Friday, June 30, 2006
A handmade card, two postcards from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, coasters from Paris, a knitting guide that I can stick in my wallet and carry with me everywhere, and two skeins of a beautiful soft laceweight yarn. Thank you, thank you OS SP! Van Gogh is one of my favorites. The yarn is one of my favorite colors of all time and I plan on putting the guide in my purse today!! I have to be careful where I use the coasters because of this:
Yeah, I know she looks cartoon cute with her big floppy ears, sad eyes, and giant snowshoe feet. But she is still the BHFH who will eat anything. Sofa cushions, addis, and most likely coasters from Paris. So the lovely and much appreciated coasters may have to be put away until Maxine Louise gets over her last remaining puppy chewing tendencies.
I'm off work today through the 4th of July. I've got to finish the poncho today as I am hosting a birthday for my father and niece tomorrow. I'm running errands today while my parents go shopping and to lunch at my sister's place. Tonight my sister, mother and I are going to take in a chick flick. Tomorrow the big family birthday barbeque. So I'll be knitting furiously to get this poncho done to present to my niece tomorrow. I know, just what an 8 year old needs in July, a poncho, but she asked for it and she's getting it.
When the poncho is done, I can cross that off my list of knitting to dos. But with the lovely yarn that my OS SP sent, I think I have to add a lace scarf to the to do list. Any suggestions for such an item would be appreciated. Remember that I'm a lace novice. So many people are participating in the Amazing Lace challenge, that I bet someone has a suggestion. I'm thinking about Branching Out as the pattern uses the word easy in the decription. Advice is always appreciated.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
So now, of course, because I'm greedy girl I want my own button. It goes without saying that I could not possibly create my own. I lack the fundamental skills needed for that one. So I need to find a way to induce another knit blogger to make me a button. TCOTF proved that a lot of you will do anything for a good expensive skein of sock yarn. Or maybe one of the cool t-shirts from Urban Yarns. There isn't a picture of it at their site but there is one on Lauren's blog right now. Anyone up for a Can't You See I'm Knitting Here?! button?
Postscript on TCOTF. I still have never cleaned the cupboard over the fridge out. Still the same useless weird stuff in there.
Postscript on Secret Pal. Thanks for all your suggestions. I found some really good stuff for my pals by bargain hunting this weekend.
Monday, June 26, 2006
I think I'm too old for small children. I have to just give in to my forties. Here are some ways that I can tell I'm in my forties.
- I have absolutely no desire to have any more children.
- My hormones suck.
- My teenage son's hormones suck even more. At least with teenage girls there is a cycle. Puberty for boys is like random, bizarre PMS that can crop up at any time.
- Odd stray hairs in odd places. My Tweezerman tweezers are with me always for those times when I put my hand on my neck and realize I'm becoming a billy goat.
- I can't stay up past midnight without paying for it the next day. Even when there were no adult beverages involved.
- I live in a world where clothing stores only stock things for frumpy older women or hookers. I can't seem to find clothes I like anywhere. I am not wearing sparkles, low cut shirts or mini-skirts. On the flip side I have no interest in wearing "holiday" sweaters with appropriate motifs. No Uncle Sam sweater or shirt in my drawer for next week. Every woman I know including me is wearing basically the same clothes from Ann Taylor every day. We try not to wear the exact same outfit on the same day but once in a while, two of us show up at the office wearing the same Gap khakis and white blouses from Ann Taylor. We look ridiculous.
- If I eat after 8 pm I get heartburn.
- I want Brittany to cover her pregnant breasts on t.v. I don't care if she is "just people".
- I think I'm smarter than most 20 somethings just because I'm older. I hate this, I promised myself I would never be this way.
- I don't really care about climbing the corporate ladder any more. I like my job as it is and my personal and family time is more important to me than work.
- I hate most of my son's music. I wouldn't recognize the Black Eyed Peas if they ran me down on the sidewalk. I could pick Joe Perry from Aerosmith out of a crowd from seven blocks away though.
- I am really content most of the time. I never felt content in my youth.
- I rarely want to go out on a Saturday night. I don't feel like I'm missing anything and I love being at home knitting.
- I cut people a lot more slack than I used to. I try to believe that people have the best of intentions in everything they do.
- I have stopped waiting to feel like a grown up. I'm never going to feel like a grown up and I'm not sure that I ever want to.
- I've got a mid-life crisis convertible on order at the car dealership.
How did you know you'd reached the age you are?
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Two happy things today: my son's team finally won a baseball game. Poor kid, he went from a team with a 42-4 record to a team who won their second game today. It's not all about winning and I'm glad he's learning how to deal with losing, but these poor kids have had a rough season. So everyone was pretty excited. I almost felt guilty about being so happy for them as the team they beat was the New Ulm traveling 13 year old team. After having such a great day in New Ulm last week, I felt a little bad. Hope Nutty Cindy's kid wasn't on the team or anything!
Second happy thing, SP8 has given me a new pal to spoil. Someone who actually keeps her blog updated so I'll know if she likes the things I send her. Not to mention, it is apparent from her blog that she is actually literate, which I wasn't sure about with the first pal I was spoiling. Can't say more as I don't want to blow my cover (just in case she actually reads this).
Note to Renee the Enabler: I found the 99 cents per skein Kool Wool. It was on sale 20% off. I bought 16 skeins. Can we not count yarn that costs so little? I mean for the yarn diet and all. In comparison it's like eating three M&Ms on a regular diet. Right?
Friday, June 23, 2006
Of course I will never know if either of my Secret Pals like the packages I've sent them because they almost never update their blogs. I'm trying not to be bitter about this, one is a terrific correspondent as she always replies to my e-mails. And like me, she is spending most of the summer watching children play baseball.
The SPs that are spoiling me in SP8 and the One Skein SP exchange have been wonderful! I feel super spoiled. I know that my One Skein pal is in England right now, vacationing and yarn shopping. And here is a horrible confession, I think I've found my SP8 Secret Pal. I know, I let my inner Nancy Drew get the best of me. I could be wrong about who it is, but I don't think I am.
I'm hoping that I can find some cute little things to include in their next packages. Any tips would be welcome.
Meanwhile, both my Vogue Stitchionary Volume 1 and Knitting From The Top arrived this week from Amazon. I haven't had the chance to thoroughly read them both, but I can tell already that neither book will languish on the shelf as many of my knitting books do. I've seen a lot of comments about the green used in the Vogue book, but I've gotta say I don't mind it at all. Sticking to a single palette gives the book a sophistication that I don't think could have been achieved with lots of colors. I tried some of the stitch patterns out on my Katrina last night and I think I found one that works. The Katrina has some texture so some of the subtle stitch patterns just don't work as you lose the definition in the inherent texture of the yarn.
The Barbara Walker book is wonderful. It reminds me very much of an EZ book in that the style is very prose-like rather than pattern-like. I'd highly recommend it, as it is very freeing to let your imagination loose. I loved the top down on the Picovoli (yeah I know I owe you all pictures of this one) because I like the whole idea of really being finished when you finish the knitting. No sewing seams. Trying on a garment as you go is also great. I cannot tell you how many times I've knit something and wondered the whole time "will it fit?", "should I have gone up/down a size?" Take the time to put a top down sweater on as you go and you'll be very happy you did.
In other news, we had no police at the house about the dogs yesterday. As an added bonus, I did not receive a single call from anyone at Little League crying, yelling, quitting, or complaining. As I have received three or four of these types of calls per week lately, it was a huge bonus and relief to have a night off. This weekend I'll be running back and forth across town as both my son's team and our top LL team compete in tournaments. You can find me in a camp chair knitting at the fields.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The police have been here three times in the last 10 days because someone in the neighborhood has complained about barking. The thing is that we don't leave her outside unattended. We have a fenced yard. She is inside when we are not home. Good lord, she's in her kennel inside when we aren't at home. Otherwise, she'd eat the furniture. Each time the cops have pointed out that we aren't in violation of any City ordinance. One of the visits was when we were away and she was inside. The police really don't need their time wasted like this, but they've been pretty nice about it.
My husband is furious. My dog is sleeping with her tongue hanging out of her mouth, oblivious to her status as a criminal.
Meanwhile, Renee is encouraging me to fall off the wagon already. It doesn't count as a yarn purchase if it's $1 a skein. I'm off to Petters tomorrow.
I finished the knitting on my Picovoli last night. Just a few loose ends to weave in and the blocking. I love having something finished and new to wear at the same time! I'll get someone in the house to take a picture when the weaving is done. It only took 10 days to knit and 4 skeins of the Rowan Cashcotton. I liked the yarn a lot, but it does have the dreaded angora. I'm not crazy about the fuzzies that seem to get everywhere!
The other good thing that has happened this week is that I have someone doing the cleaning for the summer. My son is at that age where he constantly has a wish list of electronic do-dads that he must have. Unfortunately he is also at the age where he is too young to have a real job. So this summer he is my cleaning lady. The works. Dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, laundry. Last Friday was training day and this week he started. It is very nice to come home to a clean house. Before you all send me notes about how he should be doing these things just as part of the family, he still has the same regular unpaid chores to do too.
Last night at the park I started swatching the Paton's Katrina and I tell you what, I'm gonna love knitting with this yarn. Stretchy good. Of course I'm going to love it. I've looked around and I'm going to have a hard time finding more of it. Not that I would buy more, 'cos of my very strict yarn diet. I'm not falling off the wagon on day two!
Post script: Yes, checking online it appears that this yarn has been discontinued. Of course it has. It will be my new Lion Kool Wool. Loved, but unavailable.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Fire up the paddles people I'm gonna try it.
- Another top down kids poncho for my niece's birthday. I have until July 1st to do this one. I can't even tell ya how tired I am of this pattern. I've done two already this year. Enough already, but when the kids say, "I want one too" I have to power to refuse them.
- Karabella cardigan I have the pattern, I have the yarn, just haven't done it.
- Finish the Sunrise Circle jacket.
- Finish the Vintage Cami. This one is not getting done until the cotton pain in my arm subsides. Yes, the Rowan Cashcotton has been better, but I'm still sore.
- Another Picovoli in the Paton's Katrina I bought last week but with a pattern stitch and a split neckline. Does this still qualify as a Picovoli?
- Fuzzy feet for my little league pals.
- Sleeping socks for my dad
- Slippers for my husband
- Scarf for MFF
- Cha Cha Cha bag that I bought a kit for at Shepherd's Harvest Okay, I'm experiencing shortness of breath now.
- 3 more Odessa's for kids Christmas presents
- Finish the shawl I started for my mother in law for her Christmas present.
- If I knit stuff for everyone else and don't knit something for my mother for Christmas it will not be good.
- Someday my Orangina will come from Discount Yarn.com. Someday. In my lifetime hopefully.
- Clapotis. How could I forget the Clapotis?!
- The sleeves for the jean jacket. Chest pains.
- Baby sweater for my friend B-Donny's first child, due in September.
- Weasleys for my two little nephews for Christmas.
- Finish my Burly Spun cardigan. This is just ridiculous. The yarn is huge, the back and both fronts are done. What the hell am I doing?!
- One Skein project for my One Skein Secret Pal.
I can't go on. Bring on the AED. Okay, here is the sad and wacky part (don't tell my husband this one, you are now officially sworn to secrecy) (no I mean it, pinky swear now) I HAVE THE YARN FOR ALL OF THESE PROJECTS. Yikes!
I'm going to make a bold move. A move that may be the end of me. A move that will require many glasses of wine and margaritas from a jug. (Have you tried the big jug of pre-mixed margaritas that that crazy lil' Jose Cuervo is selling. Yum). I'm declaring a yarn diet. No new yarn until Labor Day. I'm sorry Yarn Cafe. I hope that you can stay afloat without me buying tons of yarn all summer, but I have to cut myself off before everyone gets together and I find myself crying on A&E in an episode of "Intervention".
Saturday, June 17, 2006
I've been at the ballpark all day. Our league is still hosting the town tourney, it finally ends tomorrow. The kids have a great time but it's a lot of work. Plus the humidity was about 110% today so we were all hot and uncomfortable. We sold a lot of slushies at the concession stand today. See the heat makes everyone tired!
No, big fat kitty is not floating, he's laying on my son's dark brown bedspread. The BHFH pookie schmoo, Maxine Louise tends to just lay down and relax in the heat.
I know it seems like I do nothing but buy yarn, but remember the great sale Little Knits was having on Lorna's? I had to get some Lion and Lamb to knit a Clapotis, and it arrived yesterday. It is gorgeous. I love it. Sue enclosed a note and she sent it priority mail at no charge! Thank you so much Sue. She has more than made up for the Helen's Lace snafu and has a customer for life.
And finally (hopefully) the last wip pic of Picovoli. She should be done tomorrow. One of the kids at the ballpark asked me what I was knitting today.
Me: a sweater for myself.
Little Baseball Player: That will take like five years!!!
Me: I started this thing last Saturday bucko. Five years or this weekend?
You be the judge.
Friday, June 16, 2006
After the lunch appointment what is next door to the Lamplighter? Nadelkunst. Yes people, a needlework and yarn shop. Is that fate or what? In the back of the store they have yarn and I found the owner, Cindy (who encouraged me to refer to her as Nutty Cindy) and two friends. They were knitting and looking at One Skein. They were also discussing a recent bout of salmonella that one of them suffered which wasn't exactly what I needed to hear after gorging myself on a giant burger (literally couldn't have walked away from that giant burger if someone were across the room wagging worsted weight cashmere at me, that good). Also in the back were a collection of the cutest felted bags. Cindy tells me that they sell as fast as she can knit them and I believe it. At the counter Nutty Cindy showed me the most beautiful beaded purses EVER! She has an unbelievable collection of patterns, etc. for them. She told me that she has researched and unfortunately there are as many bad patterns for beaded bags out there as there are good ones. She obviously has found the good ones because these bags are to die for.
Here is her policy (I hope I've got this right Cindy, it may be the Nutty part): Call her up and she'll help you select materials and ship them to you. She doesn't charge for shipping. If you receive the materials and your vision and Cindy's didn't mesh, send 'em back she'll pay for the shipping again. Nutty Cindy and Nadelkunst are sadly webless and blogless, but you can call Nutty Cindy at (507) 354-8708. She'll be in back knitting with friends during lunch. NOTE TO CINDY: if putting your shop number on my blog causes you one bit of inconvenience, you have my card, call me. If I got the policy wrong, same thing. I'll take it off the blog.
After getting lost twice getting out of New Ulm, I ended up in a town called Klossner that I've never heard of. But the folks at the Farmers Union Cooperative helped me on the right path. They told me I was the fourth city person lost there that day. I guess Klossner is one of those places that you trip on rather than seek. Anyway they gave me directions, but the directions took me around St. Peter MN. The problem? There is a yarn shop I wanted to try in St. Peter. At that, the clerk said Mary Lue's? Yes, she was a knitter! Other than getting lost, the business travel gods are on my side at this point. Well, she pointed me to Mary Lue's where I bought these:
Not the greatest picture. The color spun is for yet another child's poncho (you have to be able to wash kid's clothes people) and the Katrina is for a top I've got cooking in my brain. It is rayon and elastic and has a cool shine to it. Plus, Katrina is the German version of my name and what my mom sometimes calls me. (she's Irish so go figure) I thought that it was only fitting that I bought it after my day in the most German town in America. I haven't seen it in any of the local yarn stores. Here in the city the yarn stores only carry snob yarns. I don't mean that in a bad way, I'm as big a yarn snob, at times, as anyone. The craft stores carry Paton's but not a very big selection. I think in small towns, they have to double it up and sell Lion and Rowan at the same place. They don't have giant big box craft stores.
And finally, upon my arrival home last night I found this in the mail.
Knit Cards from Major Knitter as part of her great March Madness sock yarn collection. Okay, here is the crazy part. She knit the swatch out of the yarn I contributed!!! And she did it for everyone! I can't even comprehend this level of organization and commitment. I'm stunned. These are the cutest cards ever and I have to buy some. Jennifer, I can't find anything on your blog about how to purchase. Please, please, please let me know soon. Thank you for the note cards. I love them.
Okay, long long post. Thank you for suffering through my wanton abuse of parentheticals (yes abuse according to MFF) and crazy punctuation. In the meantime, if you find yourself lost in southern Minnesota, don't be afraid to stop and ask directions to the nearest yarn store.
postscript: can't get my spell checker to work so I might have spelling errors in here too. No, I'm not illiterate, I'm enthusiastic.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
And the award for the worst knitting picture goes to:
Kate's "Picovoli on My Leg" taken at 5:00 a.m.!!! At least you can see the salmony color. It is in Rowan Cashcotton DK. Much to my cottin' hatin' surprise, I actually enjoy knitting with this particular cotton yarn. Probably because it's only 35 percent cotton. Have I unlocked the secret to finding cotton I enjoy? Is it perhaps a significant lack of cotton? I'm also enjoying the process of knitting from the top down. The only change to the pattern was casting on a couple more stitches under the arms and after trying it on, I'm glad I did.
Remember way back when last winter when I bought the really long #0 needle because I was going to Magic Loop socks? Yes, I know it's amusing, we all know I'm never going to knit real socks. Anyway, the giant (yet teeny tiny) needle is perfect for slipping my stitches on to and trying on this top down sweater. Now I don't feel like I wasted 37 kajillion dollars on an Addi I will never use. Trying it on as you go is great. And since I seem to have "wide sides" I'm glad I casted on a couple (okay 4) extra stitches under each arm. I'm picky, picky about arm holes in shirts. I can't stand feeling like I can't move my arms and yet I hate it if my bra shows. (I'm in my forties. Bras are not optional even for us A cup girls) (Think Gwyneth in the lace chicken cutlet dress, yuck). The extra stitches made it perfect. I am only working on the waist decreases and I'm already thinking about my next Picovoli. It's going to have a split neckline 'cause us A cup girls can show a little chest without showing anything at all.
I like the whole top down thing so much that yesterday I ordered this: I'm hoping it will give me some good ideas at least. I've heard some of the patterns are a bit dated, but I'm willing to revise anything.
In other news, the lost skein has been found so to speak. Sue at Little Knits has been awesome! It turns out that the Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace I ordered came in and was the victim of a really bad dye job. Sue ended up having to return the shipment and I really appreciate that she didn't just unload the stuff on an unsuspecting online buyer. In fact, Little Knits is discontinuing the Lorna's Laces line and it is all on sale right now. I'm not sure what is left, but I purchased the last three skeins of Lion and Lamb in Black Purl. Yep, I'm finally going to clapotis. Picovoli, clapotis, could I be more behind in knitting trends? You've all knit these months ago and here I am just catching up. If you are a fan of Lorna's Laces go check out what Little Knits has left because it's going fast.
I'm going to send my One Skein SP the giant wool/llama skein I bought at Shepherd's Harvest. I'm hoping she'll like it, but I'll probably never know as she hasn't updated her blog in a month. I don't mean to complain because my pals have treated me wonderfully, but some how I got the "non-blogging" bloggers for pals. Neither of them have posted since May and I've never seen them post a picture. I thought regular blog updates were a pre-requisite for participation, but I guess not. So I won't know if they enjoy my gifts. Oh well. I shall give for the pure joy of giving. In other Pal news, I've been knitting with the Noro my OS SP sent me and I'm loving it.
Gotta run, I'm driving to a small town in Southern MN for an appointment today so I've got to get some office time in first.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
My son has about 4 gazillion baseball games this week and our little league is hosting a tournament this weekend so I'm hoping that I have time to knit and time to blog. It's been absolutely beautiful weather lately, so of course they are predicting rain and storms this weekend. Our LL park backs up to a golf course, creek and nature area. It's beautiful but when it rains we have one field that fills up with water like crazy. We spent one tournament year trying to pump and vacuum (yes, vacuum) the field every morning. It's a muddy, gross, horrible job and I'm hoping we don't have a repeat of the whole thing this year.
Friday I'm painting up at the field in anticipation of our visitors. Project Spectrum blue of course. Pictures on Friday night.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
It's great because I could never bring myself to buy Kochoran because it's so expensive. I love it though and can't wait to try it out.
I ordered something for my One Skein pal and had it sent. I'm hoping it got to her, but I can't be sure because she isn't a prolific post-er when it comes to blogging. Speaking of which, I see I've become the blogger I hate as I have only been posting every few days lately. I'm sorry and I promise to do better. I hate it when I go to the blogs I read regularly and there is no new post for days and days. I've deleted some from my favorites lately because I just got sick of no new content.
I have been knitting.
Another Odessa hat from the pattern at MagKnits by Grumperina. I love this pattern! It only takes a single ball of Rowan Cashsoft DK. The pattern is easy to memorize and flows really well. I had trouble with the decreasing last time, so wish me luck this time.
I've also been working on the wash cloths for my friend's birthday. They are really soft. The gauge is kind of loosey goosey no matter what needles I use, but I think they will work.
I used Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille and number six bamboo needles. I did a basket weave looking pattern. Knit 3 Purl 3 and switch it up after three rows. This seems to give it some scrubby-ness that is needed in a wash cloth. I have to make a couple more before the birthday next week, but that shouldn't be a problem.
Gotta run to find something to wear to work that doesn't involve ironing. More tomorrow.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
I got up early to hit the garden centers both Saturday and Sunday. I don't know if it was the weather this winter or the price of gas, but it seems that all the plants were more expensive this year. Now no one who knows me would ever categorize me as frugal, but when it comes to plants I'm just plain cheap. After all, I have to factor in my inability to successfully grow anything green. Unless we are counting mold in the fridge when I forget to throw leftovers. I am also a terrible haggler, I should stay out of flea markets. I just can't do the haggling things. I feel unprepared. I feel as though I should come to the transaction with beads and a goat to throw in if need be, and I don't have either of these. I went to my favorite nursery Saturday morning to find some perennials and shrubs. After all, theoretically they will "come back" next year if I don't kill them and then I don't have to do this planting thing again. I really wanted a clematis. Just one of those plain old purple ones that bloom all summer, not the fancy ones that bloom for a couple of weeks and are done. They had the fancy ones and a bunch that were unmarked, all priced at $37.95. Yikes! So I found the nursery lady (who happened to be one of the owners). Of course she looked like you would expect a nursery lady to look. No makeup, wild curly hair. Very granola crunchy, organic, unshaved legs, Mother Jones-y. Totally my polar opposite. (I'm very high maintenance you know)
Me: What are the unmarked clematis?
Granola Crunchy: Hmm. I don't know. They are left over from last year and the tags got lost.
Me: Gee, I don't know if I want to spend $38 on something if I don't even know what it is.
Granola Crunchy: It's clematis.
Me: Yes, but I'm looking for a good repeat bloomer (look at me with the gardening lingo here!) and I won't know that until it's planted. None of the marked clematis are repeaters.
Granola Crunchy: I can understand that.
Now, here my total lack of haggling skills come into play. I think she's about to cut me a deal.
Granola Crunchy (examining the unmarked plants): Well, if you come back in two weeks they will have bloomed and you'll know what they are!
Needless to say, I left without a clematis. I can drop money on yarn like I'm Paris Hilton buying sunglasses, but plants? No way.
And speaking of yarn, since this is technically a knitting blog, I've done little in the way of knitting this week. When the temp hit 90 I couldn't handle the Sunrise Circle WOOL Jacket any more. I have been working on some cotton chenille wash cloths for my friend Rene's birthday. I always give her Orgins "Gloom Away" soap, which she loves, for her birthday, so I thought some handknit wash cloths would be a good addition. No matter what needles I use, the gauge seems loose so I am blaming the yarn and knitting away.