Monday, December 31, 2007

New Rory Gallagher Scarf

I have been in Maine since Friday evening, and was able to finish my latest Rory Gallagher scarf this afternoon. Mind, this has not been blocked yet, nor is it the color I want it to be yet. However, The firstborn assured me that today I received a package in the mail, and I'm guessing it probably contains the Jacquard dyes I ordered, so......when I get home and have a minute or two to myself, I will be dyeing this BLUE.
I used KnitPicks Bare Merino DK and size 5 needles, and ended up using about 2-1/4 skeins. So, when I get this pattern written out, I figure 600 yards of any DK weight yarn should be more than enough.
Here I am, modeling the scarf in our sitting room in the hotel in Stonington, and unfortunately having a Weird Hair Day.

I hadn't knitted this pattern in a long time, so re-doing it now enabled me to dispense with a couple of twist cables I didn't really need, and thus keep the focus on the cables that pertain to Rory. The diamond motif is called Homes of Donegal. Rory was born in Ballyshannon in Donegal. The cables flanking the diamond motif are "Cork Cables." Rory spent a goodly portion of his non-traveling time in that city, and most folks still consider him to have been a Cork native.
I definitely think DK weight is the way to go with this scarf. The one I made a few years ago, from fingering weight Shetland, seemed it would never end as I worked on it, and worsted weight proved way too much of a good thing.

Ultimately, this will go to a stateside friend from the Black 47 tour, who is doing me a big music-related favor. I don't think he'll mind being a guinea pig for the latest version of this project.

I'm awfully pleased with the way it came out, and know it will look even better after dyeing and blocking.

What to knit next? Decisions, decisions....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What was I thinking?

Hello, and welcome to Mad Angel's "What Was I Thinking" Gallery!

I finally got my shipment of vinyl sweater bags in the mail yesterday, and in hopes of Getting Organized (or at least starting to), I spent the evening going through my sweater chest. And, oh, the things I found lurking there!

Pictured below is Phoebe. She was about 8 years old when I began this sweater, knitting like mad while waiting for her at ballet lessons. I was dying to try my hand with mohair, and didn't have a whole lot of money to spend on yarn back then. I found this MONDO ball of variegated mohair at Fabric Place for about fifty bucks. I bought it because the label assured me there was enough for an entire sweater. Man, was there ever! I was so proud when I finished this, but no matter how many different articles of clothing I tried to wear it with, it just...wasn't right. It wasn't Me.

Phoebe is now eighteen and can get away with this. in fact, she's probably the only person in town who can get away with this. Better She than Me.

Not too long after I tired of Hairy Bargain Mohair, I took up handspinning. Now mind you, I did some very tasteful projects early on. A pretty Aran baby sweater for Daphne and a Christening set are the stand-out items from that era. Then I decided it was time to tackle something handspun for Me.

Ruh-roh, as my dear friend and co-worker Cheryl says.

It was my first visit to Halcyon Yarn in Maine. I was overwhelmed by the bounty there, both in handspinning fibers and yarns. Oh, good glory day! I wanted to be bold and adventurous, and I sooooo loved purple. Two pounds of the deepest, most luscious purple roving I have ever seen just sort the shelf and into my outstretched arms. That would have been fine, but then I spotted this vivid, sunshiney yellow. So not me, but such a pretty, lively shade! OK, I'll take a half pound of that, too. And I will Navajo-ply every inch of both colors, and I will knit...what? Oh, yes, a raglan roll-neck sweater with flappy wide sleeves and a flappy wide body, with wide stripes of purple interspersed with narrow stripes of yellow. Oh, my, yes...if one happens to be a Minnesota Vikings fan...which I am not. I was always strictly a Miami Dolphins fan back when Bob Griese and Larry Csonka ruled the day and won Super Bowls and stuff like that, playing a damn good game and no one needed Janet Jackson and her half-time boob flash.

But I digress.

I had been thinking of dismantling this sweater and making something tasteful in plain purple, but...there were so many ends woven in. And when I undertake to weave in ends, I REALLY weave in ends. So, imagine my delight when Phoebe plucked it out of the pile of sweaters on my bed and said, "Ooh, what's THIS? Can I have it?"

"Sure," I said. "It will save me taking it apart and re-knitting it."

Amazingly, like the Mohair Monstrosity, it suits her. And yes, if you click on the pic for a larger view, she does have a lip ring and is very proud of it. It wasn't my idea, and this, too, shall pass...or so I hope.

Phoebe also inherited a lot of blankets and shawls that didn't suit me, which were too nice to get rid of, and so I just kept them. Lots of mohair scarves, too, all of which "came with the house." Now I have room in the sweater chest for my more tasteful woollens, and sometime in the next couple of weeks I will also bag up the stash of yarns and things that have been living in my room in Rubbermaid tubs for the last couple of years. I find I am eagerly looking forward to having a floor again.

More Rory, this time from 1979, performing A Million Miles Away in the context of a power trio. I just viewed this whole concert on video recently. I had never seen it before. He was on fire. Utterly. Totally. Watch him!

A Million Miles Away

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lest you think I have lost my mind...

Here is some knitting. These are my variations of smariekknits Persephone scarf. The black one is a double strand of a fingering-weight alpaca/silk blend from Elann, knitted up on size 3 needles. It's a very dense, heavy, luxurious fabric.

The green scarf is done in a single strand of Berocco Ultra alpaca/wool blend, on size 6 needles.

Both yarns were fabulous to work with, and I adore this pattern!

And sometimes I just get punchy...

Call me a curmudgeon for this if you like, but I have always detested the Pina Colada Song. Every time I used to hear it come up on my co-workers’ radios, I found myself offering silent rebuttals in my head. So, without further ado…something I have wanted to do for awhile now…

Overanalyzing the Pina Colada song.

I was tired of my lady
we'd been together too long
like a worn out recording of a favorite song…

You think you’re tired of me???? Maybe you oughta wash your own crusty jockey shorts. As for cooking dinner for yourself, don’t make me laugh! You don’t even know how to open a can of soup. Can you say, starve?????

So while she lay there sleeping,
I read the paper in bed;
and in the personal columns,
there was this letter I read.

If you like Pina Coladas
and getting caught in the rain,
If you're not into yoga,
if you have half a brain.
If you like making love at midnight,
in the dunes of the Cape,
then I'm the love that you've looked for,
write to me and escape.

Well, you’ve gotten really BORING lately, man. And what ever happened to that half a brain you had once upon a time????

I didn't think about my lady,
I know that sounds kinda mean.
well me and my old lady,
had fallen into that same old dull routine.

Eat, sleep, sex, football. Eat, sleep, sex, football…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…and whose fault is that?????

So I wrote to the paper,
took out a personal ad,
and though I'm nobody's poet,
I thought it wasn't half bad.

Ha! Well, you still have more than half an ego, at any rate…

Yes, I like Pina Coladas,
and getting caught in the rain,
I'm not much into health food,
I am into champagne.

Yeah, if it’s Andre’s el-cheapo rot-gut…

I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon,
and cut through all this red tape,
at a bar called O'Malley's,
and we'll plan our escape.

Perhaps you should listen to Nick Cave’s song about O’Malley’s Bar sometime…

So I waited with high hopes,
and she walked in the place.
I knew her smile in an instant,
I knew the curve of her face.
It was my own lovely lady,
and she said, "Aw, it's you!"
and we laughed for a moment,
and I said, "I never knew..."

That you were married to a Lorena Bobbit wanna-be? Surprise, surprise, surprise!!!!!

That you liked Pina Coladas,
and getting caught in the rain,
and the feel of the ocean,
and the taste of champange.
If you like making love at midnight,
in the dunes of the Cape,
your the lady I've looked for,
come with me and escape.

Can you say, permanent vacation?
(Sound of chainsaw firing up in the background.)
Say hello to my little friend!!!! Buwahahahahaaaaaaaa...

If you like Pina Coladas
and getting caught in the rain,
If you're not into yoga,
if you have half a brain.
If you like making love at midnight,
in the dunes of the Cape,
then I'm the love that you've looked for,
write to me and escape.

Who wants to escape next???? Buwahahahahaaaaaaaa...

Monday, December 03, 2007


Just a quick note to say I have re-opened my Etsy shop in hopes of making some sales in time for the holidays. You can find my store by clicking on the link below. Thanks for looking!
Mad Angel Creations

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'm finally in...

Yow. So, here I am in Dublin, and it took me a donkey's age to figure out how to get in here using the hotel's internet system. What a royal pain in the arse! I can't post any pictures yet, 'cause there's no way to hook up my camera, but suffice it to say so far the trip has been interesting. Alas, no wool, though, unless you can count what's on the backs of the sheep, which is strictly off limits to me. Ah, well, it's not like I "need" any more yarn or fiber anyway.

Belfast yesterday was an Experience. We were in the heart of Bobby Sands territory, and had a wonderful meal put on by a local Irish (Republican) society. Irish Republicans are not to be confused with American Republicans. Think socialism and the rights of the working class. They were most kind and welcoming, as were the folks at the Roddy McCorley Society, where the guys played last night. There was an interesting museum upstairs having to do with the Troubles and the hunger strikers, and the North's struggle to be free of British rule. Unforgettable, to be sure. I expect I'll be thinking about it and continuing to form opinions for a long time to come. I was a callous, ignorant, self-centered 19 year old when Bobby Sands led the hunger strike. I certainly didn't understand it at the time. I'm not sure that I totally understand it now, either, but it still moves me. Having driven through loyalist territory yesterday in the hours before the show, I felt I had been changed somehow. More about all that when I have had a chance to think it out and I am no longer wrestling with trying to post on the television screen!

I will say that when Larry sang his song about Bobby Sands last night, I was crying before the song was half over. Partly because I had seen all that historical memorabilia upstairs, about a 27 year old man who had starved himself to death rather than forsake his principles, and partly because I knew what it meant to Larry, to be able to sing that song in Belfast. My head is still reeling, so much so that though I could have gone to Kilmanham Gaol again, I didn't. Emotionally, I don't think I could have stood it. Tonight's show should be equally intense.

We are off to the show by bus in a lttle over an hour, and I need a rest, I think. I did something weird to my shoulder a few days before I left town, and it KILLS if I stay vertical too long without rest and Ibuprofen. LOTS of Ibuprofen, and when all else fails, whiskey. [sigh] Remember how I said I was afraid I might knit myself into a silng finishng the Rogue? Well, I think I may have done it. Ouch. Still knitting on the bus, though, and have not given in and stoped at a chemist's to buy a sling.

Getting old bites, but I guess it's better than the alternative....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Remember me?

I have been bad about updating yet again. What else is new? Above is a terribly belated picture of me in Maine, on a "pinky schooner," wearing my gorgeous wool/cashmere sweater from Knitman. (There's a link to his blog in my sidebar.) The picture cannot do full justice to this garment, especially since I am not exactly sitting pretty, and the dratted "fanny pack" kind of interferes with the drape of the garment around my middle. [sigh] Anyway, it was cold, drizzly, foggy day, and I was very glad to have that sweater, plus my Noro watch cap and my Fair Isle fingerless gloves. (The gloves came home with me from Unst last summer, purchased in Margaret Peterson's shop, NorNova Knits. I loved that shop, and I loved Margaret. It was so hard to say goodbye, and I cried when it was time to go.)

In this photo, the sweater and I are in the schooner's galley, endeavouring to warm up a bit. Not easy, as the woodstove had gone out, but at least I was out of the wind for a few minutes.
My first-born borrowed this real sombrero from a friend of hers, and since she left it sitting on the dining room table, I couldn't resist trying it on. Wow, these things are HEAVY! I would not want to have to wear one of these as a regular part of my wardrobe. (N.B. -- No margaritas were consumed at any time during the day when I posed for this pic. I was just feeling naturally goofy.)

Beyond all that, I have been power-knitting to finish my Rogue hoodie in time for my trip to Ireland. I managed to finish it this weekend, but my wrists sure aren't happy with me. The sweater is wonderful, though. Big and warm and will accommodate many layers of clothing. It was worth the achey wrists and tingling fingers. (Nothing a bit of Ibuprofen and a few nights in wrist braces won't cure...) I'll post pics sometime soon, when I can coerce one of my loving family to take them.

Also coming soon will be pics of my new stash/inventory room. It is finished enough for me to start stuffing it from floor to ceiling, and so I have been doing since yesterday afternoon. Suffice it to say, I have pretty much reclaimed much of my living room space and can actually access two of my spinning wheels. Since I am in project withdrawal after finishing the Rogue, I might reacquaint myself with my Merlin Tree wheel. It has been waiting for me patiently for months now, while I played with drop spindles. ;-)

I don't intend to give up the spindles. I like them too much. But I like my wheels, too, and was just to lazy to move stuff to get to them. I think I hear some Ashland Bay roving screaming my name...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'M IN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Got my Ravelry invite this morning, just in time for me to have to leave for WORK in fifteen minutes. [sigh] But I'm in. I'll start uploading when I can. My profile is still bare bones, but if you want to look me up in future, I'm madangel. Shite. I gotta go get dressed and LEAVE. [insert Fred Flintstone style grumble here]

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Hat, Etc.

As usual, I have been simply dreadful with updates. The weather was hot for a long time. I mean, really, really, hot. My brain turns to mush in the kind of heat/humidity we had. Plus I threw my back out at the beginning of August. No writing was happening at that point. No knitting, either. Excruciating pain has this annoying way of making one unable to focus on anything else at all except -- where did I hide that old codeine I've been saving for just such an occasion???? I am much better now, even functioning and moving like a normal person, and think that I will never let the doctors give me muscle relaxers again. They do nothing for pain. They simply render you unconscious, and if you're lucky, you wake up 24 hours later with the pain gone. If it's still there, pop another pill down the hatch. Ugh! Next time I think i will just have some Scotch.

So, here at long last is The Hat I made for my acquaintance in England. I have been meaning to post pics for a long time! Even with a terrific digital camera, it is very difficult to photograph myself decently. If I posted the ones that didn't come out right, you all would have an awfully good laugh at my expense.
The fiber is a lovely merino/tencel blend, and I really enjoyed working with it. I think there will be more of this stuff in my future.
All the spinning was done on my wonderful Golding Swan Lake spindle. I thought the pattern was my own concept, but then found a similar one amongst the chemo cap patterns on Janet Szabo's site. Probably the only change I made was to use Barbara Walker's "Cork Cables" for the band. A little remembrance of the wee man from Cork, of whom my acquaintance is also a fan.

Speaking of Rory, the North American version of his Rockpalast concert DVDs was finally released. My copy arrived in the mail just in time for hubby's weekend in Maine, meaning I actually got to watch some of the footage right away. (Hubby is not fan. He'd rather have thrash/death metal over Rory. This I do not understand.) So far, the most wonderful part has been viewing an acoustic set from 1976, which up until this point I have only heard. (Bootleg recording. Shhhh...) Rory uses his National steel resonator for most of the program, and on the final song, he plays it lap style. I've never seen anyone do that before, so it was really interesting to watch from a technical standpoint. And when I'm not inclined to study technique, the man himself was a hottie at that point in time, so there's a treat for the eyes as well.

I now have the entire Frankie Miller/Rory Gallagher jam session so finally I have seen more than just that terrific performance of "Walkin' the Dog." (I think I posted a You Tube link for that one a few posts back.)

I guess I haven't written a thing about a movie I saw recently and loved. It's a few years old now, and was not an expensive DVD. I bought it because the lead singer from Gogol Bordello, Eugene Hutz, plays one of the leads. I adore Gogol Bordello, and was curious to see how Eugene might do as an actor. Wow! I don't want to say too much about the story, but I will say that this is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It starts out funny, but really packs a wallop later on. And Gogol Bordello makes a humorous guest appearance in the train station scene at the beginning.

Work continues on Doubtful Sound. Honestly, these characters are leading me around in a very interesting way, but I am drawing very close to the dreaded "gap." This means, roughly, that I got ahead of myself and started writing future bits before completing the earlier bits. I now need to write a lot of "filler" to bridge the "gap" and tie everything together.

Work gets better and better since our front office person walked off the job in July. She has now been replaced by a woman who not only says good morning when I come in, but engages me in pleasant conversation for a bit. This morning's topic? James Joyce, and the steamy letters he wrote to Nora Barnacle. I did not know about these letters. Now I do. Yowza! Pretty naughty stuff. But I digress. This lady also likes to write, enjoys all kinds of music, has a great sense of humor, and she likes me and will not make it her life's goal to get me fired. Morale in the workplace has soared through the roof, and I no longer wonder, fearfully, what head games will be played on any given day. Work is about work now, and the atmosphere is friendly. Sometimes good things DO happen to good people!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sometimes I Can't Resist...

So, I followed a link on Knitman's blog (see my sidebar to read him) and took a personality test. Sort of a simplified Meyers-Briggs thing, and discovered my letters have changed. Or, well, one etter has changed. I used to be INFP. Now I am [ulp!]

You Are An INFJ
The Protector
You live your life with integrity, originality, vision, and creativity.Independent and stubborn, you rarely stray from your vision - no matter what it is.You are an excellent listener, with almost infinite patience.You have complex, deep feelings, and you take great care to express them.
In love, you truly see relationships as an opportunity to connect and grow.You enjoy relationships as long as they are improving and changing. You can't stand stagnation.
At work, you stay motivated and happy... as long as you are working toward a dream you support.You would make a great photographer, alternative medicine guru, or teacher. How you see yourself: Hardworking, ethical, and helpful
When other people don't get you, they see you as: Manipulative, weak, and unstable

I don't know why it bothers me so much to come out with a J instead of a P. Maybe another day would give a different result? Who knows.

J. Sheesh! Though I must say, SOME of the description is spot on.

And this is hubby. Bingo! There was no question that explains why he won't wear a kilt. :-(

You Are An INTP

The Thinker

You are analytical and logical - and on a quest to learn everything you can.
Smart and complex, you always love a new intellectual challenge.
Your biggest pet peeve is people who slow you down with trivial chit chat.
A quiet maverick, you tend to ignore rules and authority whenever you feel like it.

In love, you are an easy person to fall for. But not an easy person to stay in love with.
Although you are quite flexible, you often come off as aloof or argumentative.

At work, you are both a logical and creative thinker. You are great at solving problems.
You would make an excellent mathematician, programmer, or professor.

How you see yourself: Creative, fair, and tough-minded

When other people don't get you, they see you as: arrogant, cold, and robotic

Monday, July 02, 2007

Spindle Spun Yarn for a Special Project

It's no secret that I am a Rory Gallagher fan. A HUGE Rory Gallagher fan. Rory Gallagher's music is practically a religious experience for me, and the boy surely didn't ever hurt anyone's eyes, either! So, all that taken into consideration, of course I belong to a list or two where people's feelings about Rory are equal to (or greater than) my own.

So, I was really sad to read that one of our nicest English fans is currently struggling with cancer and chemotherapy, and has lost her hair. We're only nodding acquaintences on the list, but I still felt moved by her story and sent a message offering to make a hat. I told the lady to pick a color, and I would get the roving and spin and knit for her.

Well, of course a blues fan will choose blue, so I found this gorgeous merino/tencel stuff. The only trouble was, I wanted to start spinning when I wouldn't have a wheel on hand. What you see in the pictures is four ounces of 2-ply yarn, all spindle spun on the Golding I treated myself to at NH Sheep & Wool this year. So, the spinning went a little slower than it would on a wheel, but it's all hand done, and many good vibes for this nice lady have gone into it. For a fellow Rory fan, I will of course design something that has a relevance to him. The hat will be a watch cap, but the band at the bottom will feature Cork Cables, from one of Barbara Walker's treasuries.
Rory lived in Cork City for quite some time, and my friend just had to miss the 2007 tribute show held there due to her illness. So, Cork Cables seem significant, plus it's a nice stitch pattern.
The closeup picture gives the most accurate depiction of the color. I just love this yarn! Had never worked with tencel before, but will never hesitate agan. What beautiful stuff!

Off to knit now. I can't wait to see how this is going to work up, and I'll be sure to post pictures when I have something else worth showing.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

About 20 years ago...

Actually, it's more like 22 years ago, that I worked in a crappy little record store in West St. Paul, Minnesota. There was this annoying assistant manager who was useless as tits on a bull, BUT in retrospect I have to admit that he was good for something after all.

This all started with my signing up for Rhapsody about a week ago. I was heading back to work and knew I would be completely lost without my mp3 player properly stoked up with tunes. For a modest monthly fee, I can get unlimited downloads of all sorts of stuff. I just can't burn copies of anything unless I buy the tracks. OK, fine. I use the mp3 player everywhere, even in the car. As long as I stay subscribed, I get to keep what I download. Tres cool. I have been revisiting music I haven't heard in 22 years.

But back to my useless assistant manager.

He was a fan of a local musician who had just released his first album. Who knew I would fall in love with that album the way I did?

I lost the cassette copy I made a long time ago, and I had almost forgotten about it. Then last night as I was scoring tunes by the Yardbirds and Traffic, I remembered Paul Metsa . His first album, Paper Tigers, has just been re-released on CD. Rhapsody has it, along with a couple of his other releases. I feel like I've gotten a hug from a long-lost friend, and not only that, I have an opportunity to catch up with his most recent work!

The link will take you to his page on CD Baby. There are audio samples. Check him out, you won't be sorry.

There are now seven parts of Doubtful Sound up on the website. Just updated yesterday, so if you've been waiting with bated breath...

Well, a writer can fantasize, can't s/he????

I've been spinning on my Golding spindle, but haven't felt much like knitting lately. I seem to go in phases. C'est la guerre!

Friday, June 08, 2007

New look!

Well, it's very cool that blogspot now lets me customize my blog so it's more "me," and so the text is large enough and visible enough for people to read! The older these eyes get, the harder it is to read small print, and many of my friends are in the same boat. Hope this makes the blog a little more pleasant for everyone.

The new header is an old pic of me. I was all of 6 or 7, I guess, and at that age, this is what I thought Tchaicovsky looked like. If he did, no wonder people had interesting ideas about him...

I'm a little bummed now 'cause my mother is pulling a lot of nonsense with me, and the trouble is, I'm not sure if she really is confused all the time, or if she's yanking my chain. She has been a great manipulator in the past, so I don't trust her. On the one hand, she cannot/will not keep any of the details straight regarding her medications and tests, is still balking about eating, will not bathe, will not gently exercise by walking as the doctor wants her to. in spite of all that, she thinks she is perfectly competent to drive and wants her car back. It's getting difficult enough that I finally put a call through to her doctor today and told her what's been going on. As regards the driving, the doctor is behind me 100%. Ma is mad as a hornet. I don't give the proverbial rat's posterior. If I put her back behind the wheel and she kills someone, that will be on my head for the rest of my life. I'm not willing to take that on. There's enough stuff in my life I sweat bullets about, without adding that to the picture.

Actually, I suppose saying I'm a little bummed is a gross understatement. I'm mad as hell, actually, because she is throwing away her chance for a good last few years of life with both hands. There's no excuse for it, as she came through her bypass surgery extraordinarily well. Better, in fact, than anyone, even the surgeon, had any right to hope. I've been trying very hard to be a good daughter and help her out with stuff, but it's all met with ingratitude and hostility. Also, I hear more and more frequently that she believes my sister and I made her go through with the surgery. She has said it to me, my sister, and also to various medical professionals, right in front of me. And it is a blatant lie! We encouraged her to have the surgery, in hopes that she would start feeling better physically, and that the general feeling of well-being might enable her to have some quality of life in her twilight years.

So much for that.

She has wanted to die since my father passed in 1983, and I believe that the only reason she signed on the dotted line was because she thought it would be her ticket out. She'd go to sleep and not wake up again.

So much for that.

I'm tired of bashing my head against the wall. I want to run, far and fast, and never look back.

I feel like the only way I'll ever be free of this burden is if she dies, or I die.

This sucks.

Time to listen to some Rory Gallagher again. At least when he is playing and singing, I don't feel so alone...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

More Kick-Ass Blues!

I must say, I just adore You Tube! Some folks post the best darn stuff. This one is from the German program, Rockpalast, circa 1978. Live jam session -- off the cuff with no prior rehearsal! Frankie Miller is even more obscure in the States than Rory Gallagher. Who would know he's a Glaswegian, listening to that voice? Fact is you can't tell until he speaks at the end of the song. After seeing this video a few years back, I went on a quest to acquire as many of Frankie's CDs as could find. At the time, they were mostly out of print and I paid waaaaay too much for them. Good news is, many have been re-released, with bonus tracks!

Frankie Milller and Rory Gallagher

To learn more about Frankie, check out The Official Frankie Miller Website. It's a pretty incredible story.

No knitting content today. I'm between projects and have been spindling. I think I've become an addict...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

People are STOOPIT!!!!

Well, some are, anyway. Stupid and vile. I am talking about the disgusting stunt Mark MaccGowan and Yoko Ono pulled this week, allegedly as a vegetarian protest against fox hunting.

Yes, folks, to draw the world's attention to the cruelty of fox-hunting, and to piss off the Royal Family, they cooked and ate a Corgi.

It boggles the mind! I wonder if they have any idea how many Corgi lovers are ready to kill them at worst, or at best, send them recipes and the main ingredient for Corgi-poop casseroles?

I found the man's e-mail addres and sent the following note. He may never read it, but at least I spoke my piece.


Mr. Mac Gowan:

I hope you realize that your recent gourmet adventure did little to promote awareness of the cruelty of fox hunting. Rather, you have inspired a world full of Corgi lovers to despise you and wish you much ill. That the Corgi in question was already dead is kind of moot, don't you think?

Corgis are wonderful, lively little dogs, loyal companions, captivating, and funny. I have three myself, and do not know what I would do without them. After reading about your stunt yesterday, you can be sure there were hugs and skritches for them, and more than a few tears. If someone had done this to one of MY Corgis, "blinding urge to kill" would not even begin to touch upon how I would feel!

Have you ever owned a pet yourself? A beloved childhood dog, perhaps? And what if your mum had decided that, instead of burying your loyal, loving companion, you would have it for dinner. I mean, it's meat, good source of protein, waste not, want not.

I continue to be utterly horror-struck, and I am not thinking about fox-hunting. I honestly wish I could throttle you, but think I will go and hug my Corgis instead.

With hostile regards,

An American Corgi Lover


As for Yoko...she can't sing worth a damn. If not for John Lennon, she'd have vanished in obscurity.

God rot their Corgi-eating souls!

Mr. Finnegan says: "Hey, Mark and Yoko, I'm hungry, and I think your livers would be tasty stewed with apples, onions, and a few spices..."

Friday, June 01, 2007

For sale!

I've been busy playing with felting! The first two bags were knitted up from my hand-dyed yarn. The spring green one is Olivine, while the brown one is Autumn Leaves. The third is Cascade 220. All yarns felted beautifully! Also, I had the opportunity to really test the colorfastness of my dyework. The felting process would have revealed problems, if there were any, and I am pleased to report that there were none. I hope these little bags will sell well, beacuse they are awfully fun to make, and the possibilities for color schemes are endless!

Click HERE to view the listing for this bag.

Click HERE to view the listing for this bag.

Click HERE to view the listing for this bag.
Free shipping on all of these, no matter where in the world you are!

Monday, May 28, 2007


Anyone who has ever read/had to read Bluberries for Sal to their kids KNOWS from whence my title comes! This was our first trip to Stonington, Maine in the "on" season. No antiquing for us this time. We looked through the Book of Things To Do that our inkeeper, Christina, leaves in every one of her rooms at Inn on the Harbor, and chose accordingly. Being as we had Daphne with us, we thought she'd like to see where Sal and her mom picked wild blueberries, so off we drove to find the trail leading up to the summit of Blue Hill. I'm not much of a hiker, and certainly I have never undertaken anything this physically challenging! I am sore today, but it was worth it. I even managed to knit a few stitches before the black flies found me and started to feast.

Note to self: never, ever go hiking in Maine without Bug Spray, preferably stuff with DEET in it.

But here is the view...spectacular, yes?

I have been working on more Lucy bags, finished one on the ride up to Maine, and began a second one. The second one has a few body rows left to go, and the two straps. Then into the washer it goes. Here I am, working on the beginnings of the second bag. It's in two colors of Cascade 220, rather than my hand-dyed stuff.

Again, I only managed to do about half a round before the black flies got really nasty, but at least I can say that I came, I saw, and I knitted.

We were much too early for the lupines, but on the other side of the hill, we found ONE with a few colorful buds at the bottom of the flower spike. We were also way too early for wild blueberries, but noted that many of the bushes are already covered with blossoms.

Would I do this hike again? Well, Christina says it is really extraordinarily beautiful in the Fall. No matter how much my ankles, hips, and knees ache today, I think I just...might...have to...

But only AFTER a trip to LL Bean for hiking boots with good ankle support and some killer bug spray.

If you are ever in the Sedgwick area, on the way over to Deer Isle, there is a brand new Mexican takeout place called El El Frijole. (If you know any Spanish at all, you'll "get" the name. Very clever!) Anyway, you get a whopping huge burrito stuffed with beans, rice, and a choice of excellent fillings, and free access to a fantastic fresh salsa bar. Unbelievably good, not too expensive, and well worth a visit. The restaurant is in a barn behind the owners' house and there are picnic tables galore for outdoor eating. Inside there are a few small tables, and we camped out at one of those, so we could have continual access to that salsa bar! It's right on Route 15, heading towards Deer Isle, in the Sedgwick area, officially in a little town called Sargentville. They just opened this brand-new restaurant for business YESTERDAY. What luck! I'm so glad we decided to stop and try it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Eye and Ear Candy!

If you like the blues and have heard me go on and on and on about Rory Gallagher, see/listen for yourself!

Rory & Taste - If the Day was Any Longer

Rory & Taste - Gambling Blues

Yes, I spent too much time on You Tube today. My knee is out, due to the wet weather, so what else is a gal to do while resting the afflicted joint?

Surf, watch, & listen, of course.

Cindy, you will get your wish. the bag is done, and I will bring it to Su's on Tuesday. For the rest of you, I'll post pics when it's dry. Came out darn good, even if I do say so myself!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Stupid Fun

For pointless, mindless fun accompanied by skirling bagpipes, try the link below.

Yes, I have had far too much fun with this since I found the link on one of the Black 47 forums.

Off to a sock machine workshop tomorrow, in hopes of learning to work with my freakin' ribber.

Yes, I have also been watching too many freakin' Sopranos re-runs.

Having a slow 'n stupid day as far as writing goes, but will post part 4 over the weekend sometime.

For knitting, I am working on a Lucy Bag made from my hand-dyed yarn. Will post pics if it comes out the way I think it's going to.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Spindle Spun

Coopworth/Mohair blend -- 8 oz. -- 560 yds. -- ALL spindle spun by moi.

Close-up. What would YOU make with it???

Whorlwind Weekend...

I'm back from NH Sheep & Wool finally, and procrastinating getting my eBay store back up, 'cause frankly I am tired of wool right now and would rather write. However, I think I've earned a Day Off to live in my head and write a bit.

I enjoyed my time at the Festival, but did not do as well sales-wise as I had hoped. Still, I have signed up and pre-paid my space for next year, and this time I will make sure I advertise my location well ahead of time. I also learned a lot, watching what sorts of purchases walked by as I manned my booth. Multi-colored rovings seemed to be hot this year, so the coming months will see me experimenting with dyeing rovings. I'll start from stash and see what I get, and if it's good, I will start looking for a Source. You all know the kind of Source I mean -- good quality, not too expensive -- and probably a b*tch to find. LOL.

I have been finding odd moments to continue work on my short story, Doubtful Sound, and now have three consecutive parts up on my website. I feel confident enough of finishing it that I have dared to build an index page and add a link, which you will find on the right hand side of this blog, in my links list. I do hope some of you will read and let me know what you think. Intrigued? Not? Dull? Interesting? Roped in? Don't care what happens next? All feedback is useful when I have a work in progress. Also, if I know people are keeping up with what I'm writing, I'll be more inclined to be punctual about working towards the end. If there's someone out there reading (and I know I have at least one reader) heavens forfend that I should disappoint by skipping a week! And I do need to keep this writing thing going. It's good for me, and I really enjoy imagining all sorts of things and sorting them out on paper. Yes, I do this mainly for myself, but part of the fun is knowing that other people enjoy reading it, too.

I think I've done enough on it today, though, and in spite of the fact that I said I thought I'd earned a day off from wool, I hear it calling me! Yikes! One would think that after two solid days on my feet doing little else but drop-spindling, I would have had it by now. Not so. I have two new spindles and some gorgeous wool/mohair roving to play with. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd post some pics now, but as it is, maybe I will put some up tomorrow.

At least two people returned to my booth late yesterday afternoon to show me drop spindles they had purchased after being inspired by watching me work! I referred lots of folks to the Bosworths, and sent a few over to looks at Goldings as well. And one lady came back with a beautiful Kundert, of which I have one that I love, so I was thrilled to see that those were available from some vendors, too. So you see, sales or no sales, I have to go back next year, to see what these folks will have accomplished by then!

New profile picture was taken at a drop-spindling workshop last summer in St. Margaret's Hope, Orkney, by photographer par excellence, Liz Lovick. She's one heck of a great knitter/designer, too. Have a look at

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Something New

I have felt like writing fiction again these last few days. Naturally, that means I have too many other things to do and so am looking for an escape. I've had this story on the back burner for a few years now, and whilelooking it over yesterday, I realized I have enough contiguous pages to begin serializing it on my website. This probably won't be my final draft, but it's close enough. I will try to get a new segment up every week, and hopefully knowing I have to keep up with it will get me through the whole thing to the end. I have an idea where I'm heading with it, but after page 38, all have are a bunch of loosely linked "future" excerpts.

Well, hope this proves enjoyable. It's a good exercise for me, to get back in touch with who I am as a writer.

Here's the link.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I Must Have Something to Say?

Civil War Shawl, Week 1

One of my good webfriends has given me a gentle nudge, noting that I have two blogs and I rarely update either one. Alas, how true! I am always promising to be better about that, and always falling on my face on that score, too. So, no more promises to be better about updates, and maybe that will work in some sort of strange way, and I will find myself writing more often. Lord knows I am going to need an outlet in the coming months.

As Bob Dylan says in a favorite song of mine, "Blame it all on a simple twist of fate."

As if it isn't enough that I am trying to balance work, family, choir, and some rare time for myself, almost two weeks ago, my mother had a Health Crisis. What I at first believed to be hypochondria -- she DOES have that kind of track record after all -- turned out to be a lot more serious. REAL, in fact. Within a week of me leaving work to take her to the doctor to address some vague symptoms, she underwent a double bypass. Turned out that sometime in the past three years she had a silent heart attack and some major blood vessels were too far blocked to be repaired with stents and angioplasty. Yikes!

Last Tuesday was the operation. It was successful, but she still feels nauseated at the mere sight of food and is sinking into depression due to being able to do nothing at all for herself yet. Being a person who tends to depression myself, I'm more than a bit daunted by suddenly being elected Head Cheerleader. My own spirits are none so good, and I have to try to elevate hers? Double Yikes!!!

I do not want to go the antidepressant route again, so am planning to do holistic sorts of things to help myself along. Reiki will help. I may arrange for more frequent sessions if I don't have the energy to treat myself at the end of the day. And already -- you knew it was going to come in here somewhere, didn't you? -- knitting has been a great friend. So has drop-spindling, and both activities are great conversation ice breakers with doctors and nurses.

Civil War Shawl, Week 2

Usually I work on socks, as they are portable and fairly mindless. But on the day of the surgery, I arrived in the waiting room with my Civil War Shawl in hand. The waiting room was huge and well-appointed, so I carried my half-the-house to a quiet corner and settled in for the duration. Turned on my audio book, started knitting, and with a couple of stretch/bathroom breaks, the time pretty well flew. 7:30 AM to 1PM. No anxiety whatsoever, and then the doctor came out to tell me about how things went. He spoke of that oh-so-briefly and started asking questions about my shawl. Then he offered to help me with some of my belongings and escorted me upstairs to the ICU waiting room. I did not expect that "help you carry some of that" meant that he would then pick up every single bag and box, but that was what happened. So, not just a skilled surgeon, but a courteous human being as well. I was mightily impressed.

Civil War Shawl, Week 4

Now I am off to tackle my day again, which includes running some errands for Ma first, then going up to the hospital to spend some time with her. She may or may not be transferred to rehab this afternoon, so I have to find out what the current plan is. If it turns out that she must stay in the hospital a few more days, I will not be surprised.

The latest socks are coming with me. They are plain stockinette in a nice hand-painted colorway. Superwash merino. Supersoft for a nice foot treat when all is said and done. The shawl is my morning Quiet Time. Maybe it's meditation time, too, but it's hard to say, since I am usually counting along pretty intensively as I work.

Am taking a leave of absence from my job until the end of May, and hope to ease my way back part-time, with a possible drift back to full-time. However, if I can make my Yarn Thing fly...

Guess who is vending at NH Sheep & Wool this year?????

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Banish Misfortune, Get On With the Show!

If this doesn't give people a chuckle, what will, I ask? "Man Fixes Toilet." Said Man was wicked P.O.ed at me for snapping this pic, but it was too good to pass up. so here is hubby on my blog, trying to decide the best way to repair the failing toilet. This was originally a "powder room" in our house, but now it contains all our laundry facilities, too. Someday after other household renovations are done, we'll change the original color scheme to something more palatable. Pepto Pink should only exist in a bottle, mais-oui?

Above is proof that I finally got my sock machine running. K. and I devoted most of Saturday to sorting out its myriad quirks. For a brand-new, ready-to-use machine, we sure had a lot of finish work to do. There were burrs and filings in the cylinder to be dealt with, and a lot of rough places in each and every eye yarn has to travel through, but once those rough places were made plain, I was merely struggling with Operator Error. The proverbial deck was stacked in a more auspicious way and I finished my first scarf, below. I'll be selling it in my eBay store as soon as I have a chance to list it. Came out really nicely, even if I do say so myself!

Here's a detail of the crocheted edging.

Also finished up some plying I've been meaning to get to for awhile. The first is a skein of llama. People have a tendency to drop off garbage bags of fiberey stuff on my doorstep. This was a very dirty bit of fleece gifted to me by a herdsman at Tufts. He handed me the bag and said, "This is Preston." So below is Preston, transformed. I washed "him," then spun lock by lock without combing, hand-pulling guard hairs as I went along. I'm thinking that perhaps something from Arctic Lace might be in order for this stuff.

And here is a picture of the "Jamaica" fiber I bought from Su awhile back. View and weep, as Ashland Bay is no longer making this colorway.

Here is the whole output, from a distance, drying on the rack.

Thanks to those who wrote and tried to talk me out of last week's bummer. I do feel better now. Have a plan, and hope that my resolve will not weaken. And also wonder WHY, when someone has been an a-hole to me for so long, does he suddenly turn nicey-nice for no apparent reason? Either he has radar, or someone else has been talking to him before I had a chance to write and send my resignation letter. Not too many people know that I am planning to resign, but a few do, and I wonder...

All I have to do is figure out whether I'll quit after this weekend, or wait until the end of the season. It's about self-preservation now. Rehearsals today and tomorrow plus a gig should strengthen my resolve. I should not be heading off to practice wondering where I could undetecably pack a hip flask...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The More I Know the People of God, the Better I Like My Dogs

None of this has anything to do with knitting today. I’m just completely, utterly, totally in a Bad Place, and I don’t know what to do about it, beyond writing and hoping maybe I’ll figure out a thing or two along the way.

I sing. I have done so competently and seriously for over twenty years, and have offered my alleged “gift” in various church choirs in that time. I should feel fulfilled and satisfied, as if I were doing something I was meant to do. I should feel as if I am spiritually connected and filled with praise. I should LOVE what I am doing.

Well, those “shoulds” are for an ideal world.

Not for the first time, I am wishing I had never, ever been given an ability to do music. It seems that for each rare moment of delight, I have spent at least thousand times that in gut-wrenching pain, feeling worthless, unloved, unappreciated, unsupported, overworked, and ostracized.

I spend at least a portion of every day in every week dreading going to rehearsal on Thursday nights. I don’t look forward to Sunday services at all. I want out, but instead will dutifully go through the motions and pretend nothing is wrong because I am TERRIFIED of where a confrontation will lead.

Things may be said that can never, ever be taken back or forgiven.

A friendship will most likely be lost. Possibly two friendships, actually. In one case, perhaps there never really was a friendship to begin with. Perhaps I made another stunning error in who to choose to trust and befriend. I have a bad track record in that, and I am afraid to have it confirmed again, lest I feel like even more of a loser/moron than I already do most of the time.

Would I be this much of an idiot if not for music? More than anything, what I need right now is to step back and not perform for awhile. I have reason to believe that my need will not be honored, much less met. There will be a price. What I have spent so many years doing may come to an end forever.

Am I ready to embrace “forever”? Can I really live without offering music? Am I really able to fold up my tent and go home? Because there will be no opportunity to backslide. The bridge will not be burnt. It will be nuked.

I am scared to death.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Happy New Year!

Greetings! Long time no blog, I know. Busy with work, choir, family, yada-yada-yada. But this was the view from my living room window in Maine on New Year's Day. Once again, Keith and I were visiting the Inn on the Harbor in Stonington, ME for a restful break after the holidays. This time we brought Daphne, who loved the place every bit as much as we do.

As some of you may recall, I have been working on a commission sweater for Christina, the owner of the Inn. And as my friends could have predicted...who was knitting in the car all the way up on Saturday the 30th? Me, of course! And then I spent a couple additional hours finishing the neckline after supper in our room. I had packed the Eucalan and the woolly board. The sweater went into the kitchen sink at 10:30 PM, was rolled in towels to soak up the excess water, and placed on the woolly board in front of the woodstove to dry overnight.

Needless to say, it was still really wet at the waistband by morning, but I brought it down to Christina for the first fitting nevertheless. We discovered that the neck had an unpleasant tendency to flare, so New Year's Eve saw me tightening up the neckline. In the morning, however, everything looked so much brighter. Perfect fit in every respect!

Unfortunately, the detail doesn't show up well in these photos, as it's simply the very devil to photograph heathered lavender. Just look at Christina's smile, though. She was thrilled with the sweater, and I am so pleased to have had the honor of designing and knitting for her.

With no major project in my immediate future, I finally finished my Coopworth socks. This is my first pair done completely with my own spindle spun yarn. I spun in the grease from hand-combed locks, and I spun them in totally random order. Whatever came to hand as I reached into the bag got spun right up. No plan, just utter serendipity. The socks are unashamedly fraternal. I adore them.

Some of you already know I always said I would never, ever use a drop spindle. Too tedious. Too time consuming.

Ha! Drop spindles are portable. A small hunk of wool will keep a person busy for quite awhile. Drop spindles are smaller than spinning wheels and thus easier to hide when I have committed a retail therapy indiscretion. There are so many different styles, too, and each one has its own unique merits. I will be playing with spindles a lot more in the New Year, I think.

Oh, and the best thing about a drop spindle? I can spin on my coffee and lunch breaks at work if I don't feel like knitting. The Golding and Bosworth minis are wonderful companions.

Wishing everyone the best for a fibery 2007!