Archive for the 'Luke' Category


Sunday, March 18th, 2012

The life of a designer is not without its frustrations. You know how every once in a while you’re trundling cheerfully along with a pattern and suddenly the incubus muse comes whomping down on your head and insists that you have to go off in a totally different direction? No? Let me tell you, it is not for the faint of stomach. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that it’s too late, that the thing is nearly done, that you’re already getting feedback from the test knitter… but the muse is an imperious and intransigent creature, and woe betide you if you try to disregard its promptings. They may or may not turn out to be right, but you have no choice about exploring them.

(The ludicrous aspect of applying this level of artistic intensity to socks, of all things, is not lost on me. But what can you do? I didn’t choose the medium any more than I chose the vocation. Some are born crazy, some achieve insanity, and some have madness thrust upon them. TSOCK doth sway my life.)

I’ve been ridden by one of these maddening whiplash experiences for several days now, and yesterday I woke up to find it had been haunting my dreams as well as my waking hours. So obviously there was only ONE thing to do.

I took the day off.

I had planned to take some time out anyway, because St. Patrick’s Day is Pea-Planting Day in these parts, as eny fule kno. If I hadn’t owed the muse a good kick in the butt I might not have made a whole day of it… as it is, I did and I’m not sorry.

First, a satisfactory tour of inspection. Preliminary spring denizens present and accounted for:

Dwarf Irises



Montana Rubens

Better yet, last week’s planting…

First Planting

… is already producing results:

Radish Seedlings

(This incredibly crappy picture brought to you by my excitement over the first two radishes-in-progress.)

Now for some wholesome labor; digging and turning soil, clearing weeds, and finally some planting. This is where the peas go:

Pea Bed

(That’s before. I’d show you after, but just how many pictures of plastic knives sticking out of mounds of dirt do you really want to see on a putative knitting blog? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Take my word for it, OK? - the peas are planted.)

Next week there will be seedlings to start indoors, so I gave myself the pleasure of screening a bucketful of finished compost to add to the starter mix. Until I started it up again last year, the pile had been neglected for several years, so this is from the 2002/2003 season.


Ahhhhh…. black gold. An excellent year.

That and some pruning done, and all the tools put away, it was time for another ritual tour of inspection. Beach walk; first of the season, and about time, too.


A mild winter; not much beach erosion at all.

You want some flotsam? I gotsam.


You want some jetsam? I can getsam.




I’m not the only one conducting an inspection; there’s a whole world of smells to investigate.


Luke and Horseshoe

Mostly, though, it’s just about meandering and breathing it all in - recharging the batteries with a much-needed dose of sea air.

Me and my shadow, and my shadow’s shadow…

Me and my Shadow

Shaggy dog is shaggy…

Shaggy Dog

Pensive dog is pensive…

Pensive Dog

I should not be able to do this at this time of year…

Cold Feet

We have left our mark here, I see, but someone else was here before us…


Time to retrace our steps…


Today, back to the salt mines.

Take THAT, tsock muse!

lots of string

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

hi, my mum says shes too tired to come to the blog today and would i tell you about what went on yesterday.

as far as i can tell, not much.

first she took a whole lot of stuff out to the car, like she does when were going on a long trip, so i thought we were probably going on a long trip. i noticed she didnt take my food and my bowl and my duck, and i wondered about that, but i figured she knew what she was doing. well, we got in the car and i was just getting ready to settle down for a nice nap when the car stopped and we got out and started to take stuff out.

so then this lady named kelly came out of this house and helped take the stuff into the house. there were a couple of cats there but they didnt want to play with me. anyway, then my mum sat down in front of that big round wheel thing and started to make string just like she always does at home. and kelly had a round thing too and she made string too. so it was pretty much like the same thing as staying at home. just them sitting and making string and string and string and more string, and me lying around doing nothing.

they had cookies and grapes but they didnt give me any.

there was a man and another man and another lady who were there sometimes, and i think they liked me, and they played with me some, but they didnt give me cookies either.

then mum and kelly and i went outside and i thought maybe we would have some fun there. but first they sat at a table and ate lunch and didnt give me any. then they brought those wheel things outside and made more string and more string and more string. at least there were some interesting smells out there and there were good places to roll around and sometimes there were little things to chase after. but mostly i sat around and sniffed and did nothing while they made string.

another lady came there and sat and talked for a while and didnt make string or give me grapes or cookies.

then that lady went away and it started to get dark, and mum and kelly went inside with the wheel things. and you know what happened next2 nothing new. they sat down and made more string. then they had peetsa and they didnt give me any. then they made more string.

seriously you just cant believe how much string they made.

then finally they decided to stop, and then they brought the wheel thing and all the stuff back out and put it into the car and mum and i came home.

she kept telling me that it was a really good day and everybody there liked me and said i was a really good boy, and she was happy because she had made something she called a mile. of course im glad she was happy but i dont know when she could have had time to do that, whatever it is, because as far as i could see all she did all day and all she made all day was string. the same kind of string she always makes at home. lots and lots and lots of string.

Mile of Singles

hey, whatever. as long as she had fun. i got to be with her, so that was good. and i did lots of barking and protected her from everybody, so i know i was doing my job. and the main thing is, she has plenty of string now, and thats good because obviously she really likes string a lot.

also, she said that next time we do this she will bring biscuits and my duck. so i guess its ok with me if we do it again. i really dont think we need any more string, though. she should think about doing something else besides making string next time. honestly, we have a whole lot of it now, and i think its probably enough.

all wet

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

im wet and im cold and im miserable. and i smell really really bad.

my mum says she loves me but sometimes she is really mean to me. i always know when its coming because i can hear that water noise. i try to hide. i get on the couch and i make myself really really small. but she always finds me. then i make my sad face and whimper but she picks me up anyway. then i get really scared, sometimes i even pee a little because its so scary.

it doesnt stop her. she takes me into that room and she puts me into that tub and im up to my chest in horrible horrible water and then the horribleness is just starting.

Wet Dog

she pours more horrible water all over me. then she pours nasty smelly stuff on me and she rubs and rubs and rubs. all over my back. then my ears. rub, rub, rub, dip. rub, rub, rub, dip. squish squish squish. pour pour pour. rub rub rub dip. over and over and over again. then each paw. same thing. then my butt. then she turns me over and does it all over again all over my poor belly. i try to wriggle away but she is very strong and cruel.

and all the time she’s telling me what a good boy i am and how pretty i am and how much she loves me and i know shes a black hearted mean liar because, you know, yuck1111 nobody would do that to somebody they love. then she turns me to face her and she gets all sweet and tells me to close my eyes and she does that rub rub rub rub pour rub rub rub thing all over my face11

and then it gets even more awful, because then the horrible water drains away and i get even colder, and then theres an even worse thing with water spraying out of it and she makes it spray it all over me1111

Wet Dog

then she squeezes and squishes all my bits and corners, and then she gets big rough blankets and puts them around me and starts again with the rub rub rub rub rub rub rub until all my hair comes off almost. and while she does it shes all singy and sweet talky and if she thinks im fooled she is just wrong because i know how mean she is. all that rubbing and stuff is supposed to make me dry but it doesnt. im still all wet and cold and unhappy and stinky now and its going to take just forever and ever and ever of rolling around to get my nice normal smell back.

and then next, just you wait. just as i start to get kind of warm and feeling almost ok again222

then youll see, shell come at me with that tortury brush thing. and those horrible snippy sizzers.

you know what2 she doesnt ever make tpolemy or juliet have a bath. she must love them more than me.

i should just run away and find somebody who will be nicer to me. i shouldnt have to put up with this. its really a dogs life.

Wet Dog

Bluebells Again

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

But before I get into that, I would like to assure you that Luke and I are entirely reconciled. I have apologized (in the form of extra biscuits and snuggles at bedtime) for scolding him, because hello? which one of us knows how to close the door? and which one of us forgot? and which one of us knew better? Um, yeah. That would be me, and of course I knew it all along. Bad Tsarina, bad, bad.

Incidentally, I would like to point out that Luke has a classic velvet mouth. He may tear a plastic bag to tatters and reduce a cork to pathetic crumbage, but I hope you’ve noticed he never damages the precious knitting, never causes any harm at all to the lovely yarn or the fragile wooden needles.

Ptolemy, on the other hand…! Last night I was sitting quietly, minding my own business and innocently knitting an oak leaf, and damned if Mr. Evil didn’t mount a stealth assault. Not just on a ball of yarn, but on the ball I was using at the time. Damn, that cat is subtle, and I’m telling you, them pussycats is quick! It was right next to me and I never noticed him picking it up until he started to run off with it, me still tethered to the other end all the while. By the time I caught up with him, gasping with mingled curses and laughter, he’d made a trail of yarn down the hall and down the stairs and around the living room. Luckily something startled him, and he dropped it while he was still out in the open, or I hate to think what it would have ended up winding around.

Then as I was gathering it up and rewinding it, who should blunder along and get tangled in it but poor Luke.

Needless to say, I have neither pictures nor video of these 30 seconds of insanity. Which is just as well, because there’s already enough blackmail material out there as it is.

Anyway, I got the ball safely rewound, finished my leaf, and moved on to the next - no harm done, and I even got a little healthy exercise. Another bullet dodged.

So as I was saying… Bluebells again. Sort of. You may recall that I’ve played in this arena before, but now we’re upping the ante some. And I’m not going to tell you anything about it yet - I have to Maintain My Air Of Mystery, you know - but at least I can show you the yarn candidates and the beads, all of which arrived today.

Mai pretty yarnz, let me sho u them.

FC All

Disclaimer: I’m having the usual problems with color balance. On one of my monitors these look much bluer and less purple than they really are (though actually Jennifer did, at my request, skew these pretty heavily toward the blue side); on the other they look pretty close to accurate. So if you’re not seeing the purple you’ll just have to take my word for it, I’m afraid.

Close-ups? Sure.

In order:

FC #1
FC #2
FC #3
FC #4
FC etc.
FC White w/ Beads

Actually - that little red skein is a little red herring, part of a separate and and mostly unrelated project that… hmmmm, can’t tell you about that one either, I’m afraid. All I can say right now is that the white and the beads, and one of the blues, will be used for the next instalment of the Flock Sock Club. Now to figure out which blue is… exactly right. Decisions, decisions. This is one of those moments when it’s really tough being me.

I can just tell already that you sympathize. Deeply.

bad dog

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

my mum got mad at me today. she called me a mean name and she said now i have to tell everybody how bad i was.

the trouble with that is, i dont understand why she thinks i was bad. i didnt do anything wrong. she got upset after i had some fun in her room, but she knows what i like and she left me in there by myself, so what did she expect2

bad dog

there was some good stuff in that basket today, too. i dont know what all those tiny round white things are, though. theyre not interesting. they get all over everything in there. and there are so many of them11 ive noticed theres usually a lot of them in there after she sits on the floor with the big piles of paper. she cuts them up and she makes holes in them and then she puts them back together in smaller piles with round things to hold them together, and then she puts them in a box and takes them away and theyre gone. seems like a lot of work to me, and at the end of it you dont have anything good, right2 not even the piles of paper, any more. and i dont know why youd want those either. so then all thats left is the little round things, and i dont know what use those are. they dont taste or smell interesting at all. i wish she wouldnt put them in the basket, because they just get all over everything, and if you get them in your mouth by accident they get stuck on your teeth and tongue. yuck. i have to push them out of my way so i can get to the good stuff. there were some bags that smelled kind of interesting, and there was one of those little white stick things that tpolemy likes to hunt, and best of all there were lots of those soft white things that i like to chew. those were yummy. they smelled just like my mum.

bad dog

then after that i looked in the bag where she puts the sticks and string, and i totally found my favorite thing of all in there, those little chewy brown things111 i love love love those, they are yummy and they squeak on my teeth and it feels so cool. i only got one of them and i had to dig for it because it was hidden inside another bag and it was stuck in that clear thing with the sticks, and also attached to it with a string, so it was tricky digging it out, and the string was too short and i had to bite it off, but it was so worth it1111

bad dog

i just love those things. mum has lots of them, and i wish she would let me have more of them, but she likes to keep them to herself. because shes mean to me. like today she told me i was a bad dog, and i wasnt, honest. im never bad. im always a very very good boy.

i just dont understand.

the only thing i can think of is i guess maybe she wasnt feeling well, or something, and that made her act weird. because normally she never calls me bad names and normally she never says awful things about me that arent true. yeah, that must be it, shes probably sick or something. because this just isnt normal for her.

bad dog

well, i hope she feels better soon. i want her to be nice to me again. its no fun when shes mad.

she should try barfing. that always makes me feel better.


Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

OK, you guys, the next time I get all grouchy about something trivial, do please feel free to clunk me one upside the head, willya?

I have frogged the black edging all the way back, recaptured the live stitches, reballed the yarn. It took - what - all of a few minutes. And now I have that good clean feeling of a fresh start in the offing. I will re-knit it on smaller needles, because the scale wasn’t quite right - hey, what the hell, I think I’ll even SWATCH it first to see if I like the new aspect ratio, and to determine whether or not I can get away with matching its rows one-to-one with the grey stitches. I couldn’t at the old gauge, not if I was honest with myself (which we all have to be eventually, even if we take a good long swim in De Nial first) - though I think it was close enough that going down a needle size will solve the problem.

Yes, I’m familiar with the philosophy (not exclusive to American Indians by any means) that one should always have at least one error in one’s work, because we puny mortals have no business encroaching on Somebody’s monopoly on perfection. Fair enough. But trust me, there are already plenty of small errors and inconsistencies in the grey section without me going out of my way to draw attention to my own fallibility with a decapitated horsie! (And BTW… Lyrel? Don’t panic! What gets done, gets done. Concentrate on merry. Relax.)

Actually, the imperfection was on a larger scale than that. The fact that those things looked like horsies at all is a tribute to the wrongness of the gauge. Never before have I made a classic Shetland Wave Edging that looked so little like hydrodynamics and so much like fauna. Seahorse, kelpie, whatever. It wasn’t what I wanted; it had to go. I have other nautical projects up my sleeve; I can’t hang about reimagining this one all day!

At this rate it’ll be a while before the blocking problem becomes a reality - but that’s OK, because when it does… I’m no longer seeing it as a problem. Great minds think alike: as several of you pretty much saw, the solution is simple.

How to block the Grey Thing

I really don’t want to bend my brand new virgin welding rods into a zillion little curves; I don’t think it’ll be necessary.

What I’m thinking is that if I run them straight, near the edges, and put them through the same stitch in each pattern repeat, I will get the necessary stretch and maintain the alignment between repeats, without compromising the edge itself. Once the piece is laid out to my liking I can pat the curvy edge bits out smooth, and I think - I think - that will allow me to eat my cake and have it! and that without having to pin out individual points where no points should be.

I may decide to pin some points on the black edging - we shall see - but I’m hoping not.

So that’s THAT problem solved.

As for the Design Problem Thingie, last night I finally figured out how the numbers should work, so now it’s just a matter of knitting. I’m on the case.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… The BoyTM has been supplying us all with our Minimum Daily Requirement of Cute. He is a big fan of the Woot, and every once in a while strange packages arrive and result in unexpected changes in our domestic landscape.

Today he produced an excitingly multi-colored box and triumphantly announced that he’d “gotten a present for the kids.”

“The kids” being one dog, two cats and one BoyTM.

The box is labeled “Ages 3 and up,” so that lets out the two cats. Sure enough, they were not as excited as he’d hoped about the Q-Tip Express.

Woot Track

As for Luke, when it started running around the track he gave one excited bark, bounded toward it, and then… bounded away from it, grabbed his duck, and settled back onto the couch. He is a bird dog, after all….

But just LOOK at its cool little headlight, shining onto the track! And LOOK at its Q-Tip freight!!!!

Q-Tip Express

All is well. A new toy is not a failure as long as one of the kids really has fun playing with it.