Friday, February 29, 2008

We interrupt this pity party to bring you...

...knitting content. I came very close to casting on something...anything this week, but so far I have kept to my pledge to wait until March 1st. (I say "so far" because it is February 29th, and it's only 6:10am, so I have a long day ahead of me.) When I joined with Tsuki in the whole "February is for Finishing" thing, I knew it would be hard, but I also knew I wanted to get several projects done before casting on for the Clapotis KAL.

Here is the pair of socks I finished yesterday. The yarn is dyed by the multi-talented Shelly Kang, and the colorway is "Mystery Mauve."
I kept this sock on the needles the longest this month because it was the "mindless knitting" pair that I could do in the car, at appointments, etc. I had to get an x-ray yesterday, and there was a screaming toddler that they were trying to get to cooperate for an x-ray (poor kid), so I had a bit of a wait, and almost finished the toe in the waiting room. Then what would I have done? Leaf through old magazines that who-the-hell-knows-how-many-other-people-have-leafed-through-with-God-knows-what-kind-of-diseases? Horrors! I am now officially without a sock-in-progress. This is the first time in at least 9 years that I have not had a sock on the needles, usually more like 3 or 4 socks. What are the symptoms of withdrawal?

The only project I have on the needles right now (which coincidentally I found on Shelly's blog--I told you she was multi-talented) is the mitred square blanket, a.k.a. "Old Faithful." Here is a glamour shot:

And here is a close-up of the bottom right edge.
I decided the blanket was too narrow, and added another 4 squares. That takes the width from around 38 inches to close to 51 inches. Much better. See that little white tag? I wrote instructions on how to join the new side squares to the "live" stitches on the existing blanket squares so I don't forget. In case anyone wants to know, on the right side, slip the last stitch of the new square, knit the live stitch from the blanket, and pass the slipped stitch over it. On the wrong side, instead of slipping the first stitch, I just go ahead and knit all stitches. This took me a shamefully long amount of time to figure out, but I think it makes an acceptable join.

The question is, will I have enough yarn to finish?

I think so, and even if I run low, tomorrow I'll be casting on at least one sock, probably two, maybe even three or four, so I'll have more scraps when they are done. My friend Patty Ann (who helped me with my very first sock) has given me her leftover bits of sock yarn, but the bulk of the yarn came from socks that I knit myself. I love that I can identify where every yarn came from, and know who ended up with the finished sock. It's like a scrapbook of my sock knitting.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"It's my party and..." well, you know

First things first, today is Dogs on Thursday. Here is a shot of Emma on the sofa, displaying her beautiful belly, begging for belly-scratches. I chose this photo for this week because Emma's belly was upset earlier in the week, necessitating a trip to the Vee-Eee-Tee. She got a needle in the butt, and two meds, and is thankfully back to her normal self. Have I mentioned how much I love my vet? I'm behind on blogging, reading blogs, and just about everything else in my life right now. It's been a crap-tastic week. Truly suck-ey. I won't go into details, mainly because I just don't have the energy to think about it right now. Suffice it to say that I am a stupid, stupid idiot, and my stupidity will cost me. Literally. The dollar amount is as yet unknown, but it doesn't really matter what it is, since I have no money, anyway. If it sounds like I'm having a pity party for myself, I am. Wanna come? I'm even having party food--last night it was cornflakes, BBQ chips, black licorice and chocolate pudding for dinner. Who says a vegetarian has to eat healthy?

Hmmm, I was going to wait until I was out of this foul mood before blogging again. I guess I should have waited a little longer. Or a lot longer.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snow Day (and February is for Finishing)

Yes, we had a snow day today in southern New Jersey. I truly do hate the stuff, but I hate it a teeny tiny bit less if it snows enough to close the museum, and I don't have anywhere I have to drive to, and if it is going to warm up enough in the next 24 hours to get rid of the cursed white stuff. I made good use of my found day in working on these:

This pattern is called "Cable and Lattice" from the Paton's "Classics in Kroy" pattern booklet #922, from 1998. I started these in January of 2005. Yes, in a mere 37 months, you too can make yourself a pair of these socks. Really, the pattern is easy to memorize, and there was a time when I always had a sock in this pattern on the needles. I can't count how many I've made. They're great for gifts, because they look a little fancy, and they're very stretchable, and will fit almost anyone. I don't know why, but I picked these up to work on one day and thought I would puke if I had to do another cable. Now that they're done, I'm itching to cast on another pair. Go figure! But I've been a good girl and am determined to refrain from casting on any new projects until March 1st.

Now for some cute fur-baby pictures. Aren't you glad I got a new camera? Emma and Tara aren't. They are embarrassed and mortified that I would stoop so low as to take pictures of them in their snow booties.

Emma is saying "Give me a freakin' break, would ya?"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dogs on Thursday...and more February is for Finishing FOs!

Happy Dogs on Thursday, everyone! Here is the lovely Tara modeling the latest fashion. The pattern is Asminah's Hat, and the yarn is Soy Wool Stripes from my SP11 spoiler Criquette.

Here is a better shot of the hat, along with socks made with more yarn from the lovely Criquette. Thanks, Criquette! Notice how she cleverly matched the colors in the yarn to Emma and Tara? How thoughtful!

Hmmm, what is that thing that the hat is sitting on for the photo? It's, Emma and Tara's treat jar! It was the perfect size to show the patterning in the hat. Emma is not 100% on board with using HER treat jar for photography.

She felt better about it after chowing down on some doggy cookies, though!

One more FO to is the Debbie Bliss Alphabet Blanket made from Knit Picks Shine Sport. In this photo it is blocking on some of those interlocking foam floor tiles.
Nine more days until I can cast on a new project. I like the fact that I'm knocking off so many projects that have been sitting around on the needles, but it gets harder every day to keep myself from diving into my stash and casting on about a pair of socks? They're small! No...I can do it. Nothing new until March 1st.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Snow is a Four Letter Word (plus a contest link),

That's right, it's snowing. Grrrrr. I guess I shouldn't complain, though. We got to leave work early because of that rotten stuff falling from the sky. It's hard to believe that two days ago the temp was in the 60s and we were out on the lake in the kayaks. Just my sister and I...not mom. It was still too cold for mom to venture out. It's a good thing, because a dark cloud came in over the lake and the wind started to blow and big raindrops were slapping the surface of the lake while we were out there. I think the temperature dropped 20 degrees in 10 minutes. I would show you the pictures, but, you know about the camera. Broken. [Big Sigh].

It's been less than a week that I have been sans-camera, and I couldn't take it any more today. I went out and bought an inexpensive (after the $50 rebate) Fuji digital camera. I'm still learning about it, but here is a shot of missy Emma in the S-N-O-W.

Tara wouldn't cooperate to get her picture taken. All she wants to do is eat the snow, which makes her have to pee, so we have to take her outside, and all she wants to do is eat the snow, which makes her have to you see where this is going?

Anyway, there is another contest floating around out there. Click on over to Donna's Knitting Gal blog and help her celebrate 1000 hits on her site! I'm off to read about the camera and try to get in a little bit of knitting in between taking Tara out to do tinky-winks.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

February is for Finishing (continued)

"February is for Finishing" is now half over, and what have I been doing with my time? Not casting on new projects, that's for sure. It's so hard to look at the projects everyone is working on not be able to start something new, but I have will power. So far.

The first FO for February are those dreaded orange & blue socks that needed my full attention while knitting. The pattern is called Celtic Spiral, and I found it here.

The second FO is also a pair of socks (surprise, surprise). The pattern is "A Step Above" by Kathleen Power Johnson from the Summer 2004 Knitters magazine.

I like doing entrelac, and this is the third pair I've made from this pattern, but I made a really poor choice of yarn. It doesn't show the entrelac at all. What was I thinking? All that work, and it looks like an ordinary sock. Live and learn, I suppose.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love is...

Happy Valentine's Day / Dogs on Thursday, everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Contest and a KAL

First things first: A Contest!

I've been a long-time fan of Nancy's blog: Days Go By, and want to spread the word about a contest she is having to celebrate her 300th post. Go on over to this post and see how you can enter, too. There are multiple ways to enter, one of which is to "share your favorite tip or trick you've learned to make something about knitting/crocheting easier." That's easy. The best thing I have come across are coil-less safety pins. (Make sure they are coil-less ones, because the traditional ones with coils get snagged in your knitting, forcing you to emit a stream of expletives.) You can buy small ones from yarn sites on the internet, or large ones from major craft stores in the "jewelry findings" aisle. I use the small ones as stitch markers or row counters, and I use the large ones as stitch holders. I'd show you some pictures, but my camera is broken. Did I mention that my camera is broken? Yep, broken. Very sad. Oh well...I can't think about that today...I'll think about that tomorrow.

Second things, well...second, I guess: A KAL

I read on Nichole's blog that she is joining a Clapotis Knit-a-long. I've had that pattern on my "must-do-someday" list for a long time now, and this is just the thing the force me to cast-on and give it a try. I know that just about everybody else in knitting blog land has already made it, but if you haven't, or if you want to make another, click on over to the Clapotis KAL site and join. I did!

No Pitchers Today...

No pictures, either. Sorry - that's a pet peeve of mine, "pictures" vs. "pitchers". Another one is "nuclear" vs. "nukular". You would think that He-Who-Masquerades-As-The-Leader-Of-The-Free-World would know how to pronounce "nuclear". Or by this time someone on his staff would tell him...send him a memo...something...come on, people!

But I digress. My faithful digital camera gave up the ghost this weekend. [Cue sad music] I therefore cannot post pictures of all the socks and hats and blankets that I finished this weekend. Darn the camera, because if not for that, you would be looking at a lot of finished objects right now. Well, maybe that's a little bit of a exaggeration. I did finish a pair of socks, but that's it. Pictures to come as soon as I borrow my sister's camera.

Which leads me to my own informal consumer survey. I can't survive too long without a digital camera, so I've got to make a decision on either getting mine fixed, or buying a new one. I have a Kodak V550 digital camera that is just over two years old. I never had any trouble with it. Until it broke, that is. Did I mention it is broken? [Cue sad music, again] Does anyone have a digital camera that they just love? Or hate? I want one that is easy to use, takes good pictures, and is cheap. That's all. Oh, and if Colin Firth were to deliver it to my door, that would be great. Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Ciaran Hinds...any of the above would be just fine. Anyway, I dread the thought of camera shopping. I have no idea what to look for in a camera. If anyone has any input--the good, the bad & the ugly--that would be great.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to the best mom in the world! I won't say how old she is. That wouldn't be right. But she is one year older than my dad. Three weeks ago dad turned 72. OK, you twisted my arm, mom is 73 years young today.

Here is a picture from a *few* years ago.

That's me in the basket, and mom is wearing a skirt while pedaling the bicycle. Very prim and proper. Never a wrinkle in her clothes (or ours)...never a hair out of place (or ours either if she could help it) was the most important thing. She sacrificed so much for us snot-nosed little brats ...little angels.

Lots of things have changed over the years, but mom is the glue that holds the whole family together. Her love is constant and unchanging. Even though I'm not a mother (to two-legged beings, anyway) she is my role model in so many ways.

Here are some pictures from last weekend. My sister S and I bought mom a tandem kayak. She can now go kayaking with us any time she wants, and she can just enjoy the ride while someone else does the paddling! How cool is that?

Look how happy she is! No way does she look like she's 73 years old, and she sure doesn't act like it!

She was so happy with her kayak that she wouldn't let us take it away to store it. She's making dad find a place to keep it at their house! It looks like dad made some saucy remark here, and is about to get paddled for it.
Off to find a storage spot in one of their out-buildings...and to dream of warmer weather and afternoons out on the lake...

Happy birthday, mom. I love you more than words can say.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dogs on Thursday

This morning, while the girls were enjoying a yummy breakfast, I happened to notice that Tara could use a little...sprucing up, shall we say.

What is going on with her feet? Can I get a close-up?

I think Tara has what can only be called "Hobbit Feet". Pretty soon I'll be able to braid that hair!
I think she is in need of a "Day of Beauty" coming up very soon. Both Emma and Tara know what B-A-T-H means, but have yet to catch on when I tell them that they are going to have a "Day of Beauty." Silly, gullible, girls!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

February is for Finishing (continued)

Excerpts from a recently overheard conversation with myself:

I hereby pledge that February is for Finishing. I will finish all of my WIPs in February.

Who are you kidding?

OK, I guess there is no way I can finish everything this month. How about this. My knitting this month will be limited to projects that are already on the needles.

Yeah, that's better.

Great, so I will not cast on any new projects in the month of February.

Except for socks.

NO! Socks are included in this ban!

That's cruel and unusual punishment!

Too bad. That's the way it's going to be. You have to learn to make a committment and stick to it. You will abide by this ban, and you will like it. And if you don't like it, tough!

Wow, what a &#@)*


So, in the interest of full disclosure, here is the list of my current (and I use that term loosely) works in progress (again, another term open to interpretation).

Debbie Bliss Alphabet Blanket that I found on Jennifer's blog. Still don't know the baby's due date, but I will get this thing done by the end of February.

Mitred square sock yarn blankie. I love this so much! I found it on Shelly's blog. I'm thinking I should have made it a little wider, though. I can't think about that today...I'll think about that tomorrow.

Soy Wool Stripes hat. The yarn is from my SP11 spoiler, Criquette (thanks again!) and the pattern was found on Ravelry

Emma and Tara colorway socks. This is yarn is also from my generous SP11 spoiler, Criquette, and I can't wait to wear these socks! Just a half of a foot and a toe to go!

Shelly Dyes Sock Yarn socks. Yes, the same Shelly from the mitred square blanket! She is an awesome mom to two little girls, and yet she still finds time to knit and dye yarn! I'm loving the way the colors spiral down the sock. Just a heel, a foot and a toe to go!

That's it for current WIPs, except for a super-secret project for a friend who occasionally drops by here. Shhhhh! These next three have been fermenting in my yarn cupboard, and I thought this would be a good time to bring them out and get the stink blown off of them ahem... let them see the light of day.

This is from the Summer 2004 Knitter's magazine. It is "A Step Above" sock by Kathleen Power Johnson. This is the third pair I have made from this pattern, but I made a really poor choice of yarn with this pair. You can't even tell, but the whole thing is entrelac. That's a lot of trouble to go to with a semi-solid yarn that just makes it look like any old sock when you're done. Not to mention that fact that I hate to do that type of heel, where you mark the spot with waste yarn, then come back and pick up the stitches later on and work the heel. Hate it. Absolutely hate it. I can't stress that fact enough. Oh well, just a half of a foot and a toe to go and then they would be done, so I really want to finish these suckers. Damn, forgot the heel. Did I mention that I hate that heel?

This pattern is called "Cable Lattice" and it's from the “Classics in Kroy” pattern booklet #922, from 1998. I've made about seventy bajillion pair of socks in this pattern, and then one day, half way through a pair, I decided I couldn't knit another cable or lattice or I would puke. If only that happened when I was a little closer to finishing the pair. Oh, well. Half a leg, heel, foot & toe, and then "Bob's Your Uncle"!

Now for the final WIP. These are not what I would call a mind-numbingly boring knit. In fact, I have to pay pretty close attention. In Ravelry, I've gotten five comments on this sock, and seven people have marked it as a favorite. I found the pattern for the leg & foot online, and am using the heel pattern from the “Sock Hop” book. I've really got to pick these up again and get working on them. Just look...they're almost done. Just a whole leg, heel, foot and toe. They're practically finished! Just another half hour of work, and viola!

Ha! More like a half YEAR of work, you moron!

Friday, February 1, 2008

February is for Finishing (and a meme)!

Tsuki of Tsuki's World posted about a Ravelry group she joined-- "February is for Finishing". What a great idea! Tsuki pledges to: "... not cast on, start crocheting, or even pick up my learn to spin kit, until I have finished what I’m currently working on..." Admirable. February is a short month, so I think I can do that, too! I don't have pics of all of my works-in-progress, so will wait and post about the details later on.

I will mention that one of my WIPs is a second Debbie Bliss Alphabet Blanket that I first saw on Jennifer's blog. It just so happens that Jennifer also recently tagged me for a meme. (How's that for a segue!)

Anyway, here goes. The rules (which must be posted to your blog) are:
Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog and also so they can look at your blog and not tag the same people all over again!

My 7 Random Things:

1) I don't like boats. Not at all. I think I finally realized why - you're depending on a mechanical beast (aka motor) to get you back to land. Motors break down, batteries die, etc. I don't like being further from land than I can swim. I'm a pretty good swimmer, (if you're not picky about technique) but I don't really want to be too far from dry land. Last summer I discovered kayaking, and now I'm hooked. It's still a boat, but no motor! Hooray! I figure there is no way I can be stranded somewhere, because if I got myself a certain distance from shore, I can always get myself back. (I realize there may be a tiny flaw in that logic, but I choose to ignore it.)

2) I play the harp. Badly, but I still play it. I took lessons for a couple of years. One night, on the drive home from a lesson, I found out that my precious Katie had cancer, and I never went back to another harp lesson. I'll pick it up and play every now and then, but never if there is anyone else in the house. I'm telling you, I'm really bad.

3) There was a point in my childhood where I wanted to be a nun. I knew early on that I never (ever, not ever, truly... never) wanted to have kids, so why not be a nun? Well, we were not Catholic, that's why! Who ever heard of a Baptist nun?

4) I cannot read a newspaper. Something about them makes me nauseous. The paper? The ink? Who knows. I can't even pick one up and carry it to the recycling bin to get rid of the filthy stinky thing.

5) I only like American cheese. Once in a while, if I am feeling wild and crazy, I might go for some mild Cheddar, or possibly Mozzarella. Swiss, Provolone? No way. How about Blue or Brie? Bleeck! Feta? Never! Don't even get me started on Parmesan!

6) I can't eat fresh fruit. I'm hyper-sensitive to the acid in them. Not just oranges & grapefruit, but apples, pears, strawberries, name it. Bananas are fine, but that's it.

7) My siblings conspired to kill me when I was young. My brother left the door to the cellar open when I was in my baby walker. I ended up hurtling down the cellar steps in that death-trap-on-wheels, and landed in a basket of laundry at the bottom of the steps. To this day, you can't convince me that he didn't do it on purpose - maybe even gave the walker a shove... A couple of years later my sister opened a brand new bottle of baby aspirin for me, and I ate the whole thing.
I don't remember the baby walker incident, but I wasn't quite 5 years old when I ate the aspirin, and I vividly remember laying on the front seat of the car with my head on my mother's lap, dad speeding us to the hospital, and then having my stomach pumped out. Nasty.

Anyway, I think this meme has made the rounds for a while already, but if you haven't done it, or want to do it again, consider yourself tagged. The one person I know who has NOT done it (since she is brand new to blogging) is my friend Pat from Patty Ann Quilts and Knits. So come on, Pat, give it a go!