Monday, December 31, 2007

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

It's that time of year again, when we all reevaluate ourselves, our goals, and (hopefully) our achievements. I am no different, so I'll have at it once again.

First let's look back to this time last year, and what I said I wanted to accomplish...
(inserts Wayne's World sound effect here)

"Next year I hope to meet more new people ( a given), go new places - maybe Vermont, and keep learning new things. I want to really master color work - specifically fair isle, but also insertia, continue on the lace quest - doing hard things involving grafting and fancy mitered edges, and finally conquering the scarf for DH. (I will do it!!) I'd also like to take a class about wig building and attend USITT.
2007 will bring my 10th Anniversary, a milestone birthday, and the demise of a credit card bill that has been looing forever.
Bring it on!"

I didn't make it to Vermont, but I did attend my first Yankee's game! I really think I have mastered Fair isle, but I haven't done anything with Intarsia. My lace quest is still underway, but I have yet to conquer that damned scarf. No wig class or USITT, but the anniversary and Birthday went off with out a hitch! And the credit card went away! Pretty good I think!

This year I designed and guest lectured at Yale, got to scene design (i don't get to do much of this), moved into a much better apartment, joined a gym, learned more than I ever wanted to know about my kidneys, and attended Rhinebeck! I also witnessed the passing of my Paternal Grandpa, two uncles, and out beloved cat, "Pittsburgh" which were definitely not a joyous events, but rites of passage none the less. My Brother graduated from college and the other brother was elected "Mr. Ship 2007". DH and I moved up another technology step or two again this year, which has been awesome! Knitting wise, 2007 brought about the advent of the yarn wall(!), saw an increased color work, sweaters, and lace production, as well as an occasional glimpse of pattern writing. I totally mastered Entrelac with the Forest Path Stole, Participated in the MS3, SotS, NaKNiSweMo, Socktopia, and am still working on the Mystic Waters KALs.
I want 2008 to be the "year of peace". Of course I want world peace - don't be silly - but I really want to strive to be at peace with myself. We care all critical of ourselves in some way, I just want to try to minimize the criticism I lay on myself. I get enough of that crap from other people at work. To that end, I will try to go to the gym regularly, and therefore feel like I am making progress on my physical outlook. I will take better care of my kidneys. I really want to start evaluating why I choose to do things. I want to choose events to attend, projects to design, and even what to eat for dinner based on what I want, not on what I'm expected to do. My 2008 goal is to be happy in my skin and thankful for having the skin to be in.
Part of being at peace will be to keep learning and experiencing, like always. When I "pull up the learnin' stool" this year I want to come away with at least one Intarsia project, finish poor DH's Sweater of Doom, enter a lace piece in a fair, and learn to use the weight machines at the gym. I still want to go to Vermont. I want to continue to develop existing friendships and maybe create some new ones. Maybe this year I'll cross to the dark side and try spinning on a wheel!
There will be challenges in 2008, to be sure. There always are, but I hope to be better prepared for them. I'm going to approach these challenges - both personal and professional - with the clear head and resolve of someone who has looked mortality in the eyes and said "fuck you!". I will help all my friends and family to do the same, as often as they will allow me. Hopefully then, the happy bits will out way the sad bits, and 2008 will be a really good year.

All together now, "See ya' 2007! Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back from Christmas!

Hello! It's been a while, and boy was it an exciting while! Christmas is always an...interesting experience. This year was not disappointing in that way.

Our Holiday Adventure started with a 4 hour drive. Thankfully we didn't end up on an inhabited island with a coconut radio. Honestly, the drive was uneventful. I suppose because we didn't leave the Haven until 8pm, we hit no traffic at all. Sweet.

Saturday was my middle brother's Graduation party. He is now in the work force, doing his electrician thing. I couldn't be prouder of him. What an accomplishment. DH and I were in charge of setting up the party for him. No problem. Grocery Shopping the Saturday before Christmas? Fine. Visit relatives that we always have to visit. Cool. walk the dog. Wait... what?! I don't do dogs. DH had to do that part. I just don't do it. The party went off with out a hitch, and we had a great time.

Sundays tend to be a rough start in my family. Mom and Dad go to church every week, but in at least 20 years, they haven't been on time more than a handful of instances. The new pastor sucks, IMHO. Anyway, that's another post entirely. We spent alot of the day on Sunday hanging out round the house, visiting with more people, and generally relaxing. It was a quiet as things ever are in my family. Then Aunt Judy called. she was flying to Colorado to see my Cousin Matt. He flight was cancelled due to wind in Chicago. So Aunt Judy came and spent the night. It was good to see her, even if it was totally unplanned.

Christmas Eve was a bustle of activity, including running to the grocery store. again. Mom and I made 11 pies, boxed up 10 boxes of cookies, and pre-prepared as much of Christmas dinner as we could - all before going to Grandma R's house for a get together. I love Grandma R. She is definitely my favorite grandma, but her party is a dreadful experience every year. My Mom's Brother and Sisters, and families, are weird. All of them. The whole room is uncomfortable, and oddly creepy. They all just stare at each other. I'm pretty sure none of them like any of the others. If you wrote a movie about them, no one would believe it. The critics would say the characters were unbelievable, and that no one is really like that. Also, don't get me wrong, I am not ungrateful, but Grandma really has to stop buying me presents. A card and a hug is all I need. I know she tries to get me things I like, but a light up, musical, floral arrangement in a hurricane lamp is not my style. At least it is a funny thing to talk about in the car on the way to Christmas eve service.

After another round of Churchin' up, we go home and set the table for Christmas day, get out all the platters and silver, prep as much food as possible, then at about 2am we open our gifts. We started this about 5 years ago. it's awesome. we open gifts until about 3:30, then put the turkey in, go to bed, sleep in, then get up and finish dinner. Much better than getting up at the butt crack of dawn to open presents, all while wondering if the relatives are going to show up obscenely early and ruin everything.

Speaking of presents! I got knitting stuff!

That is Misti Alpaca lace yarn baby! Dh rocks!

And this is Valley Yarns Franklin in Twighlight, and Fiesta Ballet sock yarn! He rocks again!

And books! Still rockin'!

ANd Needles! Completely rockin'!
Wait there's more... he also got me a WEBS gift certificate, and the Knitting pattern a Day calender!

My Mom got me this... Cute! a CAPaccino! I have no idea why it is sideways.
I got a lot more presents - music, dvds, chocolate, electronics... it was an overwhelming holiday for me.
Then we had a great dinner. I would have liked to stay longer, but we had to drive back for work. It was sad to leave so early, but at least we got to visit some. And we had another Christmas miracle - no traffic at all of the way home!

Bless us, every one!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wow. That was Easy.

Those Staples easy Buttons can drive a gal nuts in the office, but the sentiment is appropriate in this instance. These are a quick and super easy project!

Presenting Vine:

Pattern: Vine, from
Yarn: Jeager Alpaca, yet again
Needles: Knit Picks Fixed Circs, size 3
Notes: Fast fast fast knit. and Easy easy easy too. I made these cuties for my Grandma R. She is now of the age where she will tell you if she doesn't like something. No "thank you" and move on. Who knows if she'll like them, but they were fun to make. So much fun, in fact, that I am making another pair for my mom in the angora I bought a few days ago. The only note I would place on the pattern is that the palm side of the mitts has you do a "pattern round" then two plain rounds, while the top of the hand is a "pattern round" followed by only one plain round. Therefore, you have to pay a *little* attention to what row you are doing, but you quickly find the rhythm, and frankly, they are so small and quick, it's not hard to do a little counting to see what row you are on. The gloves come out tiny - by warned. I have a whole family of small handed people, so I'm not worried about them fitting, but if you have a larger hand you might want to consider knitting with sport weight yarn and size 4 needles to size them up. Also, this is a great 'jumping off" pattern. Using a stitch dictionary, and a lace pattern that will come out nice in 30 rows, you can easily swap out the lace part to make lots of these to suit the tastes of many people.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

ok chill out.

I know I lied, and there is no FO picture of the Upstream Socks. Corrine tried them on, and wore them last night, but I didn't get a picture. Oops. Hey, but they fit, and she loves them. Can't ask fr more than that!

Yesterday, because I deserve a break every now and then, I did some shopping for me. I bought a skein of the new Noro Sock yarn! How cool is this!

All the Noro goodness, in a sock yarn. I am smitten... even if it is hand wash only.

I also picked up a skein of Angora Extra to make my Mom some quickly mitts. There is no way her purse will be finished, so mitts it is. Last night I finished(ish) Holiday shopping, baked a pie, and made cookies for Thursday. I only had about another hour in me, but I managed to make all but the thumb of one mitt.

These are going to be for Grandma R. (Yes, it is more of the Miracle of the Macabees yarn. I am now up to a sweater, a shawl, a pair of mittens, a hat, and these mitts. And I'll still have a skein when I'm finished.) If I had two hours to put together, when I wasn't dead on my feet, I could most likely knit a pair in an evening. I'm crossing my fingers that I have a little time on Wednesday night and Thursday night to knit, and to finished my gifts! dude, and to wrap them. Ugh.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

An update tomorrow.

I finished the socks I've been working on. I will have pics tomorrow! I managed to finish all but 22 rows before the Birthday Party on Friday Night. Damn. But, I still wouldn't have had them blocked, so I suppose it didn't matter anyway. I gave her a card with a quick baby size sock in it. She knew what my "hint" was, and cannot wait for the gift tomorrow. In fact, I'd be surprised if she doesn't search me out so she can try them on! (This is the part where you cross your fingers for me. repeat: "They will fit! They will fit! They will fit!)

I'm now slogging through the end of the bag. I am not going to get the second bag or the lace project finished. Aunt Helen will understand, as I don't usually exchange a gift with her, and she had no idea I had planned the gift. But, now I have to come up with something for my Mom. (eep) I still haven't finished shopping for DH, Brother 1, Brother2, even started on my dad, and now I have my Mom to deal with! Crappers!

Have I wrapped anything? HA! Right.

Work continues to eat my soul. If I am not in jail for murder, and still employed on MLK Day, consider it a miracle. I am *this* close to actually punching a few people, and if I start the fists of furry up, there is no stopping. Maybe all the "Soul Caliber" really did leach into my system. (Violent video game, for those of you not into such things) I found myself day dreaming of telling my designer off, and where she can stick it, today in the shower. Wait, is stabbing someone with knitting needles Assault or attempted murder? Just asking...
the stress may be getting to me.

You know how little kids make a "countdown to Christmas" calendar? Yeah. I need a Countdown to opening Calender. Every show is frustrating and a challenge in its own right, but this one is the worst. Maybe if I tick days off it'll go faster. Although, that could be a bad idea. Last week was only a week, but I swear a month went by. I swear it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

bear with me

I am off of sick leave, and back to uber busy status. Blog posts will be short, and probably few. Sorry.

I am still working on the bag, in fact, I am almost finished with the knitting part!
Last night I knit the whole gusset on the second Upstream sock.... WRONG. Ripped it out. perfect waste of a wee bit of found knitting time. Damn. So I stayed up later than I probably should have to break even. I didn't quite get there, but I did get almost half reknit before I couldn't knit another stitch. I don't think I am getting finished with them for Friday, the day of my Friends Birthday Party.


I can hear my SnB peeps. They think I can do it. Normally, I wouldn't be so quick to give up, but, as I eluded to earlier, I'm crazy busy. And on top of the regular work busy, I took on another design project. I think I've lost my mind. At least it doesn't dress until the end of January. That is what I am supposed to be doing instead of blogging. I guess i better get to it!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Here we go a waffling...

I love Christmas in some ways, but I hate, and I mean HATE the onslaught of Christmas music. I don't mind a little holiday music the week before Christmas, but I get over it really quick. It doesn't help that every commercial on TV uses said music too, making it impossible to escape. Tonight I heard "Here we come a Wassailing" like 10 times. I decided that it would be better as "Here we come a Waffling".
I understand the idea of "wassailing". Riding around in a sleigh w/ all your friends, drinking warm spiced wine at each others houses. In principle, this is my kind of evening of entertainment! However, horses smell - an necessary part of riding in a sleigh; it's cold this time of year, and sleighs are not heated - not to mention the drunk driving charges; and lastly, wine makes me blow chunks. (really one glass and I'm sick. Beer and hard liquor are cool. FYI)
Now think about this: Driving house to house w/ your friends, eating waffles. Of course there would be drinking - don't be crazy! But all that bread to soak it up! And waffles are yummy. And no horse smell, or cold to deal with. Drunk driving charges are still your own dumb fault.

just sayin.

I am making progress on the bag. Slow progress. It is knit at a really tight gauge, and therefore is rather hard on the hands. I have to put it down often, lest I get a tragic knitting injury. That cannot happen! I still have a lot of Holiday knitting to get finished!

Sock #2 is starting the gusset increases....

oh, and just cause, I picked up some more sock yarn. It is another I've never tried, which was the reason behind the purchase.

It is Ranco, by Araucania in color #103. pretty....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Care package

I have a friend that keeps reappearing in my life. T was an undergrad when I was in Grad school at MSU. She graduated and moved off into the big bad world. I graduated and moved to Arkansas. After three years in the "asshole of the country", I moved to CT, and to my current job. T was working at the same place! We reconnected famously. We went knitting, and yarn shopping, and to SnB. We hung out, went to parties - you know, Girl Stuff. Then T went on to another phase of her life. She decided to go back to school, and take a new path in life. I was, and still am really proud of her. She moved form one male dominated field to an even MORE male dominated field. She is one semester from graduating, and already has a job lined up. She is funny, pretty, and Midwestern - and therefore cares about everyone she meets. I read her blog, and we occasionally talk on the phone, or go to the same "get-together", but it's not the same as living in the same place, or working at the same job. Even though she lives in Boston, and is soon moving to Maryland, I know we will cross paths again. Until then, we will keep in touch in what ever way we can.
Just as proof of T's unbelievable caring, I submit the care package she sent me yesterday:

Try not do drool on your computers, please. Included in the most wonderfullest package ever is a crossword puzzle book, a giant pen for doing the crosswords, a book of fingernail tattoos, a book of educational stickers, a mini paint by numbers kit, a DVD collection of season 2 of Slings and Arrows, and YARN! When T was last living in CT I was pretty much exclusively knitting socks. In fact, I taught her to knit socks. She sent me sock yarn!

In case you can't tell from the first picture, it is Tofutsies! I love this yarn! and it's purple! She knows me so well. Crosswords, manicure supplies, stickers, art project, DVDs, and yarn.

It's good to have friends, both near and far.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Size ten's are huge!

I know I already said this, but DAMN! No offense to my big foot sisters, I'm just not used to it. I mean, come on! This can't be right!

They measure correctly, I swear! Maybe it's because the socks I knit for DH are about the same size, but much wider, therefore, more proportionally like mine.

I really hope they fit, cause I don't want to reknit them. I'm loving the yarn - it's got great shine, and no split at all. Frankly, I love the pooling too. I might be the only knitter that does like it, but at least I admit it.

I also cast on for a bag last night. I needed a size 0 needles break. I am only two repeats in, but it is going well. Slip Stitch color work is EASY! Why did I wait so long to try this?!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

makin' socks

That blog post title is funny if you say it a'la Rob Schneider from SNL. Or irritating, depending on your particular hatred of that era of SNL. At the time I hated it, but I think enough time has passed that I can enjoy it. Since I don 't have to see it every week, it is giggle worthy.
There is a bunch of songs like that. Ones that I DESPISED when they came out - "Ten" by Pearl Jam, for example. I can listen to it the twice I year I might hear it, and enjoy it, now that it isn't on every damn time I turn on the radio.
Cabling is sort of like that for me. I have to REALLY like the project, and the person for whom I am cabling. I have the ability, I have the time, I just don't always have the love. I can count my cable projects on one hand.
Why all the random thoughts? Well, dear readers, it's because I have stuff to show you, and some of it is rather random.

I have finished my Holiday gift for my employee and friend Trevor. They are in principal, arm warmers, but knowing Trevor, he'll find other ways to wear them that I haven't even considered.

Pattern: my own free form pattern arm warmers, called Trevors
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, Camel Heather and Claret Heather
Needles: Knit Picks Interchangables, size 8
Notes: You should know, I'm a planner. I cannot just let things "happen". In parts of my life I can just go "with the wind" as it were, letting the day unfold in front of me. Knitting is not really one of them. I read the whole pattern before I start, and make sure I understand ALL of it. It's a little obsessive, actually. Anyway, back to the Trevors. The total amount of planning I did when I started this project was to do some math. CO 40 stitches.
Then I started throwing patterns in. The first arm warmer has ribbing, seed stitch, cables, Stockinette, stripes, and picot edging. All textures Trevor loves. The Man lives for Texture.

The second Arm warmer was to compliment the first one, but definitely not match. That way they can be worn together, or separate. I knew I wanted the second one to be patterned, as opposed to textured. The other thing Trevor loves is traditional patterns - like hounds tooth, herringbone, argyle, and plaid. I did a bit of planning, I admit, because I needed to see if the stitch patterns would play nice together. This is what happened:

That is ribbing, Hounds tooth, mesh lace, argyle, and a shawl collar! At SnB I said that they would have everything Trevor loves in a sweater except a shawl collar. The response was, "why not put on a shawl collar?" Well, duh! And you can wear it rolled, or up.

Will I write a pattern for these? No, probably not. They are unique like Trevor, and should stay that way. Instead, I would say this to anyone who wants to knit a pair:
CO40 stitches. Knit until you are done.
do it again.

Now to the socks:
I cast on for a pair of socks for my friend, Corrine, on Friday. I am using the Master Upstream Pattern form New Pathways for Sock Knitters. This is my first time using the pattern. I didn't have any trouble following the pattern, but I did have trouble reading my gauge in my drug induced haze. Hence, the sock came out HUGE. Like "holy crap who's wearing that? Shaq?" big. I was almost done with the foot, and there was no saving it. so I ripped.
I am almost ready to start the "gusset" increases again.

I like the way the yarn is striping. It is Gypsy Girl sock yarn in color "scrimmage". It is really a perfect choice for Corrine. She is a MAJOR sport fan, especially football, and a Syracuse University graduate. I was originally going to make her Raven's socks - after the pro football team, but then I saw this yarn, and the name of the yarn. It was fate.
I plan to give these socks to Corrine for her birthday, on the 15th. A couple months ago she was commenting that she thinks my socks are so cool, and that she'd love a pair. I asked her what size shoe she wears. She was like, "REALLY? YOU'D MAKE ME A PAIR?" Well, yeah. I love Corrine, and she asked. I also know she will appreciate the time it takes to knit a pair. She is not a knitter, or a crafter in anyway, but she always has lots to ask about my projects, and is astounded at the time and technique that goes into it. Well deserving of a hand knit I think.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Dang. I got sneak tagged! I was reading "wife, Mom,Knitter"s blog, and she has up a Meme. And she tagged us who read it. So, now I, following blogger protocol, must also do the Meme. Not that I mind. I like these!
1. What are your favorite things to knit?
Socks and Lace. lace socks especially. This year I have also developed a deep lust for Stranded color work.

2. What yarn/fiber do you like most?
It depends on the project, but I have a few favorites I come back to again and again. Zephyr, Brown Sheep worsted, and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. I also like anything with Alpaca in it. I am an absolute sucker for alpaca.

3. What needles do you tend to use (i.e. type/material)?
Circulars almost exclusively. I love my Knit Picks interchangables and fixed circulars. I have the metal ones, but have asked for the harmony tips for Christmas. I will use the occasional DPN, but I don't even own straights.

4. Do you tend to knit more in one specific part of the year than others?
No, I knit all year long.

5. What style of knitting do you use?
Continental combination. But, I can knit plain continental, and really slowly in English if I have to = usually to show a technique to someone.

6. Do you consider yourself a “fast” knitter?
Others would say so. I think I am a speedy average.

7. Who is your favorite knitting author(s)?
Right now it is Joan Michael-McGowen.

8. What is your favorite by said author(s)?
I love the patterns on White Lies designs, so when Knitting Lingerie Style came out, I had to buy it. I plan to make nearly everything from it.

9. How long ago did you learn to knit?
I don't know. i really don't remember ever learning. At some point my Mom taught me, so I must have been a kid. I started knitting in earnest about 3 years ago, but it was always something I'd occasionally pick up and do.

10. How do you knit small in-the-round objects? (i.e. double points, 2 circulars, or the magic loop)
Usually Magic Loop, but sometimes DPNs, just for fun. I really don't like two circs.

11. What is the most useful technique you’ve learned so far?
Spit Splicing. It's cool, it works great, and it is slightly gross.

12. Do you prefer to knit fine gauge items, mid-range gauge items, or large gauge items, or do you like it all?
I do them all, but I mostly work in Fine and Mid gauge.

13. How do you like to knit your sweaters?
Any which way. In the round is awesome for knitting in the dark!

14.) Who do wish to tag? Hey, if you read this, you're tagged! Honor system!

Just a small update to end this meme....
I have completed the Trevors, I just need to block them. I also started a pair of socks for my friend Corrine. I am making a pair from Cat Bordhi's new bock, New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I'm using the "Upstream" pattern, and some yarn from Rhinebeck. Can't wait to show you pictures!