Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bit Better

I'm feeling a bit better today. Celtic Queen e-mailed me at work and asked how I was. Things were just kind of bad today. MTM helped a bit. I did manage to get my project completed at work, and the general consensus of all us geeks was that the problems I was having yesterday were caused by some kind of Microsoft bug. Wonderful. No one treated me as if I was stupid today either. (I asked a couple people that -- Do I look stupid? Is that the problem?) But I did end up staying late because of a problem at work -- over an hour late. But I got it done. Tomorrow I should have time to train my new hire.

CQ is getting a new spinning wheel. I'm jealous because she's getting the one I want. I'm tempted to buy one too. The only consideration is does she order it now or wait for MDS&W? And what about fibers?

Anyways, tomorrow is the deadline for this latest Secret Project. I should make it, particularly since I'll have some waiting for appointment knitting time. I'm going to try to make it to see Yarn Harlot. (Which reminds me, I have to call CQ and make sure she can get my book.) CQ and Heather will save me a seat, but I may be late. Also, Heather and I (and maybe CQ) are getting together on Sunday for some food coloring dye. I got 4 skeins of plain old Patons Classic in off-white to dye up and an old crock pot. Can't wait!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bad Day

I've had a bad day. I had bad dreams last night, problems at home and then problems at work, and it was just all around bad. I need a change, I just wish change wasn't such a pain. Heck, while I'm at it I'll just wish for a couple million dollars. Anyways, I'm feeling down, I have no knitting to show you, and absolutely nothing charming or funny to say. I'm going to go watch some Mary Tyler Moore, I think.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Watch This Space

I'm way busy. Work is busy (and bound to get busier), knitting is busy (but nothing I can show), home is busy (I have a sink full of dirty dishes, several baskets of laundry and a mountain of clutter to deal with), kids are busy (College! Homework!). So no real time today for blogging. Have you seen Heather's hat? CQ's socks? (They're reversible, you know.) Catch up with me tomorrow. I may just have a story. Or be knitting like a madwoman (which would be a story in itself, now wouldn't it?)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Color My World

I finished my first hat for the Represent Tour (maybe my only one).* It's photographed here with the latest incarnation of the Secret Project. Isn't it funny how we tend to make the same color choices over and over again? I think I've told you before about my navy tweed yarn, that I've now bought in three different yarns. I've made some progress on this Secret Project despite forgetting it at home today after clearing out all other knitting from my bag so that I wouldn't be tempted to knit anything else because I'm ON A DEADLINE.

Knitting on Friday was very fun. We took over the book store with our general rowdiness, and cranked some yarn! The police were there and everything! They ended up escorting some of us home. (Well, ok, it was just one policeman, and he was maybe married to someone in our group, and, uh maybe, just maybe, he escorted their 4 year old daughter home so his wife could stay and knit later. But he did say we were rowdy!)

Otherwise, a weekend spent knitting, eating out, going to see a movie, and fighting about homework.

Tonight I spent 40 minutes rather agreeably knitting and listening to a "Telephone Town Meeting" with Senator Tim Murphy. I didn't get to make my comment (I think he wanted to talk to me, but the electronics wouldn't work. They did for everyone else, see how my luck runs?) which was about "Family Values". It may seem petty, but I think that if Congress wants to drone on and on about "Family Values" and the sanctity of marriage then they need to pony up and put their money where their mouth is (figuratively speaking, of course). The deduction for married couples should go up the more years they're married. I've been married for almost 25 years -- I deserve a reward! (I deserve sainthood, but that's not really in Congress' control.) I was going to mention it because I figured I'd get in if they asked for the question first because the senator was bogged down in health care questions and this was something else. Don't know if I'll bother e-mailing or not. (He said we could, though.)

The hat is knit in Bernat Galaxy, "Deep Space" colorway. Pattern marginally from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hats Off

I've gathered some yarn and my trusty Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns in preparation for my Represent offering. A couple of guy things, a couple girl things. Anything I don't get done by next Friday I will take to Knit One or just give to Zeepo for charity gifting. I'm getting tired of my Secret Projects (wonderful though they may be.) And next weekend starts Soccer Season! Whoo hoo! A waterproof mat you can throw on the soggy ground under your blanket? We got you covered with some Plastic Grocery Store Bag yarn. Sooo, if I make this is it "new" yarn, or still "stash" yarn? I don't see this contingency covered under the Knit From Your Stash Rules of Engagement. Weigh in on the subject, and I promise I'll decide whatever I darn well want! Majority rules, right. Not in my blog, buddy. And not in my house, either, so you boys better just toe the line! Got that?? (OK, Laurie may be feeling just a teensy bit hormonal this week.)

And in other exciting and earth-shattering news I'm off work tomorrow! I had one last vacation day to use up before the end of the month, and tomorrow is the day! Good thing my co-worker reminded me this morning, or chances are I would have showed up at work tomorrow. (I'm such a creature of habit.) On the agenda are knitting, a trip to Jo-Ann's to spend a gift certificate on some yarn (before you say anything, Celtic Queen and I discussed this and it doesn't violate the Knit from Your Stash 2007 Rules because 1) I got the gift certificate as a gift, and gifts of yarn don't count and 2) I got the gift certificate for Christmas, before I started Knit from Your Stash 2007, and 3) Gift certificates are assumed gifts of yarn, they simply represent unrealized yarn) and more knitting. If you're free, and have my cell number, call me and I could maybe have coffee with you (I'll be up after 6:30 AM).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Nothing Much

Well, it's Wednesday...Other than that I don't have much. Still knitting Secret Stuff. I'm enjoying the Koigu. I like the feel, but more than that, I like it's mottledness. So far I haven't gotten any striping with this, which I like. And I'm still knitting the LL Sweater, but it's just a big grey blob, and I haven't worked on it at all since the last time I showed a picture.

Next it is another (!) Secret Project, but it's the last one in a while, I swear! I also want to make a hat for the Represent tour. I'm not sure I'm going to make it to hear Harlot in person (Celtic Queen and Heather will get my book signed and save me a seat "just in case") but I hope to send a Secret Project and a hat. I'm sure everyone will miss me, but I have to do something with one of the boys, and I guess I have to act all grown up and do what's right instead of what I really want, but it's tough. I'm waiting for this "leading by example" thing to wear off on the guys, but no luck so far.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Another Myth Busted

We tried to balance an egg on end during the Vernal Equinox. It didn't work. So there's another myth busted for you. I was kinda disappointed by this one, I had been told it worked, by people I trusted. Maybe it was the egg we picked (it was kinda pointy.)

OK, on to the Winners from the latest VK. I liked these:

And all the other lace stuff (including the cover dress -- although I see that as a tunic over a tank and leggings.) LOVED this one. Not really my personal style, but as a knitting puzzle. I might just have to knit it as a gift for a friend.
Both of these I would wear, (the red under a suit jacket). Most of the office stuff was ok (except the dress), but not something I could wear at my size. But again, if I was looking for gifts to knit friends, definately some potential there. And most of the baby stuff was cute (the jacket is retro-perfect, imnsho) with the exception of the Annie Modesitt onesie. She talks about babies being "helpless models" -- with this number they're more like "helpless victims."
Major fug going on there.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Win Some, Lose Some

I got the latest edition of Vogue Knitting today. Some Winners, some Losers. Let's do the Losers first.
I'm not sure exactly what makes this one a Loser. I like the shape, and the colors. But maybe not all together. I think it's too busy, and the styling here leaves something to be desired. This sweater with a bathing suit? I think not. Check out the bottom of this next sweater. See how it doesn't match? Either their knitter screwed up big time or the pattern is really messed up. And notice it makes the model look a bit...plump? What do you think it'll do for some bigger than a size 4? Gosh. What can you say? Notice how ticked off the model looks? I think that about says it all. Umm, another "What were you thinking?" And again, the model is a board. Can you imagine this on anyone bigger than a size 2? Or with a bust? Again VK is with the almost-pasties. It's like they keep sticking them on and saying, "Well, if we move them off a bit in one direction or another, no one will notice..."

OK, I'm tired. Tomorrow we'll do the winners. Most of the stuff in here I like. (Really!)

And hey, Celtic Queen finally has her own blog! Check her out and welcome her to the blogosphere Live to Knit, Knit to Live.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A New Challenge

First it was Fairisle knitting, then entrelac, then cabling without a cable needle. Now I've decided that my next knitting challenge will be(drumroll please)....
Two socks in one. Yes, yes, after saying for years it was the equivalent of knitting parlor tricks I've succumbed to the call of double knitting. Specifically the two socks at once trick. What can I say? I want to be the envy of all the other knitters. Just have to finish up these secret projects.

Speaking of which, here's the latest Secret Project. You can see it with its lovely Picot cast-on (requested). The colors are fairly true on my monitor, the yarn's a wonderful murky grey/teal mix.
Speaking of handpainted yarns (were we speaking of handpainted yarn? Well, ok, the Koigu) have you seen the article in the latest Knitty? I happen to have in the stash more sock yarn and some laceweight! No, no, have to stay on track.....Dig a little further and...

AHA! There it is -- some Paton's Classic Merino in a nice neutral brown. Perfect for overdying with some super bright Easter egg dye!! Yes, you can use Easter egg dye to dye your natural protein fibers (it is food coloring). Dissolve it according to the packet instructions, add a bit of water and there you go. (Wait for the kits to go on sale after Easter -- you can get them for 50 cents apiece. Stock up.) I'm thinking some nice greens for this skein, maybe with a shot of blue. Maybe use it to make this.

BTW, I've found that if you are dyeing eggs, the dye left in the cup when the kids are done will dye to full intensity about as much fiber as you can stuff in there. Cover the cups with plastic wrap and zap 'em in the microwave, or cover them with foil and either steam them or put them in a 200 degree oven. Like the Knitty article says, you want them to be close to boiling but not boiling for 30 minutes. You can try the crock pot, but the dye is pretty loose. I (personally) would use a very well wrung out skein and add the dyes slowly, making sure the yarn absorbed most of the liquid before adding another color. (Same for cold pouring.) Then add (sloooowly) enough water to cover (if needed) and heat. You could make self-striping yarn by winding off your skein in equal sections and placing each section in a separate cup. Yes, the yarn comes out of the top, but the dye will wick up from each of the cups to meet in the middle. Put your cups as close together as possible. Another great technique is to pick two colors, wind your yarn in a ball, and put it in a bowl half submerged in color A. Heat for 30 minutes, (I did it in the microwave), cool. Turn the ball over and submerge the other half in color B, set the same way. For any of these methods, I let the bath sit until completely cooled (overnight) after heating it and the dye exhausts very nicely. Rinse and hang to dry.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wound Up

I have received the measurements for my Secret Project and have started to cast-on. This is the Picot Cast-On. (Knit cast-on five stitches, bind off 2 stitches, transfer the loop from the right needle to the left, repeat.) A nice beginning, more work, but worth it. This will become my commuter knitting. The yarn is Koigu. So far I like the Knit Picks Sock Memories yarn better. I'll let you know as I progress if my opinion changes. I obviously did not get my skein wound this morning, I did it this evening with my trusty nostepinne. Maybe not as much fun as a ballwinder, but it gets the job done. I do tend to wind my balls a bit tight, though.
I've been knitting on the LL Sweater on the bus, and am almost to the end of my second skein of yarn and closing in on the underarm. I have two more skeins of this dark grey plus a partial skein, which I'm beginning to believe will be enough to complete the sleeves and the yoke. (Remember there will be patterning at the cuff an the yoke.) The bottom is still a bit flippy, but I've done a pretty fair job of convincing myself that this will block out (it's 10 rows of seed stitch, after all).

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Do You Think They Might Have Missed Me?

I had dinner tonight with an old friend who called last week out of the blue. So I told the guys I'd be late. Well one thing led to another and we were talking and laughing and having a great time catching up. Next thing I know it's after 9:00. I had left my cell phone in my coat in the car. So when I was dropped off at home I pulled it out to find 12 missed calls. All from home. So I called (I was walking down the street.)
Me: You called?
Dave: You're not dead?
Me: No.
Dave: Well, Older Son wants to buy something and I wanted to run it past you.
Long discussion of intended purchase with interjections from OS.
Me: I'm outside now, I'm hanging up.
I guess they missed me, but I'm not sure. So with all the merry making I did not get alot of knitting done. I'm working on the LL Sweater, and am approaching the underarms. I'm cautiously optimistic that I will have enough yarn. I have my secret measurements so I have to get to work on that tomorrow. I'm going to have to cut short my morning cleaning routine to wind the yarn, I think. What a shame!

Monday, March 12, 2007

I've Flipped My Lid

Occasionally, I have these periods where everything with a lid in my bag loses it. (It's lid, I mean.) I have no idea how or why this happens. My pain reliever (don't leave home without it!) which has a safety lid for crying out loud! Ends up topless in the bag and I have little blue pills all over the bottom. And my Chibi pops its lid, which twists no less than three full revolutions.
That's how I lost one of my needles, btw. What the heck is going on in that bag?? How could I possibly walk so as to both simultaneously push and twist these things so much? What do you think? Gremlin in the bag or what?

In knitting news I've finished my Secret Project and am going to cast on imminently for another one, but I need some SIZE INFORMATION. So you (and you know who you are!) need to e-mail me the appropriate size and/or measurements to make (and I understand the adjustment).

And sorry about the confusion, Holly. It's hard to draw the line between saying too much and too little in public. I'm having some...differences... with certain people.

I gotta go, this Daylight Savings thing has wiped me out. I'm exhausted.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

My Personal Rule of Three

It's not the Wiccan Rule of Three, just my own Life Rule. It is this: I believe that if you (I) have the same problem in three separate situations, that you (ME!) are the one with the problem, not everyone else. So when this happens to me, I take stock, realistically look at the what's happened, try to learn my lesson and improve as a human being, and move on. I'm struggling with this now (finding the lesson part, to be exact).

Let's look at some sock yarn while we soul search, shall we? So what exactly is it about me that brings on this Vale of Tears? I try to be easy going, patient, hard working, conscientious. All I really ask in return is to be treated fairly. Am I expecting too much? I would hope not. But maybe. Maybe I'm not really suited to this environment. Maybe I'm too easy going, too dependable. Hmmmm. Lots to consider. Meanwhile, let's look at more sock yarn: (Actually, it's not all sock yarn, I stuck some Wool in the Woods I got for a pair of mittens in there too.) Well, I'll have to do more thinking, and eat more chocolate. I could possibly throw in some knitting in there somewhere as well.

And apropos of nothing at all -- I don't like french fries with pointy tips. The points over cook and get all hard and nasty. I want my french fries with nice square ends so they're crisp on the outside, but nice and soft on the inside all the way through.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It's Wednesday

I'm happy to have made it so far in this week. Things have settled down a bit here at the G household. It looks like we may survive, but just barely. I am still not quite on speaking terms with everyone in the house yet, tho.

I'm still knitting on my Secret Project, and contemplating my Koigu. And my Noro, and my Spidey yarn, and some other stuff....

And in answer to Patricia, Knitting is this Friday at the B&N at South Hills Village. Sounds like you have plans, but we'll be there on the 23rd! Then Yarn Harlot on the 30th. Gosh, that's only 3 weeks! I need to get ready.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Still the Same

Today is much the same as yesterday. I'm still feeling unsettled and uptight, still frustrated over my inability to "fix everything". Not a whole lot of knitting -- I ended up chatting on the bus instead of putting my fingers to the grindstone. (See? Not really any smaller than yesterday.) It is bitter cold here in the 'burgh. Change is in the wind, though. In more ways than one. I'm contemplating some career changes, more about that maybe another day. And of course with spring "just around the corner", a change in the weather as well.

Think good thoughts for the Elder Celting -- he had to go the hospital (in an ambulance!) yesterday with a bad case of the croup. They didn't keep him and CQ says he's much better today. But still. I think the kid needs a warm scarf.

And finally, I don't get how people can be so mean. I was telling someone that I was worried about things and another person just walked up and essentially said "Well, those bad things should happen, you had it coming. Now let's talk about me." And no, it was not a joke.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Out of Sorts

I'm feeling out of sorts and mixed up today. There are several issues which I can't solve and/or fix on my own. This makes me cranky and frustrated. I'm in alot of pain, which adds to the cranky/frustrated. On top of which I'm at a crossroads and have to make some important choices. Choices are hard! Anyways, all that to say I'm not at my best. I've been having strange dreams, about people and places and times long past. I dreamt of an old boss the other night who I had completely forgotten (I still can't remember his name) which left me feeling slightly uneasy. Last night I dreamt of my mother, which always makes me sad and I wake up with that feeling of loss fresh and clear again. I'm avoiding everyone here, because of feeling so prickly (they don't do prickly here) so I'm feeling kinda lonely. Was it the lunar eclipse? The moon turning to blood probably isn't a herald of good things to come. Do you think it's the weather? March had definately come in like a lion with wild, windy, snowy unsettled weather.

Anyways, I got lots of knitting done over the weekend, but it's all secret stuff. I finished the prototype (found another skein of that yarn in the stash!) And cast on with some KnitPicks Memories in the "S'mores" colorway. I'm over half way done. If I finish I intend to "out" at knitting this Friday (at least to my knitting group).
I also did some nominal (re)knitting on the LL Sweater over the weekend as well. I've reknitted the first skein and started the second. So far so good. I've been thinking about sleeves for this sweater, and since I have nothing against my hands (they may just be my best feature) I've decided that I'm going to do some patterning at the cuff on the sleeves. Whoopee. Something to look forward to.
And finally, I tried a new cast-off. This is the picot cast off which I got from Nona who I believe got it from Nicky Epstein in Knitting on the Edge. To do it cast off 2 stitches, then *put the one stitch on the right needle back to the left needle. Knit cast-on 3 stitches, bind off 5 stitches. Repeat from * until you have cast off all your stitches. I like it, I'm just not sure it works in this application.

Friday, March 02, 2007


First off, let's see how this upgrade works. I was finally forced into it -- I jsut didn't have the energy to make end runs around Blogger anymore. So far so good, but the test is really in the pictures, isn't it? I'll make a positive affirmation and say "Everything's going to be fine!" This worked for me Wednesday night when I said to Heather "I just keep saying I'm going to wake up tomorrow and my knees will feel great." And I did, and they did. I was so amazed I've spent all week saying "I'm going to win the lottery this weekend." (If that one doesn't pan out, I may come back and say it in your living room, Heather. Maybe it's the place that has the power.)

Here's the current state of the LL Sweater. I've started this thing 5 times now. I had worked about 3-4 rounds of the border when I looked closely at it on the bus this morning. Guess what? Twisted. This is only the second time in my knitting career this has happened to me. To say I'm very careful not to twist is a bit of an understatement. So I cast on again, knit a few stitches past the join, and put it in my bag. Pulled it out at lunch time and 20 or so stitches pulled right off the needle. Yep, ripped out and started AGAIN. I'm hoping I'm going to be ok from here on in, because I don't know how many more times I can reknit this yarn. Just for you, Heather a close up of the seed stitch border.
ETA: Well, how about that, the upgrade worked first time. I'm amazed.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Pushy, Pushy

Blogger is getting more and more pushy about forcing the upgrade. It's beginning to irritate me. It wouldn't be too bad if everyone had a great time and things went smoothly after the upgrade. I haven't seen a successful upgrade yet. I want to send them an email and tell them if they can't guarantee the product, stop shoving down my throat. So put your money where your mouth is. If it chokes, send me a check or upgrade me some more to the deluxe version for free. Hah! Like that's likely. What does a girl expect for nothing?

Here's my LL Sweater. I've opted for this version (third time's the charm, right?) to knit a seed stitch border. And my Secret Project is, well, Secret. I haven't had a chance to go stash diving for more of the yarn. I'm debating "good stuff" as well. Right now the front runners are some KnitPicks Memories and some Koigu. I really want to try this in the Koigu BUT, the Secret Project is secret because I intend it as a gift. But the only Koigu I have was some purchased while on vacation as a memento and my Spotty Koigu (not my spotty Koigu!!) Technically I could purchase more (allowed by the Knit From Your Stash 2007 Code of Conduct, Section 2.b) but I don't want to. I may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice the Spotty Koigu. (And if you know me well, you know how I am about the Spotty Yarn) I can get more, right? But who would love and appreciate its beautiful spottiness the way I do? Ok, maybe the Souvenir yarn goes. I have pictures, right? I even have Pictures of the yarn shop I bought it at. (Oooh, look there are 3 skeins on the counter. Did I buy 3 skeins? I thought I only bought 2. If there's 3 I probably have enough for a Secret Project and something else...)