Archive for October, 2008

Happy Halloween!


I’m still with the sinus wackiness, with some lack-of-sleep to accompany the lack-of-brain. And I’ve changed my mind about my costume idea (for tomorrow’s party), so I have to go hunt for the appropriate pieces tomorrow.

I live for a challenge.

And because I’m feeling linky (or, more accurately, lazy), read this commentary on this article and report back if your blood pressure doesn’t skyrocket. The treatment of which will cost you 30% to 49% more if you’re a woman.

For an interesting take on the tax code and how it should change (or not), read what William has to say.

If you don’t want to admit there’s a recession looming, The Loopy Ewe is having a 20% off sale through Saturday night.

If you need a new song in your head, check out the Obama Llama song. Original flavor.

This is going to be my next sweater, my first cardigan. It’s going to be awesome. If I can just finish the Clapotis for me, the 2 (and counting) Christmas gifts for family, and the other project I want to make before winter hits, I’ll be golden.

Have a great weekend!

Edited to add this note of panic: I just now realized that I now live in a neighborhood where Trick-or-Treating happens. I have never in my life lived in a place where Trick-or-Treating happens. I mean, obviously I’ve lived in the United States for the enitrety of my 28+ years. Where I grew up, in the middle of the rural countryside of northern Winnebago County, IL (you could see Wisconsin from the top of the hill on a clear day), people never came to our house to beg for candy. To begin with, my parents didn’t dig Halloween because they were a little bit crazy (Hi Mom! Love you!). Second, our driveway was a tenth of a mile long and off of a busy(-ish) county road — nobody was walking around at night around our place. After I moved out I lived in college dorms and apartment buildings, mostly not on the ground floor — again, not prime candy-mongering places.

Now, of course, we live in a family-riffic neighborhood where I’m told the kids go to EVERY house with a light on. Do I buy candy and throw it at the little dears, possibly infecting them with my cold in the process? Or do I try to surreptitiously exist in my house without using artificial lights of any kind and hide out until 8pm? Arrrrgh.

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Goings-on in my kitchen

1. I was preparing a recipe the other day and realized I owned zero tarragon, despite the overflowing spice shelf:

And no freaking tarragon

2. While slicing a shallot for my dinner, I was greeted with an obscene gesture.

Mooned by my food

Totally uncalled for, really. The saucy shallot quickly became, well, sauce.

3. I either have a cold or my sinuses are secretly stuffing themselves full of cotton while I’m not looking, because I’m having a hard time sleeping, breathing, and concentrating these past few … ooh, shiny! The only thing that’s helping me so far is hot tea (preferably lemon) with whiskey and honey and possibly a dash of lemon juice.

Cold remedy

With much thanks to Femiknitter who told me about such life-giving sustenance several years ago, likely when I was stuffed up and she didn’t want to listen to me snort and sniffle any longer.

My brain is still MIA, so please ignore the pointless and nonsensical posts. Or don’t. Whatever, I don’t care. Do what you want. It’s cool. No, really. I can handle your judgment, so please yourself.
(Except the other day, when I actually typed “smartitude” on my blog and let it stay there? Yeah, I can’t handle the judgment on that one. Ignore it.)

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Stash Love

This is my monument to Yarn.

Stash cubbies!

I’m so excited about this setup, I could eat it.

I about fell over when our offer on this house was accepted and I found out I was going to have a room all to myself where the yarn could live free and unencumbered from that old chest of drawers…

Office wall

… which is, yes, still holding yarn, but it’s the leftover yarn and the acrylic yarn and the unlabeled yarn. The real yarn lives in the cubbies now. The favorite yarn. The yarn I love.

We bought two cube units from Lowe’s (much, much cheaper than Ikea) — a 3×3 unit and a 2×3 unit — and stuck the smaller one on top of the larger. It was easy peasy.

I sorted the yarn from laceweight (top left) to sock to sport/DK to worsted to bulky (bottom right) and I currently have 2 cubes left over, which probably won’t last very long. I threw some cedar blocks in the cubes and keep the closet doors closed. Except when I’m sorting yarn or dealing with the explosion of my posessions. Which is, frankly, most of the time.

Having the yarn all tucked away and orderly makes me feel so much calmer than when it was jammed into a dresser, stuffed into bags around the dresser, crammed into bags on top of the bags around the dresser, and taking over our office space. Now we have two offices and space for all our hobbies, and it makes life a little easier. Calm. Peaceful. Ordered.

It’s a start.

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Clap in progress

Have I talked about this before? Maybe? I don’t know. What day is it?

Dear Brain,
Please come back. It’s been so long since I’ve seen you and I miss your greyness, your wrinkleyness, and your smartitude. I can’t go on much longer without you (you’ll notice I just typed smartitude on a public blog). I’ll give you treats. And cake. Though at the moment I can’t promise intellectual stimulation.
Love, Me

The beginning triangle

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m making Clapotis (Rav link) (although I suspect I’m one of perhaps three knitters who has not yet made this amazing and amazingly viral scarf). If I have mentioned it before, send help.

I’m much farther along on this scarf than these pictures would have you believe. Stitches have been dropped, Russian joins have been imperfectly executed, and stitch markers have attempted to escape on several occasions, though I have triumphed over them every time.

It seems my knitting mojo has come back in full force, and I now want to knit three other things rightthisminuteohmygod, and two of them are full of complicated cables.

Fortunately for my project monogamy, my lack-of-brain can’t handle the cables and is perfectly content with counting ktbl, k, ktbl, k3 over and over and over and over again. Pretty good for an empty head.

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This past weekend we went to Kentucky to visit the new baby girl (and her parents) for whom I made the blindingly pink baby blanket. We had a blast.

We left about 1:00pm on Friday, and made our way through the city and onto I-65 south. This is a deceptive highway, lulling you into complacency with its straightness, making you think that your drive will continue to be easy-peasy. And then you hit Indianapolis. Bastards with evil brains devised the freeway naming and exchange system, and vicious evil bastards came up with our directions (Dear Rand McNally, I want 40 minutes of my life back please. Love, me.). It didn’t help that NinjaHusband remembered a way through the city that was different from the one on our directions, and it didn’t help that when we followed the directions (get on 465 and stay on it for 21.3 miles till you find 865) we discovered that there is possibly a wormhole in the middle of Indianapolis. Because it didn’t take us 21.3 miles to find 865. It took us maybe 3 miles. Maybe the directions were wrong, but I choose to believe that within the confines of the Indianapolis city limits lurkes a benevolent wormhole that channels innocent travelers immediately to their destinations. And how can I get one to move in between us and Chicago.

Anyway. We got to Lexington in good time and got to our friends’ house and met Miss O. for the first time.

Mom A. and Baby O., sitting on a porch in downtown Lexington. Look at those cheeks!!

Miss O.’s parents loved the baby blanket I made, and the word on the street is that she likes it too. Of course, I have no pictures of her actually with the blanket, because that wasn’t the point. The point was to take pictures of the tiny new baby.

Laugh lines

However, Miss O. decided to smoosh her face into the chest/shoulder/arm of whoever was holding her.

A natural
Husband holding baby. Right now, the hottest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Including Dominic West half-naked in an episode of The Wire.

M and O
This one shows her face a bit better, and she looks just like her dad. Our friend M. has beautiful hair, which O. loved to grab in her sleep.

After we sat and chatted we walked home. Miss O’s mom was feeling sore, so I carried the baby. Seven-and-half pounds doesn’t seem like much, but after a walk of a mile or so my arm started to cramp up. When we got back to the house this seemed like the best course of action:

Nap time

It was a great weekend. I’m so glad we got to see our friends and meet their baby, and hold their baby, and make faces at their baby… possibly we should get one of our own.

And the best part about Lexington, and the parts we saw of it were really great, is this:

Lowest price I've seen in months

Gas was only $2.98 a gallon. Win!

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I took a bunch of pictures of the gardens around the public library in town, and because today is kind of a grey day with a side of I’m-so-tired-I-could-fall-down-sleeping, I thought I’d share some of the more insectified ones.

Ladybug grey
It’s either a cute adorable member-of-our-ecosystem ladybug, or one of those damn vicious Japanese beetles that have invaded our land. Bit of a toss-up.

Butterfly blue flowers
The contrast charmed me. Bonus points to the one who can tell me what kind of butterfly that is, as I am too tired even to use wikipedia to find out.

Moth & flower
I think the moth is actually sitting on/feeding on the live flower behind the obviously dead one. Probably more tasty.

More later this week with pictures from our trip to Kentucky, including why you should avoid driving through Indianapolis.

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(Update: A better picture of the final finally finished object at the bottom!)

There’s kind of a funny story behind this project.

Anna and I have talked about doing no less than three, THREE, knit-a-longs for just the two of us. The first one was Tomato (Ravel It). You may have noticed her Tomato tops (yes, she’s made more than one) while I completed a total of zero. Oh, I cast on with pretty blue yarn with the highest of hopes… and never really got beyond the 12th row. And I heard about that for months.

The second KAL was Green Gable (Ravel It). I said, yes! I need a springy top to knit! It will be perfect! It will go quickly! I will be loyal to this project! And Anna looked askance at me, knowing how not far I got into the Tomato. She started it and finished it within hours (it seemed). I? I worked up two swatches. And nothing more.

After the Green Gable debacle I thought Anna had lost all faith in my ability to actually cast on a project and actually see it through to the finish. I know I ceratinly had. This spring and summer really weren’t good for my knitting mojo, probably because I had bigger things on my mind. Such as the purchasing and moving into of a new house.

So when Anna came over to my house wanting to know how I had cut up t-shirts for my bathmat made many moons ago, I took it as a challenge. I had been collecting old t-shirts for a while and had been wanting to knit new rugs for the laundry room (it’s in the unfinished part of the basement, very concrete-y, very cold floors), and that was the day I started cutting them up to make THE NEW RAG RUG!

On the Needles
Rug in progress. Note the giant-sized needles. Not pictured: my blistered hands.

Of course, Anna finished her rug (Ravelry link) in about 10 seconds, and I took longer because I had to finish the Big Bad Baby Blanket for my friend’s new baby. But finally, FINALLY, here is my rag rug!

Rag Rug w Feet
My feet are very photogenic

I used about 12 t-shirts in a variety of blues and greys and red. It’s loosely based on the log cabin pattern in Mason-Dixon Knitting (Ravelry Link), and it used size 17 needles. My Ravelry notes, including how I cut up the t-shirts, are here.

(I also have pictures of the finished baby blanket, but they’re not the greatest. For instance:

Big Bad Baby Blanket

That pink just sears your eyeballs, doesn’t it? And you can’t even see the whole blanket in that picture. FO picture FAIL.)

B&W Big Bad Baby Blanket
Thank god for friends like Penny. She sent me this b/w version of my picture, so maybe you can see the textures and some of the tonal changes. And not have your retinas burned into the back of your skull.

But that rug is seriously delicious to stand on. I’m working out the color scheme for my next one, which should be done in about 4 years or so.

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