweaters. These, as most boy's moms will tell you, are few and far between. Gus is still small enough that sweaters for him count as not-big projects, plus the sweater's knit with a double-strand of Rowan Felted Tweed at 3.5 sts/1". Shouldn't take too long, and then maybe I'll feel like starting a shawl.

I watched "Invincible" this morning - it was great! Very sepia-toned, and I think they tried to go easy on the cheap sports cliches. I had a big crush on Vince Papale when I was 13; can you imagine why?


Friday, March 02, 2007

My beautiful boy is 7 years old today.

How can this be? It feels simultaneously like yesterday and an eternity ago that we brought him home from the hospital. He slept in his carseat on the floor of our apartment for four hours while Matthew and I kept looking at each other and saying, "Uhhh, now what do we do?"

I don't know how we managed it, but we did, and now he is seven years old and perfectly perfect in every way . (Okay, so maybe not so perfectly perfect in EVERY way, but a great kid and the light of our lives.)

'Nuff said.

Happy Birthday, Gus!


Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Mighty Day Has Arrived

Yes, people. The day is here. The day I never thought I would live to see. I spent the morning here:

to talk about KNITTING. The planets have aligned. All cosmic forces are lined up. Go out and buy a lottery ticket.

The Phillies are hosting a Stitch N Pitch Night on Tuesday, June 26. Knitters, crocheters, needlepointers, and cross-stitchers are all invited to come out to the park and wield their needles. I was invited to be on the Organizing Committee. So I spent the morning at Citizens Bank Park talking with representatives from the Phillies about organizing the event.

Okay, how demented is THAT??!!! I'm still reeling. The ironic part is that, though I knit while waiting at doctors' offices or in line at the bank or while waiting to pick up Gus or at red lights or at any other moment I can think of, I never knit at the ballpark. This is because I keep score, and scoring came first with me before knitting. I was chatting with the representative from TNNA (National Needlearts Assoc.) from San Francisco and mentioned that I never knit at games because I keep score, and she said, "For both teams?" Huh? What a weird question. I said, "Uh, yes." and she said, "Oh I only keep score when the Giants are up." What's up with that? What's the point of keeping score if you only do it for half the game?

Oh well, not to worry. Let's just revel in the pure cosmic goodness of the moment.