Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Socks

If you’re like me, you enjoy Mr. Bean.

And if you’re like Mr. Bean, you’d enjoy a pair of Christmas socks.

Mrs. TSMK, like me, enjoys Mr. Bean. And so, since I’m not certain I could keep her Christmas present a secret, I’ve let her in on the gig. I’m going to make her some socks. In fact, she helped me pick out the yarn.

This past weekend, we went to my favorite LYS and she picked out a couple of skeins. I’ve started the first pair, and will post pictures shortly.

In the meantime, I finished another holiday gift. This one is for a secret Santa event. I know the identity of the recipient, but the number of participants is large enough that I’m comfortable posting a slightly less obscured photo than might otherwise be the case.

The pattern is Migration Lace Scarf, by Fearless Fibers out of Oregon. I knit it from Curious Creek Meru – on size 6 needles – with 45 repeats of the main motif.

All told, it blocked out to 8 inches by 72 inches. I’m pleased with it, and hope its new owner will be as well.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The weather outside is frightful

Snow has arrived at the TSMK household, and it has brought with it multiple revelations. Meteorological epiphanies, if you will.

First, let it be said that when if you need something to warm the cranium, your best bet is probably to find a folk festival. While you’re there, look for a woman with an odd accent. Something vaguely Russian, but not quite. When you meet her, ask her for a hat. She’ll smile at you and offer you a selection of felt hats made in the style of her people. She’ll say they’re warm. Trust her. She knows what she’s talking about. Your cranium (and ears) will thank you.

Second, let it also be known that if you’re looking for transportation in the snow and ice, you might do well to consider something rear-engined and German. For, although a TSMK-approved uber-fast Japanese FWD hatchback is fun, it has a propensity for sending you sideways at intersections. Lillian, on the other hand, is a teutonic sherpa. She will get you to your destination. You will arrive at a leisurely pace, but you will arrive. Best bring the funny-sounding lady’s hat along, though – heating isn’t Lillian’s strong suit.

Third, Christmas is almost upon us. In fact, it is thirty days away. And I still have quite a bit to do. In particular, I still need to pick out what I’m going to make for Mrs. TSMK. I have a few ideas, and have even been playing at a couple of patterns. But I need to get serious. And that means I’m either going to need to spend some significant time away from her or find a way to properly disguise what it is that I’m working on so that she doesn’t know what it is or who it might be for. This last bit wouldn’t be easy. She’s much smarter than I am, and I have no confidence that I could perpetuate such a charade for three days, let alone thirty. If anyone has any suggestions for effective gift-obfuscation – I’d be most appreciative.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


I am pleased to be able to post this. As many you know, I was recently abducted by a herd of aquatic mammals. It was horrible. I may never eat green leafy vegetables again.

But no matter, for I have paid the ransom. And in fact understand that at least one of the packages has been delivered to its new owner – who tells me that she may tackle the Aeolian shawl with the included skein of laceweight. If she does, I’m hoping she’ll share a picture. I’ve wanted to make an Aeolian for some time as I think it is a stunning pattern – but the sheer size of the project has always made me pick something else. That and the fact that it calls for a truly unpleasantly large number of beads.

While in captivity, I was pleased also to be able to finish a couple of additional Christmas presents. Including this one. I am posting a relatively blurry and intentionally too close-up picture in an effort to obfuscate the true nature of the object (the recipient reads this journal). But you get the idea: cables galore.

But the most significant aspect of my captivity is one which was wholly unrelated to the fiber arts.

For while my captors held me for ransom, they refused to allow me to shave my chin. Indeed, it is now relatively shaggy. But that isn’t the most troubling part.

This torment went on for well nigh a month. Now some of you may say – wait TSMK – the ransom note was delivered less than a month ago. How could you be held captive for that long? The answer is simple. There was a rift in the space-time continuum. And like when Peter, Susan, Lucy and the whiny one walked through the wardrobe and into Narnia they spent years in that magical world only to return to their own and find out that no time had passed, when I was abducted and taken to Cowlantis, time accelerated for me while remaining constant in this realm. Indeed, I now have a full month of growth on my chin.

When I paid the ransom and returned to this world, I naturally expected my family to notice my disheveled appearance. But if they did, they did not mention it. Indeed, Mrs. TSMK in particular seemed not to notice. Not a word was spoken. Not a single word.

Until, that is, last weekend.

I have become accustomed to this growth, and whereas I originally viewed it as a sign of my tormentors, I eventually grew to like it. Call it facial-hair-Stockholm-syndrome. And so I have decided to take care of it. It now gets washed and conditioned just as the hair on the top of my head. And yes, it gets brushed.

And that’s when she mentioned it. For she walked in while I was brushing my chin.

And what did she say?

“Oh that’s so cute! You have to brush the beard!”

Perhaps I’ll shave it off.


Monday, November 1, 2010

A Watery Ransom

[Editor’s Note: The following was received as a fax at TSMK World Headquarters. In compliance with certain demands, we are reprinting it here in its entirety.]

So-called “people” of the yarn,

You came to this website to read the incoherent ramblings of the man who calls himself TSMK. But you will not read those ramblings today. No!

For we have taken over.

Let me introduce myself. My name is unpronounceable with your primitive tongue. And your barely evolved ears are unable to hear the mellifluous tones of my native speech.

But I will accommodate your not-insubstantial imperfections. You may call me Lula May. I am the mouthpiece for the MFL.

Yes. You heard me right; the MFL or Manatee Liberation Front.

I see now as you recoil in horror that you understand the fullness of your predicament.

For too long have my kind suffered at your hands. For too long have we borne the scars of your propellers. And for too long have you refused to offer us delicious cabbages.

But that changes today. For today we have taken TSMK ransom. And we will hold him until our demands are met.

Why have we chosen TSMK? I will tell you the tale, but be warned. For henceforth every time you look in the mirror you will feel shame for sharing his shape.

It all started one afternoon in the waters of his native Florida. I was peacefully swimming along, minding my own business, when I encountered him. He was floundering. You all flounder. His pale skin, prune-like from the water, was reflecting the bright sun of the day.

I approached him cautiously. Against my better judgment, I allowed him to rub my back and my belly. And he did it well. His fingers tickled as they scraped the algae off of my hide.

To show my appreciation for his clumsy efforts, I placed a flipper on either side of his torso and rolled – taking him with me – and dove toward deeper water. And that is when things went horribly wrong.

He spurned my gratitude. His snorkel filled with water. He struggled to break free of my loving embrace – and bolted for the surface.

And then I heard his words. Ugly words like “drown” and “panic.” And although I try to blot it from my memory, I can still hear him describe my skin as “rubbery”.

He is not a nice man, this TSMK. And that is why he was chosen.

My ego must be avenged. And our demands must be met.

For our first demand, we insist that our bretheren be given the tools to take back their dominance over this waterlogged earth. We have made supplication before. Specifically, consider the following message that was sent to TSMK:

I am Seacow, a cow from the sea. Long ago, we cows were all one species, building civilizations while men were grunting around and hitting us with sticks, which we did not approve of because they are pointy and sharp. On our space ships, we would laugh at man. Oh how cute they were, as they grunted and made pointy sticks, thinking they would make us into delicious meat and wear our hides. But we were smart, and realized that men did not like water that much, and so we plotted and created Cowlantis. It would be an island far away from humanity, so we may be at peace.

We lived a long time away from the humans that hunted us, grazing in peace and making spirals out of wheat, as an offering to our god, Caow and Mootoo. Humans proved smart however, and created warships, with ugly heads to mock us as they came upon our island, Cowlantis. We had grown fat and lazy, so when your kind attacked, we were doomed. We had created shields for sticks, but you developed weapons like Sharp Steel Sticks and fire! The fire was horrible! As your kind drove us to your ships, several of us dove into the water. Over time, we evolved into Seacows, known by your kind as Manatee, and plotted and remembered the sharp sticks.

Us cows of the sea have developed into being very cute and cuddly, and apparently as a cow of the sea, you think we are special and choose not to eat us or use our hides as clothing. We survive, but we remember the pointy sticks. And now, we knit, so we can gain mastery over these sharp sticks, so that one day, we may be the masters of the sharp sticks and take back our rightful place!

And this is why I'm writing you human, because I need more material to understand and manipulate these sticks. Perhaps, by the year 2012, I may have gathered enough mastery to rise up and show your kind what we can do with pointy sticks! Pointy sticks and fire! Mooomoooomooomoo!!!!

Thank you for reading,

cow of the sea
who knits

Did TSMK respond to Seacow’s plea? No. Once again he spurned our attempts at affection. But the MLF says enough! The evil TSMK-industrial complex will respond. For if they want their precious TSMK to ever again contribute to the blogosphere they will send some of the Destash-a-palooza bounty to Seacow. So that she may indeed hone her skills with the pointy sticks and join the MLF.

But our wounds run deep and our anger is not easily assuaged. One simple offering by TSMK to Seacow will not suffice.

For TSMK has offended us with his false and idolatrous cosmology. There is no Echnida! Rand Paul was right – there is only Aqua Buddha. And though Aqua Buddha appears in many forms he would never be so crass as to appear in the form of a spiny anteater with a four-headed phallus. That would simply be wrong.

When Aqua Buddha appears on land, he naturally appears in a form which abhors water. And though he typically eschews photographs – we do have an artist’s rendering of Aqua Buddha in his terrestrial form.

In recognition of the magnificence of Terra Buddha, we demand that TSMK’s handlers provide an equal share of the Destash-a-palooza bounty to S. Fuller: the artist who prepared this rendering. For it is magnificent.

And lo, though we will be pleased when TSMK complies with these demands, we must insist upon one final act of penance for his crimes against huManatee. For there exists among the alleged readers of this inane journal a reader of spectacular delicacy. I speak of course of L. Swanson, who recently used her exceptional eye for detail to capture the beauty that is nature in a photo she named: Fornicating Grasshoppers on Yellow Dahlia.

While only the enlightened can hear the sound of one hand clapping, only those perfectly in tune with nature can hear the cries of Orthoptera in the throes of passion. In recognition of her oneness with Aqua/Terra Buddha, we demand that this journal immediately send Ms. Swanson a care package of yarn.

Assuming our demands are met, we will release TSMK from our fingernailed-flippered grasp. But let it here be known that if you refuse us, or if TSMK slights us in the least – we will lodge his pale and bloated form beneath a rock or submerged log, there forever to grow algae and to serve as a warning to those who would deny us our rightful place in the world.