OW!#&$@#!!

The scariest thing I can think of is a dentist’s visit. Guess where I am going on Tuesday?

I am making my mother go with me. Really.

My tooth ached a bit on Thursday, it was kinda sore like a good bruise, and had been for two days. Friday I called and made the appointment. Saturday the toothache was completely gone. I considered cancelling but the poll taken of people-I-ran-into was overwhelmingly for keeping the appointment with Dr. “Bad Dreams Are Made of Me”.

Today my tooth feels like it is trying to burrow for freedom. Oh, it hurts, in a throbby, nasty,  hate-you hate-your-entire-exsistence sort of way. Why? It disappeared yesterday, why is it back today with extra pain sauce?

I will just keep using foul language and possibly have a beer.

OW!!@%#!!?!

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Evidence: #1

dining room table set for ten

I am a dumbass and I have proof.

#1 – It has taken me this long to realize that the only way I am ever going to enjoy a family gathering is by drinking.

“Oh, I don’t go by gauge.”

By which, Teacher Lady means she doesn’t do what I did – which is what the books said – make a swatch, size up from that to make a pattern larger that it was written to be.

Arrggh (my frustration is very pirate-y)!

I used the needles I was going to knit with, I used the yarn I was going to knit with – see where this is going? The dog sweater of Exceedingly Earnest Orangeness is too big.

beginner dog sweater, back, with a stripe

I even put in a stripe.

The lady sitting across from me at class last night suggested I get a bigger dog. GENIUS. That said, I am not getting a bigger dog.

The Teacher Lady asked what kind of dog I had and I ashamedly admitted to owing a part-poodle. He is a lovely, lovely dog but he is small, fluffy and yappy. He also likes wearing clothes, which I find hilarious and so – Dog Sweater A. Anyway, the point of all this is – the sweater is a bit bigger than the dog.

I used this formula to size up the pattern:

  • Using gauge given for pattern (ex: 5) , divide number of stitches called for in pattern (ex: 40) by gauge (so 40/5 = 8″) to find the inches the pattern makes (8″).
  • Using yarn gauge (ex: 5 stitches =1″) multiply that by the number of inches you want (12″) to get new number of stitches to cast on (5 x 12 = 60, cast on 60 stitches).

That sounds right, yeah? I got it from allexperts.com, “How to make a larger size than the pattern provides…” and followed the directions EXACTLY.

Or wait…did I? What the hell? Gauge? Uh, where is the gauge – what is the gauge? I made a swatch and counted how many stitches in an inch of knitting with my little ruler thingy. That’s gauge, right?

AUGH! Uh, pardon me while I step aside for a minute and google “gauge” …no, no “gauge” is just written as “tension” in the pattern I was using, and measuring the stitches in the knitting is the gauge…

I did 18 stitches, measured and got 4 stitches equaling one inch – 4 sts = 1″

In the pattern:

pattern dog has a chest circumference of 15″

for the back                  47 sts = 10.5″
for the under panel    19 sts = 4.5″

My dog, Dashiell, has a chest circumference of -wiggly- wait, no, treat!, uh 17″. So all I need to do is increase the pattern 2″, right?

So, 47 CO, wait, wait, 47 + 19 , err, uh, to make the whole…uh…oh, I only did the back, the 47 sts. Lessee, try this 47 + 19 = 66, gauge was 4 sts = 1″ so should be 66/4 instead of 47/4 so…

66/4 = 16.5

The pattern makes 16.5 inches. Oh, wow, MY MATH WAS WRONG! THAT’S WHAT IT WAS! I HAVE FOUND MY ERROR!

So, the sweater is supposed to be 1.5″ larger than circumference of dog. With Dashiell it should be 18.5″ then.

4 x 18.5 = 74

I left underpanel out of my calculations and came up with 68 sts to cast on for the back!

pattern back is 10.5, uh, make it 12.5 for Dashiell

4 x 12.5 = 50

pattern underpanel is 4.5″, make it 6″ for Dashiell

4 x 6 = 24

So.  Um, yeah. That would explain why the sweater is too big. Luckily I only cast on 58 sts for the back so it is only 2″ too large on the circumference. I think I can save the whole sweater by making the underpanel narrower and it will just be a little big on his wiggly wiggly self.

Which is a good thing because otherwise I would have to go to the park and grab other people’s dogs and stuff them in the very very orange sweater until I found one it fit. Which would be distressing and possibly get me arrested.

Here’s a picture of the ribbing the learned to do just for this dumb sweater:

1 x 1 ribbing on edge of very orange sweater

And here are the samplers I made to get the ribbing and the binding off right:

ribbing and binding off samplers

Let’s all breathe a sigh of relief that the damn dog sweater is possibly save-able, shall we?

Oh, oh! I forgot about the stripe I put in! Everyone was all “no, no stripe! especially not a red one!” so I totally put in a red stripe, and then had to rip it back ’cause I did something weird when I added it in, re-did it and got this:

red stripe in very orange sweater back

and this is how I did it:

knitting setup, including notebook and mustard pretzels

the Vogue Knitting Quick Reference guide and a bowl of honey mustard pretzels. Yeah, baby!

I will now start on the reduced size underpanel. Lets hope this works out!

Bread is okay with you, dude

sliced loaf of potato bread on wooden cutting board

There is something I want to explain about bread: bread likes you. It wants to sit down and chat, maybe share a nice, hot beverage. It is a dietary staple that wants to hang out.

I have not found this to be true of certain sauces and that one cooked icing I made back when I was about 14 and I still shudder in remembrance of. I am put off by most cookbooks, finding them fussy and elitist, (the elite being people who cook a lot more than I do) the pretentious hipsters of cooking.

I was, at first, daunted by the idea of making bread. I’ve been around others who were making bread, one who never needed a recipe and the other who wept with frustration over the yeast. So, complicated and obscure and it made you desperate. Who needs it?

Yeah, that would be me. I had some time and the desire for a good baguette. I am originally from Louisiana and I can sure eat the hell out of some good Cajun food. I dream of these two restaurants near the Atchafalaya Basin, Robin’s and Pat’s,  and a bakery in Lafayette called Pouparts. Really, if you are ever near Henderson, La. go to Robin’s, it’ll make you happy.

Thus began my two years of making bread. My first loaves were as bricks.  The dough would rise, then fall. I couldn’t get the slash right (still can’t) and my loaf would always deflate in the oven.

This is where you know that bread genuinely likes you. You could still eat what I had made. It wasn’t great but it was edible. Some made excellent toast. (Some still makes excellent toast, because while I do have some successes, every other loaf is still flat as a board. At least now there is a good chance I can figure out why.)

So let the sauce break and the cream curdle since you forgot to temper it in, go stir up some dough, push-pull-turn, let it rise and enjoy.

rich white bread, nicely risen, top view

rich white bread, nicely risen, side view

(Just be very careful of how much salt you put in or you will get this, beautiful but deadly.)

a lovely little loaf of way-too-salty-to-eat bread

My Mother and the Newspaper Fiasco

My brother sometimes brings me the Sunday paper, hanging it on my doorknob as I rarely answer the door and he never knocks. I enjoyed reading it, mostly I think because I once worked at a newspaper back in the 80’s.

So I decide to get a subscription to the paper and get it delivered to my house. Just the Sunday one, the big  issue, with color comics and coupons. I would be virtuous and do all my shopping with coupons – thereby becoming a Better Person.

The very first Sunday I am to get the paper, I get two. I call the paper on Monday, the lady who talks to me is vague about what has happened but assures me I will only be charged for the one subscription. And yes, it happened the next Sunday and they charged me for both papers.

I called to talk to someone about how to fix all this – and spent an hour on phone, dialing  and waiting and forging through voicemazes – and got to talk to no one. Not a single person. This is, in the grand scheme of things, a pathetically minor matter, but oh, did it matter to me! I used their online form to cancel and have spent the next few weeks arguing with them to get my refunds.

I am supposedly to get another five dollars at some point.

During all this I decide I need to lay siege to the newspaper offices. I envision trebuchets and screaming hordes of Norsemen, it soothes something inside me. I called my mother to tell her about my disaffection with the newspaper people and how I must now go and set fire to the company headquarters.

She says “Okay I’ll go get a knife from the kitchen, come get me!”

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