Friday, December 21, 2007

Frosty Likes to Watch

I, uh, I dunno. I came home from work, and this was waiting for me as I strolled up the walk. I don't know who did this, and I don't know why. All I know is that it was awesome.

Best. Neighbors. EVER.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Aunt Karen: "Weren't you wearing something different at the wedding?"

SuzannaBanana: "Well, yeah, but we don't get out much. If I don't change dresses every three hours, I won't ever get a chance to wear half of them."

Aunt Karen: "How many dresses do you have?"

SuzannaBanana: "Two. So now, you know, problem solved! See? I'm all about the solution-oriented approach. I made this little shrug, too. Finished it five minutes ago. I deliver on my deadlines."

Aunt Karen: "What? You looking for a job or something?"

SuzannaBanana: "It never hurts to practice the lingo."

This is the two-tone shrug from Fitted Knits, rendered in a single, lovely alizarin tone. We didn't have a good camera with us that night, so this is the only halfway decent photo of me wearing it that I have.

Easy Details Section:

Pattern: Two-Tone Shrug from Fitted Knits.

Yarn: Berroco Softwist in Alizarin - a few grams more than four skeins.

Needles: Brittany birch straight #6 for the body, Addi Turbo #2 for the sleeve ribbing, Crystal Palace bamboo #3 for the body ribbing.

Size: The fourth size from the left - I think that's the 16". It's the same size as the sample at FashionKnit, which fit like a dream, so I figured I couldn't go too wrong with knitting mine in that size.

Time: I started knitting it on Sunday, December 2nd. I finished it at 4:55 p.m. on December 8th, exactly five minutes before my parents' wedding reception started. That's when I pulled it over my shoulders and turned down the collar. Technically, I didn't finish it until December 14th, when I wove in all of the ends. On the night of the party, I only had time to put it on and shove all of the tails back up into my sleeves.

Modifications: None. I might be missing a row or two at the very edge of the ribbing, but I was working under a time crunch, and I knew I didn't have twenty more minutes to work another two rounds. So, while it might be an eighth of an inch missing from the body, there are no intentional mods. I bound off in the ribbing pattern, which I don't think was a part of the instructions.

I know there have been some questions about how to measure for this pattern. I know because I had these questions myself, and when I went traipsing about the Internet for the answers, nobody had a definitive one. I measured from the outer tip of one shoulder to the outer tip of the other. If you press your finger against your shoulder and find the bony edge, that's what I'm talking about. I measured across the front, because the position of my arms threw off the measurements when I tried to measure across the back. I was measuring without the aid of an assistant that night. When three out of four measuring attempts got me the same number, and that number matched the size of the finished shrug that I'd tried on, I figured I was good to go.

I love how Softwist makes a more dressy garment without too much effort. I know it's a splitty yarn, but I'm a fairly loose knitter, so I didn't have a problem getting the needles all the way under the stitches.

What'd I learn from it? I learned how deep I like the armholes to be on top-down sweaters. I always screw up this part because I second-guess my measurements at the try-on point. In this case, I figured I didn't have time to go back and fix a mistake anyway, so I divided for the arms when the pattern told me to, and I just went for it. I'll be able to use this shrug as a guide for future sweaters.

This was a fun knit. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been in such a hurry to complete it. Someone out there in cyberspace said that knitting the ribbing was a demoralizing experience, and I'd tend to agree. I finished the body and the sleeves in only a few hours, lulling me into a false sense of confidence. I thought I'd be done well before the party. I didn't imagine that I'd be shouting, "Hold on! I have to bind off fifty more stitches!" as Accountant Boy tried to drag me to the car.

Will I wear it again? I knit it to go with a black velvet dress, but it'd look just as good over a summer tank with jeans. It did look so cute that night. Unfortunately, I'd had the flu for the two weeks prior, and I'd lost several pounds as a result of not eating and taking hefty amounts of Sudafed. The minute the cold went away, I put the weight back on. It's not so cute at the moment. It is not a garment for the fat of back.

Still, it's done and it's lovely and I'm proud of it.

I've been on a real tear lately with the knitting. I've finished Sienna as well, but that's a story for another day.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


My parents were married last weekend in a lovely little ceremony in one of Tulare, California's two Catholic churches. Yes, they were married already, but not in the eyes of the Church, a point that has lately become vitally important to my dad. He wanted this so badly, so earnestly, that The Engineer and I even refrained from making cracks about the burden of growing up in a small town as bastards. This was no small feat, holding back the quips. The Engineer and I are legendary smartasses.

It was a lovely, ceremony, custom-made for my mom, who is still not Catholic, and my dad, who can no longer kneel on command. Father Rick did a wonderful job of accommodating them and making all of us - Catholics, Methodists and atheists, gay and not gay, young and old - feel welcome and included. Our family beamed proudly from the pews as The Engineer, Big Guy and I stood up for our parents and saw them married.

And then this happened.

Here's the thing. If you put me a room with a bunch of loonies, I'll naturally become the straight woman. Nothing I like better than standing back and making wry observations about people as they make asses of themselves. I like it when events have something that makes them memorable. When it seems like there's no chance of that happening, when everything seems like it's going to be staid and, well, ordinary, it triggers something in me.

When yet another group was gathering behind my flash-addled parents, that something fired. "Oh for God's sake! Why don't we ALL get in the picture at the same time? You don't like how you look in pictures? I'll fix it so that nobody's looking at you, then. Problem solved!"

I come by this trait honestly, and through a woman who had been dead some fifty years when I was born. Guess which one of these women is my grandmother? Yes, that would be her on the right, Miss Grace Loinaz. For the longest time, this was the only picture of her that we had.

A couple of years ago, we found my grandfather's photo album and came across this picture. My dad's sister Madeleine is pretty sure that this is also Grace. Wearing a man's clothes. Backwards.

My father and Aunt Matt weren't old enough when she died to remember anything about her. Anyone else who might have known her has long since passed beyond the vale. These pictures of Grace are all that we have of her.

I think I would have liked her. I hope she would have liked me.