My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Archives for August 2003

You Dirty Rat . . .


No, I didn’t see that guy again yesterday. Thankfully.

One of my coworkers cheerfully told me (after I regaled him with my rat tail — er — tale) that another agency in our building is having serious rat problems in their offices. Eeeeeeewww!

I am sometimes the first person in the office in the morning, which means also I’m turning on the lights. If I ever see — or even hear, for that matter — scurrying when the lights go on, I’m history. Outta there.

Q & A

Valerie asked:

Is there any particular reason why you don’t knit both sleeves at the same time? Especially since they are knit flat…

I don’t knit both sleeves at the same time because I don’t see any advantage to it. I can knit them faster one at a time — that way I don’t have to keep track of two balls of yarn. I always keep track of how many rows or pattern repeats I knit, so there’s no problem with making the sleeves identical.

Wynn asked:

I am trying to use your method for 2 color knitting–i.e., one strand over the left middle finger and one strand over the left index finger. While it feels clumsy yet, I like the results. How do you thread your yarn on the rest of your hand? Do you thread both strands together or thread them separately? Do you bring the yarn up between the baby and ring fingers and wrap it around the baby finger or do you lace it over the ring finger?

The answer is that I don’t thread my yarn on the rest of my hand. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just have one color over the index finger, one over the middle finger. It works for me. Your mileage may vary.

Rodentia — the GOOD Kind

I gotta whole lotta mousies going on!

Received many mice in the mail yesterday — from Beth L., Susan D., Leslie F., Margaret C., and Bonnie T. Look at the total mousies received in the sidebar. Wow! Thank you, all!


And Lucy says thank you for all the catnip scented tissue paper!

I’ll close today with a dark blurry photo of Max’s second sleeve. Have a great weekend, everyone!


That’s Mice, Not Rats!

Yesterday when I was going to work, I saw sitting on the sidewalk outside my office a huge rat. About twice the size of a normal squirrel.

All together now . . .


The little bastard didn’t even have the decency to run into the bushes. He just sat there. I had to walk around him. And let me tell you, I made a very wide circle around him. No, no. I mean an extremely wide circle. Like two city blocks.

And then I started wondering how many rats there are in my office building. Not a happy thought. What if they all heard about the Mouse-a-thon and decided they wanted to volunteer?

Once again:


I’m glad the only rodents in my condo are catnip mice. Though Lucy promises to protect me from all miscellaneous rodentia.


I wonder.

We’ve had huge thunderstorms with tornado threats the past two evenings. A lot of people in this area are still without electricity. Fortunately for me, mine never went out.

Lucy is fearless. She doesn’t bat a whisker at the biggest thunder crash. So maybe she would protect me from marauding rodents.

Hmmmmmmmm . . .


I finished the first sleeve!


Except for the shoulder strap, of course. Instead of knitting that last night, I started the second sleeve. I’ll do the strap this wekeend, and hopefully get some good photos documenting the process.

Time to head off to work, to do battle with The Database From Hell. Whoever designed it ought to be punished. Severely.

Let’s Talk About Shoulders

As I expected, my mentioning knitting shoulder straps onto the body of a sweater prompted some comments.

Is there a formula for knitting the straps to the body? If the pattern instructions don’t explain how to do it, I sort of play it by ear. Sometimes it works out one-to-one, sometimes it doesn’t. As far as Max is concerned, I’ll let you know once I do it. ๐Ÿ™‚

And I was asked to post a photo of the technique. I’ll try. Most of my knitting is done when I’m alone, so it’s sometimes difficult for me to get good photos of techniques, but I’ll do my best.

Here’s a brief and hopefully coherent description of how it works.

You have a sleeve complete, and you’ve cast off on each side of the shoulder strap, so you have “x” number of stitches left “live” on the needle.

You have the front and the back of the sweater with the shoulder stitches on holders. Put the shoulder stitches on one side of the front on a needle. Do the same for the back. If you were to lay the pieces out flat, it’ll look something like this:


So you’ve got the shoulder strap stitches on one dpn or circular needle, the front shoulder stitches on one needle, and the back shoulder stitches on one needle.

Work across the shoulder strap stitches as you normally would for a right-side row, and work the last stitch of the strap together with the first stitch at the edge of the front shoulder, i.e., knit 2 together, or purl 2 together, depending on your pattern.

Then work across the shoulder strap stitches as you normally would for a wrong-side row, and work the last stitch of the strap together with the first stitch at the edge of the back shoulder.

And continue on until you have worked all the way up to the neck and you have no more live shoulder stitches left on the front or the back.

Does this make sense? No fair laughing at my sketch, by the way. As I said, I’ll try to post good photos when I get to that point.


Not to be outdone by Beth’s dog Bo, Geane’s kitty Damsel poses for a Mouse-a-thon cheesecake photo!


And I received some cute l’il mousies from Brigid in Brooklyn, NY. Thanks!

Lucy plays spokesmodel for Max’s sleeve:


Everyone is Pitching In


It’s so nice to see everyone helping out and doing their part for the Mouse-a-thon.

The above photo was sent to me by Beth Levine. She says:

My pooch, Bo, helped to capture the mice and is sporting his prey in the attached photo.

Thank you, Beth and Bo!

And thanks to Betsy in Arvada, CO and Lori in Topeka, KS — your mousies were in my mailbox yesterday.

Speaking of helping out with the Mouse-a-thon . . .

Melanie in Germany has very kindly translated my mouse pattern into German. The translated pattern is available here, and will also be available on Melanie’s blog. Melanie has also very generously offered to act as a sort of “mouse clearinghouse” for knitters in Germany.

You should check out Melanie’s blog at any rate — she has a cool little button that translates it into English, courtesy of Google.

Danke, Melanie!

Max News

I’m chugging away on the first sleeve of Max, see?


This design has shoulder straps and the pattern directs you to knit them, then sew onto the front and back of the sweater. Uh, I don’t think so.

When I finished the front and back of Max, rather than cast off the stitches for the shoulders, I put them on holders. When I get to the shoulder straps of the sleeves, I’ll knit them onto the front and back of the sweater. Done by knitting the first stitch of each row together with a stitch from the front or back shoulder (depending on which end you are at). It’s a bit awkward having the whole sweater flopping around while you do this, particularly with a large cat in your lap (because I know Lucy’s gonna want to be in on the action), but I like it better than sewing the shoulder straps to the body.

Grammar Avengers!

Kindly note the addition of the new button in my sidebar — Grammar Avengers! Woo-hoo! I feel like a superhero! Thanks to Em for starting this webring.

I have been a writer and/or editor for my entire career, one way or another. These days I have a fancy-schmancy title and am not a writer per se. But I can be like Clark Kent. Hiding behind my alter-ego, a mild-mannered (snort! — those of you who know me in Real Life know that this is untrue) civil servant, my true identity is . . .

Grammar Avenger!

Now where the heck is my cape?

Bad Hair Day

Lucy’s hair is a mess after the whole beehive fiasco, so she’s just gonna show you a close-up of her baby blues today.


Girlie Weekend

Lucy’s daddy had to go out of town for a conference, so we had a very girlie weekend.

We did each other’s hair:


Doesn’t Lucy look cute with a blonde beehive?

We watched girlie movies:


We drank girlie drinks:


And we had a slumber party:


Doesn’t Lucy look cute in her jammies?

And I finished the back of Max, too.


In Mouse-a-thon news . . .

Mousies received from Vera in the U.K., Debala in Austin, TX, and a second bag from Beth in Terre Haute, IN. Thanks to one and all!

And we’ve got two more mouse patterns on offer! One from AJ Henry, and one from Pam Mahan. Both are linked to from the main Mouse-a-thon page. Thank you, both.

Lucy would say thank you too, but she’s pooped from our girlie weekend.