Friday, March 7, 2008

And we're off!

See you Sunday night!

P.S. The play was very good, and very funny. (It's "Night of the Living Beauty Pagent.") Check it out while I'm gone - 7 p.m. Friday & Saturday, Sunday at 2 p.m., at the Sheboygan Falls High School. The little blonde girl who plays one of the "Mumbles Girls" judges is particularly cute. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Red Hat Basket Items Finished!

I didn't re-photograph the red hat cloth for this photo, because (1) I was in a hurry, and (2) I didn't have a decent backdrop that would show the items of different scale well. But here you see the finished tribble, as well as a soap bag (and the lavender soap I found in the K-Mart clearance rack).

This was my first tribble, and I found it a little difficult to cinch up into the proper shape. Maybe that's just because I tend to break my yarn, rather than cutting it, so I'm awfully aware of what happens when you yank hard on cotton yarn. I was afraid my yarn would just snap instead of cinch! I ended up with the gathered sections not quite as tight as shown in the pattern's image, but I just filled it in with a couple of extra stitches and a handle, and I'm content.

The soap bag is designed not for displaying soaps prior to use, but for holding onto them during use. It works especially well if you are as miserly as I am about throwing out anything that could be potentially useful. Those slippery little bits of soap can be popped into this bag and used right up to the end of their natural life. And the open netting and hanging cord make it possible for the bag - and soap - to dry out between uses, rather than dissolving into a gloppy mess like some other designs. My friend calls this "soap on a rope without the commitment."

Scrubby Sacks for Slippery Slivers of Soap
(c) 2007 by Jami Huisjen Scott
All rights reserved unless it's for a good cause, yada yada yada


  • Double-pointed needles, size 8 (or so)

  • Cotton or hemp yarn of your choice (so long as it is durable and dries easily)

  • yarn needle

For the sack shown, I used peaches & creme and size 10 needles, because that's what I had handy. Gauge is not important for this pattern.


Cast on 40 stitches, divided evenly on 4 needles.

Work 4 or 5 rounds of the reversible stitch of your choice. For the sack show, I used k2 p2 ribbing, but seed stitch works just as well. It all depends on whether you want the neck of your sack to pull in or flare decoratively.

Round 3: *yarn over, knit 2 together * and repeat steps between * for the rest of the round.
Round 4: knit

Repeat rounds 3 and 4 until the net portion of your work is a tube roughly 3 inches wide.

Decrease round 1: *knit 3, knit 2 together* and repeat for the rest of the round.
Decrease round 2: purl
Decrease round 3: *K2, k2 together* and repeat for the rest of the round
Decrease round 4: purl
Decrease round 5: *K1, k2 together* and repeat for the rest of the round
Decrease round 6: purl
Decrease round 7: *k2 together* and repeat for the rest of the round.

Break yarn and using yarn needle, draw the remaining loops closed and sew tight. I usually run through all the loops twice with the tail of the yarn, then knot it tight a couple of times on the inside of the bag. You are going to be scrubbing with this little bag, so texture is your friend and you will want your ends to be secured firmly.

For the drawstring, single-chain with medium size crochet hook (I use my fingertip) and make a string at least 8" long. Weave drawstring in and out of the holes in the top row of netting and tie together.

That's it. Now all I have to do is finish the sewing on the attitude bag, and pack for tomorrow's trip. Tasha is pouting because I'm going to miss her play (who knew that for the second year in a row it was going to be the same weekend as my retreat!? I broke all kinds of sound barriers and rules of polite behaviour last year trying to get home in time for her Sunday afternoon performance. This year I'm the car pool, and it just doesn't seem possible or appropriate to ask 6 women to cut 5 hours off their weekend for her play.) so I'm going to try to talk my way into the final dress rehearsal tonight. Which means I have less time to do my other getting ready stuff, but I feel like I've made enough progress thus far to chance it. Besides, it means a lot to my baby girl, even if she's too much of a teenager to actually show it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Politics and a little self-examination

Okay, so Obama's ahead, but not by as much as he'd hoped. What I'm hearing is that Hillary still has a chance. But NPR says that a Democratic contender needs 2025 votes to clinch the nomination, there are a total of 4048, and right now he has 1477 while she has 1391. (Edwards has 26, and 60 are undecided.) It sounds like this might go right down to Oregon on May 20th.

So do we think Hillary could still pull it out? Theoretically, I'm okay with Obama (although I heard him speak in Hartford last year and I'm just not bowled over by the famous charisma. Maybe because it was not a stump speach, just a meet & greet in a religious setting?) For that matter, if it weren't for certain "bright line" issues, I don't hate the Republican option. It's very surreal for me, having multiple presidential choices that for once don't make me break out in hives. But when it was starting to look like Hillary was going to be pushed out, I found myself dissapointed.

Dad is big into Obama. So is Tasha, and my brother Dan - - and according to last night's radio, so are Ben & Jerry the ice cream guys. (I agree with Ben & Jerry on a lot of things. Phish Food, for one.) But in a way I can't properly explain, I'd really prefer Hillary to be our next president. I hate this "wait and see" part.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

To Do List

  • A "Tribble" from 1870 Perl's pattern to go in the red hat gift basket ( by Friday morning.
  • A soap sack for the red hat gift basket. (My own pattern, for once. Didn't I ever share it with you? I'll have to see where I have it typed out, and then post it. They were VERY popular at the soap lady's booth at last summer's farmer's market!)
  • Educate Luc on the concept that "cleaning the car" also includes the paper and pens and miscellaneous debris under the seats - and does NOT include removing the atlas, window scraper or owner's manual. (By Wednesday night, when I'm trading my car for Tammy's 7 passenger van for the weekend.)
  • Hand-sew the interior lining into the "Attitude" bag for the auction (by Friday morning).
  • Pack - which would involve planning what I'm taking, and then washing it. (The pinch-hitting dryer is now in place, and the guys left muddy footprints on the tile & living room carpet to prove it.)

I suppose the list doesn't seem that bad. Each of the knitted things will take me less than an hour, and like any chore I just need to grit my teeth and get going on the sewing thing. And I still have tonight and Thursday night after work to get most of this done, even if Wednesday will be tied up with Weight Watchers, choir practice, lenten services and simple meal. For that matter I can knit in Weight Watchers, and Rev. Bill doesn't mind when I knit in church - it's just that they keep the lights pretty dim during lenten services. I'll have to make sure I sit by one of the pillar candles and wear my reading glasses . . . .

Monday, March 3, 2008

Well, this can't be good

The overpriced but large and impressive-looking dryer we bought a few years ago to handle the laundry generated by four or five semi-adults started making a clunking noise a few months back. Rick figured one of the rollers had become distorted out of round or something, and invested a fair amount of time complaining about LG, Best Buy, and the entire consumer system (which was obviously out to get him). And we stopped drying clothes at night, since you could hear the "klunk-klunk" reverberate throughout the house. Then we noticed this in the drum yesterday morning:
It looks like a spot weld had broken free along the seam of the drum and started flexing, and now we have a jagged "metal fatigue" hole inside the dryer, right where our clothes have to rub a hundred or so times whenever they tumble dry. (Actually, it could have been there for a bit already. I wondered how I'd torn a hole unnoticed in the leg of my jeans.) So Rick found a used Kenmore on Craig's list, and now we have to (1) clear workspace in the slightly cluttered laundry room; (2) move the old drier into an adjacent room while Rick considers the options for its repair; (3) carry the replacement upstairs to the laundry room; and (4) dry the load of clothes that has been sitting damp in the washer since yesterday morning. Oh, and we'll be inspired to stay inside and do this, because we're supposed to get an inch or two of sleet this afternoon. That will be good for morale.

On the other hand, I finished this section of the Tree of Life shawl:
For those who are curious, I confirmed once again that I cannot read a cable chart to save my life. Thank goodness Lionbrand had the steps written out as well. Oh, and the yarn is a 100% extra fine merino made by Zegna Baruffa, color number 26733. Beautiful stuff, even if it does split a bit.