Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good idea. Bad idea.

Good idea: Preparing for the holidays and getting all your shopping or knitting or creating done by October, at the latest.
Bad idea: Waiting until the last minute to do any of the above stated things thus causing you to want to do nothing more than lie flat on your back, mouth open, under the spigot of a box of wine until you either choke or become drunk enough that it doesn't matter.

Good idea: Preparing to move by packing boxes and giving away all the stuff you don't want anymore at least two weeks in advance of the move.
Bad idea: Procrastinating and waiting until the week before you move to do any packing or eliminating of stuff thus causing you to want to do nothing more than eat some big slices of Xanax pie in order to help you pretend that the house will pack itself and purge any items it knows you no longer want or need.

Good idea: Being 100% certain that Google maps is lying to you when it shows you an aerial, satellite view of your soon to be new residence and, according to the map, says you are moving into a beautiful, three-bedroom shrub with a view of the water.
Bad idea: Trusting that Google maps is 100% incorrect when it shows you that your soon to be new residence is a lovely, three-bedroom shrub with a view of the water and celebrating the move into a larger domicile that is NOT a shrub by imbibing many vodka-based drinks.

Good idea: If you are, in fact, moving into a cozy, three-bedroom shrub, you begin to learn about topiary in order to maximize privacy during showering and sleepy time.
Bad idea: Insisting that Google maps is wrong and you are not, therefore, moving into a shrub so it is completely unnecessary to learn about topiary and it is also unnecessary to trouble yourself with things like pest control, the water table, or anything else that may befall your new shrub/home.

Good idea: Having more boxes than you need to pack up all the stuff that you have in your house.
Bad idea: Not having nearly enough boxes or packing material to pack up all the stuff you have in your house thus causing you to create unorthodox packing materials such as tablecloths, dishtowels, plastic grocery bags, tumbleweeds of carefully collected cat hair, etc.

Good idea: Packing your books into several small to medium sized boxes, no matter how many it takes, so that you can lift the boxes into the moving truck.
Bad idea: Loading as many books as you can into a 30 gallon, blue Rubbermaid tub that requires a forklift and at least a team of six strong oxen to move, let alone get it into the moving truck.

Good idea: Having a big, black permanent marker to clearly mark all your boxes so that your friends, moving buddies, moving men, what have you, plainly see what it is you have packed in those boxes, thus preventing possible disaster when well meaning friends stack a 350lb, blue Rubbermaid 30 gallon tub full of fiction books on top of your wine glasses.
Bad idea: Using whatever writing utensil is handy to scrawl the contents of the box in several inconspicuous places on the boxes in handwriting that drunk four year olds would chastise.

If any of you have any other good idea/bad idea things to add, please feel free. I'm hopefully making light of my current situation. I am 100% certain that I would be getting a lot more unorthodox packing done (as opposed to orthodox packing which, I'm sure, is done in the presence of a clergy member) if I decided not to blog but then what fun would that be for y'all?? You couldn't laugh with me or demonstrate to me that history repeats itself when we do this again next year. After all, our lease date for our new shrub starts on January 1 so, if we decide after living in the shrub for a year that it is not to our liking, we will be making another move at the exact same time. I hope your holiday preparations have been going well, my dear bloglings and blogettes. I'm going back in to the fray, armed with a box of wine and some Xanax pie smothered in a vodka-based sauce for good measure. Wish me luck!
Transmission Ended

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Gnome of Demotivation...

...has struck me today with a fury and vengeance unrivaled by even the Unicorn of Doom. That is some serious business, I tell ya'. I'm supposed to be writing articles, proofreading a book, knitting up Christmas presents and packing up the house (we're moving. SURPRISE!) but instead of doing the important stuff, I've been knitting dishcloths (10+) and reading blogs. I've plum run out of my usual blogs to read with the exception of Boing Boing. It takes me about ten hours to get through 200 of their blog efforts so I'm putting them off for another day in the near future when I'm trying to avoid working. I thought maybe blogging about a whole lotta nothing would motivate me to do something else but, thus far, no dice. I could thrill you with the details of this excellent juice I'm drinking or wow you with the minutiae of the grilled cheese sandwich I had for lunch (with Thai sweet spicy chips. Oh, so delicious!) but that would be setting a precedent for action on my blog that I'm just not up to snuff for doing. I've noticed a trend on blogs lately that make all of these great suggestions for what to give your loved ones for Christmas. Not being one to hop on ye olde bandwagon, I won't be doing that in this post (or any other post for that matter) so if you were hoping for FancyPants' guide to gift giving, I'm sorry to disappoint. Oh, the ennui! Well, since I've clearly got nothing interesting to blog about other than my dangerous encounter with the mighty Gnome of Demotivation, I'm going to send you off vaguely dissatisfied and hopefully unharmed. That Gnome is a wily one, he is.
Transmission Ended

Saturday, December 08, 2007

On a random note...

I, for just one second, had this really great, really funny plan for a blog post but it has escaped me. Now, all I have to say is that I cleaned out the "storage room" of our house and discovered, much to my dismay, that one of our cats (I'm not going to mention names here because I don't want to point fingers just in case I'm wrong) has taken to micturating in the back region of the storage room. After wiping up copious amounts of dried cat pee and throwing out anything that couldn't be saved (including yarn! YARN!! I threw out yarn!!), I have now come to the conclusion that either the entire house or I smell like cat pee. Either way, it's not pretty or, um, good smelling. I liberally sprayed canned air freshener around the house but now I smell cat pee+air freshener. What a combo. Now I have to go soak some yarn that I'm unwilling to throw out (it was a limited colorway and the first and potentially only ball of yarn that Travis ever labored over to make it into a tidy ball. Now, I ask you, how could I dispose of that?? I have photographic evidence of Travis untangling the skein of this yarn and carefully winding into a ball. It's way too much of a Hallmark moment for me to just toss it into the trash. Seriously.) and hope that I can get the cat pee odor out of it. Oh, I just remembered what I was initially going to say! I was going to tell you how, for the most part, metal DPNs are better than bamboo DPNs if, for no other reason than metal DPNs don't absorb cat pee. Ask me how I know this (And yes, now that I've read that, I realize it was neither funny nor indicative of my status as a luminary, in any sense of the word). I think I need to go wash my hands for the umpteenth time since cleaning out the storage room and make myself an alcoholic libation of some sort. I think I need some Scotch to get over this or, at least, give me the intestinal fortitude for cleaning yarn that smells of cat pee. Oh, did I mention the cat pee?
Transmission Ended

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Late night post...

So I found my camera and, much to my surprise and delight, I did not leave it at my mama's house. Fortuitously, I found it in my car and now I'm able to share some photos of FO's with you. This will be a short-ish post, especially since I am a couple of mixed drinks into my evening and it's late in the evening (thus I'm asking you to forgive any spelling errors and typos that may occur as a result).

  • Here is the Grey Ghost: The Grey Ghost 4 As I mentioned in my previous post, it was created from following a UK pattern, which caused me some difficulties that have since been resolved. The pattern called for a worsted weight yarn but I was sent a DK weight yarn (it was knit on commission) so I bravely soldiered on and did the best I could do. Read my previous post for the pitfalls of translating a UK pattern into the bastardized form of English known as American English. I went down two needles sizes all around (size US 8 to size US 6 for the body and size US 6 to size US 4 for the ribbing and banding). If I knit this sweater again (which I may) I will knit the banding in one solid piece, starting at the bottom left edge and working right on through to the end of the right edge for a seamless piece. In the above photo, the banding is worked in two pieces and seamed together at the back of the neck, resulting in a seam at the back of the neck. In retrospect, I should have grafted these to pieces together but live and learn, as they say.Overall, I was pleased with the result but there were many things I would have changed (including knitting it in one piece up to the armholes and thus eliminating a lot of seaming). I won't get into the icky details about this sweater because I feel as if I should take the high road on this....and that's all I'm saying about it.
  • My mother was an unknowing model for the silk Jellyfish and here is the proof: Mama and the Jellyfish 1Mama and the Jellyfish 2Mama and the Jellyfish 3 She had no idea that these photos would be posted on my blog but there she is, in all her beautiful and ageless glory. If you look closely, you can see my oma relaxing on the sofa in the background. I knit the Jellyfish in a size small (in Fiesta La Luz. see my previous post for details about how much I love this yarn) and it fit my mother who is broader of shoulder and larger of tatas than me. Since the pattern called for a worsted weight yarn and I used a DK weight yarn, I went with the recommended needle size (US 8) for a DK weight yarn and used size US 6 for the edging. Clearly, it turned out just fine and both my mother and my oma requested one for Christmas. They are about to be cast on so, needless to say, it was a fun and easy pattern to knit. I'll keep you updated on the progress of those two.
  • I started and have made some headway on the Print O' the Waves Stole I started for my mother for Christmas. I went with Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in the Pewter colorway for this and I am quite pleased with the result thus far. The pattern, while not easily memorizable, is easy to fall into a rhythm with. I am six pattern repeats into the main part of the stole and I can do it without devoting all my concentration to it, at least for now. I'll take some photos of the progress tomorrow and give you an update.
  • I'm still chugging away on dishcloths for stocking stuffers and I still love doing them for some mindless knitting.
  • I'm about to start my sister's big Christmas gift and I'm looking forward to it. I'll try to give you little glimpses of it to prevent it from being too secretive and provide y'all with some eye candy.
  • On a side note, I'll be seaming up Heath tomorrow and sending it out on Monday (hopefully) after photos. It's turning out really lovely.
Alright y'all, I'm going to go back to imbibing blueberry pomegranate juice and decent vodka (delicious) and knitting gauge swatches. More photos will be forthcoming and I hope y'all are doing well, staying warm, and not thinking about the extra padding you will obtain as a result of all the delicious holiday yumminess. Besides, there will be plenty of time to work it off next year, right? Much love to my loyal readers and all the people who take the time to comment. I really do appreciate it.
Transmission Ended

Monday, November 26, 2007

A long post with no photos....feel free to skip around

Hi y'all! I'm still around, I promise. Time has just flown by this month. Sheesh! When Travis' mama told me she was a bit peeved with me because I hadn't blogged since November 7, I figured I really really needed to blog. So here it is. It will be long but I will label the various parts so you can skip around if you like. Also, unfortunately there will be no photos because I left my camera down at my mama's house. Until I get it back, this will be a word heavy blog. Boring, I know, with all that reading and stuff but there you have it.

  • The Grey Ghost is finished and has been sent to its recipient. Finally. The pattern came from the Rowan booklet Calmer and was designed by Kim Hargreaves. Let's talk about that for a minute. Did you know that there is a vast chasm that separates UK and US patterns? Nor did I, until I started this one. In the beginning, I figured that the main difference would lie in the cm to inches (Damn the Imperial system of measurement!) but that was no big deal because I have a two sided tape measure. Easy peasy. What I wasn't counting on was the difference in how the pattern was worded. Things like "dec eor until you have X number of sts" on a UK pattern like this read "dec on next and following 4 alt rows and then on every 6th row 8 times." Wha? Huh? In retrospect, it doesn't seem all that difficult but I was positively stumped when I encountered it the first time. Thank the universe for Ravelry because there were plenty of other knitters who helped me interpret the whole weird wording business. Unfortunately, this was after I had already knit the entire back without armholes. Yup, I forgot to knit armholes in the back. And this was after I had knit the fronts (correctly) and measured them against the back, which I was absolutely certain was correctly done (but wasn't), and frogged them. Needless to say, I had to frog the back and reknit the fronts and get on with the rest of it. The longest part of knitting the whole thing was the banding around the fronts and the neck. It literally took me 48 hours of knitting to do this. It was ridiculous and tedious. In the end though, it turned out beautifully. I loathed giving it away but it was a commission knit so I had to. I do plan to knit this cardigan for myself because it's so darn lovely. Blurry photos of it will be on the blog soon along with some details about the changes I would have made to the pattern.
  • The silk Jellyfish is also finished. Hurrah! I used Fiesta La Luz for the whole thing and it turned out beautifully. The pattern calls for a different yarn to be used for the border but I didn't want the feel of anything but pure silk against my skin so I stuck with the La Luz and went down two needles sizes (an eight to a six) for the border. I actually took some photos of my mama being an unknowing model in it but see above for the reason for no photo. I knit the smallest size and I had my mama (a size medium - she has rather broad shoulders and big tatas) and my oma (Dutch for grandmother. And she wears a size large top) try it on and it fit both of them perfectly. My oma requested one for Christmas so it's time to go stash diving and find the perfect yarn for it. The pattern was quite easy. So easy, in fact, that I was able to memorize the lace pattern for the sleeves and that's saying something because I feel like my short-term memory is about as good as our cats'. I also just picked up as many stitches as I felt like for the border and started out with 193, as opposed to the pattern's suggestions, which was 132. If you are going to make this little shrug, which you should because it's awesome, where it says "m1" in the border directions, do a yarn over for a lacy effect.
  • I also finally finished the entrelac pillow I made for Travis when we first started dating over a year ago. I had finished the entrelac/knitting part of it long ago but I finally got around to making the actual pillow (out of black polar fleece) and seaming the sides (in the car on the way back from my mama's house for Thanksgiving) and I sewed the buttons on last night when we got home. It is now a bright addition to our sofa thanks to the deep blue and purple chenille with the contrasting black chenille that I used for the entrelac (both were Lion Brand Sensations). Photos of that will also be forthcoming.
  • Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to do some mindless knitting that was also Christmas knitting so I started cranking out dishcloths like it was my job. I have finished seven thus far and given away two. I'm going to end up using all of my kitchen cotton, which is awesome. Go stashbusting!!
  • I am thisclose to finishing the Heath cardigan. I finished the left front banding in the car yesterday and started stitching it in place. All that is left is the right front banding and seaming and she's ready to rock and roll. Good stuff.
  • I started my mama's shawl for Christmas. I decided against the tulip shawl because it just wasn't working out and I started another one. I don't have much to say about it yet because I'm about to frog my second attempt and have another go at it. I'm using Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in the Pewter colorway and wow is that some delicious yarn.
  • The Titillating TaTa Tube was frogged and boy did that feel great. I also took the opportunity to frog four other swatches that were destined to become something that I thought was going to work at the time, much like the TaTa Tube. Now I have more yarn in my stash and fewer knitting disasters on the horizon. It feels so good to frog things that you know aren't going to work (like a bulky weight yarn on size six needles that you, for some reason, think is going to make a great hat when, in reality, it would make a great bulletproof helmet.).
  • So that's knitting news as of late. Sheesh! That was a lot of stuff, right??
And because I don't want this post to be completely bereft of photos, I'll show you a long promised photo of me in my not too horrible bridesmaid dress:
Mo and me
I'm the one who is only actually half-dressed in the gown. The lady on the left was another bridesmaid and is apparently faster at dressing than I am. So there you have it....a photo of me. By the way, the photo was not taken at an angle. We had been drinking so much by that time that the world actually looked like that. hehehe

  • I finally finished The Nautical Chart and really enjoyed it. It has mystery and intrigue and a quiet love story all tied together. His writing style is very fluid and engaging, rich with description. That being said, I wasn't in love with the ending. It sort of seemed like an easy way out - a cop out, if you will - and I could've seen it ending in a much more satisfying manner if the author would've chosen one of the many avenues he left open for himself to end it differently. I'll probably try a couple of his other books and see how they go.
  • I read Coraline in an evening. It was a very fun, creepy little book. It was written by Neil Gaiman, of Sandman fame, and it was very nicely done. It would be suitable for an edgy bedtime story for children, a creepy read for young adults, or a dash of whimsy and that feeling of something is a little off for adults. It literally took me about four hours to read this book and I was knitting dishcloths all the while. I recommend it if you are looking for a quick, engaging read with a character you can easily get attached to.
  • I also read Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems and thoroughly enjoyed it. No section of society escapes from David Rakoff's rapier sharp wit in this book of essays. For those of us who knit or create things with our hands, I would like to direct you to the essay entitled, "Martha My Dear: These are Hands, Use Them" as I feel it directly speaks to those who feel the need to make things, to create, and discusses what happens when we do that. Each essay is a quick read with plenty of laugh-out-loud bits and it would be perfect for reading while deeply entrenched in a more serious book in order to give your noggin a break from all that heavy thinking.
  • I recently started A Great and Terrible Beauty (Readers Circle) and, although it's written for young adults, I would thus far recommend it to anyone with an interest in slightly Gothic historical fiction novels. I'll keep you updated on that as I go along.
  • And going in a completely different direction, I have been reading Life After Death: The Burden of Proof before bed. It is easy to read, straight forward, enlightening, and interesting. I always like to read a non-fiction book along with a fiction book or two to give myself options. I'm about 80 pages into this one and I am really enjoying the conversational tone of the book, which completely lacks highfalutin pedantry. I had been averse to reading any of Chopra's books for the longest time because of the whole bandwagon thing but I'm glad I gave this one a shot because I really find it soothing somehow.
Other books:
  • I recently picked up the sewing machine again and started sewing. Just small things like pillows and such but I needed another hobby (HA!) so I started small and I'm progressing. There are two books that I have found to be great resources for the beginning sewer. One is Step-by-Step Sewing Course: Essential Techniques for Making Over 150 Creative Home Projects and it is stuffed full of useful information and plenty of easy projects for the beginner. Another one I have come to find very useful is Sewing 101: A Beginner's Guide to Sewing. It has a hidden spiral binding so it stays flat on your work surface and it addresses everything under the sun for the beginning sewer. It ranks high on my go-to list of books to answer my sewing questions.
  • Because of my revamped interest in sewing, I decided to pick up this book Amy Butler's In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects, especially because I had read great things about Amy Butler's patterns, etc. This book did not disappoint. There are great patterns and ideas for cool home accessories, bags, and fun things like a kimono style robe and wide-legged loungie pants. I have high hopes of sewing up a few things as Christmas presents.
  • Before I forget, if you have any interest in sewing or crafting of any sort, go to and sign up for their email list. You will receive tons of coupons and promo codes for shipping, up to 50% off of items and all sorts of other good stuff. I used a 50% off coupon to get my copy of the Amy Butler book from them and I paid about $12 for it and got free shipping.
The Rest:
  • On Halloween night, I severely sprained my ankle and I've been hobbling about ever since. It's finally getting better and I can almost walk normally. For a while there, I was doing this crazy zombie walk and it appeared to outsiders that I was on the hunt for brains. Such was not the case. Besides, I'm a vegetarian and brains are definitely meat although some would argue that particular brains are made of air and thus vegetarian safe.
  • The contest winners are (yes, I finally got around to choosing them with the help of a random number generator) Sharon and TwitchyKnitter. Sharon won the grand prize of the book plus two skeins of yarn for a project and, oddly enough, I had just won her contest but it was completely random. I think it was just good karma or something. TwitchyKnitter won the consolation prize of sock yarn. I am planning another contest soon so stay tuned for more details.
  • I will be adding another section to this blog very soon and I have an announcement to make that will have to wait until the next post (which will be very soon. I won't make you wait so long. I do solemnly swear to this.) because it seems that this one is too long already, especially with no photos. I'll also let you know when the next t-shirt will be available so you can get your orders in before Christmas.
Well, my dear bloglings and blogettes, thanks for your patience and thanks for stopping by. Don't let your Christmas knitting or shopping stress you out too much. It's supposed to be fun, right? On a belated Thanksgiving note, I'd like to let you all know that I'm very thankful for each and every one of you who takes the time to check out my blog. I know some of you just lurk and that is just fine with me because I do the same thing. However, I would like to send extra thanks out to all the new commenters that have taken the time to introduce themselves and give me a nudge of encouragement. I hope everyone is doing well and I will be back soon. Hopefully with photos.
Transmission Ended

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

By the light...of the silvery moon

So I haven't chosen a winner of my contest yet because I've been stuck in workland and knittingland and I sprained my ankle pretty badly on Halloween (and have therefore been stuck at home, limping around the house. Good thing I'm pretty much a homebody anyway.). So, in lieu of announcing a contest winner or winners at this time (soon, very soon. I promise.), I've decided to present to you my very first How-To Guide. I can't make any promises about more How-To Guides in the future but I thought y'all would like this one. The title of this How-To Guide is: How To Simulate Knitting in the Dark in the Cab of a Moving 1966 Chevy C-10 Pickup Truck

There are two methods of simulation here so I will outline them separately.
Method 1:

For this you will need:
1 Refrigerator Box (or other large box, big enough for you to sit inside)
1 Four-legged Stool with a back but no arm rests and at least one uneven leg so that it wobbles
1 Knife
1 Room with an Overhead Light Source
1 (or more) Family Member or Friend
1 Pair of Knitting Needles
1 Bit of Flat Knitting, Stockinette Stitch preferred, that needs decreasing or increasing
1 Large Caffeinated Beverage of Choice
The night

To Get Started:
1. Take the knife and randomly perforate the refrigerator box on all four sides.
2. Sit on wobbly stool with knitting in hand and pattern at the ready, preferably rested on your knees.
3. Have friend or family member place perforated refrigerator box over you and wobbly stool, encasing you and the stool in the box.
4. Instruct friend or family member to turn off the lights in the room.
5. Start to knit away on your project.
6. Instruct friend or family member to enter the room and turn the lights on and off for roughly 20 seconds at random intervals for the next five to eight hours on no specific schedule.
7. Carefully scrutinize your knitting when the lights shine through the holes in the refrigerator box and attempt to fix all mistakes, dropped stitches, etc., and/or count stitches during this time. Also, attempt to memorize upcoming details in pattern.
8. Once per hour, take a bathroom break to stretch your legs and feverishly knit by the bright light of the bathroom.
9. After a period of no less than five hours but no more than 13 hours, ask friend or family member to remove refrigerator box.
10. See how you did on your knitting.
11. By the light of day (or the magic of electric light), rip back knitting to where you were before you started this exercise. Or not. You may do much better than you anticipated.

Method 2:
For this method you will need:
1 Windowless Room, preferably with two doors but one door will also work
1 Rocking Chair with no armrests
1 (or more) Family Member or Friend
1 Flashlight
1 Pair of Knitting Needles
1 Bit of Flat Knitting, Stockinette Stitch preferred, that needs decreasing or increasing
1 Large Caffeinated Beverage of Choice
The night (for added and ensured darkness)

To Get Started:
1. Place rocking chair in the center of the windowless room.
2. Turn off the lights in the windowless room.
3. Get seated in rocking chair and settle in to knit, preferably placing pattern on knees.
4. Start rockin' away in the rocking chair.
5. Keep knitting.
6. Instruct family member or friend to run through the room and around you, aiming the lit flashlight directly at your forehead, for approximately 20 seconds every 20 to 30 minutes on no particular schedule for no less than five hours but no more than 13 hours.
7. When friend or family member enters the room aiming the flashlight, frantically hold up knitting and/or pattern to scrutinize for mistakes in knitting or memorize the next bit of pattern.
8. Once every hour or so, turn on the overhead light for 10 minutes and knit as many stitches as you can before you take a potty break.
9. Return to rocking chair, start rocking, and instruct friend or family member to turn off the light and repeat steps 6 through 8 for no less than five and no more than 13 hours.
10. By the light of day (or the magic of electric light), rip back knitting to where you were before you started this exercise. Or not. You may do much better than you anticipated.

So, my dear bloglings and blogettes, that is how you too can simulate knitting in the dark while sitting in the cab of a moving 1966 Chevy C-10 Pickup. If you decide to try this experiment at home, please do let me know how it went. I managed to knit two sleeves (at once, even!) and most of the back of a cardigan this way. Thus ends today's FancyPants How-To Guide. More on the contest, book reviews (I finally finished The Nautical Chart!) both knitting and non-knitting, more movie recommendations, and some FO photos when I return. Until then, I'm having some wine and hobbling back to the sofa. I hope y'all are doing fantastic.
Transmission Ended

Thursday, August 30, 2007


From the depths of my editing life, I emerge victorious. Earlier this month, my boss informed me that we would have many projects coming up and that was not an understatement. I just finished critiquing my fifth of six books for the month and I have done heavy proofreading on four of them. All of this and I managed to write the content for our new website! And by our new website, I mean my and Travis' new website where we are selling something super cool that y'all have to buy because it is awesome and you'd be supporting a good cause and a start-up business. When the website is up and all cool with the new text, I'll get y'all the link so you can go nuts.

  • I'm trucking along still on the Test Knitting Project #2 and I'm thisclose to being finished. Yippee! After that I have to get on doing some of the commissions I've committed to doing.
  • I am test knitting another pattern that is pretty groovy and I decided to use Elann's Lara in Magenta or Crimson. It looks like this: Elann Lara
  • I think I am going to restart the ring pillow because now I'm not so in love with it. I'm thinking a lace panel instead of bobbles. I don't want the rings to get caught on the honkin' big bobbles. That would be awkward.
  • I cast on a pair of socks a few days ago in this: Plymouth Sockotta I'm calling them Porkchop's Party Socks because they are for my friend, Porkchop and the colors are all about a party. I decided to use the Moorish Lattice Pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks because I've been wanting to try it forever. It doesn't show up so fantastic with hyper-variegated yarn but I still like it. Also, it's a really really stretchy stitch.
  • I made a list of all the knitting I have to do before Christmas and that sidebar reflects only a fraction of the knitting I have to do. I'm an idiot.
Tales From the Tattoo Shop
  • It's been a while since I posted anything in this section but it is coming back. I swear. I have a story to tell you about a crazy person who came in yesterday (and every day for like seven days prior to yesterday) but it makes my blood pressure shoot through the roof so I'm giving it another day to rest. She was crazy and didn't make any sense and say things like, "Tha's what I'm axing you to do."
Partaking in Culture
  • We have Dexter in the queue of netflix on the recommendation of some friends. We watched three minutes of it and got hooked. I'll let you know how it goes.
  • The Return with Sarah Michelle Gellar is horrible. I know this is a big surprise considering the all star cast but it really was bad. It didn't make a damn bit of sense until the last few minutes and it wasn't in that cool Sixth Sense kind of way but in that lame WTF is going on kind of way. I'm a sucker for a bad horror movie and this didn't even qualify as bad.
  • Reno 911 the Movie was hilarious. We watched it the other night with some friends. I laughed profusely. It's like watching a two hour episode of the show and I really like the show so it certainly stands to reason that I would like the film. It definitely could not be considered high-brow academic humor in any way but that's okay because some base ridiculousness is good sometimes.
Well, dear bloglings and blogettes, if I don't hear from tarabeth by Monday, I'm sending the sock yarn to the runner up. I hope y'all are doing well. I need to go take some photos of the stuff I'm knitting up and show that to y'all. Enjoy the cooler evenings.
Transmission Ended

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hi, my name is FancyPants and I'm a knitting addict

I think it's safe to say that I'm a knitting addict. I have three projects on the needles now but I should actually be doing like five projects because they all need to get done. I need many arms, like Vishnu. I just got the newest issue of Interweave Knits. I don't know what took me so long. I've only paged through it or else I'd give you the rundown. I found at least three sweaters I really want to make. I know, you are surprised by this. I also just bought Victorian Lace Today and Ann Budd's Favorite Socks because y'know, I need more sock knitting patterns because I only have a million now. Dios meo, mis amigos, dios meo.

Not much to report at the moment other than tarabeth still needs to leave me her email address so I can send her sock yarn. I worked on Porkchop's party sock (not yet in the sidebar) a little bit while I was reading the other day. I like it. It's right colorful. I am nearly done with Test Knitting Project #2. Hurrah!! And I've done nothing more on my sister's ring pillow. I'm going home to knit now. Wish me luck.

I hope y'all are doing well. I will be way more exciting, and with photos, next post. :)
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

And I'm finally back

I'm so sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I feel like there was much gnashing of teeth and showing of swords in a threatening manner every time y'all checked my blog, only to see that I still hadn't done a damn thing with it. So I humbly apologize to y'all and appreciate your patience. I didn't get one (1) angry email even.

So, after much deliberation over the wonderful suggestions y'all provided for my bulky cashmere, I hemmed and hawed over two suggestions that really spoke to me. I finally decided that tarabeth (leave me your email address in a comment so I can get in touch with you to send you your yarn!) is the winner of the Wildfoote sock yarn for her suggestion. In memorial to my kitten, I will make a cashmere kitten out of it that is many colors, just like she was, and is super soft, just like she was. Thank you to everyone for your participation and excellent suggestions. I am filing all of them away for future use, especially the Scribble Lace Scarf and the eyemask! Thanks again for participating. Contests are fun so I believe I will have more in the future.

Also, I have to say thank you thank you thank you thank you for all your kind words and thoughts about the kitty. It was so sweet and thoughtful of y'all and it provided immeasurable comfort to me.

Moving on....
  • I finished the Gentleman's Fancy Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Yahoo! I've got a new pair of socks and here they are: Finished Gentleman's Fancy Sock I'm quite pleased with them and, of course, I had to cast on another pair (different pattern), shortly thereafter because I can't seem to not have a pair of socks on my needles lately.
  • So, sock knitting. I finished my first pair a while ago (the red ones) and I love with them with a passion that can only be reserved for your first pair of finished socks. Then I made some baby socks (look through the photos to see my white, furry model) and then I finished the Gentleman's Fancy Sock. I'm hooked. I have to have at least one pair of socks on the needles at all times now. I think I would actually like to have two pair on the needles at all times, one complicated and one mindless, and I have great plans for some socks that I want to create. I'll even give you the patterns so you can try 'em out yourself when I've finished. Yahoo!! Free stuff!!
  • And I will have more free patterns to give to you throughout the rest of the year. I'm going to mix up some free ones with some ones for sale so everybody gets something. I get to call myself an honest-to-goodness knitwear designer and you will get some free patterns and the opportunity to buy (for cheap) some cool patterns to whip up fashionable, fun sweaters, cardigans, socks, and other things I have gestating in the brain pool at the moment. Hurrah!
  • I thought I'd take a photo and share with you my notes from making the Gentleman's Fancy Sock. My "professional" notes for the socks How professional, you might say, while looking at my penned notes on a paper towel. Hahaha. Yeah, so whatever patterns I plan on making to give and to sell will NOT be printed on paper towel. But if you do the same thing, you are not alone. Details on the sock: I used Plymouth Sockotta and it took me just over one ball to do it. I'd say about 550 yards for the pair. I used size 2.5mm needles and broke one just before I was about to finish the sock (there was cursing involved). I put an extra pattern repeat in the leg and I used one less pattern repeat in the foot to make 'em fit my feet instead of the MAN feet the pattern is written for (skinny, thin, tiny MAN feet). They were great fun to make and I recommend making a pair for you or someone you know.
  • I'm making progress on the test knitting project #2 and I really like them. The color choices, as I've probably said before, aren't quite me but I do like the pattern. It, again, uses a bunch of things I've never done before so I'm learning a lot and the outcome has been really positive.
  • Speaking of test knitting, I got another job knitting samples for a yarn shop up in NY, located close to the publishing company I work for. My publishing boss actually hooked me up with the gig and my first knit is a Rowan cardigan. Yahoo!! She pays me in yarn, which I love, for the knits for the store. She and a friend are writing a knitting book and I'll be test knitting patterns for the book too. Then I get paid in actual money (I'm honestly not sure what I prefer but the electric company doesn't accept payment in yarn although I think I'd probably knit by candlelight as opposed to handing over yarn....). I'll be able to share the store projects with you so that's pretty groovy.
  • I started the ring pillow for my sister's wedding. Jillby's Ring Pillow I'm using OnLine Goby in Cream on size 6 (US) needles. I went with a bobble stitch pattern from one of Nicki Epstein's books (my laziness is preventing me from getting up to check the exact title but you'll read about it soon enough I'm sure) and doing some other fancy-schmancy stuff with it. I'm pleased with it so far. I've actually gotten more finished since that photo so I'll update you with new photos on the next post.
  • I feel like I've cast on about a million projects lately (okay, so I'm exaggerating) and I want to show them to you. It's actually only been within the last day or so and I haven't had a chance to take photos and go through the process of uploading them. Soon, my dear bloglings and blogettes, soon.
Partaking in Culture:
  • If you want to laugh until you are gasping for air, go see Superbad. It is HILARIOUS! It, like most genius films, shows one day in the life of the protagonists, two 18-year-old boys about to go to college. It is funny and has moments of sheer genius. Definitely worth the ticket price and we may even go see it again.
  • I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was also funny although it can't hold a candle to Superbad, Adam Sandler notwithstanding. Enjoy it on DVD. It was rather predictable but still made me laugh quite a few times.
  • We have a bunch of netflix movies and movies from the video store that we have to watch over the next few days so I'll give you the haps on those when I view them. I have notoriously weird taste in films so the netflix movies should prove interesting. One of them is even a horror movie (there is much rejoicing!).
Well, my darling bloglings and blogettes, thank you again for your patience and for coming to read up on what's going on with me. I will be hosting another contest as soon as I find a reason to do so (which is, like, every other day with me...I swear.) but thanks again for your ardent participation in the last one. I'm thinking of adding a new section to the blog so stay tuned to see if I actually do it. It should be at least mildly humourous. I hope y'all are doing well and enjoying life. I know that many of the kiddos are back in school so stay-at-home mamas and papas have been able to reclaim their days and university students are once again able to find reasons to skip class. Oh, the days.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'll announce the winner shortly

I promise!! I've been super super busy with proofing and knitting but I chose a winner and I will announce very soon. Thanks for hanging in there. OOOH! And I have photos to show you. Much fun will ensue.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007


I just learned how to Norwegian Purl and I love it! Find a tutorial and learn how to do it. It makes ribbing go soooo much faster after you learn to do it.

Also, read this about a sock this woman's husband knit. It is his first sock but, more importantly, look at the sock in action.

Moving on...

First of all, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who left kind, thoughtful comments related to the death of our kittie. Y'all's response was really wonderful and made me feel much better. Thank you again. Going along in that vein, I would also like to say thank you to my new commenters, Yarnhog, Kim, Shannon, and the others (my brain is stalling out on names right now). I'm a lover of comments and it's always nice to see new people stopping by and saying hello. I have a tendency to lurk on a lot of blogs but I try to comment and give my love to the many wonderful bloggers that take the time to frequently update their blogs so I have something to read while I'm knitting along. When I started this blog, I was convinced that no one would read it, blah blah blah, but, lo and behold!, I have made friends as result of doing this. I have met really cool people and learned a lot of interesting things, about knitting, life, and humanity. I'll be updating my regular reads on the sidebar to reflect the blogs I actually read every day very soon.

Speaking of cool things, Valerie, over at her blog, nominated me for a Creative Blogger Award some time ago and I kept forgetting to mention it. Thanks for that, Valerie! I still need to swipe the button and post it on my sidebar.

The Summer Stash Swap is officially over and I can't wait for next year's swap! I had roughly fifteen amazing participants who displayed true generosity, creativity, and kindness through their swaps. I will definitely be doing this again next year so stay tuned for that. It was my pleasure to host the swap and become "swap mistress," as I was so thoughtfully labeled by one swapper. :)


  • If you'll glance over at the sidebar, I've decided to be courageous and start progress bars for my Christmas knitting. I'm hoping it will keep me motivated and remind me what I need to get done as opposed to terrifying me into revolt, wherein I refuse to knit Christmas gifts.
  • The Gentleman's Fancy Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks: New Twists on Classic Patterns, by Nancy Bush, are coming along quite well. I've had some time to work on them here and there lately and I have turned the heel and stitched my way through the gussets. I'm now working on the foot so, before long, I will have a pair of socks! Hurrah! I'll have photos of it soon...another artful photo of my pale-ass legs in handknit socks. Be sure not to miss that. :)
  • The second test knitting project is coming along splendidly. They received my first project and gave me some constructive criticism for it, which it needed. However, I feel much more confident about this project, even though it too involves a number of new things for me. I can't show you the actual project so, instead, I'll show you the swatch. Here it is:Swatch for Test-knitting project #2 *A note on stranded colorwork - I've found that the fabric created by stranded colorwork is much more even, in density and appearance, if you catch the floating yarn every two stitches or so, instead of letting them float over five stitches. There is also less likelihood that things will get caught on the floats when you put on the garment.*
  • I was asked why I decided to frog the TaTa Tube and all I can say is that in theory, it was a good project. In reality, it didn't turn out so well. I may tweak the design, which I still kind of like, and change the yarn (which was wrong wrong wrong the first time around) to see what I come up with. The crochet edging I chose for it was also not the best decision I've made in a while.
  • I've been talking mad, crazy designs and patterns with Christine and, between the two of us, y'all are going to be up to your eyeballs in knitting patterns. I've got some great designs (better than the TaTa Tube, I swear!) kicking around in my noodle for everything from socks to sweaters and a few home furnishing things so we can all look forward to those in the months ahead.
  • I have only received two ideas (two good ideas, from Sharon and Allie, but still only two) for what to do with the bulky cashmere pictured below. I like them both but I would still like to solicit more ideas. If you have an idea for what I can do with it, leave me a comment. If I love it, I'll send you a skein of Wildfoote sock yarn in the Rock and Roll colorway. If I can't choose between two or more, I'll use the random number generator to pick a winner.
Partaking in Culture:
  • As of late, we have seen Ratatouille (hilarious!! I nearly snorted while I was laughing, it was that damn funny), Hot Rod (stupid funny but still funny. Go have a laugh and see it), and The Simpsons movie. I am a hardcore Simpsons fan so I had eagerly anticipated the movie for a long long time. I was not disappointed. If you even remotely like the Simpsons, go see the movie. It is genius and hilarious.
  • I'm reading The Nautical Chart right now (see sidebar) and it's fantastic. It's very layered and the story-telling is magnificent and vivid. I'm glad the author has written quite a few books so I will be able to work my way through them. It drives me bonkers when I find an author I really like only to find that they've only written one book and I can't read anything else by them. For the longest time, Vikram Chandra was like that. He recently put out Sacred Games: A Novel, which was seven long years in the making. I haven't read it yet so I have nothing to report about it. I'll let you know when I do, though, because I have very high hopes for it. If it's anything like his first book, Red Earth and Pouring Rain: A Novel, I know it will be an amazing read.
  • We listened to Terry Pratchet's The Colour of Magic (Discworld Novels) on the way back from TN this time. It's not generally the genre that I read but it was SO MUCH FUN to listen to. It's really a fun, witty, imaginative book. Give it a listen while you are knitting and the time will just fly by. It seems to start off a bit slow but I think that is due, in part, to the fact that it is linguistically correct, which is something seldom heard today, unfortunately (don't get me started on language or linguistics. We'll be here all day). After you get accustomed to the rhythms of the speech and the language, it is thoroughly enjoyable. We aren't quite finished with it (half of one disc to go) so I'll hold off on giving it any sort of review until then.
For the moment, that's about all I can think of that I need to tell you, my dear bloglings and blogettes. There are a couple of really big things coming up that I'm looking forward to sharing with you but, until they are in our hot little hands, I'm going to hold off and just tease you about it until then (hehehe). I'll be back soon. I hope you are having a beautiful day and not wilting in the heat. Drink a lot of water lest you get dehydrated.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Candy 1989 - 2007

It is with great sadness that I report that Candy, the beautiful kitten discussed below, has passed away. She developed diabetes but soldiered on for quite a while seemingly without any problems. I spoke with my mama today and she told me that, after keeping vigil with Candy all weekend, she passed away without incident on Saturday night. Candy was interred with her favorite toy in a sunny spot, between two palm trees, behind the house. I am sad.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It's gonna be a bright and sunshiny day

I can see clearly now that some of my previous projects (like the TaTa Tube and the Shortie Jacket) are destined to become yarn again. If you look to the sidebar, you'll notice that I've eradicated them from the progress bars. I don't have enough yarn to do sleeves on the jacket (that I don't really like anyway) and the TaTa Tube was a serious error in knitting judgment. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking with that one but I at least had the foresight not to unleash it on the world. *Wipes brow in relief* I was talking with Christine via ye olde email today and struck upon the idea of turning the Shortie Jacket yarn into a Tough Baby jacket so I suppose I'll add that to the project list and start it up eventually. Now that I have affirmatively decided to frog these projects, I feel much better. Do they count toward the 2007 UFO project, though?
*Please note that I will finish that damned Tulip Shawl because I want to and it needs to be finished because it will be beautiful. Real tulips will turn green with envy when confronted with the finished product.

More Knitting:
  • So I bought this:
    Hand-dyed Artisan Bulky Cashmere a long time ago and I only bought one skein. It is approximately 54 yards of bulky weight cashmere and I have had it sitting on the coffee table for at least a month. I only recently wound it up into that delicious little yarn cake. It used to look like this: Some hand-painted artisan cashmere It's beautiful. It's soft. And there is only 54 yards of it. If anyone can give me a suggestion for it that will actually work, I'll send you something cool and yarn related. Call it a contest. Leave me a comment on something cool to do with it and, if I like it, I'll send you something groovy in return.
  • The Gentleman's Fancy Sock #2 (that I have remanded to my sock drawer's custody) is about a third done. I've been stealing rows throughout the day, in between editing like a machine. I may just have a pair of socks to wear this weekend when we are up in TN.
  • I haven't heard anything negative, yet, about the test knitting project #1 that they should have gotten today. In fact, they asked me to knit up something else for them so test knitting project #2 went up in the progress section. It involves stranded colorwork so that should be fun...and interesting. On a positive note, my finger has almost returned to normal.
Other stuff:
  • Since I am now updating my blog more frequently (or trying to anyway), I have to dig around a little bit more for interesting things to regale you with. Anyway, with that being said, I would like to say something more about the oldest cat at my mama's house. Remember her? Kitty rocks! I definitely didn't do her justice and I felt badly about that because she's really cool. I got her and her sister (who abruptly disappeared) when they were both wee little fluff balls. Her name is Candy but I've always called her Kitty. She's always been my cat and she's really the first cat that I can remember having. She tolerated the rottweiler we had and lived through living with me when I went to university and started collecting cats. She's never complained or sulked or even been mildly disgruntled. She has also never poo'd in a litter box, but opted to do so just beside it instead (much to the dismay of my mother). She now lives at my mother's house, with her five younger cat brothers and she rules with an iron paw. She has developed feline diabetes so she drinks a lot of water and pees a lot but she maintains a good quality of life so we don't see any reason to do anything drastic. She sleeps on my bed and snuggles with me when I go home and my mama claims she comes to life when I am around. She carries around a cat toy filled with catnip that I knitted some time ago and she regularly delivers it to my mama's bedside as a gift of her mighty hunting. She begs for food and will win any staring contest you want to put her in. I love her little furry paws and the way fur comes out of her ears. I love the she tolerates kisses all over her head and will even snuggle up with you afterwards, despite being a cat and hating that sort of thing out of obligation. I could talk about her a lot more but I won't because I'm starting to get a lump in my throat and get all misty-eyed. Anway. Thanks for putting up with me elegy to my cat. I feel better now. Be prepared for more because I'm feeling sentimental lately.
I'll be back with more knitting once I get some more knitting done. I feel like y'all deserve some patterns and stuff like that so I'll see what I can do about that too. I've got some things in mind for that so it should be a pretty fruitful next couple of months on the knitting front. I have a lot of inspiration (and a lot of yarn. An LYS down by my mama's was going out of business and I fortuitously happened upon it before they closed down. I got so much great yarn. I'm up to my eyeballs in Malabrigo and cashmere blends.). Stay cool in this hell-hot weather and I'll be back soon. As usual, thanks for reading.
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Monday, August 06, 2007

Some stuff I've been promising you

Hi all!


  • I've got the test knitting project #1 out in the post and done!! Yahoo!! I am relieved as all get out. Here is a progress photo of the project:
Test knitting progress shot

I'm not allowed to show you the finished product, of which I also have photos, until it's in the catalog. I'm not 100% pleased with it but I don't think I ever would be because I'm a hardcore perfectionist about my knitting. But anyway.

  • Here is a photo of the yarn and the pattern I've been commissioned to do. The yarn is Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK and the pattern is Rowan's Ghost.

Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK and Rowan's Ghost

I'll keep you updated on the progress of it when I get it underway. I'm itching to get it started. However, I also need to get started on my Christmas knitting...That's for another post.
  • Instead, I'll show you the MAN socks which are now the me socks, again. The first one didn't fit Travis but it did fit me so I decided to finish up the pair so I'd have another pair of socks. I'll be giving the MAN socks another go, though. Here is a photo of the first sock in action and the start of the second sock, which has actually come along a bit further since I took this photo. It languished for the entire duration of the test knitting project, for obvious reasons (see previous posts).

Close-up of the first MAN sock

MAN sock #2

Partaking in Culture:
  • I finished Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk, a while ago and, as usual for his books, I really enjoyed it. His books are like a guilty pleasure...easy to read, quick, and fun. His books have this weird non-fiction feel to them. In Invisible Monsters, he gave exhaustive tips for removing stains and cleaning. In Rant, the reader gets a history of the spread of contagious diseases throughout history. Rant is written in an interview style sans interviewer. The reader is getting an oral history of the main character. Like all his characters, the main character of this book is multi-layered and the reader gets the distinct feeling like he is hiding something from them. Chuck Palahniuk has become somewhat known for his big reveals at the end of his novels and Rant is no exception. I do not recommend this book, or any of his other books, for the squeamish or the prudish. I do recommend it if you want some brain candy that you will demolish in a weekend...
  • I recently finished The Museum Guard by Howard Norman. It was a lovely book, rather folk story in its telling. It was set in the late 1930's and explored the day to day life of an average guy who became a museum guard because of his uncle, an alcoholic womanizer who is also a museum guard. The protagonist, Defoe, becomes enraptured with both a woman and a painting. The woman and the painting merge into one as the woman attempts to become the woman in the painting. Here, Norman details the pathos of a woman who has clearly made a break from her own reality in favor of what she feels is the more romantic and meaningful world of the woman in the painting. This book is at times frustrating and overall very engaging. It reads like the story of a painting, which is reinforced in many ways by the other characters who get the opportunity to provide the commentary for the story throughout the book. It was a refreshing read because it was well-written, lyrical, and interesting. The historical setting of the book was factually true yet unintrusive. There was something vaguely mysterious about this book and I do recommend it, especially if you like the feeling of peering into another life.
  • If you are looking for a nearly exhaustive yet well-categorized compendium of knitting stitches, check out Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns. It was first published in 1943 and has since, obviously, been reprinted. She starts out with some of the most basic knitting stitch patterns and progresses to the most complex. There are patterns scattered throughout (mainly samplers and such) but the real meat of the thing is in the stitch patterns. There is some great knitting history and a ton (300+) illustrations of knitting stitches, including profile views of stitches. There is also a discussion of design and incorporating various patterns into garments and how they will best work together. This is not a book I would have appreciated as a beginning knitter but I know as I advance more, I will find it to be an indispensable resource. If you design garments or home furnishing and do not have this book, I urge you to get a copy.
  • Since I have been sitting on my duff knitting my fingers to the bone, I have been watching too much daytime television. You know what's on in the middle of the day? Murder, She Wrote. That's right, I've been watching Murder, She Wrote....on the Hallmark Channel and the Biography Channel, respectively. Most of the acting is horrible but I felt like I was eight and staying up late to watch it with my mama.
  • Deadwood Season Three is out on DVD now and we are nearing the end of the discs from Netflix. I shudder to think that it will be over soon because now I'm totally engrossed. I'll have to turn my television compulsion to something else. Any suggestions?
Well, bloglings and blogettes, I am going to go take a shower and get back to knitting and editing (something new this time!) and watch another episode of Murder, She Wrote. Travis is running around getting parts for the truck (1966 Chevy 10 - "Lucille" - she's up and running and we are happy to have her back. There is nothing like driving around with the windows down, sitting next to my baby on that big bench seat.) to work on that today so I'll be doing my usual....avoiding the heat and knitting for fun. I hope y'all are having a wonderful day. I'll be back soon with more knitting, more reading (I'm in the middle of a fantastic book!), and more happiness. Ciao!
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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Ni hao..

That's "hello" in Mandarin according to flickr. Anyway. What follows is going to be a very unsatisfactory blog post because I need to finish my glass of wine in order to decompress enough to write a better one filled with all the stuff I've been promising you. Here's why (and it also explains my absence for the past, what?, week):
I finished the test knitting project #1 today (three days late but they don't seem to mind yet...I'm rushing it to the post Monday morning). I literally have a hole in my index finger from sliding stitches off a metal circular needle. I thought I was joking about knitting until my fingers bled but, alas, I was not. Blood and holey fingers notwithstanding, it was a fun knit. LOTS of intarsia. Y'all will get to see it once it's in the catalog. I'll be posting photos of it here. Knitting on a deadline is not fun but it was totally gratifying to finish the thing and, because I'm a glorious kind of fool, I will gladly do it again and implement better time/knitting management skills. I have to start now on a cardigan I was commissioned to do (Hurrah!) and it's on far less of a deadline so I'm looking forward to it. Also, I can show you lotsa photos. Now that I don't have knitting in my hands for the first time in days (we're talkin' like twelve to fourteen hours of knitting a day for the last several days. *wipes sweat from brow*), I have itchy fingers and want to pick up the sock that has been languishing on the needles and cast on about fifty other things. Alright, I'm tearing myself away from this particular boring blog post until I can give you a proper one or ten. In my absence (until later today, after I do some other work), I will leave you with a photo of Mommy Kitty, a cat that lives outside at Travis' sister's house who hung out with me while I was outside reading a book (which I will also tell you about later). Anyway. Mommy Kitty is cute. Here's proof:
Mommy Cat is funny
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another happy photo...

As usual for things at the moment, I am pressed for time and darn near pulling out my hair on this test knitting project but I will invoke the zen principles and take a breath and be happy with my universe (I am one with the universe. I am one with the universe.). At any rate, I will blog more about progress and knitting and happy things soon. I promise. Until then, I will show you a photo of some new additions to my knitting library.
New knitting books

This photo reminds me that I really need to do some shorty book reviews. I have finished one book and nearly completed another book (both fiction) and read through the above books and I have things to say about them. Also, I got my invite to Ravelry and I'm using every ounce of self-restraint I have to stop from spending all my time on there and cataloging everything. But I have too much crap to do right now so no Ravelry for me at the moment. I promise I will not let it distract from my super-interesting (HA) blogging. Thanks for hangin' in there, my friends.
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Saturday, July 21, 2007

I am now...

halfway done, exactly, with the proofreading project and I am in exactly the same place with my test knitting project as I was before I frogged it due to gauge issues. I present to you a picture of yarn from Emily B.'s etsy shop that I am in love with:
Emily B.'s yarny goodness
The one on the left, Handful of Orchids, and the one in the middle, name unremembered, are destined to become luxuriously beautiful socks for me and someone else who wants pretty pink socks. I have to go back to proofreading and knitting. More later. :)
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Friday, July 20, 2007

I have stuff to tell you...

....I'm just uber-lazy right now and I'm trying to make up for lost time on my test knitting thing so I'm not blogging at the moment. You are currently missing out on photos of beautiful yarn, other yarn I need help deciding what to do with, a sweater that I want to make but the pattern is in French, photos of cats, and a brief discussion of a book and a movie I finished and watched recently, respectively. I will blog tomorrow after I finish waist shaping and proofreading a manuscript (I'm halfway through, almost, the proofreading). Please bear with me and wish me fingers that knit like the wind. By the way, I've read some of the worst similes and metaphors lately that I almost want to suspend my own poetic license for a while. I hope y'all are well. Thanks for you patience.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cursed by my own hubris

So being the good little test knitter that I'm trying to be, I decided to check my gauge on the test knitting project. I did a gauge swatch before I started (see? good little test knitter) and I was spot on. There was much rejoicing. I'm now five inches (FIVE INCHES) into the garment and thought, well missy, you are rocketing through this so why don't you just check yer gauge (evidently I address myself like a grizzled 1860s prospector (double points to anyone who can name that pop culture reference))? I've read all the stuff about gauge changing in big projects so I thought I'd check. Well, I checked and I'm off....way off. Ugh. So now I'm ripping out five inches of my project. Riiiiippppp! I will be going up a needle size and reknitting for the rest of the knit. That's what I get for thinking so highly of my knitting. HA! Did I mention this will be my third go at this because I want it to be as close to perfect as possible? Well, it is and I'm still trying. More progress (or lack thereof) later as now I must go rip. By the way, i-cord cast-on curls up like crazy but I've been assured that blocking will remedy this. Back to ripping and then knitting.
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Knitting, yarn, art, and happiness pie

Hi y'all. I have many things to report but I'll probably forget half of them so stay tuned for further blogging in the future. The Summer Stash Swap is well underway and swappers are sending packages to one another daily. I love it!! Everyone participating is so conscientious and thoughtful. I'm definitely doing this again next year. I'm still beside myself with joy with the yarn I got up in Pittsburgh and, to top it all off, I received the yarn I ordered from the Three Peas Shoppette on Etsy when I got back into town. I haven't had a minute to photograph it yet but I will regale y'all with photos of this beautiful yarn as soon as possible. It's lovingly hand-dyed by the fabulous Emily B. and I feel like I got it for a steal. How could you go wrong?

  • The MAN socks are officially now the me socks. I finished one (fantastic, by the way) and it fit me perfectly which meant that there was no way it was going to fit over Travis' foot. I'll be finishing the matching sock so I have a pair and starting a pair of socks for Travis once again. This time, they will be toe-up socks. Photos of my single sock and progress on the second sock are forthcoming.
  • My first Knit Picks test knitting item is going along quite well. They sent me yarn and a pattern and I commenced to knitting. There is a lot (A LOT) of intarsia involved so I'm sharpening my intarsia skills. I'm using their "Wool of the Andes," which is 100% Peruvian wool. It's very even and quite springy with a wonderful bounce to it. It lends to beautiful stitch definition and, on US size 8 needles, it knits up into a nice, drapey fabric, not too dense or stiff. I'll take a progress shot of that so y'all can check it out.
  • I whipped out three dishcloths (using the Woven stitch) while on vacation. I used a baby cotton that I had in my stash and I am just as pleased with the results from using it as I was using the Peaches and Cream brand available at Sprawl-mart. On a side note, I did grab two balls of Peaches and Cream cotton from Sprawl-mart when I was on vacation. They had a vibrant red variegated one that I couldn't pass up because it would go perfectly in my mama's kitchen. I think I'm hooked on dishcloths and that particular stitch pattern rocks. I make them as follows: CO an even number of stitches (I use 44). Knit in seed stitch (aka moss stitch, depending where you are) for four rows. Row five: Knit first four stitches in seed stitch pattern then start the woven stitch (knit second stitch on the needle without removing it, then knit the first stitch on the needle and slide both stitches off the needle. repeat to last four stitches.). Knit in woven stitch to the last four stitches. Knit last four stitches in seed stitch pattern. On the purl side of the cloth, for the woven stitch, purl the second stitch on the needle without sliding it off the needle, then purl the first stitch on the needle and slide both off the needle. Repeat to last four stitches. Knit to within four rows of the desired length. Knit last four rows in seed stitch border. BO in seed stitch pattern. The seed stitch border helps to stabilize the whole thing so it doesn't roll all around.
  • On a random, non-knitting side note, we saw this owl: This one looks like my cat, Penelope. at the Carnegie museum in Pittsburgh. It reminded us of our cat, Penelope. I though I would share it with you.
  • Knit Picks customer service rocks. If you have any problem at all with your order, call them and they will make it right. They are awesome. (and I'm not just saying that because I "work" for them.)
Partaking in culture:
  • I promised some good photos from the Carnegie museum and here are a few of my favorite things from there. Most of my photos are more like reference photos so I'm just sharing the highlights here. This particular photo appealed to my macabre sense of humor. Hahahaha. What a funny way to display a bird. It just struck me as a really odd way to display a bird. Quite funny though. hehehe
  • They had an Egyptian exhibit there and I saw this: Egyptian drop spindle. Very cool. It's a drop spindle! How freakin' cool is that? I had no idea the drop spindle hailed from that far back in time. I was pleasantly surprised.
  • This is a beautiful Chinese vase that had inspiring colors. Beautiful Chinese vase that inspired me. I loved the combinations and the contrast in the colors. If you look closely at the photo (or click it to see it bigger), you can see Travis in the background equally as captivated by a piece of art. We had such a wonderful museum visit...both of us are big art buffs and, by the time we left, we had heads full of art and beauty.
  • Who doesn't love a big Buddha? I love a big Buddha.
So, for the moment, that's all I've got. I have some fantastic photos of the outdoor cats in TN that hung out with me while I finished my book. I'll get them off my camera on to you so you can bask in their ridiculous cuteness. I'll also be taking lotsa photos of yarn and other delicious things so I'll see you soon, bloglings and blogettes. I hope you are having a wonderful day.
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Monday, July 09, 2007

Wherein I briefly discuss travel and talk extensively about yarn

Hello all! I just got back from a wonderful trip up to Pittsburgh with Travis and his mama to go to their family reunion. We hung out with the family, went to the reunion (where I worked on the MAN sock), and Hurrah! went yarn shopping. We had to wake up early a lot, which 'bout near killed us but we survived...albeit with much grumpiness and protests. We are not early morning folk. We are late night evening folk. I was outside in the sun for an entire day and actually got a bit of a sunburn (the first time in at least a year). And we saw this: Good Ole McDonald's
pulling into our hotel room, which was close to a McDonalds. Funny funny.

  • Since we left from Florida, I have nearly completed one MAN sock. I did quite a lot of knitting at the reunion, which was really nice (both the reunion and the knitting). However, working with tiny needles all day long made my hand go numb for about an hour later that night and my arm ached the next day. I think I built some new knitting muscles in my arm. The sock is coming along well but I think, just like my other attempts at doing so, that this MAN sock is going to fit me better than Travis. Ah, well. I just get a new pair of socks and get to take another whack at it with the MAN socks.
  • Before we left Florida, I got struck by the small project bug and decided to knit up the chenille washcloth from Weekend Knitting. I wound up some Colinnette (sp?) cotton chenille in colorway Jewel into a delicious yarn cake: Mmmm...yarn cake and proceeded to knit up the largest washcloth in the world with it. It is a giant flower (and no, I didn't check my gauge because I figured, hey, it's a washcloth for me so I don't really care) and it's more of a towel than a washcloth. Funny pictures of Travis modeling it for me will be forthcoming.
  • Travis, his mama, and I went to a fabulous yarn shop in Pittsburgh, Dyed in the Wool, where Kelley and Carol turned out to be the yarn devils of Dyed in the Wool. They work there and they helped me load up on beautiful yarn by waving it around in my face while I shopped and by being extra helpful. Travis accompanied me and encouraged me to go a little crazy since I've been so good on my yarn diet plus he bought me the yarn as an anniversary present. *Happy Sigh* He's so sweet. And I made out like a bandit. They were having a sale on Debbie Bliss (among others) and Elsbeth Lavold. Yarn cache 07.09.07 I got three skeins of silver and black Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, one skein of Helen's Lace by Lorna's Laces in pewter, two skeins each of Elsbeth Lavold Silky Cashmere in camel, ruby, and cream, one skein each of two different colorways of SWTC Tofutsies, one skein each of Kollage ??? sock yarn in cream and butterscotch, one skein of Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in pewter, and three balls of Lacey Lambs in dark grey and grey heather. All I can say is mmmmmm......yarn. I'm sooooo excited *squeals with joy* I haven't gotten this much yarn or new yarn at all really since September 2006. Since then, I have really gotten more into designing and branching out in my knitting abilities and willingness to try more difficult projects, like lace shawls and designing socks, sweaters, and accessories so it was a great opportunity to get my hands on some fresh yarn. I didn't have any laceweight yarn and I can't wait to give it a try and attempt to produce one of those amazing wing-like shawls that I drool over regularly. A little close-up photo of some of the yarny goodness. Close-up #1 I'm in knitting heaven. And there is a bit of yarn p0rn for y'all.
Partaking in Culture:
  • We've only really been partaking of the culture of a different city these past few days. We've been partaking of the culture of good family and being in good company. It was truly wonderful. We had lots of wonderful discussion with grandparents and interesting family members. We had many good meals amongst great company and had the chance to represent the third generation of family present. We went to the Carnegie Art Museum in Pittsburgh and saw amazing art (more on that later. I took photos!). It was a wonderful trip and a beautiful cultural experience.
Well, dear bloglings and blogettes, I am going to leave you now, because it is late and I want to knit just a bit. I hope y'all had a wonderful 4th of July and have had a beautiful weekend. I'll be back soon with some great photos from the art museum and a bit more on Pittsburgh as well as some sock progress photos. Thanks for checking in. :)
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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wherein I show photos of knitting and discuss other things...

Hallo! The Summer Stash Swap is now officially underway. I'm so excited. I have finally decided what I'm putting in the box and I'm building up other things as I go along. More on that before, during, and after the swap has ended. Feel free to check out the swap blog and get updates there.
Since the 4th of July is tomorrow, things have been pretty slow around here. The tattoo shop was busy busy busy on Sunday (when I was at home) and dead on Monday (when I was there). I stayed home again today because I was super grouchy (thanks to lack of sleep) and when I get sleepy and grouchy, I'm like a baby so I cry too. It's not pretty. At any rate, I've been hanging out today, knitting and dreaming up more projects. Here's what I've got

  • Here is the unfelted cosmetic's case: Cosmetic Case Reverse - Pre-felting Cosmetic Case - Pre-felting One side and the other side. It took three brutal rounds in the washing machine on hot with a couple of towels (that are now REALLY clean) before it started to look felted. I'm not big on felting so I don't know how I feel about it yet. I'm hoping it will look better after it has some flowers needle felted on it and has a zipper. Think happy thoughts for my homely little bag. I've decided I'm not big on felting.
  • The "Gentlemen's Fancy Socks" from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush are coming along quite well. Gentlemen's Fancy Sock Progress I like them much better than my previous attempts at MAN socks. Here is a close-up: Gentlemen's Fancy Sock Progress Close-up If they don't fit Travis (because he has big feet and big feet = big socks), then my papa is getting some hand-knit socks for Christmas and I'll give Travis' socks another go. I just ordered some yarn from Knit Picks and I'm eager to try that out so maybe that yarn will get made into MAN socks.
  • The baby socks are finished! Finished Baby Socks I cast on 32 stitches, divided them onto three needles, started a 2x2 rib and never looked back. The cat, Poogar, refused to be seen in the socks again. For your viewing pleasure, I've provided a close-up: Close-up of Finished Baby Sock I think I'm going to try and do some toe-up socks because I'm about sick of having 20 or 30 yards of sock yarn floating around the house. Anyway. I really like how they turned out and I'm hoping our friends' baby has long skinny feet, like the cat.
  • Speaking of tiny amounts of leftover yarn, I have roughly three yards of Alchemy Bamboo leftover from making the Chevron Scarf from LMKG. I used one skein each of Alchemy's Silk and Bamboo in colorway Sonoma Sunset. It was heaven to work with and it came out beautifully. I'll probably end up giving it away, as is my wont. Poogar was helping me in this photo: LMKG Chevron Stitch Scarf and here is a close-up: Close-up of Chevron Stitch Scarf The colors are not so "WOW, that is bright" as they are on the photo. Bad indoor lighting can be directly thanked for that. I had to use a flash for the photo. For those of you considering the chevron stitch but thinking that it will be time consuming or difficult, just do it. This scarf only took me a couple of days, intermittently, and it measures a little over five feet long and about eight inches wide. I used size 8 US needles, instead of the size 6s the pattern calls for because I wanted something a little more open and breezy. I will knit this scarf again, without a doubt. I'm thinking of using some Fiesta La Luz, in silverado, I have in my stash along with some soon to be purchased La Luz in obsidian for the next one. Knitting with silk is amazing. I highly recommend it.
Partaking in Culture:
  • May I reiterate how great Big Love is? This season is fantastic and I love it. If you haven't watched it and have no real strong opinions about polygamists, then rent the first season and watch it.
  • I watched Down By Law, with Tom Waits, today. It had its droll moments but overall it was dry and rather unimaginative. Unless you really really like Tom Waits, I do not recommend it. It came highly recommended via Netflix, especially for people with my rental history (read: strange films) but I should know better by now than to pay attention to all that, what with The Testament of Dr. Mabuse debacle.
  • I'm nearing the end of Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk (of Fight Club fame) and it's a good one. His books are such a fast read I almost feel like they, along with Bret Easton Ellis' books, are a guilty pleasure. Both writers are fast, visceral, and sensory so it's easy to make the connection, I suppose. Reading this book has derailed my progress on The Mysteries of New Orleans but I'm pretending like I haven't noticed that so please have the good sense to not point it out, thank you very much. :)
I hope y'all are having a beautiful day. I'm off to go empty the litter box (yum) and make the kittens happy by feeding them treats. I may even knit up a cat toy or two in an effort to distract them while Travis and I are out of town. I will be taking photographs like a woman possessed while we are out of town so y'all can have fun with me. Thanks for tuning in, dear bloglings and blogettes.
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