Saturday, October 30, 2010

Destash-a-palooza - Tomorrow's the Day!

I plan to pick the winners of the Destash-a-palooza tomorrow, and spent some time today picking out some of the yarn that will be given away.  I'll probably add to the piles, but the base packages are shown below.

In this one, you’re looking at two skeins of Rowan Damask (the blue), about 250-300 yards of some left over Malabrigo lace weight (the purple), a skein of Berocco comfort (the pink), a skein of miscellaneous laceweight (the black) and a skein of Rowan Scottish Tweed (the green).

In this one, you’re again looking at two skeins of Rowan Damask in blue, a skein of Blossom (the black with flecks), two skeins of Deborah Norville (variegated sock yarn), one skein of Lamb’s Pride bulky (the turqouise) and one skein (of over 1,000 yards) of light turqouise laceweight. I can’t remember for certain the brand of that last skein, but the band is tucked inside and I’m pretty sure a lot of it is written in Italian.

Get those entries in!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Another one down!

Finished another item last night.  Which is good, because Christmas will be here before we know it.

This one is done in the hand-painted baby Alpaca that I got during my recent jaunt to a fiber festival.  Plus beads.  Lots and lots of beads.

Now, what should I do with the roughly 300 yards or so of alpaca that I have left over from the project?  Hmm.  What to do.

Maybe I'll have to include it in the the Destash-a-Palooza.

I've gotten some fantastic entrants so far, and from all over the world.  Some have sent photos.  Some have sent poems.  One person sent a remarkable short story.  This will be a very challenging decision.  But thankfully I get to pick two entries this time.

Keep the entries coming.  I will hold it open until October 31


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You can't take it with you

As regular readers and my dogs know, I've been staying up quite a bit lately to work on Christmas knitting.

What those same readers probably do not know is that I've been a virtual widower for much of that time. For you see, Mrs. TSMK has an addiction. And that addiction involves moody vampires. Whether they are from the swamps of Louisiana or the rainforests of Washington, she finds them fascinating. Actually, fascinating isn't the right word. Sexy is more likely the right word.

I've tried to explain to her that since vampires don't have any blood, her hyper-sexy male vampire characters would be unable to achieve an erection even if they had all the Viagra in the world - and therefore vampires would seem to be essentially asexual. But rationality apparently doesn't apply.

So, with Mrs. TSMK glued to either the television or her Kindle, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garage. But don’t cry for me quite yet, Argentina. For the garage is more man-cave than simple garage. In fact, I like it rather a lot. It has nearly everything a guy might need. A television and stereo. Comfy chairs. A treadmill. And several large bins of yarn. Truly a magical place. The only thing missing is a never-ending pizza buffet.

And since Mrs. TSMK is in the other room, I don’t have to worry about her seeing what I’m watching on television and coming to the screaming realization that she married something of a nerd.

[Hopefully she won’t read this and discover the truth – everyone please promise not to tell her.]

Left to my own devices, I find that my remote control naturally steers me toward programs concerning history, astronomy, UFOlogy, the paranormal and the like. Give me a set of circular needles, some laceweight yarn, a television show about the Roswell incident, and I’m a happy guy.

But a few nights ago, my love of these programs came to a screeching halt. For I learned a very unpleasant truth: The World Will End on the Winter Solstice in 2012.

You see, apparently this date for the end of the world has been foretold by countless seers throughout history. And their premonitions are corroborated by the ancient Mayan calendar and the I Ching. And not only that, but the winter solstice in 2012 will be a date of significance in astronomical terms as well – a galactic alignment occurring only once every twenty-five thousand years or so.

Now, being a natural skeptic, I of course sought out my own oracle: the all-knowing echidna who sits at the center of the universe. I hoped that he could shed some light on these theories. But on this occasion, I’m afraid he was of little help. For you see, the Echidna travels constantly through time and space, and although he was in the man cave with me, his physical presence was actually manifesting itself several months into the future.

A few weeks ago the entire TSMK clan acquired some 200 lbs or so of apples and pears, with the intention of pressing the fruit and making cider. Well, since he knows and sees all, the Echidna had apparently traveled forward in time and was, quite frankly, drunk off his butt on the cider that we’ve yet to press and allow to ferment. In his inebriated state all said in response to my inquiries was “We should’ve gotten a live chicken.”

Honestly, his guidance to me is often cryptic. But this was particularly unhelpful. I don’t honestly know whether he heard my question correctly, or simply thought I was trying to hit a curve ball.

Readers, our impending doom is big news. The kind of news that causes one to reevaluate one’s priorities. The kind of news that could lead a person to significant discoveries about himself. And I have made such a discovery.

I have too much yarn. So much, in fact, that I will never be able to use all of it before our impending destruction.

And this is where you can help. For I have decided to de-stash somewhat. Over the next few weeks I plan to go through my bins of yarn, pull out items that I’m unlikely to use, and give them away. And that’s why I’m announcing the First Annual TSMK De-Stash-A-Palooza. 

I’m going to pull out the yarn, and plan to give it away in two batches. I can’t say exactly what will be in each batch yet. But trust me on this one – you’re going to like it.

As with prior events, I’m going to judge entries on the basis of creativity. So sharpen those pencils and start writing poems. Or clean your lens and start shooting photos. And send them to me at Enter as many times as you like – but know that I will pick two separate winners: one for each batch of yarn.

Good luck, and may the Echidna be with you.


Explanatory Post-Script:  Many are asking whether the entry must be a poem.  It need not.  Entries can consist of anything that may be emailed.  Many others are asking whether there are any mandatory themes for entries (e.g., knitting or crafts).  No such themes are required.  Again, the winning entries will be selected solely on the basis of creativity and imagination.  Essentially - the two things that win will be the two things that I enjoy reading/hearing/viewing/whatevering the most.

Monday, October 11, 2010

75 Days

With 75 days left until Christmas, I seem to be hitting a bit of a snag with my knitting.  It seems like he's trying to tell me something.  Is it possible that I haven't been paying him enough attention?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

79 Days

And so far, I'm still on pace.

Here is a close-up of the most recent finished item - done in Noro Silk Garden.

As of this morning, I'm 15% of the way through the next item - which I hope to finish by this time next week.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Say No to Crack

Citizens of the Internet,

I write to you this morning to convey a very important message.

Last night, the all knowing Echidna who sits at the center of the Universe visited me in a dream.  As is his custom, he spoke to me in a foreign language.  Last night, for reasons I cannot explain, that language was Portuguese.  And though I do not speak Portuguese, I was able understand his meaning clearly.  Such is his magnificence.

He spoke but three words.  And those he did speak were enigmatic.  He said:

"Watch your ass."

Clearly, this was a sign of ominous things in my future.

And so this morning, while enjoying my daily ritual of Greek yogurt and an americano.  I was startled to come across this disturbing headline.

Man Denies Crack in Buttocks is His

I'm afraid, friends, that it has indeed come to this.  According to the man in the story, someone, somehow, placed crack in his crack without his knowledge

This can only be the work of terrorists.

We must arm ourselves against this coming scourge.  And after much consideration, I have devised a plan.

Gentlemen - I have but two words for you: Crack Spackle.  Yes, the time has come when we must all apply spackle to our posteriors.  These are indeed drastic measures, but this will surely thwart any attempted terrorist acts against us.  And, the less evolved and more hirsute among us will, I suspect, find that the periodic removal and reapplication of the spackle has a beneficial exfoliating effect and functions as a depilatory agent.

Ladies - I recognize that your delicacy and issues of personal hygiene may lead you to believe that crack spackle is not the choice for you.  And because I am always looking out for your best interest, I have devised an alternative solution: yoga pants.  For when a lady is wearing yoga pants, it is highly unlikely that someone could hide something between the skin of her buttocks without her knowledge.  In fact, there are some forward-thinking individuals who have dedicated an entire website to the study of this issue.  Of course, it would still be theoretically possible for some nefarious individual bent on world domination to hide something between the fully clothed buttocks of a lady wearing yoga pants.  But once again, I've got you covered.  In the interests of national security, I hereby volunteer my services to observe any lady walking in front of me while wearing yoga pants.  I will not stare.  I will not ogle.  I will simply glance in a manner sufficient to ensure that if something has been hidden - it will not go unobserved.

Two points are worth noting.  First, several of you may have heard a poem attributed to Ogden Nash and titled: Women in Pants.

You look so fine in greeting
Have you seen yourself retreating?

But if it is true that Mr. Nash wrote this poem - then it seems equally true that he never witnessed the bounteous vision that is the shapely female form in yoga pants. 

And second, many of you may feel that your own physique does not lend itself to compliance with this very important issue of national security.  To those of you who share this view, I offer the following important thought from the the prominent thinker Farrokh Bulsara.

"Fat Bottomed Girls, you make the rocking world go round."

Never have truer words been spoken.

And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us now go forward unafraid, spackled or clad in stretchy fabric.

I've got your back.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Staying on Pace

Three presents completed - attention now turns to the fourth.  And for this one, I've had to make a little chart. 

I think I'm going to do this with some of that handpainted baby alpaca I found last weekend.  After all, I shouldn't just let it linger in the stash, right?


Monday, October 4, 2010

Ooh, that smell...

Last week, Mrs. TSMK and I set about trying to find something unusual to do over the weekend. And so we began to look at local happenings.

Without question, the most intriguing local event was happening in the town of Everett – which is north of Seattle. For this weekend was the annual Everett Sausage Fest.

We haven’t been to this festival before, and Mrs. TSMK was intrigued. I was less excited about the opportunity. You see, I have something of a one-penis rule. And the fact that we have three sons and two male dogs would already seem to be something of a violation of that rule. No, indeed - unless and until I got additional information about precisely what kinds of activities might take place at the Sausage Fest I wasn’t prepared to attend.

Lacking that essential information, and given that our oldest boy has never met a tube meat he didn’t hate, we decided to pass on the occasion.

So, instead of heading east toward what I hoped would simply be bratwurst, we headed west. Specifically, this weekend we found ourselves in the small town of Sequim – which is located on the uppermost part of the Olympic peninsula.

Sequim has the unique feature of being in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains, meaning that it is often a bright sunny spot in the middle of our typical mist and gloom.  Also, I'm told it is the lavender capital of North America.

This sunshine and feels good on your face. But it comes at a price – and that price is confusion. For if you wander into Sequim unprepared you may find yourself wondering if you’ve stepped into a time machine. “Sequim” is an English adaptation of a Klallam word.  I’m not sure of the exact translation – but believe it is something like: “Land of the Early Bird Special.” According to the 2000 census, the median age of residents is just under 60. And I’m here to tell you that it hasn’t gotten any younger in the last 10 years.

Now seeing as Mrs. TSMK and I grew up in Florida – we actually found Sequim’s demographics rather comforting. But the look on the face of our poor waitress at lunch suggested that not everyone shares that view. She was approximately 20 years old – and clearly the youngest person in the restaurant (apart from our three boys). And we were the youngest patrons by at least 30 years. As she moved from table to table in the restaurant, attempting to drown out the piped in elevator music versions of 1950s and 1960s pop music, the poor girl seemed like she was about to crack under the strain. She looked, in short, like someone who was praying for death.

But I digress.

We went to Sequim not to feel young. But rather to attend my first fiber arts festival. It was small, but very cool. I met a number of amazing knitters. And I walked away with some great additions to the stash – about 750 yards of some wonderful hand-painted laceweight alpaca and about 600 yards of locally produced wool from a Sequim sheep.

I did, however, pass on one particular offering.  I know that there are many who enjoy spinning chiengora.  And I too may give it a shot at some point.  But I draw the line at buying a bag of dog.

Now, to figure out what to do with the alpaca.  I may need to use some of that for a Christmas present...


Friday, October 1, 2010

Jeanie Goes Home

The votes are in, the entries have been compiled, and a winner has been chosen. The Jeanie’s new owner has been identified.

But before I get to that – a few brief comments keyed to the 10 statements in The Award.

1. I learned to drive in an old orange Volvo with bad second gear synchros. – FALSE. Less than an hour after posting The Award, I was publicly outed (by a family member no less) that this was false. And so it is not a great surprise that the majority of people who entered the giveaway (65% in fact) correctly picked #1 as one of the three lies. In fact, the Volvo was white.

2. My favorite flavor of ice cream is Rocky Road. – FALSE. In fact, my favorite flavor of ice cream is Peanut Butter & Chocolate. Rocky Road is my fall-back flavor, for when the deliciousness that is Peanut Butter & Chocolate is unavailable. Kudos to you if you figured this one out (and 56% of you did). It was mentioned very briefly on Have Knitting Will Travel.

3. My children have all enjoyed lullabies that are based on songs about men in prison. – TRUE. Only 21% of you thought this might be false. Meaning that 71% of you must loiter outside my house in the evenings while I sing Folsom Prison Blues or some similar song to an infant. In fairness, many of these songs actually work quite well as lullabies – though I will have second thoughts if years from now one of my boys shoots a man in Reno – just to watch him die.

4. I can recite Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat from memory. – TRUE. In my opinion, this was a bit of a softball. And as only 4% of you thought this might be false – you seem to agree.

5. My favorite bourbon is Maker’s Mark. – FALSE. 26% of you correctly identified this as false. In fact, my favorite bourbon is Pappy Van Winkle – which I’ve been told is unfortunately no longer being made. There was one subtle clue to the answer in Jeanie’s Waiting – a photo of the finished shawl sitting on an end table next to a bottle of bourbon. The bottle is not a bottle of Maker’s Mark.

6. I have a fondness for the smell of sleeping dogs’ feet. – TRUE. For reasons I cannot explain, I’ve been lucky enough to have a series of dogs with very pleasant smelling feet. When these dogs have been sleeping, their feet seem to consistently smell like corn chips. This is weird, I know. But only 30% of you thought this might be false – so I must assume that the other 70% of you also like the smell of sleeping dogs’ feet.

7. Among other things, my iPod contains 12 different versions of a single song. – TRUE. Almost 22% of you thought this was false. The rest of you have obviously recognized my penchant for blues music and are familiar with the genre. For there really haven’t been many good blues songs written in the last few decades. The vast majority were written ages ago and have been rerecorded and reinterpreted over and over again. One of those is “Trouble in Mind” and I do indeed have twelve versions on my iPod.

8. I once performed an exorcism. – TRUE. Years ago, on the impetus of a friend’s upcoming wedding, I obtained ordination over the internet so that I might officiate at the ceremony. Unfortunately, the wedding never happened. But the ordination was a done deal. I am, in fact, the Right Reverend TSMK. And my ordination came with a book of various ceremonies that might come in handy with my new credentials. So when electronic children’s toys in our home started randomly activating at all hours of the night (to Mrs. TSMK’s great consternation) – I took it upon myself to fix the problem. Using my book I cast out the foul demons infesting, among other things, the Thomas the Tank Engine ride on toy. It worked. The toys have been quiet ever since. Only 22% of you thought this might be false. Clearly, the Echidna has imparted its wisdom on all who read this blog.

9.  I have a pair of shoes named “Larry.” – TRUE. They’re my favorite summer footwear – a pair of relatively ratty Birkenstocks that I’ve owned for the better part of two decades. Only 4% of you thought this was false. Clearly, the other 96% of you are prepared to believe I am somewhat odd.

10. I have always secretly wanted to be President of the United States. – TRUE. 48% of you thought this must be false. But it isn’t false. I’ve always wanted to be President. I don’t think I’d do a particularly good job. I don’t even think it would be all that much fun. But I do think that it would be very interesting and extremely challenging. Also, it would be a lot of fun to get to ride around in Air Force One.

Four of you correctly identified the three false statements: Stephanie from Bainbridge Island; Jen from Gig Harbor; Annette from Arlington; and Jim from Garden Valley. The tie-breaker must decide.

Stephanie wants the aliens to explain a great miracle of religion and confirm whether Jesus was fathered by a mortal man.

Jen wants the aliens to take her along for the ride – and wants to know whether she can bring her knitting.

Annette wants to offer the aliens hospitality – and have them explain the purpose behind bovine abductions.

Jim is curious about their craft – and wants to know whether the alien spaceship runs on unleaded.

All are good questions…. but only one can win. 

Candidly, this was a very challenging decision.  So I embarked upon a lengthy period of meditation to try to divine the winner.  And as the mists that cloud my mind began to recede - and I began to see deeper into the void - a clear and powerful image was revealed.

Annette in Arlington - it is my sincerest hope that when the aliens do land they come to you first.