Thursday, April 27, 2006

Okay, okay, okay.

Sorry.

I've been working ridiculous hours and my computer isn't talking to my camera at the moment. Eagerly awaiting the arrival of our Apple Guru to fix the problem.

Anyway, here's a short post until I can once again stun you with my photographic skills.

(You may interpret that however you wish).

Over breakfast, I was reading a post on kat-knits.blogspot.com in which Kat had a contest for the five most unusual places you have ever knitted. I was too late for the contest but here's my five anyway. I hope you post yours. Submt five memorable places you have knitted and the best entry gets a ball of Gomer Pyle Yarn (surprise, surpise, surprise). Deadline: May 12.

Mambocats' most unusual situations in which to knit, neither in order of timeline nor unusual-ness:

1. Knitting an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Sweater in my Animal Control unit while waiting for police backup to serve a warrant on a dog fighting ring.

2. After successfully scaling a modest rock wall in 1980, hanging my legs off the edge and pulling a cobweb-lace shawl out of my backpack. Splendid.

3. Perched on the roof of a Porta-Potty (hey, the view was great) waiting for the show to start at a Grateful Dead concert at Red Rocks, knitting the same shawl the same summer.

4. Knitting at the LSU college radio station during album hour on the overnight shift -- got a lot of knitting done then, indeed.

5. Knitting in the passenger seat of a supply truck when it wasn't my turn to drive during the animal rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina. That pair of green socks kept me sane.

I showed you mine, you show me yours.

--Mambocat

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ignore, For a Moment, the Fact That I Have A Pig in My Volkswagen

















Her name is Miss Bojangles. She's a very nice pig. A pot-bellied pig. And I am giving her a ride to a rescue farm so that she can have a nice home near the town of Zachary, Louisiana. Zachary is a cheerful community north of Baton Rouge and it is home to a surprising variety of animal rescue peeps. The pig will get to play with other small farm animals previously belonging to city folks who didn't quite think things through when somebody said, "Daddy, can I have a pig?"

The pig's presence was pointed out to me at a truck stop, where I had paused to put diesel in the Volkswagen.

"Hey, you have a pig in your car," announced a helpful young man, in case I hadn't noticed.

I considered for a moment that this lad's keen powers of observation must be quite helpful in his career, until I realized that his career appeared to be "Hanging Around At The Truck Stop While Drinking Malt Liquor Wrapped In A Paper Bag."

"So it seems." I nodded amiably in his direction and continued pumping.

"What kind of pig is it?" the young man continued.

"It's a potbellied pig," said I.

He considered this information for a moment. "Are they good?" he asks.

"Yes, they're very nice animals."

He stared at me for a minute and said, "No, I mean ... do they taste good?"

I laughed. "No, he's not for dinner ... he's going to live on a farm"

"Oh." He nods enthusiastically and takes a big slug of malt liquor. "He's not so big yet. Gotta fatten him up. Makes sense." Satisfied that all is right with the world of swine, the young man turns and waddles off to the other end of the truck stop building -- the end where the mini-casino is housed.

I get back in the car and drive off. The pig grunts happily in her kennel.

In addition to the pig, I have another pink thing in the Volkswagen. Actually a mauve thing. It is the lace alpaca vest for my mother, finished and blocked, just in time for spring, which means that she gets to admire it, fuss over it, try it on and then put it away until fall.

I hope to suprise Mom at Christmas with a matching accessory made from the two extra skeins of matching Inca Alpaca I have left over. Mom, dont read that last line. I want you to be surprised next Christmas, okay?

On my way for Mom to have a try-on.

--Mambocat


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Yes, I Know How To Do Kitchener Stitch.

For those of you who discreetly offered help via personal e-mail .... yes, I appreciate kind, helpful and well-intentioned e-mails, but the problem is not that I haven't learned to do Kitchener Stitch.

Of course I know how to do Kitchener Stitch.

I just hate it. Despise it.

Hate.

It.

But I do know how to do it.

I also know how to shimmy on my back underneath the house to wrap insulation around pipes so they don't freeze in the winter. Furthermore, I completely comprehend the processes involved in completing tax forms, emptying an RV septic tank, or performing an enema.

However, being capable, even competent, at a task does not mean that I find it enjoyable.

And yes, I would rather attempt to devise a Frustrating New Way to join live stitches than do Kitchener Stitch, which will always be more frustrating than any alternative to it.


At least in my own personal universe.

In the end, neither Kitchener Stitch nor my own joining method made me happy with this otherwise delightful vest, and, considering that this vest involves both lace and alpaca, I opted for three-needle shoulder bindoffs and a reinforcing chain stitch running across the back of the neck.

So here it is on the spare bed at our workplace's FEMA housing, getting blocked with stainless steel welding rods. People are slowly getting back into their own houses, getting an apartment, or receiving a FEMA trailer of their very own, so we now have a spare sleeping space at our digs. The spare bed will be a good blocking area as long as the space is available.

















One of the advantages of photographing your work is that you notice things in scrutinizing the photos, things that slipped past you when you were laying out the garment. For example, in the photo above, I noticed that the center back was not lying straight, so I went back and straightened it afterward. I also noticed that some areas were still wetter than others, so it got rolled up in towels one more time, then laid out agin.

Nice thing about the welding rods: they require only a few pins to hold the rods in place. Because this piece did not require severe blocking, I only patted the armscyes into shape. No need to pin.

After the piece is dry, the rods will be unpinned and gently removed. Then two towels will be laid over the garment, and it will be very lightly steam ironed through the towels, front and back. This process makes a nice presentation on 100% animal fiber but do not do this with synthetics, as the steam will damage synthetic fibers. And by "lightly iron," I mean that your hand is supporting the full weight of the iron, allowing it to make contact with the towels, but not allowing its weight to rest on the blocked item, or it will flatten the area beneath it. In doing so, you are steaming the garment, not "pressing" it.

Now it needs to dry overnight and we'll see the results soon.

--Mambocat







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