27 July 2006

Moving on

So, this site has finally horked (yes, the technical term) on me one time too many. You'll all be able to follow my continuing adventures of knittage and off the wall rampant catchenage at my new site, at bellamoden.

You'll all need to update your bookmarks to follow this exciting journey, and if there are any problems then leave me a comment here, and I'll see what I can do.

26 July 2006


As a reminder to new readers, the name on the blog doesn't mean I didn't write the post, it means I had help posting it because I didn't use a computer to write the post.

Also? Don't forget, today's the last day for my contest! Don't forget to leave a question on last Friday's post. Thanks!


For some reason, when I took my weekly pilgrimage to Hobby Lobby yesterday after having my Tuesday $1 ice cream at the Baskin Robbins, I was drawn to the crap yarn. I am a serious knitter, as serious as anyone can be after knitting nonstop for nine months and still not have produced a sweater. I love Rowan and Debbie Bliss and Noro and Cascade and Brown Sheep and Koigu and and and. You know, good self-respecting non-Fun Fur encrusted stuff.

So why was I drawn to crap yarn? Worse, store brand crap yarn. Generic yarn.

But I was. It is hard to resist the call of 70% off this week only yarn. Petting is free, right? Yarn yarn yarn molest molest molest yarn yarn.

Trouble was, I liked some of it. I did. The Hobby Lobby's yarn line is called Yarn Bee, and there was this yarn called Jewelsong. Of course, Tiphanie and I had a small cacklefest over how jewels sang and how we were missing out. But I digress.


It's sort of a cross between a ribbon yarn and a slight slight eyelash yarn. Satiny ribbon on one side, and short cotton eyelash on the other. If I had a real camera I'd take a picture, well I do, but I mean, if I had a computer to upload it to, you'd all see what I meant. The cotton means it's not prickly and when knitted up it sort of has what feels like to me the visual and tactile feel of old velvet. It's not wool, obviously, but it really is soft and tactile, and the colorway I got, Autumn Sky, is golds and pinks and hot pinks and plums and blues and greens and blue-greens. It's all mottled knitted up, I like it a lot. It's heavily textured, but unalike fun fur type crap, you can easily see the garter ridges.

It's just a simple garter stitch scarf on bamboo 8mms, 30 stitches a row for a ten inch wide scarf, the better to fold onto itself and scrunch nicely.

I like it a lot. 2 feet worth so far.

Not bad for 70% off yarn.

25 July 2006

The Girl and the Matisse

The Matisse and the Fraro

Unalike babochka the greatest geriatic catchen ever, the Matisse doesn't own me. If he owns anything, it would be the bowl, yes?

Still I cannot help but be captivated by him, how beautiful he is, how silly he is, how well, short bussed he is. How graceful he is, how far he has come since we met on my birthday four years ago. He was so little, especially compared to now. Yet, from the first, he was larger than baba. He was so sad, a traumatized giant six month old kitten with fresh cuts on his nose and a sad sad sad demeanor. But from the first, this tiny giant kitten was a contrandiction, loving to be close yet being so so afraid.

Never once hiding in fear, yet not understanding how to hide when he wanted to play. He still hides by putting his head under the bed. It still cracks me up. It took him a year before he would sit on me at all, 18 months before he would sit on me in front of *gasp* other people, and longer still to learn that he absolutely loved wearing me and sleeping on me and other now-normal Matisseisms, including drooling on my yarn and attempting to cram his giant self into my armpit.

But he is a bundle of joy in a giant furry container. He is happiness epitomized. He is bowl obsession incarnate. He is expandable, able to reach from my ankles to my chest. He is squishable, able to fit in the depression that forms when I sit indian style on the sofa. He is never sleek, and always always always fluffy. He doesn't like having his teethies brushed, but loves the toothpaste. He sets himself on fire and sits in wet sinks. He comes up and snuggles close when I don't feel well, and headbutts the wonderful brush Maia sent because he loves it that much.

Most importantly, he knows to tell me whenever the Vogons attack, because it is imperative that I be aware of their invisible bad poetry spewing presence.

24 July 2006

Hat Hat Hat

Protohat #3

Hat #3 this morning, made with Sugar n Cream yarn in Hot Pink. This is being knitted up with the Chic Knits bucket hat pattern.

I wish my progress would be greater, but oh well. It's pretty!

Think the contrast color (just a small band above the brim, and a crocheted flower) should be white? Or tan? Or black?

BTW, I'm loving everyone's questions! I'll be answering all of them here sometime this week, and the contest will stay open until Wednesday because I'm awesome like that. Keep them coming!

23 July 2006


Drying Bite

Remember that attempt for red cotton yarn last weekend?


After rinsing off the black and the red and the purple and the pink dyes, which had left the yarn looking distinctly lavenderish, this was what was left. Pink, but with a bite. Bite me pink. Not pale baby pink. Lurid, but not fluroscent.

A Tale of Two Pinks

On the left is the Sugar n Cream Hot Pink, and on the right is Bite. I rather like it, even if it's difficult to get a good representation of its color.

Anyone know if it'll just wash out if I wash it? Should I use a fixative? If so, what?

It'll be a hat. Of course. Pretend to be shocked.

22 July 2006


The joy that 54 inch panels bring

What's the big deal about this picture? Simply put, THANK YOU GRAMMA for the curtains! I finally washed them and hang them up and I am so thrilled with them... they keep out light better at night while still keeping the room bright during the day (it's my paradox and I'm happy with it, thank you). They're 54" which are hard to find, but I really wanted that because Matisse has a habit of snagging the ends of the 63" drapes I had in the living room. 54" doesn't keep him from trying to reach the drapes but he's not tall enough to reach up to the ends. Neener neener!

O. And they are washable.

I suppose this is when you know you are an adult, when you are thrilled beyond what you thought possible for two small drapes over the bedroom window.

21 July 2006

Friday! Friday! Friday!

I love this hat!

I'm thrilled to say that despite constantly falling asleep the minute I get home and waking up as late as possible, it seems, every morning, I managed to finish my hat! I like how it doesn't pool on the body but pools on the crown. And I'm wearing my matching Gramma Sweater, with a white tshirt under. Way too too.

I was going to post pictures yesterday of the Yarn Box, but short of filling up the bathtub with yarn, it was waaaaaaaaaaay too dark outside to do any pictures, basically, the last couple days. I might go ahead and do the tub filling tonight and talk about the haul tomorrow!

Hm, today's my 180th post. I always associate the number 180 with school. How about a mini contest? Leave a deafie-type question you've been wondering about, and hmmm, there will be random drawing for a prize! How about a small pile of hand-dyed yarn, winner's choice of weight and colors?

19 July 2006

Promises of Good Things to Come

A Postcard from the UK!

I am so excited! But I also can't believe that I only got this postcard yesterday, when the date on the card says 20 June. Wow. My sock kit swap pal is British! I think. At the time she sent the card, she was in the UK. Heeeeeee. The postcard does have British stamps on it and there's a picture of Canterbury on the other side:

UK Postcard!

I love the stamps! Especially Mr Orange Head:

Mr Orange Head

It's really too bad Benkei sucks at macro.

I am so excited about the kit that's coming!

Oh look!

Yarn Box card

Yarn Box tonight! Can't wait. This is a box where a bunch of us get on a list and throw what we don't want in the box and take out what we want, and then ship it on to the next person. Fun!

bucket hat #2

But really? All I want to do is work on my cute! cute! summer! hat! $2 buys a lot of pretty, doesn't it? Can't wait to wear it with a matching shirt and be too too.

18 July 2006

Tuesdays are for Self Portraits

PRETTY Picasso. Ahem.

Very often, catchenage serve as mirrors, I think. They hover when you feel ill. They sit on you when you feel contented. They play with you when you just want to sleep. They trip you when you want to cook. They eat your yarn when you really want to knit. They drink your bath water when you're tubbing. They run out when you want them to stay in. They stay in when you give them permission to run out. They snuggle up close when it's really past time to get up and you should get up now, you know this, but they are so snuggly and warm and purrtastic and and and.

And sometimes, sometimes, they share their joy with the world in an unabashed and unashamed way. And they let you share in with that moment with them.

I love this picture so much. When I look upon it, even in the middle of feeling pretty sick and mostly tired, I cannot help but smile and feel a little bit of that pure joy.

And that smile within yourself I hope you're feeling right now? That's the real portrait for today.

17 July 2006


The boys are very very very very very very very very very happy with their bowl.

How happy?

This is the view of the Matisse enbowled, as I sit at the sofa.

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The Matisse in situ. Can you find his face?

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The Picasso and the Matisse, examining this strange concept called "sharing".

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The Picasso demonstrates his mad sharing skillz. Aren't we so proud of him?

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16 July 2006

For the love of cotton

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Hm, do you think I might have acquired a little bit of cotton yarn today? Gramma and I went to Michael's and Walmart in pursuit of two things, 1) enough yarn to make a Sitcom Chic, and 2) red yarn.

I struck out on the latter, but did find a small mountain of hot pink Sugar 'n Cream at Michael's the better to be chic and not too cold inside at work.

You know, just as soon as I cast on.

And enough yarn for three hats may or may not have fallen into the basket, as well.

I'm still working on the second hat. It's still a brim. It'll be a hat very very soon, I'm almost to the point where I switch from the tiny needles to the bigger ones and that will make it go that much faster. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee.

It's 100s here. I need to turn the air on.

15 July 2006


Thank you everyone for your well wishes. I forwarded all of them to my sinus cavities. I hope that you know, someday I'll have a life without infected sinuses. Not that I'm bitter or anything that it's now six months and change. Nope. Not aggravated in the least nor do I have a hateon for the ent who cancelled on me. Nope. I don't know what you're talking about.

Right now I'm not feeling too bad. More wiped out than anything really, and the pain of the migraines are gone though my right sinus cavity, between the eye and the jaw, yes that one, is feeling as overfull as ever, and I am dealing with that. You know, short of creating a new hole for the cavity. Forcibly. Maybe with a straw, like those orange juice commercials. Then somebody could drink from it, like that one weird Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. Slurp slurp, infection gone!

People on medication have strange thoughts, and that's the story I'm sticking to.

In between weird British movies and unplanned naps on the sofa, I've managed to knit a little bit on bucket hat #2 using Sugar 'n Cream in hot blue for the brim.

And I even got around to dyeing cotton yarn using Wilton's and lets just say it'll take a lot more work for it to even approach my dream of dark deep red... Right now it's more in the arena of "lurid light pink" which I'm guessing won't go with my red shoes. Foo.

Hey, if anyone has pointers for how to force white cotton to become red I'd love to hear them, or to read links.... Thanks! Or you know, cotton yarn in a good red I could get for a couple pennies... That would work too. Grin.

Tomorrow: the gramma comes to visit. Yay!

14 July 2006

In Sickness and in Health

The crapass part about being sick is that you have no choice in it. You're seized by the SICK and you shake when you are shaken and you urgle when you are urghled.

Thursday afternoon, I had a migraine on my left size, unusual both in its scope and its location. I had taken some Imitrex and yet it continued unabated. Like one of those borg creatures.

The good thing about being alone in Champaign-Urbana is that my mother could take me to the hospital, and take me she did where I got diagnosed with a healthy case of a sinus infection, and a migraine. Antibiotics for the first, morphine and phernagan for the latter.

And I realized I must really have been in denial about the sinuses, especially looking at Wednesday's entry when I complained about how full my sinuses were. Sigh.

Today was equally crapass waking up and tossing all the cookies I had in my system and then more, and revisiting the horrid left side migraine, with another visit to the hospital, where this time I got a cat scan and was pronounced to be brainproblemfree which is both great and sucky.

Much appreciation for my gramma, who drove me to the hosptial this time and hovered at home as only a gramma can, and for my mother, who brought me food.

Needless to say I didn't knit or work today, and I feel especially bad about the not working.

13 July 2006


I'm so thrilled! SO THRILLED! Isn't this gorgeous? It came from Megan of Stash to Treasure. I love her stash swap idea!

The yarn, it reminds me of an hydrangea, like this one:

It appears to be a skein of worsted weight, so I'm thinking that to make the most of it, I should crochet (YES I SAID CROCHET) a one skein scarf:

One Skein Scarf

I love it! As it happens, I have a ball of Rowan Cashsoft DK slated for an Odessa in a coordinating green I'm thinking about dyeing to be closer to this green. How many packets of green did you use, and what flavor was it? What a great springy set this will be!

Also, Megan sent me a set of felted circle coasters - circles are my favorite shape! I wasn't able to take good pictures of them because it was dark outside yesterday and I had put them on the Matisse's back, laughing at him and pointing, saying "spotted dragon!" For some reason he wasn't amused.


12 July 2006


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The Matisse wishes to inform his adoring public, those people known as "the catstaff's friends", that he loves his bowl, though it may not be big enough for him to cram his head in, and he degined to allow his catstaff to brush her teeth in peace for the first time in six weeks, although he has no idea why that's such a big deal. Besides, that Tom's toothpaste the catstaff uses is grosssssssssssss. Who the heck uses licorice? Blech! The chicken flavored toothpaste is a lot better, although he wishes the catstaff would just let him eat it, instead of rubbing it onto his teethies. Slurp. Where was he? Oh right. Bowl. He is happy. Bowl bowl bowl! No one throws him out of the bowl! Now all he wants is a place to cram his head in and some wool, the catstaff has been hiding it and that's cruel. Bowl! Bowl! It's blue and it's a bowl! It's pretty and it's a bowl! It's naptastic! Bowl bowl bowl. He was surprised, and so was his catstaff! Bowl!

Wait. Does this mean he has to stop protest sleeping?

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The Picasso thanks his adoring public for giving the Matisse a bowl, because now he has a place to nap when Matisse isn't in it, and isn't he cuuuuuuuuuuuuuute? The Picasso, not the bowl. The. Picasso. Is. Cute. Especially when his head is upside down. Isn't it? Booooooooooowl. Cuuuuuuuuuute. Happy.

11 July 2006

Tuesdays are for Self Portraits

I made the hat!

The only thing better than preening over a pretty thing you're knitting is wearing the pretty thing you knitted!

Especially when it's a crapass day and you wake up late, jello explodes all over your jacket, you sit there shivering all day as your sinuses are so full you can't move your face and you glug so much diet Coke you might as well have had it hooked up to an IV, and the piece of the soggy cake of the day, being huddled over a laptop for seven hours editing possibly the worst paper known to man, which included this choice entry, "This question connects classroom research with my own university level teaching in which I will be examining both preservice and inservice teacher understanding about the design of investigations and data use."

And my ENT cancelled my appointment on me, foooooooooooooooooooooooo.

But look at the pretty hat!

10 July 2006

Confessions of a Knitting Traitor

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I have learned how to crochet. The world has not ended. Yet.

I've been learning in order to make round things, and to make some of the stuff in the Happy Hooker book, and more especially because I couldn't teach my mother how to crochet if I didn't know how to crochet. I've been having fun! I can't say I prefer it to knitting at all, but it's a great thing to know how to do.

And all those crochet books I've been reading! I'll have talk about these sometime soon. Not today though.

Today, the shock of my crocheting is enough.

09 July 2006


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There are few things happier than being totally pleased with the object you are creating.

08 July 2006


I confess I am thoroughly sick of wool. SO sick of it. There's the Matisse wearing me while I handle wool, there's the sticky squeaky feel of the wool as it glormphs past the metal needle, there's the clammy hands, there's just nothing good about wool right this moment.

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In with the cotton! In with the hats! I saw that Bonne Marie had bought Sugar n Cream yarn to make her bucket hat with. INSPIRATION! Hobby Lobby had SNC for $1 per... and I was off to the races.

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Please note the marked absence of the Matisse on my lap. I'm very happy! And isn't that yarn working up cute?

07 July 2006


Today was a wonderful day. It was the first day of work, and I wasn't bored for a minute, truthfully. It turns out that I was placed in the one office on campus, perhaps, where my officemate spoke fluent ASL and had deaf parents, though he himself was hearing. Crazy!

I mean, really, what're the odds of that?


It's a good experience to have office chat and yakking.

I spent all day working on CVs, and it's plain to see why they brought me in, with all the work that's necessary, and it takes so much time to do each item!

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This is the view from the lounge... gorgeous. I find the painting to be fascinating, and I can't help but wonder how I would translate the feel of it in a yarnly medium... I'll have to take pictures with the real camera.

06 July 2006


Do you ever try to bring your visions to life, and struggle with the expression?

Perhaps the best medium to try to express my thoughts, my ideas about this scarf I have in mind isn't through watercolor. But it's an interesting challenge isn't it, to try to communicate what you want and what you're looking for, without the benefit of the materials you need.

Because I don't have them. I have in mind this Rowan kidsilk haze scarf, perhaps a tube, perhaps flat, but nonetheless some sort of largeish airy squishable thing, with 2 strands of the Rowan kidsilk haze held together, with the pink being dominant and other random colors being held with it, changing at different intervals.

Is this a crazy idea to start with? I wish I could test it more effectively, I have only the pink Rowan kidsilk haze and a single half skein of lavender. Does anyone have any leftovers they'd like to offload? We could trade! Or something. I would be deeply grateful....

But really, as much as I love the yarn thing and the project planning and the happy joy that is the noncompletion of the orange strap and yet another date with the sinus migraine fairy, there are more important things.

Such as the starting of a job tomorrow! Wish me luck. I'll be proofreading and editing, and doing my best to ignore the lys that's right on the way home from work.

05 July 2006

Of colors and patterns

I love color. I really, really do. The apartment is white, very white, but for me this serves as counterpoint, as respite, as refuge.

All day every day I surround myself with yarn, with textures, with blogs, with dvds, with knitporn. But mostly the yarn, within my hands, through my fingers, on needles.

Lately, of the violently orange persuasion. (Is it finished yet? No. Am I bitter? Don't ask.)

I spent the day with gramma today, and we got a few binders, as you can see. My printout and copy collection, of way too many patterns, scratch that, you can't have too many, but let us say that it is likely more will be inspirations rather than projects I will accomplish.... Anyway, they needed to be more properly contained, because the two original binders I had (the first and third pictures, if that sort of thing matters to you) were threatening to explode.

And now they won't. The world is a happier place (chez Fraro, if nowhere else), and I rest easy knowing I have room for more inspirations and more plans.

Before my latest round of additions, which began on the 26th, I had done a head count of the patterns I had. Frankly that number at the time was frightening enough as is, I thought, with:

3 blankets
16 bags
27 sweaters
2 baby sweaters
14 hats
19 scarves
5 wraps
5 fingerless gloves
16 socks

Which is all probably delusional and overtly optimistic given it is Wednesday and I still haven't finished the strap. But you didn't ask if I was bitter, so I won't tell you.

Do you like that blue sweater? I'd visited and tried it on at the Gap last Friday, but returned it to the rack because I didn't want to spend the $20 for it, clearance rack or no. Even if I really really liked it. Monday, Gramma emailed me saying she wanted to take me out on Wednesday and take me back to the Gap to buy the sweater. Hahahahahahahahaha. She is funny. And I own a new sweater.

I do have a good reason for not having finished the strap today, though. And no, it's not the Matisse's fault... He's been parked on me since I came home, because I felt like crap. My sinuses are hurting again (who wants to take bets on when they'll be infected again?) and had to worship at the altar of Imitrex again.

I do feel better for the nonce, wearing the healing Matisse, and for now? That's enough for me.

Now, excuse me while I go back to the orange strap of DOOM.

04 July 2006

Confession is good for the soul

I confess that this picture of me is from 2 weeks ago. Nevertheless, enjoy!

And I confess that I saw weird things while out shopping today:

This is a doggy toy, and it's a kitty in a bikini. What the!?!


This is a set of 4 apples sold for $5, solely because they have caranuba wax flags stenciled on them. I love America.

And I confess I didn't finish the strap today. Still love me anyway?

03 July 2006

The Process

The thing about happiness is that it's the byproduct, never the result, of what you do.

In other words, it's the process.

Or so I console myself, as I see this tonight:

When that ball is gone, the strap is done, whether or not it's done.

02 July 2006

Have you heard I've got a blog?

First off, thank you, dear readers, for not letting my page count drop despite the fact I may or may not have dropped off the knitting blogosphere this week. It has been a very difficult week for a few reasons. And I hardly wanted to talk to anyone at all, though I am grateful to my mother for her ice cream cones and to my grandmother for taking me out again Friday where we went to the mall for a haircut and 3 new white cotton blouses on clearance at the Gap. My hair is now more or less chin length and flippy flippy, and it's what I always wanted, wash and go hair.

It's a holiday weekend. What are you doing?

Me, today I went to the uni library and then the public library, where I acquired a small nation's worth of dvds, one featuring the sainted Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland, and 19 knittage and crochet books. I may or may not deeply enjoy knitporn. I've just spent a wonderful hour or two poring over Knitting Nature, and I can see many designs in it that are just plain interesting. I can't decide which of the sweaters I would like to do, probably because it's in the 90s and a sweater? Shudder. So at the moment, I am most intrigued by the triangle scarf, which I would make with 4 skeins of perhaps, a Sundara somewhat solid color. Because I have an absolute need for another scarf, of course.


I'm still working on the strap. The orange strap of doom. I have 9 feet done and g-d and spirit willing, I shall have the rest no later than tomorrow, when I may or may not finally get to felt the bag! Imagine that... Oof. It'll be ridiculously hot, but it'll be done, and the faboo Mary will finally have her bag, and that's greatly enchuffening, enough of a motivation to dooooooo the felting. The strap, on the other hand? I could do better.

Because I need a scarf like a hole in the haid, I've been designing. This is the pattern I've worked out colorwise, using the Pick Up Sticks geometric scarf pattern as the template. It'll be the unfelted version, using Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted yarn. I plan to pair it with the Loop-d-Loop corrugated hat, using a red Lamb's Pride bulky yarn I'll need to procure, and fingerless gloves in the grey, using Ann Budd's garter stitch fingerless gloves recipe found in Weekend Knitting, using the grey. The colors, obviously, in the picture, are not true to life, because they are red, fuschia, hot pink, teal, and royal blue, with the grey every other row, forming the blobby stripes. I think it'll be a cute yet funky set, and all of it is from stash, except for that yarn for the hat, which is nice, no?

You can see here that the catchen have been very very very very busy.

Matisse and Picasso have been busy sleeping, and alternate between Protest Sleeping and Making the Catstaff's Lap Rilly Rilly Hot.

Baba, on the other hand, much prefers the bamboo yarn that Katie sent.

I may or may not have knitted a swatch that seems to grow and grow and grow. It will be a gift, I think, it's really a yummy scarf.

The other bamboo scarf on the other hand... I loved it very much but it seems to have ungrown a bit.....

It's grown since then, but I'll talk about that another day.

Did you miss me? I missed me, too. And I missed you guys.