Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Turns out LTKQ is also making dishcloths! Small world :D


So I puttered around some more yesterday, looking at name stuff and doing conflict checks. Turns out Elianora/Eleanor/Alienor/Ellenor and all 15 other spellings are very popular in the SCA. So popular, in fact, that getting one registered that didn't conflict was going to be a serious issue. I think it's probably because of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the fact that for the 150 years after her half of the queens were named Eleanor, along with at least one daughter of most major English and French and Spanish nobles.

Anne/Anna is much less common - in fact, there are only 5 other people with Anne or Anna names that have R- last names (and most aren't English). The name Anne is found in every major European country for most of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (including Russia), probably because it's a major Saint's name. But, even with all that, not many SCAdians seem to pick it - my only guess can be that it sounds too normal/mundane, where Elianora is something of an old-sounding name, or late-period sounding name. Either way, Anne is documentable to England from 1218 onward, and was pretty popular starting in the mid 14th century, so it's a good fit. (not to mention that several of my Warcraft characters have Ann or Anna names, so I'm used to being called that!)

The kicker, though, was the monogram. E's are not that fun to write for me, I can never make them look good. A's on the other hand, are rather easy... and AR is... well look:

Isn't that pretty?! I want to use it as a sort of "device" - a way to mark and distinguish my stuff.

So anyway, I went to fighter practice last night to meet with our herald, Brian, and get this done, and look at the last name book. And I was successful! The name "Anne atte Rydeforde" is on its way to Kingdom to be approved! yay! (atte Rydeforde basically means Anne that lives by the reedy stream - it's a byname, rather than a surname)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Instant Gratification Knitting

So I've not been feeling so well for the past few days - the allergies are winning. On top of that, yesterday I had a fight with the health insurance, and then proceeded to lose my driver's license, credit card, and health insurance card. Followed, of course, by scrambling all over town looking for it, tearing apart my car and my purse and my desk... it was stressful.

(Karl did find the cards in my car last night though - no idea how, as I'd torn the thing apart, but he found them!)

So I've been knitting dishcloths. They're contagious too. Instant gratification - you make them, they only take a few hours to knit up, and they're just so useful. I'm hooked on using them, which means I'm now also hooked on making them >.> So far, only two made (a ballband dishcloth, and a "nubbins" dishcloth), but I have lots more cotton for others. The stuff is dirt cheap and comes in such bright pretty colors! Nubbins has some other variations, and I've found another waffle/slipstitch pattern that I want to try. I have lots of dark blue cotton, so I'm trying to pair that with brighter colors so it doesn't get too crazy (:

I also just received the Charmed Knits book from amazon - Harry Potter Knitting! I'm not sure what to make first, but I think it will be some "book scarf bookmarks" in the house colors, since I think I have enough scrap yarn around here to make them. I know LTKQ is making some Ravenclaw socks too. Such a fun book, and fun knits - there really is a good bit of knitting in Harry Potter. After that, I may try a house sweater... or I have no idea. Too many patterns that I want to make right now.

In other life stuff - I'm getting ready to register an SCA name. I've used the name Elianora for the last few years (which is documentable, and from the right time period 1325-1400, Southern England). However, I'm... well just not sure how fond I am of it. I'm thinking of looking at other first names. Fortunately for me, there are lots to look at online (as well as my local Herald letting me dig through the books). Currently pondering the name Anna. No clue on last names. Should be fun though. One instance of the name Elianora is from the book of English surnames, and her last name (according to the website) was Thimblebee. Which I happen to think is a fabulous last name, if a bit silly.

Coronation approaches quickly though, and I need to get my new wimple/veil sewn up. I may just make a new wimple and use the old veil (to save time), but the material I have is a 60% linen/40% cotton lightweight and it's very drapey and nice. My old veil and wimple are made of 100% cotton, so smoother and less troublesome to iron, but not as period. I guess it'll depend on how much I want to hand hem.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gardening, upkeep and bugs

I like growing things. Particularly things I can then eat. Herbs are nice (since they aren't quite as maintenance-hungry as fruits and veggies) so I've had a nice sized flowerpot herb garden since we moved into this apartment. Also, my most recent additions were a set of six tomato plants from Karl's dad (a farmer) that are just about done producing - they're plum tomatoes (about the size of an egg), with thick skins since they usually are for canning, but great flavor. My current herb list is: variegated and regular mint, spicy basil, curly parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano and dill. Oh, and the Jalapeno plant - which is approaching another harvest; time to make more salsa!

I live on a second floor apartment with a north/northeast facing covered balcony, so sunlight is at a premium - the plants tend to stay clumped in the eastern corner to get the most sunlight. This places them right over the landscaping bushes down below us. The bug infested, moth infested, fungus infested bushes. (Can you see where this is going?) So we've had a bit of trouble, particularly with mealy bugs. Normally, they're mostly just a pest, but they've attacked my sage and tomato plants in droves, causing the leaves to die. They look just like the picture - so imagine my sage and tomato plants, only with those little guys literally peppered all over the stems and leaves, with bundles of them in waxy sticky piles at the joints. ick!

Now, Karl's dad is a farmer - aka a bug-eradication-specialist, particularly when it comes to plants, so we called him and asked for advice.

Suggestion 1: soak them. They breathe through their skin, so suffocate the buggers and they'll go away. This worked pretty well when it was a minor infestation and I could get to all the bugs. That lasted about 2 weeks.

Suggestion 2: Neem Oil - a contact pesticide and safe for humans, also suffocates them. Worked better than just water, but not that great.

Suggestion 3: Pyrethrin - ooooo... this works good! you can spray them and watch them shrivel up and die! except... there's still more of them. and more and more and more.

Ok - so apparently the bastards lay eggs on the undersides of plant leaves, where it's hard to get them off. So now I need to find a pyrethrin pesticide (safe for food-plants), and add some dishsoap to it, and drench my plants with it. Of course - I keep getting re-infested from the plants downstairs, so it's kind of a losing battle.

So today was doom day on the porch: I totally axed the three worst looking tomatoes, and kept the two best and the one with three tomatoes still ripening on it. Also took out the totally eaten nasturtiums and pruned the sage pretty heavily. The rosemary also needs pruning, but I think I'll wait to do that. Found a spicebush swallowtail caterpillar on the dill (that's probably a good thing, since butterflies like healthy plants, but he still got relocated downstairs), and generally gave everything the onceover and then fertilized and watered well.

Have some of the sage currently soaking in soapy water to kill the buggies so I can dry it and use it. Will probably give the rosemary prunings the same treatment. Damn bugs.

Dinner tonight will be mustard pork chops with baked crispy cabbage; there's frozen fruit that will hopefully be "semi-thawed" for dessert with icecream.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Orange Monstrosity

So I went to Michaels this morning to kill some time (anyone else think of The Phantom Tollbooth every time they say that?) and grab some more paintbrushes for scribal stuff. And I noticed there was a bag on sale, for about 60% off. It was called the "Knitters tote" and was rather nicely packaged. I grabbed it and carried it around with me, contemplating, and grabbing some Royal mercerized cotton in the process (i want to try a new lace pattern... aka I'm gonna make a dishcloth).

I sprung for it.

as you can see... it's quite large. It is 15'' tall by 14'' long, the base is 5'' on the inside, plus the huge skein pockets. It has pockets everywhere. the exterior project pockets will fit several skeins of yarn (I have two sockotta skeins in one pocket, easily, and about 5 balls of Kathmandu Aran smushed into another) and have grommets going to the inside of the bag so you can feed the yarn through. Right now I have to projects on the needles so they're not fed through, but you can see the grey Kathmandu Aran for my lacy throw in the above picture.


there are at least this many pockets over again on the other side. The scissor pocket is particularly well made and lined with double canvas - since scissors are pointy, you know.

Six skein pockets are on the outside (3 on each side) as well as a small pocket on the outside of the main compartment:

On the needles: green Hedera sock; dove grey Kathmandu lacy shawl; and future dishcloth.

Not on the needles yet: Regia Silk for Clessidra cabled knee socks; Sockotta "fawn" variegated sock yarn; Regia Classic Cashmere - two balls. not sure for what yet. :D

It's huge. It's orange (I hope nobody assumes I'm from UTexas!) and I now, for the first time, have all of my active knitting (plus a few extra needles and such) in ONE PLACE. ONE! I have yarn in the closet, and some yarn in the living room. And knitting books on the shelf. But the knitting I need - everything I could possibly want for making one of my current projects is all there, in the Orange Monster.

(No, I've not shown Karl yet >.>)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quick Update

Thanks to some searching on the internet and a friend with good ideas, I was able to tone down the hunan hand and still have a functional day yesterday. The end process? I made a very weak bleach-water solution (big bowl of water, small splash of bleach - maybe 2 Tablespoons), and soaked/rubbed my hands in that for a minute, and then washed them VERY WELL with cool water and dishwashing detergent (cuts oil). I then coated my damp hands in baking soda, to try to draw out the oil.

And in the end - it worked! My hands were still a little warm/tingly on and off, but NOTHING like they had been.


Today I'm doing laundry and knitting. Started this sock pattern yesterday, and so far, I really like it...

Monday, June 11, 2007

So I've done a lot of dumb things in my life...

but this one seems particularly so.

Anyway - this all starts yesterday when I notice on my back porch that I have quite a few ripe tomatoes as well as a pile of ripe jalapeno peppers. my pepper plant in particular has been producing like crazy! so I think... hmm... tomatoes and peppers... I can make salsa! yum! I had some more tomatoes around too, and a red bell pepper, and garlic, and limes, so I figured why not - and I was excited to make something out of my little porch garden.


see! yummy. So I washed them up and got to work

You can see in the last picture a good shot of my little fireballs as well as about half of the tomatoes I ended up using. The final count was kind of unknown... I just added things until it tasted right, but there was one white onion, the juice of one lime, four cloves of garlic, and one bell pepper in there too at the end. Karl helped me taste test, and we came up with something that's pretty tasty and not too spicy, though the kick it has is definitely late in the game - it doesn't burn until after (how prophetic this was)

So anyway, I got done with this, scrubbed my hands with dishsoap, and figured I was good to go.

Now, let me preface the rest of this story by saying that I've witnessed my mother's 2nd degree chemical burns from the first time she made salsa and the oil got under her wedding ring. I should have known better. About half an hour post salsa making, my hands started to tingle.

twingey tingling, kind of warm, not too horribly bad. Both hands, though I'd been very careful to only handle the hot stuff with my left hand to avoid too much issues. so I scrubbed them down again, and they felt better - for about 10 minutes. Then they started to burn again. a lot. So I soaked them in milk for awhile, which was both cold and seemed to do some good - then they started to burn again. I busted out the aloe, and that helped for a little bit too. but not for long.

so I went to bed.

Woke up this morning... hands still burning. grumble at husband, who thinks it's kind of silly, and go searching on the internet. I've tried vodka, and I've tried bleach. I've tried yoghurt. they all help, but at this point I've gone past having oil on my hands, and into the realm of "hunan hand" (yes, this has a name!). mild chemical burns all over both of my hands - concentrated on the fingertips and back of the fingers. it hurts.

so wear rubber gloves. at this point, I'm not even sure I want to so much as *look* at my homemade salsa. ((the only fortunate thing at this point is that I have avoided Jalapeno Eye. No, I won't be wearing my contact lenses today))

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I learned something new today...

Also... I learned how to spin today. I've wanted to learn how to spin with a drop spindle for a long time - and I found a shop about 20 minutes away that has classes and materials, so I just up and went! Walked in to what turned out to be their Wednesday afternoon stitch n bitch, and asked to see the drop spindle stuff. The lady who owns the store gave me a nearly hour long private lesson and then just let me sit and spin for awhile using "tester" rovings. I bought a spindle, two "pre drawn" rovings (that are already partially separated out so they're easier to spin) and two BRIGHT coral colored 2 oz merino rovings for my second project. I've spun up a bit of the pre-drawn and plied it, and it's super bulky, so I"m narrowing out the pre-drawn stuff slightly to make a thinner strand, so I can get more yarn out of it >.> It's lumpy, and not perfect, but it's recognizably yarn! yay!

Also working on getting stuff together for this weekend's SCA event (King's College - I get to go take classes yay!) and making K a tunic so he can go too. I've been in the SCA for 4 years now, but he's just starting to get involved. We both go and help the scribal guild every other Monday, which is a lot of fun, so hopefully he'll come with me this weekend. It's "messy" arts - so it's outside, with cooking on open fires and vat dyeing and stuff. yay! I scored some 50% off grey-blue 100% linen fabric today at JoAnns so I'm going to make that into a simple tunic for him. Good field garb, especially for TX in the summer.