Friday, February 29, 2008

AI- Top 20 Gals and Elimination...

... In which I talk about a show I didn't see at all, and one I saw about half, though that doesn't keep me from having an opinion.

I got back from supper at Applebees in Fargo (sounds like a Coen Brothers' movie, doesn't it?) in time to hear about half of Brooke's Carly Simon imitation. Since I really like Carly Simon, I really liked Brooke's version (though it sounded really bad on the playback at the end of the show).

I thought Ramielle's Disco turn was good- a lot better than any of the judges thought.

Kristy Lee's Linda Ronstadt impersonation wasn't nearly as good as Brooke's Carly Simon.

Amanda's hair and outfit were so frightening that I didn't even hear her song.

Alaina didn't come close to Olivia.

Alexandrea's outfit was every bit as bad as Amanda's, but I liked If You Leave Me Now. Then again, it's my favorite Chicago song, and she sounded fine to me.

I don't like Kady, so I probably couldn't like her singing even if she out Melindaed Melinda (which she didn't).

Asia'h, who I do love, did so badly that I can't bear to remember it.

On the playback, Carly sounded great, and Syesha didn't make any impression at all (except for her beautiful smile), and I only hope Kady will go home.

I was at Prairie Yarns during the elimination show, but my husband dutifully took notes on who got the boot. They said, and I quote:

Robbie, Pat Boone Moon River (by which he meant the Pat Boone Kinda Guy who sang Moon River, not that Pat Boone actually sang it and was voted off American Idol, which is good because I would have been really sad to have missed that episode), blonde with gap in teeth-name starts w/A, girl with pretty smile (which scared me for a minute because I thought he meant Syesha).

Maybe I'll have him write next week's recaps.

Home Again

It was a quick but fantastic trip to The Frozen North (and I do mean frozen, it snowed several more inches on top of their generous stash of snow, while we were there, and the roads were icy and windy and slippery and nasty for much of the drive home today).

But the weather was beside the point- the point was knitting. And yarn. And oh boy, there was yarn.

But first, there was a noon-time signing at NDSU at the university bookstore, in Fargo, ND. Carl, the bookstore manager, who arranged for both that signing, and the one at Prairie Yarns that evening, was a gracious and welcoming host (and he knits the most gorgeous doll clothes with teensy needles and almost invisible beads- they have to be seen to be believed). Taunton made a honkin' big sign for the appearance, and Carl set up a table for me to lay out projects from the book (these are the actual pieces), and Anne from Prairie Yarns came up and displayed some felting yarns for passers-by to see. We sold books (always a fun thing to do at a book signing), but better yet, we knitted and talked and laughed. That's Anne in the handknit sweater, and me in the red.

Later in the afternoon, I went down to Prairie Yarns to set my stuff up for the evening appearance. I peeked in on a sock-knitting class, and hung out with Keatha and... oh no, I'm blanking on the name of the wonderful sock knitter... Jean? (I'm so sorry). And I gazed longingly at yarns- they had an entire wall of Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn and I fell in love with it all (beautiful hand dyed colors- wild variegated colorways, subtle monochromes, everything in between)- soft, fantastic fingering weight Merino (the label says superwash, but they recommend drying flat). I also fell in love with the worsted weight Malabrigo- I wanted to curl up and nap on it.

That evening, I came back to the store and had a fantastic time- people dropped in for the entire two hours (we sold out of the store's copies of I Heart Felt, and Carl brought more from NDSU). We sat and knitted and laughed and talked. And of course, I bought yarn- 2 skeins of the worsted Malabrigo, which against all common sense, I am going to use for socks. I think that they'll hold up as long as I knit them tightly enough. I got the Mariposa colorway, mint green, gold and purple. And then I chose 3 skeins of the Jitterbug: a goldy/green called Wasabi Squarez; purple/pink/black variegated called Mist; and my absolute favorite, Sahara, a blend of oranges/rusts/browns with a bit of blue, green, and black speckles. Since I was down to the heel on a *sock book sock*, and could not talk and laugh and write every row down for later transcription in to the pattern, I asked Keatha to wind the Sahara for me, and I cast on a sock (for me, not the book.... mwaaaah ha ha ha). I decided to do a simple Purl When Ready pattern (selecting the black for emphasis). I'm not very far on the sock, and I won't get to work on it often, but I can post my progess here because I'm keeping these for me.

We took more pics at the store, and as soon as they're sent to me, I'll post some. It was a wonderful night- knitters (lots of them), laughter, yarn (more than I could buy but not more than I wanted to buy) and an invitation to come back when the sock book is published. Can't ask for more.

If you're ever in Fargo, visit Prairie Yarns (2615 S. University)- you'll come home with bags full, I guarantee it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Heading Out

I'll be on the road for the next few days, which means I may not even see American Idol tonight [insert bummed face here], and I absolutely won't see Thursday's elimination show because I'll be at Prairie Yarns in Fargo, ND, knitting and talking and (most likely) buying yarn [insert dammit, I asked for Thursday specifically so I wouldn't miss AI, forgetting that the early elimination shows are Tue/Wed/Thurs face here]. Since we don't have TiVo or even a VCR, I won't be able to recap the shows. I hope The Women step it up because The Guys threw down the glove last night.

For better AI snark than I can ever write, go to Television Without Pity:

See you on the flip side...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

AI- Top 10 Guys

Now this is why I love American Idol: good performances from nearly everyone, great performances from a few, and one absolute standout. Bravo, guys!

Michael Johns very kindly included Stevie Nicks' vibrato on Go Your Own Way. I continue to be unimpressed by him. This was his worst performance so far.

Jason Castro has a very BeeGee's/70's kind of voice. This was an excellent song for him, and his interview was goofily endearing. I'm still not sold on the dreads.

Luke Menard leads with the amazing news that "singing a capella is not like singing with a band", but he delivers on Killer Queen.

Robbie Carrico isn't quite as Hot Blooded as he wants to be.

Danny Noriega's Superstar was a vast improvement over last week's performance, but it's okay with me if he goes home Thursday. At least this year's Sanjaya can sing.

David Hernandez surprised me with an excellent version of Papa Was a Rolling Stone.

Jason Yeager also improved greatly on last week's performance with The Doobies. But he needs to keep his face blank during the judging.

And wahoo for Chikezie- I have no idea what Donnie Hathaway song that was, but he nailed it good and solid. His was the 2nd best performance of a night filled with really good performances.

I am beginning to find David Cook, and his comb-forward, supremely annoying. He sounded fine, but telling Simon that he was irrelevant was a huge mistake.

They definitely saved the best for last, David Archuleta's stunning rendition of John Lennon's Imagine was one of the most amazing performances in the history of American Idol. Beautiful voice, beautiful arrangement, beautiful performance.

Headed home? I hope any combo of Michael Johns, David Cook, or Danny Noriega. I suspect it'll be some combo of Robbie Carrico, Luke Menard and Jason Yeager.

Thursday Tab on Tuesday- Stephens #2229 Pajama Party

I won't be here (or near a computer) on Thursday, so I thought I'd upload this week's Thursday Tab early. It's #2229 Pajama Party, from Stephens. My guess is that it's from '66 or so-this is the stuff people wore back when Davy Jones was the cutest boy in the world (though I gotta say that none of the colors ring true for me- I remember lime green and blue together, orange and pink, etc- not a lot of pastel coral).
Right click on image to enlarge, click to save as a jpg, print from any graphics program, clothes on plain paper, covers on card stock.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Rules for a Knitter's Life

My friend Melanie, and her friend Elizabeth, were teaching at a Women's Retreat this weekend in Virginia. They came up with four rules for a Knitter's Life. I've added a few more. What Knitting Rules do you live by?

A Rule for the Knitter's Life
by Elizabeth & Melanie
February 23, 2008

1. Knit all you can.

2. Don't use knitting needles as weapons.

3. Be in love with yarn.

4. Give your knitting away.

My additions:

5. Some mistakes can be ignored, some must be torn out and redone- the trick is figuring out which kind of mistake it is.

6. Buy new yarn when it speaks to you, but also use up your stash- unused yarn is beautiful potential, but it's also potential moth food.

7. You will never know everything about knitting.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Yarn Report- Lime 'n Violet Sasquatch Sock

Lime'n Violet

Sasquatch Sock
Light Fingering
100 gr, 425 yds
75% wool/25% nylon- superwash
Colorway: Shim Sham
Gauge: 10 sts=1", 11 rnds=1"
Needles: Size 2

Lime 'n Violet is one of my very favorite blogs- they feature a number of columnists, lots of links to wonderful patterns, even more links to great yarns (which have greatly reduced my PayPal account, lemee tellya), and new content almost every single day. But they also dye and sell scrumptious yarns.

This yarn is their Sasquatch Sock yarn, sold in 100gr hanks (425 yds), 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, light fingering weight. It's a gorgeous, soft yarn, that knits up beautifully on 0-2 (US) needles. I used size 2 (2.75mm) and the fabric came out thick and cushy and wonderful. The colorways are great- this whimsical sample is Shim Sham, a combo of pink, yellow, and grays. It knit up beautifully. I love love love their yarn band (which I didn't save, sorry), which has a bit of glitter on it.

The Lime 'n Violet blog link is on the right of this page, under Knitting Places I love. The link directly to the Sasquatch Yarn is here:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Glass Circulars and Crochet Hooks

I don't know the makers of these needles, and I haven't ordered or used them, and I don't even know anyone who owns any, but wow... are these ever beautiful.

Michael and Sheila Ernst also make glass *don't drop* spindles, orifice hooks, buttons, jewelry, and glass straight and dp needles. I've done a little lampwork, just enough to recognize the craftsmanship and artistry in these gorgeous needles and hooks

For more pics, prices and ordering info, go here:

Revision- Freebie Friday Stranded Picot Hem Snowflake Hat

Alert Knitter Debbie let me know that the chart for the Stranded Picot Hem Snowflake Hat (a Freebie Friday pattern) did not match the sample hat in the picture. She very correctly pointed out that the hat in the picture had *9* spikes from the center line and the chart only showed 6. She also noticed that the 50 rows on the chart would not correspond to the 8rnds=1" gauge listed in the pattern.

So I have revised the chart to match the hat picture as well as I could (I couldn't use the actual hat because I gave it away at Christmas), and now the chart has 64 rows, which should eliminate the gauge problems. The major difference is that the decreases are now every 3rd rnd, rather than every other- I decided that would be the easiest way to add 14 rnds to the design without disrupting it too much.

A great many of you have knitted this hat already, and I think many used heavier yarns (I used handspun), so length wasn't a huge problem for most of you anyway. But I humbly apologize to everyone for the error, and especially to anyone who tried to knit it and wondered why it wouldn't come out right.

I am going to post the revised chart at the original post as well, and note the revision on the pattern page (and at Ravelry).

Again, I'm so sorry for the error.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

AI- Top 24 Elimination

Oh, Pointy Pose, how I've missed you. I loved the outfits- the guy's suits and the girls prancing in stuff I would have have worn in jr. high except that I was too frumpy. As a group, they sound good together. Interestingly, when they're in costume, I can't tell most of the guys apart, and the blonde girls all look identical. Well, the blonde girls are pretty much identical out of costume too, but it was even worse tonight.

We get right down to business by ditching Garret, which was a surprise (I didn't even include him in the bottom four men). On the other hand, it'll be hard to miss him since we never got to see him in the first place (thanks, show).

Ryan played games with Kristy- I don't know if that means her vote totals weren't as high as The Powers That Be wanted, and this was a sympathy ploy, or if she really was in the lower tier. But Amy is dispatched without much more ado, and her singout was every bit as bad as the night before (though her hairdo was a vast improvement), which means that America most certainly got it right.

Paula's parting advice to *paint that door and that doorknob* may become my new motto, if I can ever figure out what the heck it means. However, I understood that better than the lyrics of her new song. The video was shot Janet Jackson Dance Style (no more than two or three steps per camera shot), with her voice computerized beyond recognition.

The second surprise of the night was including Amanda with Joanne for the last female elimination, though Ryan never actually said that Amanda was on the bottom rung. In any case, I'm sorry that Joanne is going home, but her performance on Tuesday was pretty bad, so America did it right again.

I wasn't at all surprised that Chikeze and Colton were called down, though I expected Mr. Eze to be the one packing his bags. Colton's singout was better than his performance, and he did not deserve Simon's cruel assessment of his career possibilities (even if Simon is right, it was still too much like kicking the baby).

I hope there is no theme next week- I want to hear what The Top 20 choose for themselves (and I never want to hear Moon River again, unless Andy Williams comes to my house to croon it to me personally).

I Heart Felt Launch Day Winner- Cindy M

Cindy M, come on down! Or at least e-mail me with your name, address, and how you'd like your copy of I Heart Felt signed.

Thanks everyone for entering, and for all the wonderful posts!

my e-mail: kathleentaylor1952 at gmail dot com

Thursday Tab- Lowe #1514 Ruth, Joan and Winnie

As far as I can tell, this little girl set was published by Lowe in 1957 (books with numbers right around this one were published that year). Otherwise, I don't know anything about it except that it's adorable.
My book is likely a reprint, given the 15 cent cover price.
My friend Peggy confirms that my book is a reprint. The original set was calle Three Little Maids From School (someone at Lowe was a Gilbert and Sullivan fan, I guess), and it was published in 1957 with the number #2404.
Also- I just noticed that Joan's jammies were printed on 2 pages. Winnie has footie jammies, but poor Ruth doesn't have any (likely there were some in the original- and probably more pages of clothes for all of the dolls).
Click on images to enlarge, right click to save as jpgs. Print from any graphics program, clothes on plain paper, covers on card stock.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

AI- Top 24 Women

Overall, the women were worse than the men, in that there were more disappointments.

Kristy Lee Cook's Rescue Me had no feeling or emotion at all, though her singing was competent (I'll chalk it up to being sick, and throw her some sympathy since it was Paula who mentioned it, not Kristy).

I never thought I'd say this, but Joanne Borgella's Say A Little Prayer was pitchy, dawg.

Alaina Whittaker's I Love You More Today brought a bit of the Carmen Rasmussen Vibrato back to the screen. This is not a good thing.

Amanda Overmyer, in a mini-Winehouse Beehive, sang some song that I've never heard before, and don't want to hear again. Usually, I dislike when the kids talk back to Simon, but Amanda did it right tonight.

Amy Davis had some mysteriously confusing hair there, and she murdered Where The Boys Are (note to The Judges: Connie Francis, not Patsy Cline). The worst of the night. The worst of both nights.

Brooke White managed to do what David Cook didn't last night, though she needs to understand that being a Good Girl is fine, but bragging on it is not. I want to dislike her, but her voice is pretty good.

Oh my god, Alexandrea Lushington's Spinning Wheel was just plain awful.

Kady Malloy seems totally unprepared to deal with less than universal praise. Someone might want to explain to Randy that a 180 degree change is more than a 360.

Asia'h Epperson's Piece of My Heart was the best of the night, and maybe the best of both nights. I continue to be impressed with her.

Ramiele Malubray has an amazing depth to her voice, and her performance was better than I epxected for such a boring song. But I do wish the show would stop emphasizing her teeny-ness, as though it was some sort of special skill.

Syesha Mercado- great smile, but Tobacco Road? Seriously?

And finally, Carly Smithson- didn't love it, didn't hate it, but at least they addressed the former contract (though not the fact that Randy Jackson was head of A&R at the selfsame recording company when Carly was signed).

I've had a chance to watch this year's version of the flu up close and personal, so I'll add some points to the lackluster performances, but I'm sad to say that I think Joanne will be one of the first bootees. And I hope Amy is the other (though Kady would be fine too, and I doubt Alaina is long for the competition). If I was voting, it would be for Asia'h, but as with David A, I'll save my number punching for when she needs it.

Baby, it's cold outside

-24 this morning when I got up.

That's Fahrenheit, kiddos. And that's without the wind chill. -24, actual air temp. I tried the magic water trick (when it's really really cold, take a 1/4 cup of hot water outside, in a plastic or paper cup, and fling it in the air, the water will freeze instantly in a poof of ice crystals that look like smoke) but it has to be about -30 for it to work. Insane person that I am, I was a little sad that it wasn't quite cold enough. We only get temps like this every couple of years, so the opportunity to film the trick has probably passed.

But at least it's going to warm up to a relatively tropical -10 by this afternoon. Shirtsleeve weather.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

AI- Top 24 Men

Ryan, you can tell us every 3 minutes that this season has The Best Singers Evah, but that doesn't make it true. Witness tonight's messes:

David Hernandez- actually he sounded okay on Midnight Hour, but it wasn't exciting

Chikeze Eze- oh Jacuzzi, no. That was every bit as awful as Simon said it was, and back-sassing is always a mistake.

David Cook- started Happy Together just fine, but it fell apart pretty quickly.

Jason Yeager- Moon River? Seriously?

Robbie Carrico- needs a rougher edge to his voice. He sounds far too Boy Band (which he formerly was).

David Archuleta- was totally great while singing, and a little much before and afterward.

Danny Noriega- on the other hand, was even worse than Simon said. And that little head waggle looked exactly like my 6 year old granddaughter's.

Luke Menard- I should have liked his Everybody's Talking, but it was too... delicate...

Colton Berry- Suspicious Minds was okay (better than Danny's Elvis), but any Elvis is too much for me.

Garret Haley- He has a much higher voice than I expected. Sedaka is right for him.

Jason Castro- very interesting, though the guitar didn't help

Michael Johns- is not nearly as good as the show wants me to think he is. His overpronunciation (fie-yerrrrr) drove me batty.

Simon is making up for showing his gentle side during the auditions, though picking on Paula is like shooting music-colored fish in a barrel.

David Archuleta is the only one I would have voted for tonight, but he won't need my votes. The 12 year olds will see to it that he's still there next week.
My prediction for elimination: Any combo of Chikezie, Jason Yeager, David Hernandez, or Colton Berry. It doesn't really matter which order, they're all going fairly soon. I'm really sad about Chikezie- I had high hopes for him. But I think he sunk himself with a dismal performance and attitude.

Launch Day Contest- Win a copy of I Heart Felt

The winner has been drawn (see post for 02-21-08).

In honor of I Heart Felt's launch day- I'm having another giveaway. Leave a comment for this post to enter. I'll draw a name on Thursday morning.

Good luck!!!!

Launch Day- I Heart Felt

I Heart Felt hits the stands today!
This is my 10th book launch (the first mystery came out in two versions, with two different titles, several years apart, so it counts twice) and it's every bit as exciting as the other nine. All books are a little like birthin' babies, but this one was more like birthin' elephants since the gestation period was longer than two years. The contract offer came on our way to the Portland, OR airport (from a lovely little vacation) on Feb. 22, '06.

I am extremely proud of the book, and deeply thankful to my agent Stacey Glick, and my editor Erica Sanders-Foege for everything they did to make this happen.

I will start my local appearances next Monday (see the list at the top of the right hand column for dates and locations). South Dakota yarn stores/book stores/guilds/knitting groups/libraries who want to schedule an appearance can contact me- I'm willing to go anywhere within about a 150 mile radius for a day-trip. If you're further away, and want an appearance, contact me anyway- we can maybe work something out.
my e-mail: kathleentaylor1952 at gmail dot com

Monday, February 18, 2008

Your Freebies- Melanie's Picot Hem Snowflake Hat

What's extra special about this hat is that Melanie is a good friend of mine who has only been knitting for about 3 years, and this hat is just her 4th stranded project ever. I think she did a fantastic job!

It appears that this pattern is the favorite of all the Freebie Fridays posted- I am loving seeing everyone's versions. Keep 'em coming (and any other Freebies you've knitted).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Healthy Recipe- Chili

I know that real chili doesn't have beans. Or is it meat? Anyway, this isn't real chili, but it is good. And it's not only healthy (with good carbs from the beans), it has low enough calories and carbs that you can serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich (using lite bread, and butter spray) and/or a good green salad.
You can also substitute cooked chicken for the hamburger.

Chili (serves 4 or 6, depending on the size of the serving)

1lb 94% fat free hamburger, browned
1 small can Spicy Hot V-8 juice
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers
2 cans spicy chili beans
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the hamburger in a large pot, drain if necessary. Add remaining ingredients, spice to taste, heat through and serve.

4 servings: 338 calories, 13 gr carb
6 servings: 226 calories, 9gr carb

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bringing back the 70's hair

Way to go, AI

Thursday Tab- Lilja, Around the World with Bob and Barbara

Lilja's Around the World with Bob and Barbara was obviously drawn by the same artist who did A Country Weekend with Kathy and Jill ( ). As with Country Weekend, the dolls are *front and back* but the clothes are front-view only. Given that there are 8 pages of clothes, it's a pretty skimpy set, with only 2 outfits per page. Since the first page says *on the ship*, I assume the theme is an around the world cruise, and around the world it would be since Bob and Barbara visit Mexico, Sweden, Russia and China all on the same trip. This is a very stylized set and I love it.
Take special note of Australia in its proper position, just below North America. And I have no idea what planet is being portrayed on the back cover. Maybe Pern. Note also, contortionist Bob, whose legs are crossed one way in the front view, and differently on the back.
Click on images to enlarge, right click to save as jpgs. Print from any graphics program, clothes on plain paper, covers on card stock.
Note: There was interest in seeing the pattern scan paper doll tutorial (from last week's set). I'll upload that fairly soon.