Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fish & Fiber

She's My Laaaaaaddy....
Starting a little Lady Eleanor Knit-Along (from Pam Allen's Scarf Style) with Joan and maybe Bets. First attempt at Entrelac. This type of knitting is so much fun. I followed the directions exactly from the pattern...and trust was a true leap of faith with all the little triangle flags to start with...but I was able to quickly find the mojo and soon was entrelac-ing with abandon. The yarn is SWS Natural Pink (70% wool/30% tofu---i mean soy) looove the sheen the soy gives it, love the fuzzyness of the single ply. The color changes keep it exciting. I can totally see me wearing this as an early spring wrap. One skein of SWS completed the base row and just shy of six tiers...the pattern calls for 35 tiers so I'm guestimating 6-7 skeins with the fringe. I'm using my new KnitPicks options (which I love) in size 9, instead of the 10s called for in pattern so this will be a bit narrower. Joan will be doing hers in Noro Silver Thaw (which will be gorgeous) for a more rustic approach. With the Webs special she clued me in on....I may pick up a bag and do a second LE...THAT"S HOW MUCH FUN THIS IS!

In other news...the man is home, the man is home!!!!! Hooray!!! Safe & Sound!!! And he made dinner last night...yummy seared scallops with lemon & dill....a nice salad....just's....home!

You may remember my whiny post while doing the single parent thing last week. Here are some pics taken by the man whilst out working for National Geographic last week. He was on the FV (fishing vessel) Scandie's Rose...a 162 foot cod fishing boat. They were in the Bering Sea out of Dutch Harbor. 30 foot seas. Snow. Ice. Not fun. This is absolutely one of the most naturally dangerous places on earth. But that's what photojournalists do......document it for the rest of us.
Just looking at this picture makes my stomach queasy!
And yeah, now my laundry room smells like cod.....and diesel fuel. But he's home.....and safe....

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Spring IK Preview

So if you haven't checked out the preview for the new Interweave Knits, go peak. Some great projects (at least in the thumbnails) by fave bloggers Euny Jang-See Euny Knit, Entrelac socks HOLY COW! Stephanie Japel-Glampyre Knits (great sweater!) and Roza's Socks by Grumperina. But HOLY BUTT-FLOSS did you see the knitted thong? nah, unh uh, that's wrong..just very...wrong!

Wouldja like some cheese with that whine?

Happy freakin Thursday! I'm feeling a little frustrated and whiny this morning. Why you ask? Well lemme tellya. First of all, I'm feeling like a sandwich. not ham or turkey...although I've felt like a total turkey off and on this week too. DH has been gone for a week now. He's on a shoot for National Geographic out in the middle of the Bering Sea. Think cold, sleet, hurricane force winds, on a little boat in the big ocean. I worry about him. Intrepid soul that he is.....he loves his shoots with Nat Geo...and he was the original junior adventure boy when we were first married oh so long ago. (He's climbed McKinley, hangs out of helicopters, etc...everything to get the dazzling videography viewers have come to expect..and he's good at good in fact that he's won a couple of Emmy awards...but I digress) . Anyways...besides our teenage DD, my 90 year old grandma Clara has lived with us for the past 4 years. She's a pretty good old gal. She was my primary stable sane influence growing up. When she called and said she couldn't live by herself anymore and didn't want to go to a nursing home and could she come stay with us (i.e. moving from Oklahoma) neither of us batted an eye. We had NO earthly idea how huge of an impact it would make on our lives. She's really in fairly good health for 90. Has some pretty severe mobility problems though...uses her rolling walker with a sit down seat so she can sit every 30 feet or so (CHF) and a wheelchair for going out shopping. We made some adjustments in our home...i.e. toilet seat riser, grab bars along the highway, extra safe oil space heater for her room (she likes her temperatures in the 80-90 range). She lived alone for 35 years (widowed) prior to moving in with us, and although she's my "grandma" by marriage, she never had/raised children of her own (she babysat me after school until I was about 10) so her family dynamics understanding and social skills are rusty She is very very shy so refuses (even when I've gone with her) to chat up any other seniors at the nearby senior center when we've gone for lunch or to play Bingo or other of the senior social events there. DH and I are not church goers (and we were both raised Catholic)..Grandma Clara is staunchly Southern Baptist. I've offered to take her to church, but she doesn't get moving/dressed until noon most days...and often stays in her jammies until 3p or so. I take her to get her hair done and go shopping at Wallyworld or JoAnns every other Saturday. She likes to ride the cart around and examine everything...but if I get out of her line of vision she stops dead still and starts to get very anxious. She's kind of messy.(But am I.) She's become much more easily irritated, argumentative and snappish with me over the past several months. Things like medication refills are frustrating because she waits until the last damn day then says "I need my prescriptions' and does them one at a freakin time so someone has to go to the store every couple of days for a week and then again the following week (7 dif Rx's). I tried to "takeover" her meds and it was extremely upsetting for her. So I let it go...pretty much... She gets confused easily and is forgetful at times. I know it's hard to lose your independence, especially after making it all on your own for over 3 decades (she had her own upholstery shop and did all the work herself including lifting sofas up onto trestles and all up until she was 82...just a little slower by that time). She argues that she could still drive if we would let her (AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHH)......... Even though we've put in special shower chair with slide over safety seat etc.......after months and months....with our cold weather, regular showering is very challenging, ...she does "clean up" daily though......let it go.....I finally had a housecall podiatrist come to do her feet because foot hygiene becomes so problematic when you can' move well. ...and she resisted and resisted...but I badgered and just did it...and her feet look better at least....i hope they feel better.
Add to the recipe one hormonal teenager, and a menopausal maniac (me)....without benefit of DH's support and assistance for several days..........Usually if DH is going to be gone for a while (he travels fairly regularly) I am able to rearrange my full time work schedule, take extra time off, get coverage for night call for my moms that are due....etc...not this time. I didn't get home until after 8p night before last and of course....everyone's still waiting for dinner (DD offered to fix grandma Clara a sandwich...but she won't eat sandwiches for dinner)...crap...sometimes I get to feeling a little overwhelmed. DD is really helpful, doing laundry, feeding critters, shoveling snow, etc...but she still has her 15yr old angst and outbursts. I expect DH home early next week. It will of course depend on when they get into Dutch Harbor and weather and when a plane can get out of Dutch back to Anchorage...I miss him. I've gotten all of my January moms delivered already. My next mom due is Feb 20 and she's a first timer so may go later. I'm covering hospital nights beginning Sat. so am off tomorrow. I think I'll go visit my friend R and have tea and maybe visit Fantastic Fibers out in Palmer for a little more yarny retail therapy. (I just ordered 3 bags of mohair from't wait til it gets here!) know, I'm in a better mood already. Blogging and journaling are just such good (cheap...and editable....therapy! So your reward for reading this far are a few pictures of some more of my doll collection. These are by native artist Kathleen Westlake, faces are carved from cottonwood or birch, very detailed clothing using calico prints, glass beads, and various animal skins. The dance fans held by one doll are replicas of the dance fans I have framed in the last photo.Dance fans are made from split and woven beach grasses and trimmed with caribou hair. Thanks for checking in and I'll check in again soon!


Sunday, January 21, 2007

oooohhh this is nice stuff!

Lonely "Only"I found a lonely only ball of Cascade "Only" , 100% merino.....I honestly don't even remember when or why I bought it in the first place..but it's my favorite color(s)---greens--there's about 109 yds....I know I said no more of the fast and dirty one skein wonders but OMG I started playing around with this stuff and it is soooo nice and cables up like a total dream. I had no idea it was going to look this good knitted up. So this will be the cute little cable'd headband from "101 One Skein Wonders" which is basically just a flip through convenient book of patterns you already know that are free on the web, or there are ones just like them out there....but good stashbusting reading nonetheless. There SHOULD be enough yarn to make a couple of these. I love the I-cord edging. I will probably line the next to skin/over ears side with polar fleece just cuz it's nice. Keep one for me and hold one back for future giftiness is the plan. (and yeah, I know the floor needs sweeping and the toilets need cleaning...but...I think I'll just knit a little while longer thank you!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Busy Knitter

In an effort to destash...I found another hat pattern in Knitting Pattern Central's freebies..this one is called WideBand Cable Hat and is pretty cute on, but I will probably frog it and reknit in a smaller gauge...just not liking how the fabric feels. Made from Misty Alpaca Baby Alpaca Chunky in a periwinkle/cream.
And because there was some of the chunky baby alpaca leftover...well, you can always use cabled mittens right? My own bastardized cable mitten pattern.

The Peapod just wasn't doing it for me, so I ripped it out and did something a little different. This old fashioned looking sweater is made with Lion Brand Wool-Ease in a heathered pink and heathered plum held double and knitted on size 10s...the pattern is from 100 one skein projects..can't remember the exact title of the book...but a very easy peasy...totally seamless (because i did 3 needle bindoff on the shoulders) little cardigan with real leather buttons. The hat is the basic family churro pattern minus the earflaps! I am so excited by how cute it turned out. I hope the recipient likes it too! I realized after wrapping it that I forgot to crochet cute little button loops and had to is of course still waiting for button loops..probably tonight. S'OK though cuz the wee recipient is only a week old and this will probably not even fit her until she's closer to 9 mos...unless of course she turns into ginormous baby over the summer....
These are the fingerless mitts (2nd pair) made by request for DD. My own version of a wandering cable pattern. Completed with 1 (one) skein Patons SWS, 70% wool, 30% soy. There have been numerous requests from DDs friends and even one of her high school teachers...a big fat NO...ok...Maybe her teacher.......
Here is the 2nd scarf for Red Scarf Project. Made with 3 skeins Sensations Licorice (JoAnne's brand), 100% wool, softened up a lot with Eucalon, but still kind of scratchy.

So, I've knit up 12 balls in less than 14 days, but there was finishing work to do...and work...and family...and all the other crap that cuts into my knitting time...maybe 100 balls/100 days is overly ambitious, grandiose even...but I'm early enough into it that ...well, what the may work out! But I'm burned out on the fast and dirty projects so guess I'll head back over into the sweater zone this weekend...but nothing on the needles is turning my crank right now...except Kiri..she's beckoning...only 5 rows to rip and then a few rows to redo...maybe this weekend...totally not feeling any level of responsibility or commitment here....Have a great week and I'll check in again soon!

Monday, January 15, 2007

So what did she do this time?

Laying on the bed the other night. Knit, knit, knitting along on a really cute baby outfit that lies blocking even as I write this today. Watching a teen angst flick ("Stick It") with DD. Talking about anger, choices, impulsivity, the right thing to know...the basic mother-daughter type of conversations....sharing a bag of chocolate-covered raisins...she leans over and says "!" I look up.....and fast as a snake...she jams a chocolate covered are not talking about just inside the nostril...noooooo....this thing is UP least 2nd knuckle deep.....I am in shock.....aaaaaaagggghhhh.! I scream....DD is laughing so hard she rolls backwards and falls off the bed onto the floor....I am laughing and yelling...but with each breath in I take, the chocolate covered raisin travels further into the mucous lined nether regions....minutes pass....entirely too much levity to make much progress with extraction....the chocolate begins to melt....a slow brown trail begins to seep out....DD says "here let me help you"...but I don't want her fingers anywhere near my face...aaaaggghhhhh....8 minutes later...the raisin...significantly lacking in it's thick chocolate expelled. She likes to mess with me...she really does...and I must admit...for the most part...she is pretty funny.................I'm not could be much...much...much worse. :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dolls 2

Here are 2 more C'upik style dolls from the Chevak region of Alaska. These are by Rosalie Panyuk. One of course is a breastfeeding mom. The other is a hunter...notice his waterproof overcoat made from sealgut! Vamantaknits asked about the faces. The faces are sewn leather (seal or caribou skin). Noses may be pinched and stitched or actually sewn on with small patches, teeth and eyes are made with tiny beads.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


chevak dollsWhen I first moved to Alaska, I was struck by the raw primitive beauty of the place, and awed by the artwork of the Alaska Native people. Each region with specific symbolism and design elements representing the creatures and natural/supernatural forces embedded in their daily lives. In accordance with my profession, I am especially drawn to images of mothers/babies. I have a modest collection of Alaska Native dolls, collected over the past several years. These three are C'upik style dolls from the Chevak,AK region (generally known as "Chevak dolls"), created by artist Ursula Paniyak (Irvin). The Paniyak family includes Master Dollmaker Rosalie Paniyak, and skinsewer Mary Kokrak. Many of their works are on permanent display at the Alaska Native Medical Center and the Alaska Museum of History and Art. These dolls, their clothing and accessories, are created from sealskin, sealgut, fur scraps, beads, and recycled fabric scraps. They are unique in character and often playful. Often, a handwritten "story" from the artist accompanies the dolls. These three are sisters (created at the same time). You will notice that the blue fabric of the middle one's parky (overdress) is the same as the kerchief of the lady on the left. That is because "they are sisters and when she sewed her parky she had enough left over to make a present for her sister." They all have real waffle weave longjohns on. Some people describe them as "scary looking". I see them as a loving, poignant and artistic expression.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This, That & The Other Things

Eskimo Spirit Masks-made by local artists from caribou hide/fur, trimmed w/ caribou, seal, and other fur scraps. Just a small part of the native art collection. I'm putting together a special post for later displaying my native doll collection, but this is just the teaser to start with.

generally speaking
1.'s still freakin' cold. Why do we get so surprized here when it dips to ten below (or colder) and hangs out like that for a few days? Yesterday morning it was -22.....painfully cold....can't eat in the sunroom cold (due to cold radiating in from the windows)....keep the fireplaces burning cold....go to bed in sweats and socks cold....flannel sheets and jammies don't cut it cold...extra quilt (or 2) on the bed cold....snot freezing on your nose hair cold......dogs just look at you like you're insane for wanting them to pee outside cold......dress and look like you're 40 lbs heavier hold. Freakin' cold.

2. Red scarf 1 & 2 completed and mailed off! (Trish...I just sent them directly to RSP...instead of burdening have enough on your plate!)

3. Peapod needs 1 sleeve and the top edging...hopefully done this weekend.

4. Set some new goals....100 balls/100 days....trying for major stash reduction because, I think, just like with wardrobes, we get seduced by something that looks nice, shiny, soft, just like we think we want....then get it doesn't quite fit right, feel right, wrong style, doesn't go with what we wanted it we decide instead of returning's good's paid for...I'll surely figure out something else to do with it....and then a few years go's never used...get tired of looking at it....time to get rid of it. Scarf lengths will be made into scarves and hats/mittens.....other fiber baby appopriate will be baby projects......sweater quantities ....if I'm not gonna use them...will be banished from chez midwife. Actually I've ended up donating 2 large Nordstrom bags of yarn to the stash at the treatment program for our clients to use. I can't tell you how good it feels to walk in at night and see a half dozen women in recovery sitting around the living room knitting and crocheting instead of trash talking/arguing/having babydaddy drama etc. Oh yeah, and my point...100 balls/100 days started Sunday...And I have knitted up 4 balls so far...yay me!

5. In addition to 100 balls/100 days...I'm working on my 100 miles...started on Sunday...and am up to 7 (hooray!)...not much I know yet...but girlfriend's gotta start slow to prevent injuries...remember...Loooong ago (OK...up until about 6-7 years ago) I ran daily...I ran 5K races, 10K races, 1/2 marathons.......i was a total running freak....but grad school sucked up my running time...and when I'd have a spurt of energy and all, I'd get right out there and knock off 2-3 miles...and then have sore knees, hips, etc. and not do anything for a week or month or more...then joined the gym...3 separate times (OK so I'm a slow learner sometimes) would go for a month or two or three then get side tracked and basically waste the rest of the this year DH and I decided instead of big spendy gifts for each other....we'd get a family present for ourselves. We got ourselves an elliptical trainer! YES! My favorite piece of gym equipment. No hip/knee trauma....and you get an upper body workout too. We picked it up Sunday (cuz it went on major sale and we saved $600 from pre holiday price...hooray for saving money! DH put it together whilst I put away the Christmas decorations...and we've both been on it at least 1-2 x daily (15-20 minutes a whack). I can already feel it toning my thighs and butt. I love me some good sweaty exercise!

5. In work related happenings...I have a presentation today to give to the North American Association of Social Workers (Alaska Chapter) for their continuing education series....on my pet project...buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid addiction. We are launching our pilot project with this treatment option this month and have health, psych, and social work professionals beating down the phone lines and doors wanting more info for their practices. I've given this presentation numerous times but always change it around depending on the target audience. Still debating whether to put a powerpoint together for this today...nothing like procrastination eh? And I'm on call at hospital this evening/night so probably won't post again til weekend. (need my beauty sleep you know!)

6. Lastly....finished the best darn book I've read in 6 months the other day. Seriously...I read A LOT. and this one I read in one sitting...til about 3am. It was THAT good. (NO IT"S NOT SUPERNATURAL SEX TRASH!) It's called "Water for Elephants" by (i think) Susan Gruen. Read it. You'll like it.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Baby it's cold outside
OK...I love Alaska...but this morning it was 14 degrees....below zero. That's right...negative, minus, colder than may get up to zero today. Maybe. The moon is still out..the sun is not up yet. It's 9:32am.

On the other hand...the moon is still up, it's allmost full and casts a beautiful clear blue fairy light over the bare birch branches (ugh...alliteration sandwich). It's so cold there is a rime of hoarfrost outlining each branch and twig. And the trees in the moonlight are casting indigo shadows across the snow. It is so beautiful I can hardly catch my breath...oh that's right...I can hardly catch my breath because it's 14 degrees below zero.

Posting while the truck is warming up....and trying to stay warm! Have a great day!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Draining the Pond

I haven't "drained the pond" as it were since last holiday some things have been fermenting for a couple of years. Weekend project, purge the pond projects----rippit...rippit..rippit good!

Louet green linen tank-cover IWK summer 03 (i think) perfect in every way, except for the left ribbing...halfway up there's about a 4 inch block of garter rib on one side and regular ribbing on the the heck did I mess that up and not see it until i was almost done...i dunno...but it's gonna get frogged...and maybe fixed..or maybe knit up into something else because i ended up with 2 extra hanks of this wonderful stuff...

This was the first major cable project, but in a chunky wool...gauge..what was that? the length ended up midthigh instead of hip, arms were almost knee length....evidence of a steep learning curve re: cables and gauge. almost 1/2way frogged...the remains will be used for some felted project at a later date.

Microfiber variagated from ArtFibers in so so snaggy...and why yes...look in the upper corner...the same lot number, the same bag of yarn...but do these pieces look like the same color to you...of course not...and of course this is now discontinued....froggy went a courtin and he did ride hmmm mmmmm.....sigh, I think this will end up a nice short sleeve top like MagKnits "Nothin but a T", I think there's enough of the lighter color....there may be enough of the darker hue for a baby sweater or...... we have the start of the first the recommended yarn (Noro Kureyon)...this was a FO at one time...but horizontal stripes did not sleeve and front (or maybe a back) left to cannibalize....the remainder has already been incorporated into other projects (like nifty felted bags and such). There's a gallon size ziplock with four feet of stockinette mohair scarf right below it.....a scarf project from before I knew that you needed a garter or seed stitch edging to prevent this stuff even froggable? we will see...if not...felting and using for flower patches or something......I'll just look at it as tuition for knitting school...

OK, here is the worst...the absolute worst. This was another IWK pattern (maybe Fall 04?) knit up from Artfibers silk/merino the colors.....but in this totally didn't the enemy of bad is worse and I thought, well, maybe I'll trim it with some fun fur....this looks like an earthmother clown gone wrong....and of course, pulling all that fur out will be a total PITA.....but I'm gonna reclaim this yarn and figure out a Plan B cuz it's just too nice and soft and shiny.

Now, a challenge to the rest of you....What's in YOUR frog pond?
frog pond redux

Saturday, January 06, 2007



DD & fav 7 yr old friend Luciano (Lucky for short) warn Spirit that mom's getting into organization mode! Don't look lil''s not gonna be pretty!



Now all that's left is to go through the 2006 Frog Pond..........but other chores call first!

Pearl says "wouldja take down the Christmas Tree already"...and to Jayne..."no, humans do not impress me much...actually..nothing really impresses me much....because I am the empress cat and all other species must bow to my will"

Friday, January 05, 2007

Womb with a View


"Womb"-pattern from Knitted up in Patons Classic Wool-less than 2 hours including stuffing and pipe cleaner action! Wow! So this little critter was knitted up as a part of a lil' comfort package for my buddy R (along w/ a pair of FiberTrends felted slippers) who was scheduled to have a hysterectomy last week. Thank god the woman came to her senses and is now proceeding with some less invasive measures to manage her cat head size fibroids. Nonetheless...I took the lil giftee package to her anyway. Slippers were a hit...Womb...well..not so. The look on her face and the way she held it gingerly between two fingers by one of it's lil' fallopian tubes told the story. (Not in a bad way....we're good enough friends that total misses end up in the "oh well, moving on" category. ) So she gladly returned it to me

Oh well. I guess not everyone has the midwife's sense of humor. But my docs laughed their asses off and had a great time with it. Then we got into little skits with it. (It was a very slooooowwww night on L&D) And now it happily resides inside the plastic pelvis I do childbirth education with! (And yes, I have used it fairly frequently in the 3 days I've been back to work...yes, this is the size of your uterus when you're not pregnant...yes, this is the size of the opening of the cervix...and yes it does have to open to the size of a large mayonnaise jar lid.....and does hurt) I am very reality based.

I will be knitting more of these puppies as quick as they are. Will probably do 3 or 4 for door prizes for our local chapter's continuing education conference in April. (I'm on the committee) But will make a little pink lining so the stuffing doesn't show so much and use red or pink pipe cleaners inside the tubes. Fun times ahead!