Archive for September, 2005

Crossing off the Big One

Yep, finished the baby blanket. I did. I finished it on Monday. I even have proof (ignore the horrific lighting, please and thankyou).

Here are all the stitches in all their glory. Glory, I say.

I swear I didn’t take these pictures while participating in a horror flick, but that’s what it looks like. The blanket itself is not this bleak and uninviting. :sob:

Right. That’s over and done with (until the next baby comes along… I really do love this pattern tons and tons). I’ve got the ScarfMe project on deck, getting some rows in here and there, though I’m not sure if I’m happy with it. It may want to be longer, in which case there will be much frogging and much drinking of wine whilst doing so.

In knit news, I’m working up a very easy scarf (only slightly above my level!) in a 4×4 rib “pattern” in some inherited acrylic (the label says it’s a DK weight. I scoff at that assertion! The yarn is clearly very nearly a sport weight, you lying dogs! I challenge you to a … um… nevermind). It’s working up very nicely and it’s a good chance for me to practice my knit and purl. Here is a visual:

Now, I’m wondering. I’m going to see the Yarn Harlot on Saturday (and I can’t tell you how awesome this is); can I safely bring a crochet project to the fun and games? I’m okay at the knit, but I have to watch what I’m doing or I’ll stitch my sleeves into the work. With crochet, I can avoid looking and therefore have more eye-availability for watching the Harlot (and not looking like a crazy super-self-involved person who must whisper to herself the whole time that the Harlot is speaking). I think it’ll be okay… Unless I run into the mad scary knitters who loathe the crap out of crochet and beat me to death with my own hook. I’ll try to avoid them.

Tomorrow, we should have CABLE INTERNET at our own home, and I won’t have to use the work station to snatch bits of blogging on breaks and lunch and such. There’s a long story there, about how Comcast lost our registration (yet sent us the modem and installation kit, apparently without reason. How kind.), how they tried to charge us more than they should have, and how they are generally bastards. I’ll save it for another time. Or I’ll just leave it at the summary.

This is how autumn looks to me, and it’s looking good!

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If I could form my abstract happiness into a physical form every now-and-again, it would be Sit-n-Stitch. We had so much fun last night, despite being exiled to the Fiction Room of the library (we sat in full view of the Romance section, so we got to see who was reading the trashy novels. We invited those people to come join us). Here’s what we crazy stitchers got up to last night, while our husbands, dogs, children and fiances languished without us:

We finished the afghan! (clockwise from left: Tammy, Heather, Anna, Coni [my mom! she taught me how to crochet], and Julia) Okay, Anna finished the afghan’s edging last week, but here it is, all official. We’re so proud, and so critical of it at the same time. But overall, proud as a bevy of peacocks.

This is Anna’s husband’s scarf. He gave her the yarn, requested a warm (not drafty) scarf be made from it, and she rejoiced. Significant others who support the yarn addiction are wonderful and to be prized. She did a great job on the stitching and he did a great job on the yarn choice. Heather couldn’t stop petting it.

Speaking of Heather, this is what she’s working on. It may look like a cute little hook-cozy right now, but when it grows up it will be a double-layer (I almost typed “lawyer”… sheesh) trivet for her mom. It’s ww cotton, worked in an E or F hook, in slip stitch. I hope Mary isn’t holding her breath. (just kidding, Heather, it’s lovely and you may even finish it by Christmas. In 2006.)

Speaking of moms, this is my Mom. Or rather, these are her hands. She’s making a square for the next Very Afghan, because she is a wonderful lady. She drove down to DK from Rockford just to hang out with us and stitch a little. I love her. She’s working from 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans by Jan Eaton, which has become the Very Afghan project bible. Thanks, Mom!

this is Tammy’s project… a bookmark in tinytiny thread crochet. This is the third (?) one I’ve seen her make, and they’re lovely when they’re finished. The bookmark looks nearly complete here, but seconds after I snapped the picture she frogged it. Sic transit gloria, my friend.

Here is another contribution to the world of thread crochet. Wendy, who was new last night (but who will now be a fixture, we hope), was just firing off the flowers (the edging on the doily) last night. I think she made one every 10 minutes or so. She’s amazing with the stuff and very patient with everyone exclaiming over the minute size of thread and hook, and over her ability to look up and talk while crocheting (I’m still boggled).

Here’s the fun. Julia is making a lovely scarf for an equally lovely friend (or family member?), so I’m told. Her new pup loves this yarn, so it must be worked up soon or suffer the cheerful yet destructive attentions of the dog. Ribbon yarn is a slippery thing and there was much concentration on Julia’s part.

At one point last night, I was hearing bits of conversation underlaid with whispered counting. Heather was on my right, counting the number of slip stitches already made, Julia was across from me counting stitches on the ribbon yarn, Mom was next to Julia counting stitches to the increase, and Wendy was on Julia’s other side counting the flowers she was making. It felt both extremely schizophrenic and delightful at the same time. In a good way.

Here are Julia, Wendy and Anna, being industrious and lovely.

I’ve posted it on the sidebar, but I’ll mention it here too: We’ve decided that we’ll meet at The House coffee shop next time (Oct 10) because of the water, pastries, pierogi and beer. And couches. It will be extremely cozy. I used to meet with a bunch of girls for Cribbage Night at the House, but we met on a Wednesday and there was always live jazz (bad jazz) on Wednesdays, and the cover-charge dude would always try to pester us for money even though we were clearly not there to witness the jazz. Mondays, happily, are open-mic nights. Come round to The House in two weeks and you may see some crazy stitchers up on stage singing about our yarn. Actually, I hope that never happens.

In other stitchy news, I finished the baby blanket. Photos of that will have to wait until tomorrow, though, because the days go by too quickly.

Julia also brought Crochet911 to my attention. It’s like an online, 24/7 helpdesk for stitching (they also do knitting). Good stuff, ignore the primitive site look.

That is all, my chickadees. I leave you with this sparkling reminder that we are not alone.

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Well, I’m trying to be a good girl. I started working up the goods for Ms TitaniumRose‘s ScarfMe scarf, but I’ve only gotten 2 rows in, so it’s not very photogenic at the moment. I’m still trying to discover the absolute best way to work up this delightful yarn (which is also camera-shy just now), so the second row may find itself gone later tonight. We’ll see.

I’m also trying to learn how to increase and decrease whilst knitting (because I’ve got that shit covered in the crochet realm). It’s taking me a while because I am new to the knit, but I have high hopes for myself.

I’m even getting around to doing the wedding-planning stuff I’ve been putting off. I’m taking the Moms (mine and his) and the sisters (mine, soon to be his) and possibly the sister-in-law (his, soon to be mine) to watch me try on wedding-type dresses this Saturday (could be fun! could be insane!). And I’m hoping to have a few minutes to write to our intended officiant this weekend, to make sure he can be there to make us husband and wife (words which still make me slightly dizzy). And maybe I’ll even get to writing the caterer with some of our ideas for a meal. Maybe. Or I’ll just try to send him a mental picture of what we want and hope it shows up on the appropriate day.

(Have I distracted anyone from the topic of the baby blanket? Yes? Good. Because, really, I haven’t worked on it and probably won’t work on it and I feel guilty and horrible, but also delightfully free and unencumbered. *sigh* I’ll get to it… Sunday? Saturday night? Monday at Sit-n-Stitch? Maybe some of my Sit-n-Stitchers will point and laugh and jeer at me so much that I’ll be shamed into working on the baby blanket. Guys?)

And look what I found over at Yarnification (when I wasn’t working on the baby blanket):

You Are A: Squirrel!

sqirrelSquirrels are quick and cheerful animals who spend their time scurrying, scavenging, and playing. As a squirrel, you are often seen jumping happily from branch to branch up in the treetops. Squirrels are foragers searching for nuts and seeds, and they are social animals often seen chasing and playing with other squirrels.

You were almost a: Pony or a Monkey
You are least like a: Turtle or a ChipmunkDiscover What Cute Animal You Are!

This just cracks me up because my group of friends often talk about what animal we most resemble, and which is our power animal. Mine is–hands down–always a squirrel. I love seeing them do backflips (that actually happened), and jump from tiny tree branches, and throw nut remnants at people. I often find myself wanting to be a squirrel. What cute animal are you? I bet Nick is a monkey and Margaret is a kitten or a hedgehog.

Happy First Day of Autumn! Bring on the sweater weather!

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ADD-afflicted or Yarn Whore?

I have trouble with this one.

I’ve been dilligently working away at the Not-at-all-boring baby blanket, knowing that the babe is but weeks (eight, maybe?) away from greeting the world, and what do I do when my beloved asks if I want to hit the Michael’s? I cast the lacy confection aside, heedless of its near-the-end status and the looming due date, and run away to buy this:

It is a ball of string/thread. It is for a semi-well-conceived project that still resides in my noggin. The thread/string will team up with this shell I found on a beach in Maryland about 2 1/2 years ago and have always wanted to turn into a pendant. I never have, and it has languished in my crafty embroidery floss kit all these years. Why do I pick now to work the thing up into something? Because I’m near the end of a project, of course. Why on earth would I want to actually finish a dern project? Especially when it’s a rather easy piece and nearly finished? That would limit the drama factor, my dear. I wouldn’t have the same rush of adrenaline and mad cackling power that I get from having 7 or 8 (or 14 or 15) projects going at once, abandoning one at a critical and difficult point in favor of a peaceful little dishcloth, which in turn is tossed aside when a sassy new wool blend finds its way into my field of vision. What will I make with the sassy new wool blend? Who knows!! I don’t have a pattern for it yet, but I’m sure I’ll find something in my two binders full of patterns (maybe).

I’m starting to wonder if I’ve got the ADD, or if it’s a mere matter of being a yarn whore (in which case I know I’m not alone). There could, of course, be a deep-rooted emotional issue at fault here–one that prevents me from letting go of projects for fear of being alone (because I can finish them, you know. I just choose not to.).

By the way, I didn’t even start the thread/shell project. How lame am I?

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I’d fergotten that today be Talk Like a Pirate Day. I first heard tell of these goings-on Saturday night, when me mates and I were having a bloody good time (what with the grog and all). We gathered round belowdecks and every man jack of us (including the wenches) got pirate names. I can’t be telling you what they are, mind, because they’re too filthy for the likes of you.

This past Sunday was a day for looting and pillaging the local crafty store, where me First Mate and me found some precious booty (paints for him, yarn for me ScarfMe pal’s scarf). I don’t have none of yer fancy pho-to-graphs of the yarrrrn, because I’ve been a lazy bastard. I may deserve to be sent to Davy Jones’ locker for it, but I’ll fight everyone o’ ye who tries to send me there, ye scurvy dogs!


My pirate name is:

Bloody Charity Rackham
Every pirate lives for something different. For some, it’s the open sea. For others (the masochists), it’s the food. For you, it’s definitely the fighting. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from fidius.org.

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Melty Brain

I’m at work and starting to process a DVD (meaning “put stickers all over and make it look like the Library owns the darn thing”) called Musa: The Warrior. It’s Korean, or possibly Chinese and I have to type up a label that says “Foreign Language Film” and my brain just cannot handle the word “foreign” this morning.

I just kept staring at it and the word kept looking weirder and weirder to me. In fact, the word “weirder” is looking very odd right now.

I should have stayed in bed this morning.

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Listing slightly

I’ve been doing this running thing for about 3 weeks now, and I love it. I love being able to chat with my friend Lara while we run, I love having more energy, I love feeling like I’m working toward losing weight (although, so far I’ve only stopped gaining). I’m even starting to like getting up at 6:20 every morning.

What I don’t like is this very annoying pain in my behind. I’m not even being metaphorical here, either–I have a big ol’ pain in my right hip. I went to the chiropractor yesterday morning after my run and had a long-overdue adjustment (I can’t even remember the last time I had my bones popped). Turns out that my hips are so cockeyed that my right leg was visibly (to the doctor) shorter than the left. Brilliant! I’ve been running around on mis-matched legs! That’s so like me, though. I just want to do something and I jump right in before checking all the facts (for instance, checking to see if I’m symmetrical and all). At least that pain can be treated and sent packing; I also have the shin splints, which I’ve had since 1995 (my first season of high school track). They’re not really going anywhere, the buggers.

But enough of the snark-fest. I have a list of things about which I’m doing the puppy wiggle of happiness. And the Dance of Joy (PS: anyone who can identify the quote, “Numfar! Do the Dance of Joy!” gets a hat. Crocheted by me. Don’t crowd, don’t crowd.)

1. Autumn has come to northern Illinois! The temperatures have dropped, the leaves are starting to fall, and we get awesome views like this on our walks to work:

Yay! I also love autumn because I can work on the afghans and bigger pieces (possibly a sweater this season) without wilting under the brain-melting heat and humidity that make our region what it is. Plus, snuggling with the beloved is better when we don’t stink or otherwise repulse each other.

2. I’m not in high school anymore. Not that this is a recent development… I’ve been out of high school for–counting… holy hell!–seven years. Okay, so I feel a little old, but it’s way better than being a high school girl. I bring this up because I passed some on my run Tuesday morning and they were all low-riding tight pants and attitude. And they smoked! They thought it was cool, even! I’m so glad to be 25 and done with that phase of life. Not that I was Ms Sainty-Pants then (although I didn’t smoke or drink in HS, so maybe) or during college (when I did smoke and drink), but I’m done with engaging in stupid activities just to amuse my friends. And I’m just not down with the whole hip-hugger butt-cleavage thing, either.

3. I’m (I almost typed “beginning my journey”–what a dork!) starting the process of doula certification. I will be a midwife someday, and becoming a doula is sort of a stepping stone to that goal. I ordered the materials from Doulas of North America and have started in on the required reading list. Working toward a serious life goal is an awesome feeling.

4. And the most immediate: The Yarn Harlot is coming to Chicago! Wooooo-freakin’-hoooo! I’m so excited, I’m literally falling off my chair (though that may have more to do with the hip pain). She’s going to be at Arcadia Knitting on October 1st at 4pm. I’m totally going. I hope to bring some Sit-n-Stitchers with me, but if it’s just me I don’t care. She has a new bookbookbook and she’s going to talk and she’s going to sign books and she’s going to be funny and she’s going to talk about knitting and … am I becoming the crazy stalker? Sorry, didn’t mean to. ::wipes drool off keyboard::

Good stuff, eh? I think so.

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I’m not a Cupcake.

I’m not. I don’t wear makeup, I wear $4.00 pairs of pants, I barely pay attention to my hair (if it’s symmetrical, it’s good). And I don’t really have dreams of a super-princessy wedding dress. If I get out of the house without the skirt tucked in my pantyhose it’s a bleeding miracle (Note to Margaret, Christine, Laura and Maribeth… you have to make sure this doesn’t happen).

When it came to picking out wedding dresses that appealed to me, I had some trouble. There were lots of this kind of dress (everywhere), and tons of this kind, and it was all too crazy. I even tried this dress on by accident (the sweet girl helping me try things on–with whom I went to high school, as though the experience lacked weirdness–snuck it in the dressing room and dropped it over my head before I could see what it was). This dress kind of weirded me out–as though the model forgot to put the dress on over her long-line bra (which costs $65.00, by the way). There are also the photos of the dresses to deal with, not just the styles. This photo is completely bizarre; is she about to perform a backflip, because that would be awesome. All the models in these pictures are just vamping it up, or have insanely huge hair, or are about to perform acrobatic tricks. It’s too much to deal with.

Overall, I had some ideas about pretty dresses that would suit me, but they were all bridesmaid dresses and for some reason, most bridal salons actually looked down their collective nose at me when I asked to try some on. They feigned lack of knowledge about certain style numbers and remarked on my preference for dresses without trains. “Oh, are you having a destination wedding?” they’d ask brightly (destination weddings are usually somewhere with a beach and without all your insane relatives). “No,” I’d reply, thinking I’d be nuts to walk across a beach or other tropical flooring in a $600 dress. Seeing they were waiting for more details (because whoever heard of a bride who didn’t gush about every detail of her wedding plans to the cranky and unhelpful attendant?), I added, “I just like simpler dresses.”

Even better was the attendant who wouldn’t let my maid of honor and me try on dresses on the same side of the store (because of the natural animosity between brides and their bridesmaids, I assume), and then AND THEN insulted my friend and tried to pass it off as a joke. Uncool, dude. Uncool.

I also encountered salons that wouldn’t let me see the designer/manufacturer and style number of the dresses I was trying on. They supplied their own weird code number. This keeps those sneaky and trecherous brides from price-shopping the dress at another store and finding that it’s not really $590 in real life, it just costs that much at the overpriced one-stop wedding shop (if you’re in Rockford, IL, take note!). This store also did not allow us to take pictures of ourselves in the dresses. Weird.

I did find some things I liked, though. I tried on and really liked this dress, but will not be getting it because I took pictures of myself in it (because David’s Bridal is cool), showed the pictures to my beloved, and he wasn’t as keen on it as I thought he would be. Thank gods I showed him the picture–what a crappy thing to find out on my 15th wedding anniversary: “…And I thought your wedding dress was ugly!” or something.

After all the searching, I found a dress I really like. It’s simple, but with some pretty details. It’s long, but doesn’t have a train (though I can add one for very little money!). It fits me much better than the empire-waist dress. It’s kinda sexy, but nowhere near whorish. It’s a bridesmaid dress, and the lovely attendant I had didn’t even bat an eye when I asked to try on the Bmaid styles. She even picked this one out for me. (By the way, her name is Angela and she works at Vera’s House of Brides in Rockford) Huzzah! And of course I don’t have a picture to show you, because the style isn’t up on the manufacturer’s website (and I’m not showing you the pictures Amy took of me in it, because my back is surprisingly chubby and it’s not a positive thing for me right now).

Right. Now I’m done rambling on (and no pictures to break up the monotonous words! I’m sorry!). No more dress talk. Now I have to think about all the other important stuff, like food and drink. Who wants to help!

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We had such a fun time last night. Look how much fun we’re having:

This is the tricksy bit where three people on the one side of the table are playing tug-of-war with two people on the other side of the table in order to get the group project finished. Tammy, Janice, and KathyT are winning, of course. Julia and I did what we could, but were vanquished. (The table set-up reminds me of descriptions I’ve read of wool-waulking sheds, where a huge worm-shaped bundle of wool is laid down in the center of the shed, and women agitate it with their feet in order to felt it. Granted, this description does come from a book set in the 18th Century… Still, it’s very cool.) At the end of the night, though, we came up with this amazing thing–our Very First Afghan.

Yes, we finished the afghan. Thank-you to those who made the squares (Carol, Julia, Sandi, Anna, Tammy, Kathy T., Janice, Melissa, & Heather. If I’ve forgotton anyone, I’m terribly sorry and will make it up to you if you tell me.) , and those who helped stitch the dern things together over the past two meetings (Anna, Julia, Kathy T., Janice, Tammy, Sandi, Emily, & Heather). Uber-thanks!

We also had a little bit of trouble at one point last night

which involved performing minor surgery on the afghan. After extensive searching, the root of the trouble was found to be a wayward ply from the middle of a square worked into the joining stitches. Bloody little thing. Tammy and I managed to right it, though, after cutting the ply (*gasp!*) and knotting it back together. It was highly dangerous and the room was quite tense for a moment, but the patient pulled through.

Needless to say, I’m doing the dance of joy right now.

We ended the meeting/gab-fest with talk of our next Very Afghan. It’s going to be in bright rainbow colors, and we’re thinking of finishing each square in an inch-wide black border. This accomplishes two things: (1) The afghan will be very very pretty and have a lovely polished look to it, and (2) The squares will be much bigger and therefore we need make less of them. Thank gods.

Huzzah, and thank you.

(Tomorrow I talk about wedding dresses. Trying them on, trying to decide which one I like best, and having weird crazy dreams about white ruffles and beading flying at my face.)

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New Toys!

Yee-ha, my friend. I have received gifts from above, and I am bowing at the altar of KnitPicks. I asked for, and was granted (after suitable payment, of course), the delightful… ah, delights seen here:

That’s two balls of Merino Style in Cornflower (to hopefully round out a future shawl/stole I’m crafting–in my head, at present–in a knitty type craftership) and 7 balls of Wool of the Andes in Mist. That had a more concrete and immediate purpose, which has naturally escaped my feeble brain at the moment. Maybe it was a shawl. Yes, it was Serafina’s Shawl. I’ll have to get more yarn to make up the whole thing, though. Gosh, I love it when I don’t think things through. It adds more excitement to my life.

I also received gifts from just across the room, from my beloved. When we were at the craft store the other day (rejoicing in the fact of the Bob Ross Travel Easel), the love of my life insisted on buying me not one but two sets of knitting needles. And (and!!!) two cable needles as well. The man may look askance at the yarn stash, but he knows what makes me happy. Huzzah, I say, because I have a man who contributes to my yarny madness. *sigh* … here’s what he gave me:

(I have since taken them out of their cases and used them, of course). Yeah, I think I’ll keep him around a while.

Today I got the skinny on my scarf pal for the ScarfMe project. This is going to be awesome! I’m all excited to start hunting awesome yarns & patterns for the scarf (I hope this can be crochet and knit… better ask Cara).

Not this weekend, though. Despite my day off from work on Saturday, I have much to do. My good friend Amy and I are off to see the various wizards of wedding-dress-ness, if ever a wiz there was. We will leave our menfolk and enter a world totally run by women, for women: the bridal salon. I hope we won’t die of estrogen poisoning–neither one of us is very girly.

Note to self: wear decent underwear (the semi-public kind. The kind that–if your mother had to come get you at the hospital–would not cause her to die of shame at the sight of you in them).

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