Archive for August, 2006

Happy Birthday, Heather!

It’s a beautiful day, for a beautiful lady.

Heather has a birthday today, people! Head over there and give her some birthday comment love. Hooray!

And tomorrow, yarn shopping! Because we don’t have enough going on in our yarn lives!

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Pow! Bif! Zowie!

I was just downloading new ringtones onto my phone, and I came across the theme song for the old Batman TV series and I wondered:

What does Adam West have on his cell phone? Because I really want it to be the Batman theme song. It would just complete the image I have of Adam West, which is based mostly on his character on “Family Guy” and, recently, his website. If anyone knows what Adam West has for his cell phone ringer, please tell me.

(And what do you have on your cell phone ring tone? I have “Float On” by Modest Mouse, and the Inspector Gadget theme — the TV show, not the movie.)

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CornFest is still going strong. And by strong I mean obnoxious. And by obnoxious I mean the shitty cover-band stage is half a block from my apartment.

This afternoon the downtown area of DeKalb was subjected to a medly of –and I use the term loosely– song including “Baba O’Reilly” (Teenage Wasteland) by The Who, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, and “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and The Waves. In one big cacaphonous blob.


Yesterday we had plans to celebrate birthdays with my family at 5:30pm, and we would have been at my parents’ house at like noon if Nick hadn’t had to work until 2:30. All morning I cleaned and did crazy amounts of chores just to keep my mind off the hell that was the “music” coming from CornFest. I couldn’t even knit, because the awful noise just sinks into my bones when I sit still. Closing the windows doesn’t help, either.

To counteract the deep and abiding hatred I have for CornFest (they moved the craft market far far away from downtown this year, and are charging a $1 admission to even enter! Bastards! The one thing that sort of kind of has a wee bit of redeeming value!), I am posting knitting progress pictures.

I have started the back for the Wee Baby Maggie cardigan (link to pattern in sidebar). I’m making a few changes, particularly in the area of color. The 5-row garter stitch border/hem is in Jelly Belly and the body is in Grape Berry (colors here). I’m not a fan of one-color baby clothes, and I’ll do all the borders/hems and button bands in the multi. I was thinking of adding a 4-row stripe, but I think I’ll put in a purl stitch heart or something on the back between the shoulders and on the front somewhere. We’ll see. I am definitely loving the boring stockinette, as I can work on it while hanging out with friends or while drinking the beer…

It’s the only thing keeping me from attacking the music stage with a pickaxe right now. My absolute favorite beer is in the center, Fiddler’s Elbow from the Wychwood Brewery, and it is amazing. Go try it.

I’ve also been working on the Twisted Sock (see sidebar for pattern). I was working the whole thing on US 1 dpns, but then it was too small. I ripped it, and started working the whole thing on US 2 dpns, but then it was too big. Ripping #2. Then I worked the 2×2 rib cuff in US 1 and the body (the twists) in US 2, and then it was juuuuust right.

Although it’s pooling something shocking.

I don’t care. I’m enjoying this half-mindless, half-challenging project, and I’m certainly not ripping it out at this point. I wonder how the second one is going to turn out.

A close-up of the wee cables:

This one is the most accurate, color-wise, of the three pictures. On my monitor, at least. I am in love with these colors, and am desolate that KnitPicks discontinued them. Luckily, I got enough yarn for 2 pairs of socks before that happened. [smug grin]

In other news, I’ve changed my mind about the scarf for Laura, and the shawl for Margaret. Laura will now be getting the Penobscot Silk Scarf from the Sweet Somethings (.pdf!) article in Summer 06 Interweave Knits, because I think that pattern will suit the medium-weight Socks That Rock better than Branching Out would. And Margaret will be getting a warm alpaca scarf, design yet to be determined, and possibly a matching hat.

Oh good lord, Survivor is at CornFest. And they’re playing Eye of the Tiger.

Send liquor.

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The rule of sevens. Invoked when I can’t think of anything better to do.

Seven Things That Sucked About Today
1-4. Work
5. CornFest moving into town (last year’s observations here)
6. College kids moving into town
7. Heartburn (caused by the medication for the Rash of Doom, which has subsided so I stopped taking the medication yesterday. And yet.)

Seven Things That Brightened Up Today
1. Yarn arrivals (see below)
2. Wee lads visiting (and mom Heather, too)
3. Calling Beloved at work and, when asked who is calling, saying “this is his wife”
4. Waking up early enough to have breakfast
5. My brother-in-law has a new blog
6. The weather is pleasant and conducive to knitting
7. I taught a co-worker how to knit while on our breaks

Sock yarn from Fearless Fibers (550 yds of sock yarn. For $14.50, people. And I suspect she has a catapult for use in shipping, because the yarn got here faster than a greased pig, as my granny would say. I would say, “faster than the post office at its usual glacial pace”) in the Kildare colorway. I will knit it into happy socks (cables?) in the drears of February.

Recycled rayon from The Wool Peddler. The tricksy part is, it looks just like silk, but it’s cheaper! And often the yardage is better! (Give me a break, I have to celebrate the vegan aspects of my life where I can.)

This will be throw pillows for the couch. The Beloved isn’t crazy about the color ‘splosion, but I am, and I’m the knitter. So therefore I get to have them and he must deal with it. I stick my tongue out to anyone who disagrees.

My latest KnitPicks haul. Two skanks of the Bare sockweight superwash/nylon — for to begin my dyeing project soon. (I have a specific colorway in mind, but have no idea how to carry it out. I must consult the oracles.) … two skanks of Essential in Burgundy for (possibly) the Baudelaire socks, because they call to me so … assorted sock-size KnitPicks dpns, in all their pointy glory.

And now it’s time for a cold one. Tragically, we have neither “Seven” necessary for tonight’s theme drink. I’ll have to make do with silver rum and pineapple juice. Darnit.

Quick blog-reader survey: what is your favorite summer drinky drink? Post answers in comments, s’il vous plait. Merci!

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Friday afternoon no, not even. It was still the morning. Friday morning I was struck with the urge to do laundry (the Rash of Doom kept me home from work for a few days, and apparently introduced a housework ethic which was certainly not there before). We were, of course, out of laundry detergent so I went to the local Jewel and purchased one (1) brand-new jug of laundry detergent.

Not 15 minutes after the new jug of laundry detergent was in my house, I was trying to get the dryer balls (which I absolutely love, by the way, for towels & sheets) from the topmost shelf in the tee tiny laundry supply/paper towel storage/linen closet/medicine cabinet/vacuum cleaner storage area. (Pay close attention to that last one) Like an idiot, I sort of only kind of balanced the new jug of laundry detergent on a seemingly stable stack of towels while I groped on the top shelf for the aforementioned dryer balls (sometimes 5-foot-6 seems like enough, and sometimes it falls woefully short).

As often happens when I act like an idiot, the universe caught on to me and made good use of its time in teaching me a small lesson about gravity. About how gravity always, always wins out over a seemingly stable stack of towels.

The jug of detergent (full, mind you, and just minutes old) toppled off its perch and fell directly onto the vacuum cleaner whose crevice attachment was STICKING POINTY-PART UP, and was immediately punctured. It proceeded to follow the laws that govern such things and glugged thick, viscous laundry detergent all over the carpet.

I picked it up (still glugging) and put it in the bathroom sink (thankfully mere steps away, though of course plenty still managed to find its way to the carpet). After I regained my wits, I placed the jug (no longer full, but still only minutes old) with the puncture hole at the top so no more would glug out into the sink and waste more of my money.

(Practical Household Hint: if this ever happens to you, immediately pour yourself an adult beverage of your choice, and drink it straight away. This will help quell any hysteria and keep you focused on the task at hand. I didn’t do this initially, and lost valuable calm-thinking time to abject-flipping-out time. Not pretty.)

By the time I figured out what to do (it took a long time because of the non-drinkng and because my Mom wasn’t answering her work phone), the damn gooey stuff had sunk into the carpet and colonized my hallway like it was some gelatinous empire. My first attempt–soaking the detergent up with a sponge & bucket of water–was short-lived and involved a lot of swearing. Inquiries at the neighbors’ revealed that the local hardware store rents carpet shampooers for a mere $20.00. Of course, by the time I got to the hardware store, they were renting out their last one just as I walked in the door.

I rented a cleaner on Saturday (no, thank you young hardware store dude, but I don’t need the upholstry shampoo for this particular job), cleaned the hell out of my hallway carpet, and proceeded to do laundry all afternoon, spilling nary a drop more (though the cursing was profuse).

(Practical Household Hint: if you happen to drop a whack of laundry detergent on your floor and clean it up with handtowels–or whatever’s handy in the linen closet–you can just toss those handtowels or whatever into the wash. No need to add soap! Convenient for those times when all your soap is coagulating in a puddle in your hallway!)

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Acting Rashly

Start-itis n. Med. Condition suffered by handcrafters in which many new projects are begun, but older projects are left to languish unfinished, sometimes indefinitely. Common among knitters, crocheters, and spinners. Cure: no known cure, but startitis can diminish after being allowed to run its course.

Yes, I’ve got me some of that. I really really really wanted to finish my Tempting this week (or even Monday, but that was really reaching far). Because I have this voice in my head that tells me I should just complete the sweater, that I must complete the sweater before I do anything else, that if I do not, my moral character will be called into question and I’ll never finish anything for the rest of my life. (Mom, is that you in my head?)

Of course, I am choosing not to listen to that voice (it’s hard, because it keeps yelling) and last night I cast on for what I thought was going to be a Jaywalker sock, but turned out to be a Twisted sock (free pattern from KnitPicks) in now-discontinued Sock Garden (Star Gazer Lily colorway).

It’s a really nice pattern, top down, with this tee tiny cable in the k2 p2 ribbing – you just ktbl the second stitch, don’t drop it, then k regularly the first stitch, then drop both off. Do that on R1, then R2 is just k2 p2. It’s easy enough that I feel confident I can make this sock, and it has this new skill so I feel like a SuperKnitter when I make a tee tiny cable. I’m knitting this on bamboo dpns, US sz 1/2.25mm, 5″ long (ChiaoGoo / Westing Bridge, LLC). I think I’m going to switch to the KnitPicks metal sz 1 dpns when I get them (after the rush–everyone in the knitting world wants these babies), because I feel like I’m going to snap the bamboo ones every time I go to make a cable (tee tiny).

I’ve also gotten my knitty little hands on the Sizzle pattern, and wanted to start on that right away. Of course I don’t have the yarn for it in my stash or in my budget (yes, $15.00 for 127 yards when I need 750 yards = $90.00? We’ll file that away for when-I-win-the-Lottery knitting), so I started swatching with KnitPicks Shine, which was going to be for my Picovoli (which never really happened… ah, the start-itis).
So yes, I began swatching. But I cast on while watching … some Nova program? Or Arrested Development? I don’t know. It was completely engrossing, whatever it was, because I cast on for a freaking 10-inch swatch. Nobody needs a 10-inch swatch. Good lord. And of course I got bored with it before I got a good 5″ length to measure my gauge (I’m pretty sure I have to go up from US 7 to US 8 to get gauge, though). And next time, I’m going to cast on slightly less than 10 inches for my swatch.

And all this start-itis leads to guilt about my bridesmaids’ gifts. I promised all of them I would knit them something as a thank-you for putting up with my wedding. At the time it was very lovely in my head — a lace scarf for Laura! A cabled scarf and hat for Maribeth! I’ll design a shawl for Margaret to keep her warm in the menacing AC of Florida! A teacher bag for Christine! There may have been sparkles floating around the room when I decided all this. I’ve promised my girls these gifts, and I’m casting on for things for me? Foolish Kathy. I’ll keep going on the socks, but I’ll put Sizzle away for another time. Maybe after I finish two gifts I’ll start something for myself. (Shut up, I am not martyring.)

Dermatitis n. Med. Inflammation of the derma, or true skin. Contact dermatitis n. Med. Doctor-speak for “Huh. Well. Heck if I know, really. But it’s not contagious!”
On Tuesday I noticed a rash on the back of my neck. Weird. Went home, took a benadryl and immediately fell asleep (my usual reaction to any kind of anti-histamine). Woke up at 10:00pm (lovely!) and the rash seemed like it was sort of better, though it was in more places than I realized at first. Went to work yesterday, itchy and worse, then to the “convenient care clinic” 4 blocks down the street from my apartment (living in town totally rules lots of times). Waited in the waiting room. Waited in the exam room. Had no knitting, but did have a new book about knitting from the Library (Nancy Bush’s Folk Socks), so wasn’t too bothered. I was bothered when the nurse came in to do the intake and had her back to me the whole time, while typing into a little wireless laptop. Um, hello? If it’s wireless and on a moveable table, don’t you think you could ACT LIKE A NURSE and make eye contact with me while you’re asking me about my last menstrual cycle, you insensitive clod?!!

Of course, being a Midwesterner, I didn’t say that. But I was closer to saying it than I ever have been before. That encounter (if you could call it that) set up my mood for the rest of the visit, which included waiting some more in the exam room, while Little Johnny two rooms down constantly wondered aloud about where the doctor was, diagnosed himself aloud (“I think it’s probably due to my asthma.”), expressed his boredom aloud, and opened the curtain between his room and the next and enumerated (aloud) the equipment therein. Incorrectly, I might add. Little Johnny’s Mother was the pleading/bargaining type (“please don’t open the curtain again” “How about a fruit snack [i.e. more sugar]?”), and the whole thing was repeated (ALOUD) throughout my visit with the doctor. I had to ask him to speak up twice (admittedly, my hearing is not the greatest, but still) and I felt like saying, in a deep authoritative voice, “Little Johnny, it’s time to be quiet now, or else I will smite you down as I would smite an irritating mosquito dancing in my ear!”

But of course, being a Midwesterner, I didn’t say it.

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Okay, so Stitches pretty much kicked my new-knitter ass.
But in a good way.

I rode in with Sandi, and we got there about 9:40am (we made pretty darn good time, I think. Nice driving, girlfriend).

Of course, Heather and her friend Shanelle (visiting from Indianapolis just for Stitches. Wouldn’t you?) got there before we did and were second in line, waiting to go up the stairs to say hello to the waiting yarn.

(When the door guarders finally allowed us up the stairs, Heather charged up the stairs trying to outpace a very charming but highly competitive grandmother. I was laughing too hard to snap a good picture.)

At one point we saw some yarn that we know our LYS carries and Heather, being Organization Queen of The Day, panicked–what does the Yarn Exchange charge for this yarn? And dammit, we can’t call them from here!

Oh yes we can, said I, exhibiting my geekitude by announcing that I had our LYS on speed dial.

I made my first purchase at Blue Moon Fiber Arts, getting some delightful colorways (Sherbet, Azurite, Ruby Slippers).

After that, my “budget” kind of got taken hostage by beautiful and seductive yarn. What can I say? It was my first huge yarn event. I’ll know better next year, and start saving in March like some people.

Somewhere along the line someone (probably me, but we’ll pretend it wasn’t) freaked out because the ball band on some fabulous yarn gave only meters and we, being the anti-metric heads that we are, couldn’t figure out yardage (why thank you, American educational system!). And this was when I fell in love with my new phone.

It has a unit converter. You darling, darling little thing. Thank you.

At lunch, we took a much-needed break and put yarn on our heads. It was with this stroke of genius (Heather’s) that we met Heather’s Knittyboard people.

And this lady, who let us share her lunch table and who probably thought we were off our rockers. But she played along and looked like a princess in her yarn tiara.

My dear, I didn’t get your name. If you are reading, let me know who you are!

We met up with Anna, who mysteriously bought nothing but drove all the way to Rosemont to do it, and by 2:30pm Sandi and I were experiencing massive yarn overload–it got hard to distinguish between fibers and there was nowhere to look that wasn’t covered in yarn. It was amazing, but we had to go. I could have been given Red Heart and told it was beautiful and I might have bought it (…maybe).

Heather and Shanelle, on the other hand, were going strong. This is where we parted ways:

They still had their sense of touch. (and look at them… don’t they look blissful? I love this picture)

Sandi and I packed up and went home, tired but happy.
This is what came home with me:

The red/pink is Hot Foot superwash merino from The Village Spinning & Weaving Shop. It’s going to be the Hourglass sweater, I think. Or I’ll just pet it a lot.
The grey on the cone is alpaca/silk laceweight from Valley Yarns (Webs’ house brand) in the light grey colorway. It will be a masterful lace shawl. As soon as I learn how to knit lace. Right.
The blue/purple is microfiber ribbon from Tess Yarns (feels like silk, drapes like a cat on linoleum in July, and the color is stunning), and it wants to be a sexy tank for glamorous parties where people will compliment me on my top and then fall down in disbelief when I tell them I knit it myself. Because I plan to go to so many of those kinds of parties.
The green is Nature Wool from Araucania Yarns (caveat: animated home page, may take some time to load), purchased from Webs. I think this yarn wants to be a cabled sweater for me.
And the sock yarn is Socks That Rock and I added the Fred Flinstone colorway just before I left stitches, because I still had a twenty dollar bill and for some reason I needed to spend it. And I needed autumnal socks, too. She rationalized.

I loved every minute of my shopping at Stitches (no classes, just shopping). It was great to feel all these amazing yarns that we don’t normally get to touch, and it was awesome to be with my girlfriends who understand the whole yarn addiction. I would have been even more lost without Heather, who plotted her path along the aisles like she was stalking big game. Thank you, my dear, for your enthusiasm.

And yes, I will start saving up my pennies early on for next year’s Stitches.

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