Friday, December 22, 2006

This week has been full of Christmas parties, Christmas preparations, and Christmas knitting. So how is it that it still doesn't feel that much like Christmas? Maybe because Kurt decided we don't need a tree since he prefers to put all of the presents under our palm tree. Maybe because we never took the time to put up decorations. Maybe because I'm just too busy with many other projects! Either way: meh. It'll be Christmas soon and then it will be all over again for a another year (thank God). As I think I've mentioned before, I prefer Thanksgiving.

Happy Solstice though! I forgot to light a candle last night but I did fall asleep thinking happy thoughts about the coming of the light and longer days.

Today's Friday post is not about all of those things though, it's about my Kool-aid dying! Previously my hand-Kool-aid-dyed yarn looked something like this:

(That would be the one on the right.)

A couple of weekends ago, while Kurt was eating pizza and playing video games at a friend's house mere hours before coming down with the nasty norovirus stomach flu, and in the midst of studying for finals, I did this:


and this:

In order to end up with this:

Which I am very pleased with and excited to knit with once I finish my grandma's Christmas socks and my sister's Bearfoot socks. At the rate I'm going, I should have one completed by Christmas Eve, which is when we celebrate at her house, and one partially completed. The Regia Cotton Plus is okay but much less "giving" than I was hoping for. The cotton/polymid portion of it is a bit high for my poor little wrists and not quite as soft as I was hoping for but hot damn if these aren't going to be some hard-wearing socks! Which will hopefully soften up after washing... After trying out a couple different patterns and stitch amounts I decided on 64 stitches with US 1's with a rib pattern that I made up on the spot. It's something like K3, P2, K4, P3, K8, P3, K4, P2, K3 and repeat. I like it and the color is definitely "Jeans". It knits up looking just like denim!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Of Mice and Knits

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mice in the kitchen this week at work. Can you come in on a Monday morning to anything more gross? Well yes, if it had been cockroaches I would have turned around and walked right out. But still, mice. Ew.

The semester is over and there is much rejoicing! Including a dinner out and a trip to the yarn store with Jenna last night! But neither of us found anything we wanted to buy despite the immense amount of time we tried and the sales. The sales are good but not good enough to buy yarn we don't need. Gasp, I know.

With the semester over though (and tests completed, I think I got two B's and two A's for my four classes) I've already gotten a chunk of knitting time in. Tuesday evening I finished my mom's Christmas socks...

and started my sister's socks.

The yarn I was so desperately hoping to find last night was sock yarn for my Grandma's Christmas socks. This is the Grandma that buys all the kids and grandkids socks every year for Christmas and she totally deserves a pair of handknit socks every year for Christmas. Even though she's using the ones I knit her last year as slippers. I think it's because they're wool and so warm. So I was on the lookout for some cotton sock yarn but it was all ugly. Then I would have given up and bought some Mountain Colors Bearfoot for her but they didn't have any in colors she would like, just reds, which I had to restrain myself from buying because I love it.

Jenna even offered up anything from her stash but I couldn't decide and wasn't sure what would be best and then I got all indecision-like about what pattern to use. So I decided to just hand dye the dye-your-own yarn I still have laying around from Knitpicks. I got some Kool-aid from the store, Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, and I dunked the wool in some water and prepared to start tearing open Kool-aid packets when I remembered: it's hand wash only. Shit! I don't want to do that to my Grandma. She needs the ease of wash n' go. So I hopped on the internet and ended up ordering some Regia Cotton Plus in a jeans colorway and next-day shipped it. Or I think I next-day shipped it and we'll find out if it doesn't show up in the next few days.

So post-purchase, tell me: is Regia Cotton Plus any good? I've never felt it so I don't know if it's as soft as I've been reading and I've never heard of anyone using it but it seems like a good deal: it has wool and it has cotton and I like that idea. If it sucks I might have to take Jenna up on the offer of buying her Cherry Tree Hill and get knitting.

Last weekend I also overdyed my other Kool-aid dyed yarn but I'll show pictures of that later on rather than make one gigantic post today.

Friday Nights Are Sacred

Friday, December 08, 2006

So Friday seems to be the day I actually get around to updating this thing which is sort of unfortunate because people don't comment as much over the weekend. But at least you're still reading it, right? Right? I may just be losing readers like crazy since the school business started. No time to update and people move on. I think about updating during the week but never seem to find time to log in and say anything... not that there's much TO say today. Friday it is.

In my last post, there were no pictures because I was busy and lazy on the blog front and didn't really have much to show. Today there are no pictures because it has finally hit me that the one box I'm missing since the move is the box with my top desk drawer stuff in it, and that includes my picture card for my phone's tiny little memory card. What a bummer. I've taken lots of pictures! And I would have taken nice yarny pictures for you today but what's the point since I can't transfer them. Le sigh.

Good news though: I found out that the LYS (aka Ben Franklin Crafts, the only store to carry nice wool within a 70 mile radius) is not really closing! They're merely having a blowout sale to make it easier to move all of the inventory into their new location! I found this out because yesterday I had a little time to kill (sort of) and decided to go check out the sale there. I ended up buying a few hanks of Classic Elite Renaissance (40% off!) to make some nice wooly felted slippers out of. They're red and green but not Christmas red and green. Boy, it sure sucks not being able to show you a picture. I was told that they're "in" colors right now though if that helps. Like a burgundy-ish red and a pale green. I think the colors are Green Grape and Chianti but I'm not sure.

I also picked up a hank of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Indian Corn colorway (25% off). Wow is that some squishy soft pretty stuff! I'm thinking socks for my sister since I'm planning to make socks for my other sister with a green Mountain Colors.

Hmm, so that's about it. No knitting since last Saturday for me. I fixed the heel on my mom's sock during the Harry Potter Extravaganza and finished one pattern repeat on the leg. No yarn dying and no new socks started. House stuff happened instead and some half-hearted studying for my Chem test which landed me a C. A C! I'm outraged at myself! So this weekend will be filled with much studying so I can ace my finals and end up with A's. I'm an A student dammit, and I want to stay that way!

Anyway, have a great weekend all!

Impending Doom

Friday, December 01, 2006

Well, the holidays are approaching. I'm not in the "holiday spirit" this year but, you know, I can't really remember the last time I was so it's not too much of a loss. Gifts will be purchased, eggnog milkshakes drank, and maybe even a tree decorated if we're lucky. The past couple of years we've just decorated our cane tree because the old house was too small for a real tree.

Holiday knitting is currently at a standstill. I've re-knit the heel on my mom's second sock twice now and when I got to the end I realized I'm about three stitches off. The heel is slightly crooked. I was debating whether I could just keep knitting and maybe she wouldn't notice but it's going to have to be frogged and I just haven't gotten up the gumption to do it yet. Tonight is Friday Night Movie Night though so I'll probably do it then. Harry Potter weekend on ABC Family and all.

I'm also itching to start a new pair of socks for myself. Me, me, me! My toes are cold! I don't have enough hand-knit socks to make it through the week! Even though I have a to-do list about a mile long, I'm secretly scheming to overdye my Black Cherry kool-aid yarn this weekend and start a pair. I've been thinking about hand-knit socks lately and how my favorite pairs are the plain-jane 2x2 ribbed ones or the plainish cable and rib ones. And I'd like to have a simple project to carry around but the Japanese Feather Socks are also calling out to me. They would look so pretty in a nice solid color! We'll see what happens. The guilt of not starting my sister's socks might get to me instead.

And, before I go, the picture you've all been waiting for:

The new house is awesome and I can still hardly believe this all worked out and I'm actually living in a house that I *own*. Well, that the bank owns, but you know what I mean. New house projects and new house shopping has been fun and I'm sure will continue to be. Projects for this weekend include 1) more shopping, 2)replacing the wax seal on the upstairs toilet (I can't wait to do this!), 3) installing the medicine cabinet in the guest bath, and unpacking some more boxes. That's the short list, I don't want to bore you with the long one.

Have a great weekend!

I never thought I'd leave this place, it has all kinds of storage space... *

Thursday, November 16, 2006

*Silkworm lyric, but true when compared to my new house. There are closets in the upstairs bedrooms and... that's it. No broom closet under the stairs because the stairs to the basement are under the stairs. No closet in the main floor bedroom because it's been converted into a bathroom. Very Few Closets in the new house. Not that the current house boasts many more, just a nice sized one in the bathroom, but I digress.

I've hit a milestone in the packing process: this morning I finally managed to make the house echoey. It's creeping the cats out a little bit but I'm having a grand old time clicking my tongue and listening to the echo. It means I'm almost done packing.

I took a little break after realizing we echoed and finished up a pattern repeat on my mom's second sock. Then I realized I had a tiny bit of time to snap pictures and post here before I go to class and slave away on my handmade ceramic dinnerware set (final project, has to be completely "built" by Thanksgiving and I currently have two dinner plates and I need four dinner plates, four salad plates, four bowls, and four cups. Oy.) Here's what little knitting I've been up to:

I finished my fingerless gloves finally. The cables are slightly (like two rows) off somehow but I still love them and they're sooo much warmer than my other ones. And, of course, these ones match my scarf from last winter. I didn't get a picture of them together but if you want to be reminded of what the scarf looks like just click on the Elegant Cabled Scarf link on the right.

My mom's socks for Christmas. The only knitted Christmas present I'm worrying about this year. I was originally hoping to get a pair for my sister and my Grandma "Giver-of-Socks" done but they both understand that I'm a leetle bit busy and probably won't make the deadline.

And FINALLY, here is a picture of me and that cute little babe I knitted the sweater for. It's a bit big but he'll grow into it this winter, I'm sure.

I also finished the front of my Mon Petit Chou but didn't get a good picture. It's pink and lacy and I think it'll fit this time.

In related news, I heard today that my "local" yarn store, Ben Franklin Crafts, is going out of business. What a bummer. But I guess I should at least be happy that everything is going to be mega on-sale. Not that I'll have money to buy any what with buying a house and all.

In house news, I close and take possession on Monday and will move next week. Most likely, my next post here will be from my new humble abode. Maybe during winter break I can even get pictures taken and posted of it when boxes get unpacked and it starts looking like home. Don't hold your breath though. ;)

For now, be contented with a picture of Fred and George and a couple of their new favorite toys.

And Kurt practicing violin in the living room while I spy on him from the box filled porch.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

No Babies!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Well, I'm not preggers like half the knitting world even though it does seem to be contagious lately...

The official unofficial news is that I'm finally buying a house!

It was a shock even to me when I found The House about a month into my first semester back at college. The first question, of course, was "Holy crap, can I even afford this right now?". Maybe it's my creative budgeting, but it seems possible if a little tight. Thankfully I'm able to work extra hours during off times at school, like winter and spring break and my employer is very flexible with when and how I work my regular hours during school. If I absolutely can't make it to the office, I can work from home or come in on nights and weekends.

But the house! You want to hear about the house! It's a two story, three bedrooms, one and a quarter baths, a fenced backyard and beautiful drafty old windows - some even still have the sash weights and cords. (I'm not sure why but these old windows with the sash weights have just taken on a magical quality in my mind. They are, at the moment, my favorite feature of the house even though they're currently letting a gale of a wind through. I'm exaggerating. It's not that bad.)

I had my inspection last night, the bank will do their appraisal probably next week, and then the city inspector has to come if I end up using the city's downpayment assistance program. As my inspector put it last night: "I hope I look this good when I'm 98!" Basically, it's an old house with a lot of old house features (good and bad) but overall, it's a good house. And it's exactly what I wanted in a house. If everything goes well, I'll be moving exactly one month from today. And I haven't started packing. :)

Knitting is good. I will have completed my first cabled fingerless glove by the end of the weekend and probably another dishcloth too. Once I get the other fingerless glove done, I need to get cracking on my mom's other sock, my sister's Christmas socks, and my little cabbage (Mon Petit Chou).

Have a great weekend!

Time Flies...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hi all! School is getting the better of me but I have the great grades to show for it so I guess it's okay. It's been busy here at the Red house. I've officially declared my major as Chemistry and received an A on both my latest Chemistry test and Pre-calculus quiz. I've decided that Art classes can suck it. Ceramics is not as fun as I thought it would be because glazes do not look like what you want them to look like. And... there's been knitting. Not a whole lot but a little.

My mom's first Christmas Baudelaire. The picture is actually from last weekend. Sorry about that. I finished it up last night during our Friday Night Movie Night so I could use the needles to restart my cabled fingerless gloves from last winter. It's been cold here and it snowed already! Granted, the snow is gone but I know it won't be long until new white stuff comes to replace it. I need me some gloves to match my scarf!

Mon Petit Chou, restarted on brand new US 5 needles. I think the fit will be much better now. But it's been a neglected project while I worked on my Mom's sock and a dishcloth (which is finished but already in use so a picture wouldn't be so great.)

Lastly, I went on a yarn crawl with some friends a couple of weekends ago. I bought some Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Juniper colorway for my sister's Christmas socks (probably with the Classic Slip-up pattern from that book that look like a sock that a friend borrowed me.) Sorry, no picture of the yarn but it came from Pieces of String, a "store" about an hour from where I live. The owner was kind enough to let us in to buy yarn from her basement mail order stash. While there, Kurt bought his first "real" yarn. Check this out, it's Brown Sheep Burly Spun and he's making a garter stitch scarf with it.

Holy crap, huh? It's huge! And here's a picture of Kurt knitting away on a mini scarf for one of his stuffed animals.

There's one more piece of big news but I don't want to jinx it. I'll tell you when I know for sure. Just cross your fingers for me. :)

Holy crispy crap!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's been so long! I'm alive, I've just been super busy. This school stuff, let me tell ya. Lately, I feel like I need to write every tiny thing I need to do each day down in my planner so I don't forget. Things like homework, work tasks, making supper, brushing my teeth, telling Kurt goodnight... I feel like I'm constantly on fast-forward. During the week, I rarely have time to knit so I make time on the weekends to relax and knit and read some blogs. I've decided to cut my work hours down a bit to make sure I don't get behind in schoolwork again - it was minor and I worked it out but it was enough to realize that I've been trying, once again, to be Superwoman and I'm not Superwoman.

I have some finished objects though and that's part of what I'm here to talk about (and maybe mention the friend Kurt has over today who is repeating "work it, work it, work it" to Kurt as he plays this Pokemon Snap game on Nintendo. I'm reminded of that line in The Princess Bride, "I do not think that means what you think it means...")

Hmm, that's not knitting, is it?

Pretty... bear with me, there's knitting here somewhere.

Uh, this one looks nothing like I wanted it to. It was supposed to be tall and graceful and get thinner at the top. Seems like a nice segway into...

My sister's Hedera socks. They're almost done but I think there'll be some reconstruction on the toe. You see, I seem to have this misconception of how good I am at getting gauge. When I think to myself about gauge and why I don't do gauge swatches, I tell myself (and sometimes others) that I usually get gauge. This is far from the truth. Not only were these socks supposed to be mine until they ended up waaaay too wide but I seemed to think that the toe would be fine knit with my off-gauge.

Instead, the toe looks like this. A very short toe that doesn't really cover any of the toes. I know that it would work and it doesn't look that bad and she wouldn't care one way or the other but I'll probably rip back and add a few extra rows of stockinette between where the pattern ends and the toe decreases begin.

Cathi wanted to know about the Gloss yarn I'm using for the Hedera socks. I really like it! It's nice to knit, very soft once it's knit up and has a nice subtle sheen to it. I'm not sure if it's worth the handwashing as I prefer machine wash socks myself and I'm not sure my sister will be the best judge of that. I don't think I've broken the news to her yet actually.

And, lastly, a picture of another gauge miscalculation.

I'll spare you the holding-up-to-body shot and just say that these are a bit too big. Not terribly so but enough to warrant a frogging and new needle-buying. It's okay, I like excuses to buy new needles. Especially when I have a 50% off coupon.

Sorry for the extra long post but I did my best to catch up with where I left off. There are definitely things missing. Like the pictures from the chicken butchering day at my dad's and there's a baby sweater around here somewhere that I promised to take pictures of but this will have to suffice for now. Pre-calculus is calling me.

You know you're a geek when...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

you finish your homework before 8:00 pm for the first time since school started a week ago and the first thing you do is jump up grinning and grab yarn and needles.

I've begun Mon Petit Chou. How happy am I?

So happy that I'll even post a crappy night-time picture, I guess. Supremely happy actually. As I said before, I've been wanting to make Mon Petit Chou since way before I was at the skill level to even attempt it. All I had time for was the picot edge but it is a beautiful picot edge, wouldn't you say?

I do have another project on the needles as well: the Hedera socks from Knitty in Knitpicks new Gloss sock yarn. I thought the pattern would show off the shiny bit-o-silk yarn well but the gauge is getting the best of me. I'm going to have my sister try them on this weekend to see if they'll fit her, otherwise they're off to the frog pond.

And I have to admit, in first week of school frustration, I did order more yarn. Just a bit. A couple balls of Essential in Navy Blue for my Mom's Christmas socks and some Merino Style in Moss for the Gatsby Girl Pullover from the Fall Interweave Knits (you have to scroll a little). So basically, I'm willing to splurge on yarn if it's cheap yarn. Knitpicks, you are oh so mediocre but I love you so.

Meanwhile, the Cascade Fixation is soft and squishy and not hard to knit at all... so far!

Gearing Up

Friday, August 18, 2006

Gettin' the gear. Well, the supplies anyway. I ordered my Cascade Fixation for Mon Petit Chou tonight finally. I've been wanting to knit this since I saw it over a year ago when it was still way beyond my skill level. I ended up ordering from Hello Knitty because they seemed to have the lowest price for Fixation on first glance. $4.50 a ball. Not bad! If it really only takes me two balls it'll be cheaper than the cute bra and panty sets I've been buying lately... I did get 3 balls of Pink Lemonade just in case and somehow a ball of Orchid ended up in my basket too. Not sure how that happened. Hehehe.

I've also been gearing down, in a way. I noticed this week that my Bloglines feed had gotten up to 71 blogs. 71! Can you believe that? There's no way I can keep up with 71 blogs once I start school next week! So I somehow pared it down to 37. Most are still Knit Blogs, of course, but there is a spattering of Med Student Blogs and Food Blogs along with maybe three or four random ones. I'd like to pare it down even more but I just don't see who else I could cut out. I love you all! Don't worry, if you regularly post on my blog you're still there. :)

That's all for now. I finished the baby sweater and seamed it up tonight. I'm so-so on it. I definitely lost track of my gauge a little after the first piece so it's a little funky. I also added some ribbing at the bottom and neck but it's still rolling, making my ribbing look ridiculous. I'll block tomorrow, take pictures, and see how it comes out. I'll even *gasp* POST the pictures!


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Summer has been busy around here. I've been knitting again! The wrist brace frankensteining really paid off. I've finished my Baudelaires, purchased yarn, and have a couple of projects lined up (which, unfortunately both still need yarn). Right now I'm working on my first baby sweater. It's so cute! More details and pictures of all these projects coming up. For now, I'll leave you with a (sort of) recent picture of my garden. We've been eating lots of goodies lately and never want this part of summer (the good veggies part) to end!

Back and Forth and Back and Forth and Back

Monday, July 31, 2006

Five points to anyone who can name the song and artist the title comes from.

So far the Baudelaire socks are fun, fascinating, and aggravating as hell. I realized the other day my post may have sounded a little down on knit designers and that's not how I wanted to sound at all! The problem comes in interpreting the pattern and so far I've not done that correctly 100% of the time with this one. There are a couple of sections that were a few ambiguous sections that I figured out pretty easily but I'm not sure a beginning knitter could have. Then again, it is rated "Piquant" so beginning knitters could expect it to be a challenge. (Boy do I ramble.)

First off, I measured my foot: 10". The pattern stated that I should do this size according to that foot size but I'm guessing it really meant like, the standard length I make my socks, which is somewhere around 8.75" because, as I've said, I like them snug. This is what you get when you make a sock for a 10" foot.

Just in case it's not real obvious from that picture, I'll try it on for you.

Ah, yeah, at least an inch too big. So I frogged and was left with this:

I'm back to, and past, where I was already though. This pattern is just mesmerizing. And after doing toe-up socks forever, I finally know what a gusset is. Hooray for me, right? I feel a little smarter anyway. The heel on this thing is really cool. It looks like a heel flap but it's done toe-up. There are wrap and turns, which I'm used to, and also a bunch of knit and purl togethers and it just looks so darn fancy. Wow, what a geek. I'll stop now.

For the record, my wrist is feeling much better. I made some adjustments to my wrist brace that I wear overnight and it seems to have made a dramatic difference. They are always too big so I sewed up a little more on the thumb side and it fits much better. Before it almost made it worse because, while it relieved the carpal tunnel-like symptoms, it seemed to created tendonitis ones on the outside of my wrist! Anyway, much better now. I'm so happy to be knitting like crazy again!


Friday, July 28, 2006

I can hardly believe I'm posting this but my orange socks are FINALLY done. Truly and completely done and finished and wearable and everything.

They look long and skinny and like they wouldn't fit an adult size foot in a hundred years but I have long and skinny feet. I also like my socks a bit snug. These turned out perfect and I can't wait for cooler weather to try them out. It's been so hot here that I've been wondering if I've somehow been transported to another dimension. A dimension where it actually gets up into the 90's for several weeks at a time in North Dakota. I mean, I'm usually the first to defend my poor, forgotten state when people start talking about how cold it is here all the time. We have seasons just like everyone else: it's hot in the summer and freaking freezing in the winter but, you know, it's not usually this hot for this long. I could definitely do without it. I mean, why else would I live here through the insanely cold winters if I didn't expect a nice 70-80 degree summer?

The heat and no rain has been bad news for my garden too. Well, that and my putting off watering because I've been so busy. I found out the other day that a ton of my tomatoes had blossom end rot. Despite what that site says about calcium, the more likely reason for it is the unpredictable watering sessions they've been getting. I pulled off all the bad tomatoes and have dedicated myself to watering more regularly. Meanwhile, we're eating lots of purple beans and cucumbers! The purple beans turn green when placed in boiling water so they're fun for kids (and adults, I'll admit it). I took a picture when I cooked some last night but I don't seem to have transferred it here. Oh well.

Back to knitting. After finishing the orange socks, I immediately cast on for my Baudelaires. While knitting and realizing they were definitely Too Big I was thinking about this blind faith I, and many other knitters, seem to have in patterns. I mean, this isn't the first time I've started a project, rechecked the gauge and listed sizes several times, and still plowed on thinking that the author must just know what they're talking about. The pattern says she made the small size for a size 6.5 foot. I figure a 6.5 foot must be pretty similar in circumference to mine since they're so skinny and I measure my foot and start according to what the pattern recommends: the medium. Whoa boy, these suckers are HUGE!

And I'm almost exactly spot on with gauge and refuse to go down to size 1's so I frogged and restarted as a size extra small (not listed in the pattern, I sized it down myself). I know this is risky since she states in the pattern that the lace isn't stretchy but so far it feels perfect. I got through the lace chart twice on the big sock and boy is it pretty. I can't wait to get farther along and get a better picture for you!

(sorry for the blurry picture.)

LOST but busy

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Still watching LOST (on to Season 2) and now anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new laptop. I've had my current desktop computer for about six years and while it's not a hunk of junk just yet, I think a laptop will be much more convenient come homework time. Not only will I be able to sit around on the couch and type up papers and such but I'll actually be able to use my desk for spreading out books and notebooks and writing.

Quick little moral dilemna though: the other day I had the work laptop at home and I found a wireless network whilst sitting on my couch. I'm not really close to any businesses in town that provide wireless access so I'm assuming it's a neighbor's service. Do I use it? Do I inquire with my neighbors and let them know I can access their unsecured internet? Do I hope it's a business and just pretend that I'm clueless? Though already having copies of the second season of LOST sort of shows that I'm not clueless when it comes to computers. I've discovered the wonderful world of torrents and am almost caught up to the episodes they're showing on TV.

Oh, this is a knitting blog? Surprisingly there has been knitting. I've almost completed the orange socks FINALLY. I'm very excited to start some Baudelaire's with this gorgeous yarn I bought in Sioux Falls the other day. It's Wildfoote in the colorway Blue Blood Red. The internet gives it no justice. The depth of the color is amazing and it's so soft and sproingy. I'd also love to start Mon Petit Chou but neither of the yarn shops I went to on my trip this week (for work, to SD) had Cascade Fixation. I'll have to order online.

Boy, this entry is really spastic or something. I meant to just write about my laptop and the awesome yarn shop I went to in Sioux Falls, Athena Fibers. I also wanted to mention that I went to one other yarn shop on my trip that shall remain nameless because I was taught not to say anything if you don't have anything good to say. Athena Fibers though, you should go there if you're ever in Sioux Falls. The staff was fantastic, the yarn was gorgeous, and the house it was in was really neat.

I'll try to post some pictures next week after the hullaballo of my best friend's wedding this weekend. And I'll try to be more coherent then too. Have a great weekend!


Friday, June 30, 2006

I'm still alive. This week has me holed up on the couch watching LOST every night, hence the title today. I'm only halfway through the first season and I know I'm hooked. Don't leave any spoilers in the comments! Is anyone else as eerily aware of how Stephen Kingish the whole series is? Only better because the acting is great and the budget is, seemingly, much larger than a Stephen King movie or TV shows would be?

I have been busy though. My best friend's wedding is coming up quick so there have been shopping expeditions and dress fittings and mother-in-law crises. A few weeks ago I painted my living room and crossed it off my list of things to do this summer. The curtains for Kurt's room still aren't done yet though... And there are no pictures of the living room because they're awfully fuzzy. Maybe another day.

There are a few pictures of a fibery adventure from a couple of weeks ago with my friend Jenna. Jenna was going to teach a Koolaid dying class but didn't end up with enough participants so we dyed yarn at my house. Thanks again for the yarn, Jenna! Here it is pre-fruitiness:

Kurt basting in blues...

Jenna hard at work with her purples and greens.

Me wringing my yarn in my new geek glasses.

And an arty picture of the finished skeins.

I'm very happy with the darkness of my black cherry red but I'm disappointed that it didn't completely saturate through. There are a few white spots within the red and I'm thinking of overdying it one of these days. *scoffs* Uh-huh, when I have time. The other color I used was easier to come up with than I thought but I didn't think to write down the flava's. Oh well, maybe it's the yarns destiny to be a little splotchy.

Jenna's green and purple and natural yarn is just lovely and I can't wait to see what it'll look like knit up! And Kurt's blues are really pretty too. I mean, manly and um, handsome! He'll have some bright-ass socks from that stuff. That is, if I'm ever able to knit socks again. I'm STILL working on the orange ones. A few rows every few days. The painting really flared up my wrist again and I've had much computering to do at work lately. I'm almost ready to just give in and go to the doctor but it seems very pointless since I don't have insurance or money for additional testing or surgery, if needed. I just need to continue resting the wrist and then not get to this point again.

Okay, long enough post for now. My garden is gigantic but no pictures today. I'm also not sure this is my return to "regular" blogging but I thought I'd check in. I'll continue to read and comment on your blogs though!

Time Out

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Some of you may have noticed my early summer break here. It started because I wasn't knitting much. My dad had given me a new lawn mower, a "real" one much louder, heavier, and stinkier than my beloved rotary mower. The mower worked fine but something about it caused some pretty bad wrist pain. I used it again this weekend, trying to be careful about how I moved my hand but the pain is back. Stupid wrists.

So that's what started the break from knitting, hence the break from my blog. Then last week my grandpa had another respiratory "event", as the doctors call it, and this time there were more complications and he passed away on Friday. He was ready and had prepared for the possibility in the previous weeks but it is still a difficult time for all of us.

Since I'm still not knitting much and not really in the knit-blogging mood you can expect another bout of silence here but hopefully I'll be back fairly soon. Kurt will be taking on the duty of mowing the front and very back lawns with the new mower and I'll take the middle once I sharpen the blades on the rotary. We'll both take time to remember grandpa and get back into the swing of our own lives and meet you back here in awhile.

Par for the course

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's spring. Life has not let up for about two weeks but instead of being stressed out and unhappy and crabby it feels great! In spite of being sick most of last week (stupid spring colds) I finished the fence for the garden.

It is certainly bunny-proof after burying the chicken wire down about 4 inches. And a good thing too! Here are a couple new additions to our backyard:

If I didn't have that fence up I would be blistering with hate for those cute little bunnies because they would already be eyeing the lettuce that just sprouted the other day. As it is, I think they are the cutest little fluff-balls ever to grace my back lawn.

Once the fence was up I scrambled to get the garden planted and in the haze of sickness last weekend I finished. I don't have a picture of it all planted but here is one of the not-so-fancy gate I built with it's tomato-in-a-pot lock.

Those are strawberries behind the gate and, believe it or not, we ate our first strawberry last night! There were a few tiny ones starting when we bought the plants and I had to leave a couple to grow (even though I should have nipped them all off to make the plants work on root growth instead of fruit production) and they're just ripening now. Soooo delicious!

And finally the knitting. I have been knitting! In between all the gardening, end of school stuff, work, and reading I've been knitting a simple toe-up sock.

Toiling in the garden...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Did I say I would post a picture in the beginning of the week? I meant to say the complete last day of the work week.

The problem was that I finished Monday evening and the first pictures I took were crap. Then it rained all week so there was no sun to take a good picture in. Yesterday I took a few when the sun peeked out from behind some clouds so they're still not the best but much better than what I had before.

So, what do you think?

I love it. It's one of my sort of reproductions. I just wrote a mini-rant in my other journal about it so I'll just suffice it to say here that I try not to do exact reproductions. I don't think Van Gogh would like that. He probably wouldn't like my version either but maybe he would be flattered that I would want to try. Or he would slap me upside the head and tell me to go outside and draw my own pictures of flowers. Uh, I'm rambling again.

So the to-do list is a bit shorter. I've finished this, started Kurt's curtains, and begun clearing out and tilling up my garden with my good ol' Garden Claw. Okay, actually it's practically brand new but I love it so much that it already deserves the "good ol'" title. I also put up fence posts for my chicken wire fence to keep those rascally rabbits out and off my lettuce this year.

AND I started a new sock. No picture, sorry. It's a toe and about 10 more rows. It's burnt orange Knitpicks Essential, plain stockinette, 52 stitches on size one DPNs. The actual color is Pumpkin but it's deeper than a pumpkin orange.

This weekend: more gardening. Have a good one!

Work, work, work until you die...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Today has not been a good Work Day. Not that anything bad has happened, I just haven't been able to focus. It's hard to sometimes when you know there are exciting things just on the horizon but you're still stuck in dull and drab grant proposal writing hell. Good thing the day is almost out.

There is fun stuff in this entry though! It's not just full of complaining! Quick, look, a picture!

Pattern: Modified Rib and Cable Socks from Interweave Knits, Fall 2005
Yarn: Knitpicks Essential, two balls (with much left over)
Needles: US 0 Takumi Clover bamboo DPNs

Yes, I modified the pattern to toe-ups because I love them. The socks turned out great and comfy and wonderful except that when I don't have shoes on they feel a little scratchy. Hopefully they'll soften up after a wash. The only other item of note is the small needles. Holy crap these socks took forever and I blame it all on the small needles! I love the way the tiny stitches feel on my feet but my wrist and patience just cannot take them again (anytime in the near future anyway - never say never). I'm really itching for some Regia sock yarn and Size 2 needles again. REALLY itching for them. But I might just settle for some more Knitpicks I already have and... damn, I have to finish the cabled gloves before I can use my 2s. Well, at least now we know what knitted item I'll be blogging about next!

In other news, I have literally laughed out loud, at this blog which I found through Heidi's blog, which I almost feel guilty reading because it's in diary format with no comments section but it's too damn hilarious to be private, plus it's addicting as hell so there. Whew, that's a long sentence. Go read Mimi Smartypants, she's the new Erma Bombeck.

While wasting precious time at work today (and berating myself for being a slacker), I also got itching to start my garden like Right Now because this blog, which is an offshoot of Farmgirl Fare. Her idea of salad greens has given me an entirely new outlook on salads.

And last, but certainly not least, I've gotten some work done on the poppy picture. In fact, it's almost done and I can't wait to show it to you! Next week, I promise.
For now I'm off to finish some work so I can go buy gardening supplies. Huzzah!

What's the connection?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Have you ever wondered just how many of those knitter's out there are scientists? The Keyboard Biologist is a bioinformatician (read: one type of scientist), many might know that The Bookish Girl is an environmental scientist, and even Grumperina is a science geek. If you're like me, embarking on an adventure of returning to college this fall for a potential science degree, you might wonder these things. Thankfully, there is the ScienceKnits webring.

But what is it about science and knitting? I mean, all kinds of scientists? Have you SEEN how many library science knitters are out there? Here I always thought that I was an anomaly. I love analyzing and research and reading and just thoroughly geeking out. But I'm an artist. I've been involved with art in some form for as long as I can remember (drawing bunnies in church as a 4-5 year old). I've always leaned toward the arts, including majoring in art at my first attempt in college. Surprisingly, to me anyway, I realized in my mid-twenties that the reason I had been focusing on art and never knowing what the hell I wanted to do with an art degree (not teach, not own a business, not sell my art) was because art was what my mother really valued of my talents. So I promptly dropped out of college. Insert angst, cross country moves and then.... social work? How did I end up here? I ended up here because when I would produce art in my formative years everyone, not just my mother, exclaimed what a great artist I would be someday. Huh.

Why not science? (And this is the part that really boggles my mind.) My chemistry teacher in high school was a slightly less tall version of Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and bored me to sleep.

So I quit chemistry and never thought about science again* until recent years when I've noticed a trend in the types of things I geek out with online. Discovery Channel news, Science Daily, studies, statistics, nutritional science especially. It's been about a 2-3 year process for me to realize that my personality and interests for a career really lie more along the science part of me than the art part of me. I like art. I make various forms of art all the time in my free time: knitting, drawing, baking, cooking, embroidery, sewing, etc. But would I want to do any of those things as a job? No way. It would ruin it for me. I'm not a business person and I have no business sense.

So I did what any self-respecting, analytical, going-back-to-college, geeky, late twenty-something would do: I took a career test. Not one of those online jobbies, though I have taken my share of those, but a real honest to God career test. The Campbell Interest and Skill Survey at my college's career exploration center. For once, I was completely honest in all the answers. Do you want to read stories to children as a job? No freaking way. Do you enjoy working with people on a one-to-one basis? Not even a little bit, and I don't even feel bad about it. Okay, I feel a little bit bad since, you know, I *do* work with people occasionally at my present job but it's one of my least favorite parts and I'm being honest here dammit!

Would you enjoy working as a scientist in a research lab? Why yes, yes I believe I would.

*Except that Biology course I loved and aced in my Freshman year of college. Get a clue, Katie?

Spring Fever

Monday, May 01, 2006

It’s Spring now. As much as I hate to admit it, I am the type that will go through the house top to bottom, cleaning and purging it of the CRAP that’s accumulated over the winter. It’s like it’s impossible to really clean in the winter time. It’s too dark, too depressing, and too cold. I haven’t started digging yet but I’ve been thinking about it for weeks already. Gotta work up the gumption. In going through the house in my mind (because really I’ve just been too lazy to actually go through it yet for real) I’ve come across several UFOs. Not of the knitting variety though. These are projects I’ve put off because of my knitting, more likely. It’s just so much easier to pick up a sock and sit my butt on the couch and knit than it is to say… dig out my tablet, oil pastels, shading tools, and some sunlight to finish this Van Gogh reproduction I started for my living room last summer.

Or, in the case of sewing in an unheated front porch, of digging out the fabric, measuring, cutting and sewing the curtains for Kurt’s bedroom. Even though the reason I wanted to put curtains up in his room was to help keep the drafts down this past winter. Yeah, whoops. I missed that one by oh, about six months.

There’s also the new bedspread and curtains I’ve been meaning to make for my bedroom ever since I painted it last spring.

And let’s just not mention the curtains I made for the dining room immediately after we moved in but never finished embroidering... three years ago.

If last summer taught me anything though it’s that I can’t knit with cotton. Not unless I want to spend my sunset years watching other old ladies knit and crying inside because I screwed up my wrists while not finishing other perfectly wrist-friendly projects during my summers. My goal then for summer: finish all unfinished projects and a couple unstarted projects as well. I’ll keep something on my needles all summer, of course. I can’t just let knitting go for months at a time, I’ve proven that with my few day cave-in a few weeks ago, but I’ll keep the projects small, portable, and quick.

Surprise Recruitment

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Yesterday a business associate (and previous co-worker and office mate) and I were talking regarding a new client and as we finished up the "work" stuff she exclaimed, "Hey, you knit!" and proceeded to ask if I could help her with her first project. Could I?? Whoa, how fun! So she brought her knitting over last night. Her mother-in-law is actually teaching her to knit and had given her homework: she was to finish 8 more rows on a baby blanket she's making for her up and coming babe. The problem: a hole. It was an easy fix, a dropped stitch which she had carefully marked with a paper clip, and once fixed we settled on the couch to knit and talk.

We talked and caught up and laughed and had fun. I realized she had learned to increase unintentionally which was causing some wacked out stitches to show up (knitting an M1 in the front of the stitch instead of the back). It seems whenever she couldn't decide whether a stitch had been dropped or not she would just pick up and knit whatever was hanging there.* I was just cracking up! And she wondered why she kept having extra stitches at the end of a row! Too funny. So I taught her to decrease and tried to help the best I could. New knitters confuse me because I second guess the advice I'm giving. She kept saying what a pro I was and an expert and just giving me a lot of guff - this in between her cursing at her knitting, calling it a wanker and exclaiming "pisser!" when she messed something up. I've missed that (she left our office about a year and a half ago for a new job but we still work together for one project.)

Anyway, expert schmexpert. We fixed all of her mistakes but I realized belatedly that I had really screwed up my own knitting! I forgot to start the cables on the back of the sock after the heel so I tried picking up that row but got frustrated so I pulled my needles out. Yes, I pulled my needles out, thinking if I had them out of the way it would be easier to pick up the row. Uh-huh. But I was still frustrated so I frogged back. *groans* Frogged back to the row, on Size 0 needles, thinking I could pick them back up without dropping stitches 1 or 2 or 3 rows lower. Fuck, I am an idiot. The sock declined to be photographed in it's current mangled state.

Expert. Pshaw.

*It does not help that she's using some sort of soft, fluffy, boucle-type yarn for the blanket. Her first project, did I mention that? *I* can't even tell which are knits and purls!

What are you listening to?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

This is too fun. Susan posted one and I saw through her link that Beth has as well. I love it. And you guys have great taste! Or maybe I just have great taste in picking knitblogs to read. ;)

So what's everyone else listening to?

Create your own Music List @ HotFreeLayouts!

Note: the MXPX is Kurt's and we've been listening to it at suppertime for a couple days. Not that there's anything wrong with listening to MXPX.