Archive for January, 2008

When I returned to work after my birthday weekend I had lots of emails and phone calls to catch up on. I’m teaching two knitting classes next month and had emailed the students (signing off with just my first and last name) about color preferences as I am getting the yarn (because the last time I asked students to buy their own WOOL yarn, half of them showed up with acrylic). There’s a big age range for the students, with some of the older ones sounding far less mature than the younger ones. And while that adds an entirely new dimension to my stress, sometimes it’s nice to know that there are some kids out there who aren’t terrifyingly rude and nasty. However, sometimes it can be a little jarring on a personal level.

The 14-year-old, in what I can only assume was an effort to sound more grown-up and business-like in an email to a teacher, called me “Mrs. [MyLastName].”

For three whole minutes I thought she had mistakenly sent me an email she had intended for my Mom.

But no, it was for me. I was the Mrs.


Don’t forget about the Birthday contest, going on until 1/31/08 at midnight

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NinjaHusband just asked me if I was getting excited about birthday time. I had kind of forgotten that my birthday is tomorrow, what with this month having been the busiest month EVER, and planning to go away this weekend (the trip is actually my Christmas present). So when he asked, I yelled “BIRTHDAY TIME!!!!!” and did a little dance in my desk chair out of sheer glee.

I’ve decided to share my delight at turning TWENTY-EIGHT, my delight with my new tattoo, and my delight at the glories of winter (I know it’s sucking the life out of you, just go with it) with you, and am hosting a contest! With prizes! And a birthday!

How To Play
(1) Simply leave me a comment telling me about your favorite/wackiest/weirdest or whatever birthday memory. Be detailed!
(2) Be sure to leave your comment with a real email address, so that if you win I can tell you about it.
(3) You have until Thursday, January 31st at midnight Central Time to get in on the birthday memory action.
(4) I’ll use a random number generator to choose who gets what prizes. Yes, there are TWO PRIZES!

The Two Prizes
(1) The First Prize:
Contest prize 1 Contest prize 1
Contest prize 1
Coffee mug, Mary Kay Satin Lips set, and 2 skeins of KnitPicks Essential Solids sock yarn

(2) The Second Prize:
Contest prize 2 Contest prize 2
Mary Kay Satin Hands set (hand cream, exfoliating stuff, and another hand cream), complete with carrying case

I was given these lovely Mary Kay items as a gift but, because my sister sells Mary Kay, I’m set for life. I like these products, though, especially in winter and especially for knitters. They’re good products, and thorough.

One of my favorite birthday memories comes to you from 1986, when the Chicago Bears beat the pants off the New England Patriots on my sixth birthday. I didn’t really know what was going on and thought that all the yelling and cheering and hoopla was for me. Because my birthday was the awesomest.

Bonus birthday memory: NinjaHusband proposed to me the first time on my 21st birthday. (Yes, we were engaged twice. The second one stuck.)

Alright, bring on the birthday memories!

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My Latest FO

Work by Larry Brogan of Tattoo City Skin Art in Lockport, IL.
Pain endured and overwhelming joy experienced by Me.

Just finished

twisty in process

Smile through the pain
Ever had a man drill into your spine? It’s so much fun!

This is part of NinjaHusband’s & my 1-year anniversary gift to each other. Yes, our 1-year anniversary was in July of last year. Yes, NinjaHusband has one more session to go on his tattoo. I’ll ask him if I can link to the picture.


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In praise of…

Air travel We flew out of O’Hare on Friday with our friends Margaret (of the comments) and Wade. (things went ultra smoothly as we only had carryon bags and didn’t check any luggage.) This was my first plane trip with NinjaHusband (oddly, as we’ve been together almost 11 years) and it was very very cool. Not only did I get a seatmate I could actually lean against and drool on without repercussion, I got free help with the landings.

For stability

I’m a huge fan of air travel for the speed and convenience (sort of… I don’t really like taking off my shoes in public or having a stranger paw through my undergarments to get to whatever set off the buzzer), and I love the heck out of the takeoffs. Love them. Can’t get enough. However, I’m a basket case on the landings. The plane seems to descend, then go back up, then descend again, then go right back up, and my stomach is not built for such things. I have vomited on airplanes before (twice), always on the landings. (Plus, when I was 13 and my family was flying back to O’Hare from Orlando, my Dad pointed out to me the cemetery located just to the right of our runway as we landed and said, “How convenient, that must be where they bury the ones who don’t make it.” GREAT MORALE BOOSTER, DAD.)

Anyway, this weekend I was able to close my eyes and lean on NinjaHusband and let him deal with the landings (apparently, and I didn’t realize this until this weekend, my being alert and completely freaked out makes the plane land safely. But if I pass this responsibility on to someone else, the plane still lands safely. I just had to find the right person). No vomiting!

In all its glory

Washington, D.C. I love the heck out of this city. We flew in to National Airport (okay, it has another name but we do not speak it) and there is a Metro stop right there. Easy! We rode the Metro to our stop and the hotel was a block away from that station. Easy! When we went to lunch the next day, the Metro took us to great vegan chili cheese fries. Easy! The wedding was at St Mark’s Episcopal Church and the reception was in our hotel (Easy Easy!). Everything about this weekend was easy, which is due to the awesomeness of Washington DC (minus the madmad running about the White House or Capitol Hill with a shotgun and a sword and some arrowheads, which closed a bunch of streets on Capitol Hill but which no one is reporting on so no links), and due to the awesomeness of…

Jason and Becky who were kind enough to get married this weekend.


the ring bearer, who was Becky’s little brother

I brought zero knitting with me, which turned out to be the right choice because I had absolutely no time to knit. I slept on the plane both there and back, and our hours were filled with wedding fun time all weekend. Oh, and NinjaHusband sang beautifully at the wedding. There were tears, and not just from me.

If I can make it through this week, I’ll show you my most current projects. (Hint: the green socks haven’t moved at all. Another Hint: the purple socks are not speaking to me anymore.) The swatches have been blocked, though, as you can see from the pretty purple squares, and I’ll be starting the math on the Cable Spiral Pullover soon. If I can make it through this week.

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1. Guys, the doula training last weekend was beyond awesome. It was amazing. Three solid days of birth talk, with seven other classmates and two instructors. Huge.

It’s hard to boil it down into a few words that won’t bore you if you’re not a birth junkie. I can say it was energizing and exciting and eye-opening and delightful, but that’s not even a tiny bit of it. Seeing my weaknesses and strengths in this capacity was so fun — especially seeing where I need to improve. I feel like I got so much out of this past weekend. I’m so very happy about it.

I like the macro feature.

2. Very little knitting has been done in the past week. I’ve done nothing on the green socks, and nothing on the purple sock. Too much busy happening all over the place. I did work up two swatches (on two different sets of the allegedly same sized needles) in Knit Picks Merino Style (in Cornflower, though the actual project will be in Frost). They are blocking as I type. Next step is to measure my swatches, then measure myself. I’m going to add waist shaping to this sweater, which is exciting and new. There will be math, and there will probably be me curled up on the floor, weeping.


3. My ipod loves Coldplay tonight. Huh.

4. I’m leaving again this weekend. Friends of ours are getting married in Washington, DC, this Saturday. We’re flying out Friday night, NinjaHusband is playing guitar and singing during the wedding, and then we’re flying home Sunday. Busy busy busy.

And very little knitting done this weekend, too. Does anyone know if metal DPNs are allowed on domestic flights? The TSA website isn’t saying, though they do have a “sharp objects” section.

And I just realized I need to go buy tiny travel-sized contact lens solution, hair products, and whatnot. This is how they’re stimulating the economy, eh?

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If you had any doubts that I’d go buy some more yarn, let me put them to rest.

Tempted Handpainted yarns
Tempted Yarns Merino Superwash in “Gratitude” colorway, 400+ yards

Seacoast Handpainted
Seacoast Handpainted Yarns Merino Superwash in “Joyful” colorway, 560 yards

Cherry Tree Hill
and one of my freebies from Shari for becoming a Loopy Groupie, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Thin in “Lake Michigan”

I’m headed out of town tomorrow morning for my next step in the doula training process — a weekend-long workshop. I’m really excited, a little nervous, but so so thankful that I kicked myself in the ass last November. This is going to rock.

The full story on Monday, kiddies!

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I’m going to give you a WIP Wednesday-type post. Because who knows what kind of time I’ll have tomorrow.

Currently, I have two pairs of socks on the needles. Okay, not really. I have one pair of socks and one single sock on the needles.

The pair of socks:
greenish socks
is the greeny Koigu KPPPM purchased I don’t know how long ago (probably a year?) at Wool & Company. The color number is lost forever, and we are sad. 2.5mm needles, 61-stitch sock, Wendy’s Toe-Up with Gusset & Slip Stitch Heel (that’s a .pdf)

Like a meadow of tiny stitches

These aren’t really my colors, but I like them just fine and the yarn was what I had already balled up in two bits ready to start work. It’s just a mindless stockinette sock, which is a perfect foil to this sock…

… which is the Synesthesia Sock from Bella Knitting in Cherry Tree Hill (one of their potluck colors, “jewels”) on 2.0mm needles. And let me state that if you knit this sock it will probably look TONS better than my sock, because the pattern is lovely and simple and the chart is clear as day. It’s just the knitter that’s causing the problem.

Not part of the plan

I’m having a really hard time with this project. It started out as a top-down sock, per the pattern, but I couldn’t hack it. I screwed up the pattern on THE SECOND ROUND and had to tink back, which pissed me off, so I ripped it and started it over, toe-up.

I’m knitting it on 2.0mm needles (new for me, and holy hell is there a steep learning curve!) because the pattern is 68 stitches, and my normal stitch count for socks (for me) on 2.5mm needles is 60. (Did I swatch and find that 2.0mm needles were the best tool for the job? Of course I didn’t. That would involve planning and forethought.) And can I just say that performing an innocent k2tog on wee bitty yarn and 2.0mm needles has become the bane of my entire existence.

I have completed one pattern repeat (length-wise, 2 repeats width-wise), and I’m really not sure about it. That bulgy part in the middle is where the 2 repeats meet, and initially I was knitting them on two needles. I’ve switched it to one needle now, but I’m not sure if that’s the answer.

My options are:
1. Keep going, hoping it will work itself out
2. Rip it and start over, this time making an actual swatch
3. Rip it and start an entirely different sock pattern, because this one and I clearly do not have an understanding at all.

Who knows what I’ll actually come up with.

In Other News:
I learned on Sunday night that one of my very best friends, the friend I’ve known the longest (since kindergarten [which I almost typed as “knitergarten”, how cool would that be?]), a non-knitter, is PREGNANT! I get to be an honorary auntie! Now I just have to find patterns that will be appropriate for a California baby in September.


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Justify My Yarn

If I have money in my PayPal account from selling a bunch of yarn, and I use that money to purchase new yarn, that’s not really like spending money at all, is it?

Because I’m one order away from becoming a Loopy Groupie and I really kind of want that high you get when you get stuff for free.

Cascade 220 Quattro
You’re welcome.

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Pardon the grumble, folks, I had a crappy New Year’s. I got a cold on Sunday and it laid me out in such a disgusting manner that not even I wanted to be near me. It was the all-state snot-producing championships, and I was the winner.


Moving on!

I’ve been debating about whether to state out loud any sort of “new year’s resolutions” type stuff, because I always fall down and fail to reach my goals and bruise my ego in the process. But I also want to reach for something, because that makes the crappy parts of the year easier to deal with.

In theory.


I’m stating out loud what I want this year to hold. First off I give you my…

and they are:

Next Year's goals

Yes, I’ve decided that I’ve mastered the hell out of ribbing (witness here, here, and here) and it’s time to move on to other techniques. Like the cables and the fair isles.

Also this year I plan to:

  • Finish my doula training by December 31st, 2008
  • Learn to operate a hot air balloon
  • Buy a house
  • Become fluent in three new languages
  • Get my ass into shape so I don’t hurt all the damn time
  • Completely master several martial arts and become a ninja
  • Seriously, knit from my stash and save some money
  • You’ve got to pad the list a little bit. Give yourself permission to fail at a few things.

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