Thursday, December 18, 2008

Introducing Ernie-Bert Mitts

As a kid, I loved Bert and Ernie, and as a kid, I said a lot of things wrong, as kids are known to do. I called my television friends Ernie-Bert, a fact of which I was reminded by my mom recently. In fact, she reminded me of it about the same time as I began whipping up a little striped number:

The stripes are Dream in Color Smooshy in "In Vino Veritas" and "Black Parade", and the combination reminded me of the striped shirts of Ernie-Bert. Thus we have the Ernie-Bert Mitts.

They're nothing very novel, a tube with a thumb gusset, basically, but they were created out of my head without reference to any other pattern and thus qualify as my own pattern. My first, I think. And I love them!

I'm going to type up the pattern, such as it is, in case anyone wants to try out a pair. They are perfect for using up leftover sock yarn, as they don't take much of either color. And the best thing is that they fit snugly so they don't shift around under long sleeves!

Pregnant Feet

Can you see where my shoes have been? The marks are from my handknit socks.

This is what afternoon looks like on the end of pregnant legs. So pretty.

"Logs on the fire fill me with desire."

Because of their slight yet imaginary resemblance to male body parts?

Because you're a pyromaniac?

Because some hot lumberjack cut them up for you while Bridges-of-Madison-Countying you last summer?

Because you are a dendrophiliac?

Who decided that these were good lyrics?

Why do they come back every year to bother me?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Worthwhile Way to Support the Economy

It's rainy or snowy, it's cold, it's the holidays, you have time off work (hopefully)-- I know you're not out doing free things like hiking or walking along the beach or swimming in your fabulous pool.

And while I know that you ARE counting your pennies, there are ways for us all to help, and I've discovered one that will benefit you too.


I admit, I saw it for free, and thus did not infuse the economy with my viewing-- BUT. Seriously. It's so good that if I could bet my pinched pennies on the probability of cinema teachers at major universities holding this film up as a gold standard, I would do it! I would march right over to my local deserted ScotTrade office and lay down my cash. This movie is fantastic!

Is it the writing? Yes. Is it the performances? Good God, yes. Is it the fact that the church in which I was christened plays Nixon's California home? A little (this might not work for you, though). Is it the subject matter? Absolutely. Is it the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike can find something worthwhile to enjoy and learn here? Yes. It is not a hatchett job. It is a beautiful portrayal of flawed men facing each other with their reputations and, essentially, their lives on the line.

You must see it. It is worth the $10. I would even dare say it is worth the $12.50 seats at the luxury theaters.

And get popcorn. 'Cause it's good, too.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We All Scream for Ice Cream!!!

Just called the doctor's office. I tested negative for gestational diabetes. Yay! One less thing to worry about! It's a good thing too, because it's that time of year when the world falls in love, and we get all kinds of treats from the specialists to whom we refer our patients. Glad I won't have to worry so much about resisting. :)

So, knitting. Remember knitting? Not to worry, there has been much knitting lately. A dead battery in the camera put a delay on my showing you, but I do have a few photos now... hang on while I upload them...

The Ellen Cowl (Ravelry link), which I knit for my hairdresser, was the first cowl I've made. These things are brilliant! I know I'm telling you something you probably already know, but hello stashbusting genius! Out of one skein of Malabrigo worsted (here in Apple Cinnamon), I was able to make one man's size beanie, this cowl and STILL HAVE SOME LEFT OVER!!!

I don't think you will be that surprised that I cast on for another cowl right away with leftovers from Mark's sweater (the one I did for Ravelympics). I am testing out the Herringbone stitch, which I really like so far. But I think I'll wait until it's finished to show you, since it shouldn't be long.

I also completed the left front sleeve and front panel of my Sunrise Circle Jacket, which you have not yet seen.

As Meatwad would say, "It is highly edumacationous for my brain." I love the shape of this, but I do find instructions like "(M1R, k32) 4 times" very difficult to keep track of... I've had to do a lot of recounting of stitches. With that said, though, I am up the sleeve and halfway across the semicircle of the right front. I might even be wearing this sweater by Christmas... maybe. The back is finished and blocked already, so I'm awfully close!

The brilliant thing about this sweater, I'm hoping, is that it will leave the perfect little space for the belly to show.

Here's the belly, 26 weeks down, 14 to go!

This photo was almost precisely one month after the previous, for comparison's sake. Most everyone is saying it's small for almost 6 months... I think it's pretty big, myself, and I've earned every last inch of it! I did have a chat with Zuul to see if he or she can help stretch it out a bit bigger for everyone, but we haven't worked out our "One kick means Yes, Two kicks means No" system very well yet. I wonder what 37 kicks and a roll means...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

How my work day started:

(Phone Rings)

ME: Goodmorning, Dr. Williams' office, this is Natalie.

CALLER: Are you sure you still want to have kids?

ME: Who is this?

CALLER: This is [uncouth caller of the day].

ME: (laughing uncomfortably) Well, [uncouth caller of the day], that's not a very nice question. I'm not sure I have much of a choice at this point.

Uncouth caller continues with the subject of her call, which involves the ways in which her son is driving her crazy, and how babies are cute but teenagers are a nightmare, and what time is her son's dental appointment again. I try to conduct the business at hand while she seems determined to besmirch the reputation of all offspring ever procreated, and then proceeds to apologize 4 or 5 times, making me uncomfortable enough to say the following, though I didn't mean it:

ME: Oh, don't be silly, I was just teasing you back. It's not the first time I've heard any of this.

When what I really wanted to say was:

ME: Perhaps you should have thought about what you were saying before saying it. Then you wouldn't have to apologize so much that it makes me feel like it's my fault for being insensitive to you in response to your insensitive question. By the way, I haven't had enough coffee yet, and you have now solidified my opinion that my pregnancy is the universal kryptonite to all decent human behavior.

People, I haven't even had my belly touched by a stranger yet. I fear for the safety of the world when that happens...

I might take a week off of being pregnant next week. Who do I see about that?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

See it. Love it.

"Lars and the Real Girl"

Don't let the life-sized love doll scare you away. This movie is all about heart and not about the other things the doll can do. Perfect for a quiet, lovely night in.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Crisp Breeze Blows Through Hell

The Barn Raising Quilt is now in ONE PIECE! What was once 64 pieces is now one... I'm amazed. I really have enjoyed the seaming process, which I didn't think I would. There are more than 128 ends to deal with, the issue of whether to make it bigger or not, the question of whether to back it with fabric or do a knit on edge... but the fact that it is in one piece... well, sometimes life is amazing!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Trove of Finished Treasures

I've been busy knitting, though based on my recent posts you'd never know it. I attended a baby shower this weekend (not for me), and felt that it was only appropriate to give the mother-to-be something made by my own two hands.

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Babies, I present to you the Nikau Hoodie (Ravelry link):

Nikau Hoodie by Justine Turner
Yarn: Dream in Color, Smooshy, colorway Black Parade (this photo is fairly true to my dye lot, though dye lots vary greatly)
Needles: US 2 and 3
Size: 12 month

It was a huge success at the shower, especially paired with a white thermal onesie and denim overalls. Knitting-wise, the pattern was worded a bit oddly here and there, and there are a few adjustments I'd make in the future to streamline the process, but over all, very cute! Also, I think a lighter colored yarn would show off the cable motif better, but I like the somewhat adult colorway for a baby knit. Baby blue is so overrated! ;)

I spent the last two weeks working feverishly on this and nothing else. Once it was finished on Friday, I couldn't wait to get my hands on ANYTHING ELSE! So first I finished this:

This one was a LOOONG time coming. I started it back in April... Oops. But now it is finished. I think if I were to do it over again, I'd use a slightly heavier sock yarn with a little more squish to it. This one, a Lisa Souza yarn that I can't identify anymore, rendered a very lacy, beautiful shawl-like outcome, but it doesn't have the squishy coziness that is so nice for a scarf... So while it's not quite an ideal match of pattern and yarn, it did come out so nicely. I'm really glad, too, to have it off the back burner and off my back.

Once that was done, I tackled the great layout challenge of 2008:

This was the most effective option I could come up with, and I have to say, I'm quite pleased. So far the upped and lower right quadrants are seamed up. I've been able to do the seaming, which goes quite quickly, actually, with about 95% pre-existing ends from the squares themselves. Only in a few spots have I had to dig up some of the leftovers to close up little isolated areas. Pretty good so far. I can't wait until it's all finished so that Senor, Zuul and I can cuddle up on a cool winter evening... if we ever get one! What is with this 87 degree weather in mid-November?! I hope that the weather and the brush fires cool down soon. Southern California is definitely baked enough, and much of it, too much! Hang in there People of the Ash and Smoke-- winter must be a-comin'!

A Pea in the Pod

Just because you have one doesn't mean you can shop there.

If you wear clothes in the vicinity of a size 10 or higher, save yourself the emotional wreckage of trying to shop at A Pea in the Pod. If you are at all sensitive about your size, they will only make you cry.

Burn in retail hell, Pea in the Pod!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Something Worth Showing

22 Weeks

Okay, let's hear it: Is it a boy bump or a girl bump? I guess you're supposed to be able to tell by the shape or height... beats me...

Of course, I'm not going to tell you if you are right or wrong, 'cause I'd have to know in order to do that... but lets take a tally and see what you think.

As of Sunday, maybe before, I should have a finished knitting project to show you as well. One that is definitely worth showing!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Emotional Times

Well, I can't let yesterday pass without comment, can I? I always choose to keep to myself my candidate of choice, so I will not be sharing which side of the battle I came into this on. My comments are purely based on outcome and my hopes for my country, which I love in a fundamental way that is always creeping out and leaking out my eyes when I least expect it.

I am proud that my child will be born into a world where anyone can achieve anything. I hope that he or she will grow up with that fact woven into the fabric of his or her life in such a way that perhaps the thought would never occur that such a thing couldn't happen. I hope that my child someday wonders why this was such a big deal. Because I do believe it is a big deal, but I don't believe that it should be a big deal ideally. Mr. Obama is just a person, as all of the other 43 presidents have been. I hope that my child someday sees that better than we all do.

I hope that Mr. Obama is able to pull this country out of the despair it has fallen into lately. I actually think the emotional reaction to the economic downturn is worse than the downturn itself and that a change of outlook would do a lot to mend the problems. Perhaps our new president will help us to find that new outlook.

I hope that McCain's supporters will not spend the next 4 years booing their president, as they did during McCain's lovely, respectable, generous concession speech last night, but will instead give Obama a chance. Let him earn his reputation by actual action, not by fear of possible actions. And if they never find a way to have faith in the man at the helm, I hope that they at least maintain faith in the structure of this country's governing system to keep them safe. I hope that the Bush supporters learn from how they have felt having an out-of-favor president, like their guy was never given a break, and try to show Mr. Obama some of the support and faith that Bush didn't get. I hope that all of the most outlandish of the Republican fears turn out to be resoundingly unfounded and that they will be able to acknowledge that they were wrong about these fears, assuming that they are wrong. I hope they are wrong. I would hate for them to be proven right.

I also hope that Obama's supporters will be gracious winners and acknowledge that there are people in this country, nearly half of the people, who feel very lost right now. I feel sad for those people, and I wish that we didn't have to go from one side feeling disenfranchised to the other. I hope that this doesn't turn into 4 years of waiting for the next change. Let's all together see what this change can do for us first. I suspect it will do less good than the Democrats hope it will, but I also suspect it will do more good than the Republicans are predicting, since they predict no good can come of it at all. It's easy to do more than nothing.

Mostly, I hope that we can all start to learn about each other, play politics by the Golden Rule a bit more, and maybe come out of all this conflict a bit wiser and more open-minded and more civil than we've ever been.

This is my wish for us. Regardless of who won, who lost, and who will win or lose in the future, this will always be my wish. We are one country, united, and whether we always like it or not, we could do better to act like it. I start with me by sharing my feelings here.

What do you wish for our country, and where will you start to make those things happen?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Meme for Me on My 30th Birthday

These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users. As usual, bold what you have read, italicize what you started but couldn't finish, and strike through what you couldn't stand. Add an asterisk to those you've read more than once. Underline those on your to-read list (I don't know how to underline, so I am going to put two dashes before the titles on my to-read list).

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina*
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
--Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Eyre*
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
--Middlesex (but only because I had to return it to the library)
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
--Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault's Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver's Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela's Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
--The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots, and Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northhanger Abbey
The Catcher In the Rye*
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakanomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence: An Inquiry Into Values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity's Rainbow
The Hobbit
--In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences (wasn't on to-read list until I read this list... sounds like my kinda thing)
White Teeth (I have this one. I don't know what to do with that information.)
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Thank goodness for lots of literature classes in school, or this list would be a lot sadder. The funny thing is that there are so many books NOT on this list that I am proud of having read... I'm sad not to see some of them on there. I don't know what this LibraryThing thing is, but I guess a lot of the books that I'm proud to have read, others are proud to have read, and that's why they aren't on this list. Hmmm...

(I haven't even heard of some of these books. Is that bad?)

So. Today I am 30. Haven't I been 30 for a while? Seems like it. I feel good today, and I feel good about being 30, and I feel comfortable being the birthday girl. Celebrate me, and I shall happily join you. Most years I feel a bit self-conscious about my birthday. Not today. Let's party!

Here's my best present this year (so far):

The photo's not much to look at, but we saw so many precious little things. Topping the list: The bottom of the baby's feet. Heaven. Wish we had a picture of THAT!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A collection a baby things

In honor of my next doctor's appointment tomorrow, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of the baby knitting I've done lately. I plan to knit like a mad person for old Zuuly after we know whether it be ruffles or applique footballs, but in the meantime there are certainly plenty of universally adorable projects to satisfy my mom-to-be needs.

For example:

The Pinwheel Blanket from Knitalong. When I first saw this the day I bought the book, I knew I had to make one.

It's knit in Pakucho Organic Cotton in the sage colorway, though it looks like regular old grey in real life. It is SOOOO soft and affordable. I got mine from I used size 8 circular needles and 8 skeins of Pakucho. I added the garter stitch edge to combat a bit of edge curling I saw going on as I started casting off the first time. Much better now. I don't have an exact measurement, but I'd say it's about 3 1/2 feet in diameter, big enough to wrap up an infant or to lay on the floor for a slightly older baby to play on. I love this project!

Back when Zuul was still a secret, I began exploring my post-Barn-Raising-Squares sock stash and came up with the perfect gender neutral colorways for a pair of hats:

These are both Handle by Larissa Brown (it's a Stitch Marker kind of day today). Super simple and fast and fun and adorable. The yarns are both Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in Watercolor (left) and Gold Hill (right)-- I think.

And what baby doesn't need a pair of these?

Baby Jaywalkers. There may be a pattern out there with the modifications for tiny feet, but I went on intuition and just cut down on stitch count. I forget now how many stitches per needle, but it's whatever total gives you three knit stitches between the kfb and the sl2k1psso. I hope that's clear. I think they are so cute! I think they should fit Zuul at around 6 months... but what do I know about baby feet... yet? The yarn is Claudia's Handpaint in Cabin Fever.

And here, finally, is the modelled photo of the Debbie Bliss Matinee Coat on baby Kelly:

It's a bit bunched up by the stroller, but you get the idea. One note from Kelly's mom was that she finds it difficult to get the second arm through because the join isn't stretchy enough. So perhaps a stretchier bind off at those locations would be good... or modifying the pattern to be a seemless join? I'm not sure I have the skills for that yet, but you might consider it if you do.

The yarn is Dalegarn Baby Ull (I think) in white on the top and Hand Maiden Casbah on the bottom-- I forget the name of the colorway. Sorry for being so vague... Miraculous to work with, though!! And both washable!!!

So that's that for now. I let you know how Zuul's ticker is working tomorrow!

The New "It" Sock?

I know there are some mega-popular sock patterns out there. I have knit a few of those myself. I would say I have two of the "it" socks. And I have loved them as you have. Oh the Jaywalkers! Oh the Monkeys!

But now I have to say quite emphatically OH THE FASCINE BRAID SOCKS!!! They are a newish pattern from Tiennie of TiennieKnits, and like Tiennie so often does with her knits, I plan to make multiples of these. They are beautiful! All the elegance of cabled socks without the cable hassle; a simple four row repeat that never seems to get boring; you can totally make mistakes and they don't really show (I like this in a pattern); a cute garter stitch detail at the sides of the heel flap; it's all very very good!!

You should try them!

And then when you do, try another pair!

I did have a bit of a mishap on the first picot edge...

See how my picots seem to be blowing in a stiff breeze? That's not supposed to happen. When picking up the cast on edge, I may have picked them up a few stitches to one side or another. I saw it happen, I knew I could fix it, but I chose not to. It illustrates the learning curve, which I have decided I think is beautiful in its way. Granted, on a sweater or something that would be much more visible and noticeable, I would have fixed a problem like this, but I consider socks a private project. And thus I allowed the mistake to stay. Besides, it makes the picot edge of the second sock look so much prettier:

I would love to see these socks take off and become one of "those" patterns. Take a gander and consider using some of your solid or semi-solid yarn for a pair of these lovelies...

Fascine Braid Socks
Dream in Color Smooshy
Colorway: In Vino Veritas (if you can't drink it, knit it!)
Size 2 DPNs

Monday, September 08, 2008

Don't worry, One of those is yours.

Zuul and I just had our second Dr's appt last week, and believe it or not, the little thing is still in there! I know this probably doesn't sound amazing or impressive to you, but I seriously sometimes look down at my stomach and wonder... Is it still there? I shouldn't be surprised, because I'm still sick and exhausted, though less of the time, and though there was a pooch there before, it's definitely a grande pooch now. But still... I can't feel it in there. So how do you REALLY know?

Well, you slather on some blue goo and go hunting for it's heartbeat. I have to say there was a mess of percussion going on in there on Friday. I must have had a suspicious look on my face, 'cause the nice nurse practitioner lady said, "Don't worry, one of those heartbeats is yours."


On the drive home I had a little freakout. Who's in there?!! There's a person in there that's going to like some stuff and not others. Someone who's going to like bands that I've never heard of and know how to do things that I say are too hard for me because I'm too old to learn new technology. WHO ON EARTH IS IN THERE?!

I'm fine now. But I did have a nightmare about scary baby hands and feet grabbing me under the blankets... I woke Senor up with a wail of fear.

Don't worry, we are going to be great parents.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Recipient

There are more photos to come, some that show off the cable pattern much better, but check out the fit!!! And the happiness of the recipient, my cousin Mark!!! Overall, in spite of the multiple redos of the v-neck, I'd say this project was a rip-roaring success!


(And while I believe that Zuul is showing in my face and arms and tummy, you can't see much tummy here in this photo... I'm looking forward to that!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

An old project on a new friend-to-be

This weekend we get to meet Baby Kelly, so I thought that would be a good time to share a photo of a little no-biggie project from a while back. A little improvised Who-Hat with a tassel on top. Cute for a cutie! I can't wait to see her in it. And believe me, we'll be having a photo shoot of Kelly in the Matinee Coat and also one of her Uncle Mark in his new sweater. Whee!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On Telemarketers

For those of you who work in offices with heavy telephone traffic, you'll know what I'm talking about. For those of you who don't (and for the lady I just talked to), see if you can appreciate the situation and give an office manager a break.

There's a new type of call the last few years that generally comes from companies trying to renew your car warranty before it runs out, move your information up to the front pages of Google, offer you free installation of your home's new satellite television system, or tell you that you've won a trip to Cancun just for existing. It's always a very chatty (computer) voice. It gives you time to say your spiel, in my case, "Good Afternoon, Dr. Williams' office, this is Natalie." and then there's an inappropriately long pause (just in case your spiel is long, I guess) and the chatty voice says, "Hi. (pause) Did you know that..." whatever they're selling. Have you gotten these calls? The kind that make you so mad because you fall for it about half of the time even though you should know better? I get them day in and day out. One of the worst offenders is American Express. We don't, for our own reasons, accept American Express cards. It's just policy. And they HATE that apparently because they are constantly ringing our phones with both live and computer operators. I have been asked if we would like to add American Express to our system so many times that I've become... let's use the word cavalier... about ending these phones calls as quickly as possible.

So today...

The phone rang. I picked it up.

"Good Afternoon. Dr. Williams' office, this is Natalie."


"Hi. (pause) Do you accept American Express?"

Naturally, I responded: "No, and we're not interested, thank you." Click.

Done. Minimum of wasted time, AND I didn't even spend energy on getting indignant. Just politely let them know where we stand and...

The phone rings.

"Good afternoon. Dr. Williams' office, this is Natalie."

"Natalie, do you mean to tell me that, as a new patient with an American Express card, you're not interested in my business and you would hang up on me every time I call?"


"I'm sorry, ma'am, of course not. That's not how I generally address patients. I just get many calls from American Express telemarketers and I mistook you for one. Unfortunately we do not accept American Express, but we do accept Visa and Mastercard."

"Well, I'll have to think about it." And she hung up on me.

Can you blame me, though? How about identifying yourself as a human with teeth who's interested in our dental services?

I feel kinda bad. But then she didn't have much of a sense of humor about the situation, either. Maybe we don't want her anyway.

Something tells me we won't get a chance to find out.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Baby Names

No, I'm not here to discuss our list of favorite baby names... I know you probably would like that, but I'm not sure I could handle the volume of input that would surely invite.

I'm here to let you know the baby, as of yet unborn and ungendered, has seen to it that it's name has been changed (but only until it gets it's real official name which it can just wait until it's 18 years old to change if it must). I guess it didn't like Frijole. It didn't take. We didn't find ourselves referring to it as such in conversation, and thus knew it wasn't the right name.

But then the right name presented itself. In describing how I was feeling to some friends of Senor's, I found myself using a Ghostbusters analogy. And out flew the words, "There is no baby, only Zoul."

Zoul it is.

As in "Zoul doesn't like mommy to eat fruits, vegetables, or anything else good for it," and "Zoul makes mommy cry at the dumbest commercials," or the popular, "Zoul doesn't want mommy to get a whole night's sleep but does want her to sleep in the daytime."

See how neatly that works?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

People, Frijole.

Frijole, People.

Baby Strong
Due March 21, 2009

Welcome to the womb, Frijole.

Ravelympics 2008

The goal: To cast on a project during the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics-- a project of somewhat epic proportions-- and finish it by the end of the closing ceremonies on the 24th. 17 days of mad knit sprinting!!

My event: The Sweater Sprint

The project: A self-designed sweater for my fairly manly-sized cousin Mark, who is currently in attendance at the actual Olympics.

My Team: Team Middle Earth. One Team To Rule Them All!

My Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers in colorway "Shire" (of course).

My Status: Four days down, back completed.

What Michael Phelps thinks of this progress:


(I am using one of Mark's favorite sweaters as a size/shape template)

On to the front!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

8 squares to the end

With Ravelympics starting tomorrow (YAHOO!!!), I won't be able to finish the remaining 8 squares necessary to complete the knitting on the Barn Raising Quilt. I was cruising along with cat-like quickness when, for some reason, knitting the squares started making me sea sick. It slowed me down more than I could manage, and thus I did not make my goal. But I did photograph some of the pairings that WILL appear in the final blanket. The colors are more vibrant in real life, promise.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blogging from Under the Desk

Yes, yes, I did. I got under the desk. I'm a dork, and would have been alive even if I hadn't gotten under the desk... But if the sh*t had hit the fan, I'd have been pointing and laughing from my hidey-hole-- trapped under the desk under the rubble-- at all of you who were too cool to get under your desks... until I had to start drinking my own pee.

Then I'd probably stop laughing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A little t.v., a little knitting, a little better...

Today is a better day. Much quieter here at work, and after my weekly dose of Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance last night, I'm feeling much more myself. Neither gruntled nor disgruntled, I'm just cruising. Which is a relief because I didn't like the way yesterday transformed me into a miserly troll hungry for tender unsuspecting goat. You're all lucky you didn't cross my bridge yesterday. It wasn't pretty.

Thank you Monte for your hilarious anonymous comment on yesterday's post... at least I think that was you. It gave me a good laugh this morning. I read it to coworkers. A fun time was had by all.

So anyone want some knitting? I did the math on my Barn-Raising Quilt, and I am 16 and a half squares away from completing my grand plan. I've decided that the best way to make sense of the mish-mash of colors is to try to create 4-square blocks with same or similar colorways diagonal from each other paired with a contrasting color on the opposite diagonal... I have two or three squares of most yarns, but only one of some. My hope is that the single squares can be matched up with something similar enough to create a coherent 4-square with two same colors opposite it. Does this make sense? Photos would help, huh? I'll work on that.

So anyway, where do I go from here? I'm working on knitting a second square of any matchless colorways for which I have yarn remaining. And to keep myself entertained (and to make best use of what little yarn is left in colorways that have fulfilled their blanket destinies), I am knitting bitty baby things. We have a new bitty baby, so some of them may go to her, some of them may go to charity, and as my mom always suggests, no matter what baby thing I knit, some will be put in a "Save them for [my] kids" pile. I always tell her that I can't save everything, and that by the time our kids come around I'll be a much better knitter, but she does have a point... some things are just too damn cute not to keep. :) Once 2 squares and a baby item have been made out of a colorway, that colorway is going in a bag which I hope to sell/trade or otherwise dispense of via the blog or Ravelry to some other Barn Raiser. There should be a good selection of nice yarns in pretty colors to add to another blanket elsewhere in knitland. (Putasockonit, are you out there? How's your blanket coming? Still wanna make a deal?)

The Laminaria shawl is chillin', as are other UFOs, but they are not languishing. I'm just allowing myself to be a slave to my whims these days, and I feel certain that I will whim my way back to these older projects very soon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Worn Out Welcome

Today. This place of employment. This ringing telephone. The company that faxed me endlessly for almost an hour. These people calling to haggle their bills. The news people that told them that is an okay thing to do. This hairdo. These clothes. This economy. This worn out feeling.

Worn out welcomes all around.

And I am Senora McMoodSwing. Yesterday I described myself giddily as "ritable" and "gruntled". (The opposites of irritable and disgruntled).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Does this shirt make me look fat?

No. But it does, apparently, make me look pregnant (which I'm not, by the way). Two people today have asked me if I'm expecting. Normally, this would have been an enormous blow to my ego, as all women of a curvaceous nature would agree. I think, at this point, most people know better than to commit the social foul of asking a woman "When are you due?" unless she is 8 months or more pregnant and otherwise thin. Most of us may wonder, but we don't ask because we've all heard the horror stories. You never want the response to, "When are you due?" to be "I'm not pregnant." If I were wearing anything else in my wardrobe, I'd be crying and hiding in the bathroom right now.

Today is different, though. I know it's not the shape (or lack thereof) of my figure that is prompting questions. I know this because my shirt does not touch me anywhere except the neckline... and therein lies the problem. Apparently I appear to be hiding something. This shirt gives people permission to ask me.

But it's not like it says, "Baby on Board" across the front. Remember when we all used to wear babydoll style shirts and dresses? Back in the early 90s? Did people ask then? I just wanted to be cool in the hot weather. I just wanted to wear something new. I just wanted to be free and whimsical and hippy-chic. At least I know how this shirt looks on me...

Does it make me look fat? Nope. It makes me look fertile. Good to know.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Stash Contained.

If we could never buy another pair of slacks, eventually we'd stop gaining weight for fear of having to run around to the knitting stores pantsless. Most pants will eventually stop stretching to fit an ass... agreed?

So if I didn't want my stash to grow, why was I letting it wear an elastic-waisted skirt? Or, to complete this analogy, why was I letting the yarn live in a basket with no lid? Like a muffin top, or as we call it at our house, "North Butt", the yarn was starting to overflow it's basket as I became less and less able to prevent the slide of plastic bag across plastic bag. It was becoming unseemly and unmanageable. It was going to become the butt (har har) of jokes before too long.

The solution? Get that stash a pair of pants!!

When I moved into my 2 bedroom apartment, I moved in alone. It was before Senor and I were official, and before his lease was up elsewhere, so I brought in my stuff and put it WHERE EVER just to get it out of the way. When Senor brought his stuff (significantly less stuff than I brought to the equation, I acknowledge this), it got put away on top of WHERE EVER and we called it good. It looked neat enough, we could find most everything... most of the time, and so it has never changed.

Well it needs to change now that we've both expanded our waistlines stuff-wise.

So while Senor was out of town, I did a bit of reconfiguring, a bit of furniture moving, a bit of purging (merciless merciless purging, undies with holes? Don't need those! A bunch of removable bra straps that have lost their bras? What the... 18 pairs of tights with runs? I'm not that dancer from the famous photograph...), and now the stash has a drawer... okay, two drawers in a previously under-used dresser. It has moved out of it's stretchy skirt and into a pair of skinny jeans. It cannot expand. Literally. Which means there will be some destashing going on here to make room for future purchases.

And now we don't have to look at the stash's north butt anymore.

Coming tomorrow: photos of a finished Swallowtail Shawl!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mo-Mentum Mo-Mentum Mo!!

Finishitis. So rare. So gratifying.

I see them, those unfinished projects, and I want them finished. I want to work on one until it's finished and then pick up the next and finish it until they are all done.

This almost never happens to me. I hope it lasts. If I can carry it through for another week, I could make some serious headway. I need to do some photo shoots of a few recent finishes, but in the meantime I present you with a single shot of the project I hold responsible for the finishitis:

The Shetland Triangle. What seemed like an insurmountable project somehow was finished in 4 days. And after that I wanted more. More finished objects. More feelings of dedication and endurance. I cast on a Swallowtail Shawl the next day. It is now 85% finished. And I have since finished a Harlot Scarf and the Citrus Yoke pullover. I'm on the move. Next will be the Ribbon Lace scarf, and meanwhile I will continue taking little bites out of the Swallowtail.

Life is good. Knitting is good. But finishing... finishing is the best. Whether it's a project or a bottle of shampoo... getting to the finish line feels so great!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good Times

Well, it's now officially one month since the first event on my list of squirrelled blog posts, so I think it means it's time.

I know what you're all thinking. Finally! (Hello all you Strongs and Bynums, I'm sorry it's taken me so long!)

At 3:30 in the morning the alarm went off. By 4:30 in the morning Senor and I were at the airport, see photo:

By 3:30 in the afternoon we were in Traverse City, Michigan. Our bags were not. It's very discouraging when the smallest airport on earth unloads the smallest plane on earth and the 7 bags come rolling out on the shortest conveyor belt on earth and NONE OF THEM ARE YOURS!! You have nothing to wear to the wedding, you have nothing to wear to the rehearsal dinner, you have nothing to even brush your teeth or restraighten your hair. (But you do have your knitting because you are not an idiot and carried that on)

By 4:00 in the afternoon we were checked in at the Holiday Inn, which was quite nice and had an ocean view. (Senor tells me that it is in fact a lake. Barbara tells me it's actually a bay attached to a lake. I say you can't see the other side. It's ocean.)

By 4:15 in the afternoon we were enjoying oceanside bevvies in plastic cups (yeah, baby, just the way I like it) and some fried cheese (What, buy food on the plane? We aren't Rockefellers. But we are Rockin' Fellers, thank you thank you.)

And by 5:00 we were at the rehearsal.

According to my photos of the event, the only thing that happened at the rehearsal was that the Father of the Bride (FoB) exchanged cds with the Bride... while being windblown and sassy. Don't worry, Amanda, there are pretty photos coming. Of course, the wedding itself was rehearsed casually (way to go on the low key proceedings!). It didn't take much because we were dealing with a bunch of professional wedding party members, and we were off to the rehearsal dinner at the groom's parents lovely home out in the countryside.

(Note the glazed over look in Senor's eyes, that's two hours of sleep for you)

Senor and I were still wearing the same clothes we had put on at 3:30 in the morning, and we were driving a Chevy Aveo, which we renamed El Crapeo, for obvious reasons, see photo:

While I didn't take any photos of the actual house, I did take some photos around the Bynum's property (and one of myself, cause that's just who I am):

The food was excellent, the company friendly, both new and old, and the evening beautiful, if a little windy and chilly for a native Californian. (Yu-huh, it was-so cold, Ashley High!). And the sun was still up at 9:30.

Then began the hunt for the bags. Roaming charges abounded. They promised to deliver our bags by the morning.

One arrived, not the other. We ended up picking the other bag up at the airport ourselves and then having breakfast at the appropriately named:

... where we ate at half a booth:

And I was still wearing the same clothes...

And then it was time to get ready for the wedding. A much needed shower and fresh undies and I was a new woman! Senor prepared to marry his sister, and we went out to the oceanview terrace for a pre-wedding plastic of wine.

It was a beautiful wedding, short, sweet, funny, perfect.

The groom is on the left, with two of his groomsmen.

I video taped the ceremony on my little camera, which promptly alerted me it was out of batteries, so the rest of the evening was not captured properly. I can tell you there was karaoke and wine, and karaoke ON wine. The Maid of Honor and I sang "Don't Stop Believing" at the tail end of the night, which I'm sure was very lovely. A singer in a smokey room, the smell of wine and cheap perfume... Oh so wedding appropriate. I'm still waiting to see the alleged photos of that one.

And then we went to pass out.

After the Sunday brunch, we spent the next day puttering around Traverse City, peering through the windows of closed knitting shops, and eating. We had dinner with Monte and Barbara (who just joined Ravelry, by the way... another one bites the dust, eh, staxgirl?) and a lovely restaurant, and then late night drinks with the bride and groom. A fitting end to a great weekend.

Good times.