Friday, May 26, 2006

Long Weekend

I love a long weekend. The kind that everyone takes at once. You can create a long weekend with a vacation day, but it's not the same. When you make your own long weekend work is still happening while you are away. People are filling up your inbox and your voicemail. Decisions are made without you. On a true long weekend, everyone is out of the office. No one is e-mailing me. No one is trying to get a hold of me. It's a huge difference.

I need a long weekend just now. Because, of course, of the fact that I am one giant glob of guck. It's allergies. The only thing that seems to work is good ol' fashioned Benadryl. I know. I'm a zombie now. I just want to sleep. They keep saying on news that it is one of the worse allergy seasons in a long time. No shit. You don't need a degree in meteorology for that one.

I haven't even had the energy to knit. Tomorrow I'm going to try to get something planted in my yard. Last weekend we pulled out the big giant ugly globe arborvitea that were in front of our house. I'm sure with me practically laying on the thing trying to pull the foliage aside while my husband hacked away at the roots with a shovel, the neighbors were wondering.

Pulling out the big, round, ugly arborvitea has left a big, dirty, flat patch of dirt. Tomorrow I have to do something about it. I'm going to need Benadryl, lots of Benadryl. And I need plants I can't kill. This is harder than it sounds. I can kill anything. And if I can't kill it, my husband can whack it down with a weed whip.

When we were first married we lived in a rented duplex. We moved because I was pregnant and as we had stopped flinching at the sound of gunplay, we decided we didn't want to bring up a child in that particular neighborhood. But the rented duplex had a little patch of ground that the previous tenants had used as a vegie garden. (Don't even get me started on my complete inability to grow anything edible) We couldn't really afford a bunch of bedding plants so I bought a shaker full of seeds that was supposed to create a wildflower garden. I sprinkled it all over my little patch of dirt and voila! flowers started to grow. Only problem is that wildflowers look a lot like weeds in the early stages. My husband mowed them down with the lawnmower. To say we are not proficient landscapers would be a gross understatement.

Of course my parents are avid gardeners, my sister and her husband can feed themselves out of their vegie garden, and my brother has a whole mad-horticulturist streak involving giant pumpkins. I am, once again, the family black sheep in this. So if you drive by this weekend and see a snot monster woman crawling along the ground with a little spade in one hand, something green in the other, and swearing like a sailor, give me a honk and a wave. Prayers are welcome too.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Secret Pal

My secret pal is a spinner! I am in awe of my secret pal. My Nancy Drew instincts are again kicking in, but I am strong, I will resist the urge to try tracking her through the blogosphere. But if I stumble on clues, what can I do? Right up until she says, "I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you kids!".

Sorry. That was just cheesy. But I'm having a tough day as my body is now comprised of 90% mucus. The other 10% is phlegm and headache. So getting a secret pal gift today was truly the highlight of my entire day.

Here is the handspun goodness that was waiting for me when I arrived home tonight.

She must have been reading my blog because all the skeins are my favorite colors! And soft, soft, soft.

When I was a kid, whenever we got sick my dad would pick up a new coloring book and box of crayons on his way home from the office. Then he'd change out of his suit and sit and color with us. If we were really sick he'd even move the 13" black and white t.v. into our room so that we could watch.

These are my new coloring book. Thank you secret pal. I'm taking a skein and some needles and crawling into bed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I think I've made my feelings on business travel pretty clear, I'm totally over it. When I started 13 years or so ago it was exciting. I got to see places I wouldn't have seen (like Alabama) meet people I wouldn't have otherwise met (like Dwaine Casey the head coach from the MN Timberwolves). But now I'm just over it. If anyone asks you to fly 3 1/2 hours to Phoenix on a Monday only to turn around and go back on Tuesday. Just say no. I tried to get out of it, believe me, but wasn't able to. So I'm groggy and tired and a little cranky now.

Northwest Airlines, my frequent flyer miles, and their free upgrades to first class have spoiled me. So flying another airlines, sitting in the middle seat for three and a half freakin' hours was NO GOOD. And I sat scrunched up in the middle seat both ways. Yuck. The hotel was clean, the meetings worthwhile, but the travel itself sucks.

When I was a kid I was pretty sure that we would be able to warp places like they did on Star Trek by now. I wish it were true. I wouldn't object to travel so much if it weren't for the actual traveling involved. The airlines and their airport employees do their best, but it still sucks. There were well over 200 people on my flight last night. There were approximately 40 chairs at the gate. And of course the plane was running 45 minutes late. This means standing or sitting on the floor like you are about to board steerage on the last boat to Ellis Island.

The flight was overbooked so the plane was packed full by take-off. This means everyone trying to shove black rolly bags into the overhead compartment and saying things like, "I swear it fit in the overhead on the flight out!". This makes flight attendants cranky. Cranky flight attendants can make the whole trip miserable. On one trip last year I actually had a super cranky, seasoned (okay she was old. I think her first gig might have been with Charles Lindbergh) flight attendant tell me that the reason that all the airlines were going bankrupt was because people were using their air miles credit cards to send their kids to college and then flying all over the world for free. As I was in coach at the time, flying to Omaha, on a ticket that cost my company $793, I had to disagree. Do you know where you can go for $793? Many places more interesting than Omaha. Like Paris or Milan. Or even Kansas.

I was in the exit row on the way home (4 more inches of leg room woohoo!) and seated next to people who were not compelled to share their life stories. Plus there was the knitting. With seven hours of flight time in 24 hours, there was plenty of knitting. I finished the back of my Sunrise Circle Jacket and started a sleeve.

I have to go get highly caffeinated to face the day. During my commute I will be cursing the fact that we were practically promised a George Jetson flying car by now. Curse you Hanna Barbera.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

One Convert and a Trek bag!

What a good evening. A little wine, a little knitting. Especially after a really tough day at the office. One of "my students" Katie, took to knitting like a duck to water. The others, Nell and Barb are working on it and did a really good job. They weren't as satisfied though because Katie seems to be one of those freakish natural knitters.

I came home to this!

Oh yes it is! A "Stumbling Over Chaos" bag hand made by Trek! We traded addis for a bag. I meant to use the bag as a gift bag but I'm not sure I'll be able to give it away. So for now it is just mine (greedy, greedy knitter girl!).

So tomorrow I'm teaching elementary school kids to make soap. Wish me luck.

KAL Progress

I'm finally making progress on one of my KAL projects. I joined the Sunrise Circle KAL a while ago but just got started on the jacket this week. I had so many things that had to be made on a deadline plus unfinished stuff I wanted to finish, that I hadn't gotten around to it. Luckily there is no deadline on this one. This was my first provisional cast-on and my first hem. I really like the way the hem lays and I think I'll use a hem again.

I'm working on the raglan decreases right now. I'm hoping to work on it again tonight.

A bunch of women at work have been asking me to teach them to knit so tonight is the night. After work we are going downstairs to the bar and we are going to have knitting lessons. There are 6 of us. I'm hoping it goes well and everyone loves it. Yes, I am what the Yarn Harlot calls a "Missionary Knitter". I do keep a little extra in the bag so that if someone says, "I want to learn to knit" I can whip out some needles and teach them.

Last winter I taught my cousin's bible study group to knit. My cousin Laurel had knit as a child but hadn't since. There were a couple of people who just took to it right away. Laurel and her friend Diana have been knitting ever since and having a great time. In fact Laurel called me last Sunday saying that she was getting on a plane to Vegas and couldn't leave her knitting behind. What kind of needles can she take on a plane? I told her that I've only had needles confiscated once and they were 14" aluminum needles. I did convince the TSA agent to let me take the yarn off first. Other than that no problem. So Laurel and I had a quick conversation about how to make a hat and off she went to Vegas. If you are out there honey, tell me if the hat worked.

In non-knitting news, the hole is no more! I came home last night to a paved road. The cones and stuff are still there while the asphalt cures, but I'm hoping they'll be gone today. The fact I haven't managed to mow down the cones getting out of the driveway is amazing.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Finished Handbag

Not much time today, but I did want to show you my finished Rick Rack Bag. I think I may have over felted because I had a really hard time finding the eyelets after felting. So I wasn't able to fit actual rick rack through the holes. But it worked out okay because I had some great beads so I used the darker yarn for the cord and threaded the beads on the ends. My mother-in-law really liked it so I guess it was a success.

I'm about half way through the back of the Sunrise Circle Jacket. Pictures of it tomorrow.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Can I Have a Goat?

I've decided I'm in love with angora goats.
Look at the cute little face. And they aren't as noisy as the sheep were. Of course, you'd be noisy too if you were stuck in a stall on a rainy day with a bunch of crazy-ass city people talking baby talk to you. There were goats for sale and I was seriously thinking, hey I've got a big backyard with a fence. They aren't that big. Doesn't Petco sell goat chow? But I resisted the temptation and did not buy anything that was actually alive. I feel like a pretty smart shopper right now for it too.

Of course I did buy all of this stuff. From top left, a Cha Cha bag kit from Three Kittens Yarn Shoppe (I can't find a picture of the bag on the web but it is bright and ruffled), 418 yards of the softest llama and wool in a beautiful chocolatey brown. Spun and sold to me by a wonderful lady named Winnie. The cedar hand-turned bowl was made by her husband Ron. And some handspun gloves knitted by Elizabeth. I sure could have used these earlier this week when I was trying to knit at the ball park in 45 degree weather.
All and all a successful shopping trip at Shepherd's Harvest.

One thing I didn't find at the festival was Chris. I was lurking at building B at just the right time, but was unable to find her. I did meet Knittymama with Knittybaby. They are both adorable. Knittybaby's baby snug was covered with a beautiful Clapotis and he was sleeping like an angel. Knittymama did not look at all like a woman who had given birth a mere seven weeks ago. It took me 18 months to lose all my baby weight!!! I'm a little jealous. It's still a little odd to me that I can walk up to this stranger and say, "I'm Kate" and she knew exactly who I was. Bloggers are the best.

The mother's day Rick Rack Bag is drying as we speak. I'll post pictures after I've threaded the ribbon, etc. Now, I've got a ton of yarn and no project on the needles. Today is Sunrise Circle Jacket day for sure.

Happy Mother's Day!
Maxine says, "We don't need no stinkin goats".

Friday, May 12, 2006

Freezing at Baseball Games

Yes, that is what I have been doing, freezing my tush off at baseball games. Because it is Minnesota and May can bring any kind of weather. Of course since my son has had a baseball game every single night this week, the weather has taken a freakish turn. It has been overcast, rainy, drippy, and cold. And I have been standing at various ballparks watching him play. Yesterday was the worst it was 40 something degrees and windy. I came home and thought I would never be warm again.

All week long I've been dragging my Rick Rack Bag around with me as I am trying to finish it for Mother's Day. I'm doing the larger bag, but in the same colorway as the small one shown on Knit Picks website. I know, really creative. I'll just buy the outfit on the mannequin. I am really enjoying the bag though. The bottom "tuck" for stability is done really well and does seem to add a lot of stability to the bag even before felting. I am going to thread dark blue ribbon on the bag and add some glass beads to the end of the ribbon. This will be a gift for my mother-in-law. I'm hoping she'll like it.

I am doing the handles right now and hoping to finish it tonight. I'll have a lot better chance at finishing if the double-header scheduled for tonight is rained out. Chances are good that it will be. Here's hoping.

In other news, I'm going to Shepherd's Harvest Sheep & Wool Festival. I didn't find out about it in time to get into any classes that interested me, but I'm going to check out the market and get to meet Chris! We've been reading each other's blogs, e-mailing, etc. since my TCOTF contest so I'm pretty excited about finally meeting a fellow knit blogger. I am thinking that the market may be a good place to find special, home grown wool for my SP8 secret pal and my One Skein secret pal.

I've never participated in this Secret Pal stuff before, but now I've jumped in with both feet and am in two right now. Yesterday my one of my secret pals sent me an e-card. Everyone uses anonymous e-mail addresses and such, but it is really tempting to try to figure out who they are. The knitters I am Secret Pal-ing are both out east and I doubt that they have found lil' ole me out here in blogland. It would be pretty cool if my secret pals turned out to be bloggers I read on a regular basis, perhaps mine think the same. Is all this secret knitting confusing or what? I think that's what is causing me to channel my inner Nancy Drew. I will repress her though and not investigate who my SPs could be.

Speaking of Nancy Drew here is a meme for you. Probably already done, but I haven't had an original thought all week. What were 5 books you loved at ages 10-14?

  1. any Nancy Drew
  2. the Betsy, Tacey, and Tib books by Maud Hart Lovelace. The ones where they go to high school, not when they were little kids.
  3. "Gone With The Wind"
  4. any biography of women who were pioneers in their field. Elizabeth Blackwell, Madame Curie, Susan B. Anthony, bring 'em on!
  5. anything by Judy Blume. But I wasn't allowed to read "Forever" because it was about sex. (I snuck it in though, don't tell my mother)(at the end of the story when she gets together with him again and is so proud to show him she could come too, I had no idea what the hell they were talking about at 14. I'm Catholic you know)

So, tag you're it, what books formed your adolescence?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Another quiet evening in the madhouse

And I don't even have any pictures to show for it. Let me first tell you that I'm not exactly sure what the hell the city stuck in the hole, but it's lumpy (I mean really lumpy) and covered in plastic. Have they found Jimmy Hoffa's body yet?

So I leave work early to get across town to my son's baseball game. Limping across the campus with my stileto heels sticking in the grass, get to the field to find out he's been benched. He's been benched because he missed practice yesterday. He missed practice yesterday because he was playing another baseball game with his other team. So I watched the game and cheered for the rest of the team. Sitting down won't do him any harm. He doesn't do it often.

After the game I went straight home while my husband took my son's best friend up to the Little League park where his parents were watching his little brother play. The boys came home and told me that there was a good game up at the park so they were changing clothes and going back to the park to watch.

A quiet evening at home alone with my knitting and Gilmore Girls! Hooray for me. Right until Maxine decided to knock over the garbage and throw it all over the house. Right up until the dogs started barking at the cops skulking across my front yard with their guns drawn. Right up until I see an episode of Cops play out across the street (a huge false alarm btw). Right up until the boys get home early and my son announces that we have to put oil all over his glove and bake it in the oven. Yes, bake it in the oven. We came up with a compromise involving the dryer. It sounds like I'm tumbling rocks in my dryer right now.

I need to go to bed. I'll knit tomorrow.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Pictures tomorrow, blogging today. I was reading over my blog and it seems that I have a lot of loose ends hanging in cyberspace. So here are some updates:

Maggie is back on her feet! It turns out it wasn't a slipped disc at all but rather a nasty infection. Antibiotics have gotten her back on her feet. She walks a little like a drunk but she walks. I'm a little afraid that the neighbors are going to see her swaying waddle around the backyard and call the ASPCA for drugging our dog. She's not high, she's just a little unsteady right now!

The poncho for Abby was completed on time (barely) and was a success. I'm now using the leftover yarn to make a smaller version for her "Froggy" a stuffed animal that she drags around with her everywhere. Tomorrow Abby, Froggy and I are have girls day out. We are going to Build a Bear and Libby Lu. At Libby Lu they will undoubtably glitter her up and send her father into complete spasms but that's the beauty of being an aunt! Shopping with Abby is like shopping with Paris Hilton sans little weird dog and booze. She is so beautiful that people stop and stare. Plus she wants to buy everything she sees and I have no ability to tell this child "no". Pictures tomorrow.

The big giant hole has been further diagnosed. Still a big giant hole, but at least we know whats up. They found an old waste water pipe that they guess is from the 1930's. It was sealed but somehow the seal broke and it has filled with water and silt. The combination of the pipe and the 5 days of rain we had last week have served to wash the road base away causing the sink hole. The City is contracting out to have the pipe filled with concrete and then will repair the hole. No timeline (what a shock) on this.

I'm almost to project freedom and can start my Sunrise Circle jacket!

In other news, I have a Secret Pal! I am a Secret Pal. Hope this turns out well. The rules say that you can send your SP one big package at the end or 3 packages monthly during the SP time frame. I'm too impatient, I have to send my pal stuff all the way through.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Secret Pal 8 Questionnaire

I wish I was a techie blogger. Then I could post this to a sidebar and not have it as my main post. But I'm not and it is early in the morning and I have a hole in my street and my parents are visiting. So now is not the time to become techie blogger. Sorry. Here is my completed Secret Pal questionnaire.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I am a wool girl but I'll knit with anything. The only thing I really dislike is novelty yarn and angora.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
A drawer in my stash closet.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for 3 years. I would say I'm intermediate.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Lilac or anything clean.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Yes, yes, yes. The kind with sugar. I love junky candy and chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I am a complete DIY nut. I crochet, I sew, I paint, I scrapbook. No spinning here, I'm dizzy enough.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like everything except country. My favorites are Green Day, Led Zepplin, Pink, Mozart, and Yo Yo Ma

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love brown and blue together. I can't wear yellow, but I love it.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Married for 16 years and I have a 13 year old son. I have two dogs and a big fat cat.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes, it's damn cold here. You wear hats, mittens, and scarves or you freeze.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Hats, bags, sweaters.

13. What are you knitting right now?
My fifth handbag of the year, a poncho for my niece, and a shawl.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Doesn't everyone?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I do just about everything on circular needles. I love addis. I love my Denise plastic set too.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes to both.

17. How did you learn to knit?
My grandmother taught me when I was 8 or 9 years old but I didn't keep up with it. I took a class at a yarn shop close to my work and was addicted.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
It is a crochet afgan that is about 6 years old.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas. I go nuts decorating the house.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Other than yarn no.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I am promising myself enough Lorna's Laces (one of my favorite yarns) to do a clapotis someday. I subscribe to Interweave, Vogue Knitting, Creative Knitting

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Fair Isle

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
No. I just can't get myself to fiddle around with size 0's. I wear a size 7 1/2 shoe.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
October 2.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Little Hole

Today I veer off my usual knitting path to bring you the weird ass hole in my street. In Minnesota where our streets are subject to extremes of heat and cold, it's hard to keep them in one piece. We noticed a little hole at the end of our driveway last week. My husband looked down the hole and thought it was unusually deep. Being a guy, he immediately went to the garage, retrieved a long-handled garden implement and stuck it down the hole. "Wow, its gotta be three feet deep", he tells me. End of story. Oh no, just the beginning.

Our garage is a wreck. We throw things out there all winter long until finally about March we can barely maneuver through the garage to get into the house. It's actually a great security system as no one could possibly enter our house through the garage from November to May. Every spring, just as the junk threatens to creep into the house, my husband orders a small dumpster and starts spring garage cleaning.

Yesterday was dumpster delivery day. When the dumpster guys drove over the small hole, it became a larger small hole. When my husband arrived home yesterday afternoon, he (being on hole watch, he's a guy after all) immediately noticed the change and called the City.

My husband: "Yeah there is a really deep hole at the end of my driveway"

City: "What do you expect us to do about it?"

My husband: "Not ON my driveway, at the end of the driveway in your street"

City: "Well, we are still pretty busy fixing things after the storm"
(Note: the storm they are referring to happened on September 21, 2005!)

My husband: "It really deep, like a sink hole or something and you are going to end up having a mail truck go through the street soon."

City: "We'll look at it tomorrow"

My husband stuck a long ice chopper thing down the hole and put a small orange cone on top so that it would be driven over before the City could come out and assess. This morning as I'm getting ready for work I see a City truck pull up. A guy wearing khaki's and a dress shirt looks down the hole, pokes it, goes back to his truck pulls out some big orange cones, places the cones around the hole and leaves.

This was not the solution we were thinking of. But wait! 10 minutes later a big backhoe pulls up in front of my house. The guy parks the backhoe, and LEAVES!

I leave for work. When my husband comes home they have used the backhoe to turn the small but deep hole into a really big hole. Turns out they found an old pipe that runs through the street, under our yard, and who knows where. They attempted to find out where by running a camera through the pipe to see if it's connected to anything. We don't know what they found out but we do know that they believe it may run (insert eerie music here) under my house. This cannot be good. Not good at all.

They found this urgent enough to do today. To call the utility marker guy to come out and paint the street and my yard (right up to my front door) multiple colors to mark all the different buried lines. We have flashing stuff at the end of the driveway. I expect the men in hazmat suits to arrive soon. This will be a lovely greeting for my parents when they arrive from South Dakota tomorrow.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Knitting Again (and buying yarn too)

My wrist and elbow are finally feeling better and I can knit again. I've gotta tell you, not knitting made me pretty cranky last week. Friday I took the day off work and knit this:

I used the pink, pink, pink that I dyed myself and some red Galway that I had in my stash left over from another project. It has taken the whole weekend to dry as I doubled the yarn throughout the project. No pattern, just knitting. I'll post the recipe for it when I figure out how to post a pattern.
I have some wooden handles I'm going to attach now that it is finally dry. After finishing this I realized it was a Project Spectrum March project. Since I seem to be trying new colors, I figured I might as well just join PS so as of today, I'm officially in.

Saturday I fell off the yarn diet wagon two days before my self imposed May 1 deadline. I missed Yarn Cafe so much that I paid it a visit. I bought the yarn for the Sunrise Circle KAL as well as a couple of skeins of Malabrigo. The Malabrigo is probably going to be used to make Fuzzy Feet for a couple of Little Leaguers I know who have been fascinated by my knitting. I that I had to buy some after visiting (and petting) it for so long at my LYS. It is so soft!

This week I will finish this:
It's a poncho for my niece, Abby. Her 4th birthday party is Friday night and I have to get it done. I have about 5 more inches so I should make it. It's in Katia Mexico which is fuzzy and soft and self-striping. It's also a blend that can be machine washed which is crucial to me when knitting something for kids. I picked the colors because it should look great with a pair of jeans. If her mother gives me the okay, I'll post a picture of her wearing it.

I received my first package ever from Knit Picks this weekend and I started yet another bag. This will be my fifth felted bag this year. I don't know why I'm so attracted to knitting handbags, but I can't seem to stop. As I only had vague expectations for what the colors would look like, I was pleased with the yarn. I understand that others have been disappointed by the colors they have received as they look nothing like the colors posted on their site. I guess I'm easy.

Wow, is my writing ever boring when I write about knitting. Kinda makes me wonder what I'm doing with a knitting blog.