Saturday, February 25, 2006

It's a crutch

Because I can't think of anything brilliant and cool for the letter D, I give you a meme instead. (Actually, you'll get D eventually, but in the meantime...) So there.

4 jobs you've had in your life
1. EMT
2. waitress
3. CNA-nursing home & home health care
4. Owner/operator/only damn employee of a small (REALLY small) soapmaking business

4 movies you could watch over & over
1. Indiana Jones trilogy
2. Chicago
3. Road to Perdition
4. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

4 places you have lived
1. Bloomington, IN
2. Peru, IL
3. a tiny faux apartment in someone's garage
4. in my own little head

4 tv shows you love to watch
1. Mystery Science Theater 3000
2. Oz
3. Coupling
4. Scrubs

4 places you have been on vacation
1. Washington Island, WI
2. Disney World, FL
3. Nashville, IN
4. Four Corners region

4 websites you visit daily
1. TONS of knitting blogs
2. Non-knitting friends blogs
4. my local library's website--I've almost always got some book or another coming in

4 of your favorite foods
1. steak (filet mignon, medium rare, and if it's from Wildfire in Chicago, so much the better)
2. fried chicken & biscuits
3. really good sweet corn, with butter & a teeny bit of salt
4. fine chocolate (damn straight it's a food)

4 places you would rather be right now
1. Disney World!!
2. in a huge, well-stocked yarn store, with a $1000 gift certificate
3. right here, holding the $200 million winning lottery ticket (heh)
4. in a little house in the corn that belongs to ME

Alright, I'm tired & useless today, so if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged.

Actual interesting knitting content will return tomorrow, I promise.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I did it!!!

I finally finished the Olympic scarf!! Yeah! I was seriously doubting that I would for a while there. At this point, I think I've decided not to block it for now. Maybe I'll change my mind later, but for right now, I rather like the close, snuggly look. It actually is the same scarf in the pictures...I have no idea why it shows up purple on my table. If you look closely at the dapper fella in the fedora over my right shoulder, you'll see that he is an actual, honest-to-God Guy Noir bobblehead. Seriously. My parents gave him to my husband for Christmas a few years ago. I have a weird family. And yes, I desperately need some sun. Flash doesn't help, either.

At any rate, I'm really pleased to have finally finished this thing. Now I can devote my knitting time to finishing the felted bag for my mom (still have to finish knitting the endless strap, and then felt the thing & sew it together), and also start my latest project, the Ben & Jerry's pint cozy in Cascade Fixation. I'd originally planned to make this just for myself, but then my mom got wind of the idea and warmed up to it quickly (after first laughing at me for making such a goofy item). Now I get to make two. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. The husband so generously even cleaned out a pint for me to block it on. Isn't he so sweet & selfless?

In other happy yarny news, I finally got the yarn swift in from JoAnns the other day. Perfect timing, too, since I can now start all sorts of new projects that need to be wound into gorgeous little yarny cakes. I also received the 1942 knitting book, which is all kinds of cool in that not only is it in surprisingly good condition, but it's also pretty darn well-written, and looks like it will really be a useful resource, in addition to the coolness factor. Yay! And, as if that weren't cool enough, the Knit Picks order finally came in!!! It's largely Wool of the Andes, and a large portion of that belongs to dh's huge boring cabled sweater (in black & dark grey, natch), but still! There's several skeins of really cool sock yarn, and a handy pile of dpns to add to the fun. Yay! Of course, looking at the photo now, everything looks really's not ALL dark yarn, it's just a crappy picture. Sorry, y'all. I can't wait to get my paws into all of it, though, and start five million projects. Never enough time, I tell ya...

C is for Chicken Car and Cat-in-the-Box

Now here's a vehicle you won't see cruising with the low-riders. The Chicken Car was featured in a bizarre documentary I watched this morning called The Natural History of the Chicken. You gotta wonder how that's street legal. And yes, I photographed my tv on pause.

Cat-in-the-Box is a favorite game of Crazy Kitty's, and while it does make for great entertainment, it also makes packing anything really difficult. Note the yarn in the background. Ain't life grand?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A is for Argh! There's only 7 days left!

Well, not really... Actually, I was feeling pretty down about the whole Olympic project for a while there. I seriously underestimated the time required for this project (at least for me, given all my other responsibilities). I also underestimated the time it would take me to get used to the pattern, and the whole cable thing. Lucky for me, it finally clicked the other day, and yesterday was spent doing not much more than knitting on the scarf. I'm now officially past the halfway point (yeah!!), and I have lofty goals of actually finishing early (though by "early", I mean maybe an hour before the deadline or so). The latest progress is shown in my letter A photo, which is also conveniently my "yay Kerrie" photo.

A is for Adorable/Awesome/Accessories/Ack, How Did She Not Go Blind Making These?

They're definitely cooler in person, since my little camera kinda sucks at taking super-closeup detailed shots, but you get the idea. They're absolutely tiny, and incredibly detailed. The orange one even has slightly sparkly stripes, which I love. Kerrie, who really really ought to get a blog, made these for me just recently, and I am SO pleased!! It's almost disappointing that I don't actually need stitch markers for this particular project.

And, as long as we're at it and trying to catch up...

B is for Ball Winder on Big Blue Blankie

I just got this awesome ball winder off Ebay the other day, and I am loving it! It's ridiculous how fun this thing is. I also managed to snag a swift for $29.99 from (thanks to a kind soul who shared her 50% coupon code), though it hasn't arrived yet. I've been asked to bring it to the next SnB, and everyone else will bring their unwound hanks. We'll have a ball winding party, and it will be weird, but more fun than one would expect from a little tube o' plastic.

Big Blue Blankie is actually the first FO ever for me, though it was crocheted and not knit. I learned to crochet several years before I picked up knitting, and the first thing I wanted to make was an afghan for my exceptionally tall husband, who never could manage to find an afghan long enough to keep his feet covered when he pulled it up to his chin. I'm not exactly one to mince around when starting something new, and it was an awful lot of fun, so I figured I'd just make the world's biggest, most obnoxiously sized afghan. Well, at the time, I didn't realize the size was obnoxious, but whatever. It's about 7 1/2 feet long (!!), which is great for dh, but pretty durn awkward for me, given than I'm all of 5'3". It was made out of no dye lot Caron Wintuk acrylic, back before I learned of actual yarn stores and only shopped at JoAnns & Walmart. No dye lot my arse! They were all the exact same color name & number, and there's still weird shade variants throughout the blanket (though not in a pretty, variegated way...more like a jarring, wtf kind of way).

Basically, this is not an attractive blanket in any sense. And of course, because it's the one thing I've made that I'm the least proud of, dh has fallen hopelessly in love with it. He insists on throwing it across the bed for extra warmth every night, even though I've asked repeatedly if I could just make another one that is sized to fit our bed (not to mention actually matches the decor). He's quite attached, and while that is really sweet and sort of flattering, the fact remains, it's not a pretty blanket! It's heavy, too, and pulls the rest of the blankets off the bed if too much hangs over the edges.

At any rate, the guy is fond of it, so I suppose I must deal. I *am* going to make a nice one, though, one of these days. An actual bedspread maybe, in soft yarn that matches the colors of the room, sized perfectly to fit our queen-sized bed. Well, maybe after I finish the five hundred or so other projects that are in line ahead of it...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Happy Day-After-Valentine's Day

Well, I'm overdue for an Olympic update. The Irish Hiking Scarf was decidedly slow to start...I've never done cables before, and I'm not used to working with such small needles either, so it took quite a while to get any level of speed or rhythm going. I even made an unpleasant mistake towards the beginning, but didn't notice it (or didn't care) until later, so there it will stay. I am SO not ripping this puppy back! I've also not had a huge amount of time to work on it, so I'm feeling rather uncertain as to whether it will actually be finished on time. It is darn pretty, though, and I'm pleased with what I have thus far. Besides, it's nice practice for the big huge enormous cabled guy sweater I'll be making for dh soon, so that's a bonus.

Speaking of dh, he's scored some brownie points lately. Y'all know how hard this whole sick family thing has been on me, right? I've gotten virtually nothing done around the house, since all I had time for was caring for the children & knitting a stitch or two here & there. When I came home from the yarn shop on Friday, I found a wonderfully clean kitchen, with all the previously filthy dishes drying in the rack, looking all kinds of sparkly & shiny clean. It was WONDERFUL. It darn near made me teary, it was that much of a relief. Then, after agreeing that we weren't going to do anything for each other for Valentine's Day (no money, which kinda sucks), he came home with a sheepish, I've-done-a-stupid-thing grin on his face, and said he wasn't sure if I was gonna kill him or kiss him. It seems he had a fit of guilt about the holiday, and stopped at a fairly high-end chocolaterie down the road from his lesson studio, and spent WAY TOO MUCH on really exquisite truffles for me. Really good chocolate, but omg, it was WAY too much money! If I'd spent that much money on chocolate, he would have laughed at me for a week. (He knows how desperate my chocolate habit can get...) Still, as much as the price tag made me choke, I am really touched by his thoughtfulness. He was especially proud to have picked out some cinnamon-espresso truffles, and some particularly awesome maple ones, because he knows I love those flavors. He's awfully cute when he gets so proud of himself.

The kids, fortunately, are feeling much better now. I'm actually sleeping at night again, and I'm hoping that we're done being sick for the whole winter now. Of course, I never got sick at all, just really tired...I've got this bullet proof immune system, and no matter how ill everyone around me is, I never get anything. I think maybe it's just a mom thing, that my immune system knows that I simply don't have time for it. Anyway, I'm really glad that the kids are back to semi-normal again.

The rest of this week will hopefully be spent working on my Olympic scarf, since I'm feeling terribly far behind right now, and catching up on household chores. I also get to spend my time looking out for my new best friend, the mailman. I've got all kinds of kickass knitty things coming this week--I won a knitting book on Ebay that was published in 1942 (SO cool!). I also won a brand new ball winder (woohoo!! I'm so excited! I'm such a geek!) that should arrive this week as well. On top of that, my dear friend Kerrie has created the COOLEST little stitch markers EVER, and will be sending those along shortly too. I can't wait to see them! She's sent pictures, and they are incredible...the detail is just amazing. I'll post pics as soon as I can...they're just so cute! And, the big honking group order from KnitPicks should be coming sooner or later too. I'm hoping sooner rather than later, because I'm an impatient cow, but last I checked, it was still being processed. In the meantime, I'll wait patiently, knitting away in my little corner, and watching old Bugs Bunny cartoons with the boys. Yeah, this will be a good week.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Citius, Alitius, Fortius, Knittius

It is Day One of the Knitting Olympics, and hopes are high! I'm having the breakfast of champions, of course--an incredibly sugary, colors-not-found-in-nature kind of cereal--and lest you think I'm stealing it from my children, let me assure you, I wouldn't feed this shit to my kids in a million years. I don't do coffee anymore, though, so a little sugarbuzz in the morning is nice once in a while. I'm certainly not going to get a caffeine jolt ever again. But I digress...

Today at two o'clock, knitters around the world (or at least in their respective time zones) will cast on their own individual olympic challenge projects. How cool is that? Team Dekalb will be meeting at our lys to cast on together, because honestly, knitting is more fun with rowdy, yarn-habit-enabling company. I'm really looking forward to it, because not only do I get to knit with some really cool people, but I get to leave my home for a while. Allow me to sound like a really terrible mother for a children are both so sick, and it breaks my heart to see them feel so awful. Not only does it break my heart, but omg, it wears me down! Keep in mind, my babies both slept through the night by about 6 weeks old, so I've been somewhat spoiled thus far...lately, though, there has been NO restful sleep for me, and virtually none for my poor children, either. My youngest has a cough that would make a sea lion proud, and my oldest has an ear infection that made him literally yell out loud from the pain (fortunately, we're pumping him full of amoxicillin now, so at least his ear feels better). The little guy is the worst, though. That cough is CONSTANT, and it goes through the night, which makes him cry from frustration (and presumably pain in his throat by now). I do my best to comfort him at night, and generally feel helpless, because nothing I've tried has really helped it quiet down. During the day, it's aggravating as heck to try to watch a movie or have a conversation, because the poor little guy is barking so constantly that you can't hear what's going on very well. He feels awful, and that kills me, and as much as I want to make him all better, I also really just want to run away to someplace nice & quiet & warm. I feel so terrible for getting annoyed at the constant coughing, and I NEVER let it show to them. It's just so never-ending! He's been coughing for a week, and so has his brother, and his father was coughing for a week before that, so it's been at least 15 days or so of solid, non-stop coughing. Even at night. If anybody has any brilliant ideas about how to bring my poor little family some relief, I'd LOVE to hear them!! If the little guy is still hacking come Monday, I'm hauling him in to test for whooping cough. I hear it's going around the school system in a nearby town, so you never know...

But anyway, enough whining. Back to the yarn! I've got this gorgeous deep red alpaca & silk yarn for my Olympic scarf that needs to be wound into a ball before cast on today. I'm also planning a huge KnitPicks order, which should pretty much cover me for projects till 2008. Which is fabulous.

Monday, February 06, 2006

It's Random Thoughts Monday!

I am seriously way too tired & out of it to string my thoughts together in any sort of logical manner, so you just get random thoughts today. Yay!

1. This weird little critter is a word cloud, which comes courtesy of JenLa (and also Kathy). Basically, it's a program that scans your blog for the words used most often. I'm curious what their standards are though...I mean, "doo"? Where the heck did I ever say "doo"??

2. A large part of the reason for the tired & out-of-it-ness is that my entire family decided to be sick this weekend. Dh had a raging fever last week, but after a few days it degenerated into a nasty sinus-y cold, so no big deal. He's much better now, though he still has the shniffles. Unfortunately, he also shared it with his sons (thankyouveryfreakingmuch), and they are both *still* running unpleasant fevers, after several days of high temps. I'm getting very little sleep and worrying too much, so this is plenty old now. My poor little babies are sick to death of it too, and getting more impatient with the whole thing every day (not that I blame 'em). They even declared that they're completely sick & tired of television! I gotta admit, I'm kind of secretly pleased about that one. They haven't watched too much, really, it's mostly that they haven't had the energy to do anything else, and tv gets old fairly quickly, especially when you don't actually have cable, and have to stick with videos & dvds to watch. Anyway, they're going to the doctor today, and hopefully no one will barf in the car on the way there. I sure hope the doc can do something for them...they've been feverish way too long!

3. My much-loved local yarn store absolutely rocks. Not only did they have an awesome sale this weekend, at which I spent way too much money (but considerably less than I would have without the sale!), but they recently ordered a bunch of Malabrigo Merino, all because Kathy & I asked for it! Well, it wasn't quite that simple, we really had to throw a sales pitch, and then a Malabrigo rep came out to talk to them too, but still...ask and ye shall receive!! I'm really excited...I don't know when the first shipment will come in, but who cares? It's coming! This is easily my favorite yarn, it's incredibly soft and comes in a huge range of stunning colors. Yay!!

4. I'm nearly done with my mom's purse/bag thing. Only a few rows left, and then I'll make the strap, and then felt it. It's easier than I thought it would be, and I'm really hoping she likes it (and orders more!). Once the bag is done, I think I'll move on to an actual, honest-to-God sweater. Yowza. I bought a huge pile of super-thick Brown Sheep Burly yarn, in Prairie Fire, for it...the pattern is really cute, though I can't find it online to show y'all, and it's going to be a super-warm, chunky sweater for me. I have NO idea how long it'll take me, though, especially considering the Olympics start soon. Speaking of the Olympics, I picked up the yarn for my scarf, and it's gonna be preeetty! It's an alpaca/silk blend, which just makes me feel all kinds of la-de-dah, and is a really pretty shade of cranberry. I can't wait to get started on it. Several of us are getting together on Friday for a group Olympic cast-on, which sounds goofy but promises to be fun. I tell ya, I don't know what I'd do without other yarn geeks around! I feel really blessed to have this circle of friends about me, and it really just makes the whole knitting experience that much better, when I can share it with someone who understands & actually cares. Not that my sweetie husband doesn't care, he really does, but it's not the same. Anna, Kathy, Sandiwhomustgetablogofherown, you guys rock.

5. Barfing, fevers, and lack of sleep suck. Just in case I hadn't mentioned that yet.

6. Also at the sale this weekend, I snagged a skein of the most incredible Manos ever...I think it's called Woodland, or something goofy like that. Trust me, it's even more gorgeous in person. I'll have to try to post the picture later; my computer's being cranky right now. Argh. Yay, now it works! Isn't that just stunning? I'd been admiring it for a while, and the other enablers people at the yarn store kept saying how that color would so work for me & all that. I blame them entirely. The photo doesn't do it justice,'s got these gorgeous shades of olive in there, and it just about glows. Le sigh. :)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Knitter for hire

Is that not just the coolest idea ever? I mean really... I'm clearly a process knitter, not a product knitter, so it really doesn't bother me at all to give my creations away. (Except for my Very First Hat...I'm still kind of sad about that. Only because it was my very first, though.) My awesome mom has recently discovered the joys of felted knitting, and has requested a purse/handbag/thing in a coffee-colored wool, felted. Get this, though--she's actually paying for the yarn & needles. Is that not awesome?! She's also made noise about bags in other colors, and possibly hats, and I've got a felted vest pattern I'd like to show her...I mean really, she could keep me in free knitting for months! I'm so excited! This will also keep the husband happy, too, as I know he starts to get a little nervous when I go to the yarn store three times in one week. We are trying to save for a house, and the stash can sometimes make that pretty difficult.

Anyway, the bag itself is of very simple construction, as I am still pretty new to this, but I hope to practice on my mom's stuff enough that someday I'll be able to make this bag for my husband. Mom's all excited because she gets relatively inexpensive bags customized to her specifications. I'm just happy that I get to knit good wool, and not pay for it. Poverty's a real bitch sometimes.

Of course, all this free knitting still won't keep the Stash Gods completely happy. They've instructed me to take advantage of a big sale at The Yarn Exchange this Saturday, and geez, who am I to argue with the gods? I'll be picking up some super bulky yarn to make a sweater for myself (really, for ME! What a novel idea!), and some alpaca (maybe alpaca silk blend?) for an Irish Hiking Scarf. Twist my arm.

And that's another thing...after much hemming & hawing, the final selection for the Olympics project is officially the aforementioned Irish Hiking Scarf, of knitalong fame. It's all cable-y & cool, and while it is a scarf, the cables are completely new to me, thus creating the challenge required. The nice thing, too, is that once I get the whole cable thing down, I'll be that much more ready to attempt a sweater for my gorgeous Irish husband, who would look awesome in cables. Even if they must be black & grey cables. Men & their crappy color aversions suck.