Thursday, August 31, 2006

Time Is Not On My Side

I didn't get to knit night last night. My steering committee meeting ran for over two hours so by the time I got home I knew there was no way I could get to St. Paul (all the way across the river doncha know) and have any time to knit. So I missed it. I'm hoping that next week's steering committee meeting will be another night so that I can make it next week.

I stayed home after my meeting and watched "Project Runway" with my husband and son. I won't say what happened just in case you didn't get to see it (you made it to knit night for example) and need to watch one of 12 zillion re-runs this week.

Last night I had a dream that my friends who are due to have their first baby next month, had their baby. This would be bad. Not because the baby would be a couple weeks early, that's usually no big deal these days, but because I haven't finished the Samantha sweater for the baby. Yes, I can make anything about me. So this weekend I'm definitely going to have to finish it. I was encouraged to make this pattern by reading on someone else's blog how quickly it went. I struggle with Kate Gilbert's patterns though and it's not going as quickly as I would like. I love Kate's designs, don't get me wrong, but the way they are written doesn't seem to work for me. They are written row by row. I'm more of a "repeat rows 1 and 2 for 3 inches" kinda gal. So when I see the pattern is 8 pages long and says things like, "Rows 15-56, Repeat rows 11-14 11 more times". Clickety-clack. I don't want to count 56 rows. I don't even want to count 5 rows 11 times. (I'm not even sure, looking at this, that the math works out but this is right from the pattern) I'll screw it up. I promise you I will. Personally this has Hawkeye and Trapper defusing a bomb written all over it, but first cut the blue wire. . .

So my dream that the baby is here shook me up. I have to finish a sweater for this kid this weekend. I also have to paint the living room this weekend. And make sure my son is ready to go back to school (hooray!). Meantime, I'm on the road for work and will be back tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's Not the Wine, It's the Smoking

Ugh. I stayed up past my bedtime last night. I drank four glasses of wine in 6 hours so I wasn't drunk but I also smoked about 487 cigarettes and so I feel pretty groggily today. I didn't sleep, I kept waking up wondering if I said or did anything inappropriate. This is why I rarely have more then a glass or two of wine in public. Okay that sounds terrible. That sounds like I'm sitting at home at night slugging back the wine like Allison on Melrose Place. Except she was always drinking vodka. I'm really glad she got her t.v. life together and now is the sarcastic wife of John Belushi's brother. Plus I think that nice girl from Father of the Bride is now her sister or something, and she doesn't work for Amanda, so with all that going for her she's off the Phillips Vodka straight from the bottle. I don't do any of this. I never worked for Amanda and didn't even really like Billy.

ANYWAY, my friend Cary was in town from Chicago and 5 of us were out to dinner and had some wine on the patio where I can smoke. Bad idea. Please God do not comment that smoking is bad for you, etc. I know that. Every smoker knows that. We all wish we could quit. No, not true, we all wish we wanted to quit. So please don't pile on my groggilyness with a lecture on the ill effects of smoking, I know them. I'm living them today. MFF joined us about 8:30 or 9:00 bringing me smoking reinforcements. He is a bad influence and an enabler. But a really good friend.

I have a desk day at work today so that should be good for groggily. I have a steering committee meeting at 6 tonight and then I am going to try to get to Nina's as fast as I can because Chris is going to be there. We keep missing each other everywhere in life and have not actually met in person. I cannot believe that someone that I correspond with nearly every day, feel like I know, is someone I haven't actually met. So I'm mainlining coffee right now and I'm going to get ungroggily so that I can go to knit night and see Renee and meet Chris. I'll be the one with the buggy eyes, cigarette hang over and probably be fairly rumpled. You'll be able to spot me right away.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Eye, yi, yi! And other random meanderings

I try not to whine about my stupid problems with Graves but yesterday really sucked. One of the characteristics of Graves that differentiates it from other thyroid disease is it does strange things to your eyes. In my case just my right eye, which is unusual (of course I have to have an unusual disease in an unusual way!) but correctable. After I finish treatment. If it doesn't correct itself. I feel like I look weird all the time and that is usually the worst of it. Yesterday my good eye went buggy and I couldn't see very well. The medication for this is basically a medicated Vaseline that you squirt in your eye so as to make your blurry eyes even blurrier. So yesterday I spent the entire afternoon and evening sitting on the couch. I couldn't read. I could see the big t.v. well enough, so I watched t.v. with my son and knit. Thankfully I was knitting the sleeves of the $9 cardigan so I could have done that in the dark.

Today I am sending my final SP and OSSP packages. My Secret Pal has resolved to try felting so I'm hoping that my final gift will inspire her.

It's a Lucy bag. Practically obligatory here in MN, I'm not sure why. I've filled it with Cascade 220 and enough Twisted Sisters hand dyed cotton to Picovoli (in case the whole felting thing doesn't work out for her) I have a pin in the shape of an Orchid that I'm going to attach to the front. Even if she doesn't carry the Lucy as a handbag, it makes a great project bag. I hope she likes it. She has been so much fun to buy things for and I'm glad I can finally reveal myself. The cloak and dagger knitting thing has been killing me!

The Noro Kureyon scarf is for my One Skein pal. It's cheating because it uses two skeins, but I don't care. It was fun to make and I hope she likes it. She has two sons who play sports so I'm thinking a scarf will be welcome come football season. I also got her a big funky skein of chunky yarn, a skein of Trekking and a skein of Noro. My one skein pal doesn't blog very actively, so it's hard to know if she has liked anything I've sent, but I'm hoping that something in my packages has been fun or useful.

I also included a package of colored pencils in each package. Two reasons for this. One, they are nice for designing; two, I always crave new school supplies in August.

For years and years we are programmed to buy school supplies and new clothes in August. All of the sudden we are adults and cut off. I've never made the adjustment. I want fresh, untouched notebooks, sharp pencils, a new box of 64 crayons, for God's sake I want a protracter (I can't recall ever using one, but dammit, I want one!). And clothes. I want woolly sweaters and corduroy pants even though it will be too hot to wear them for a couple of months. I want new tennies for gym class and a pair of brown "good" shoes for everywhere else. I want Levi's cords and a really big comb to stick in my back pocket. Oops, I just had a late 70's flashback there, please forgive me. Okay, I don't want that, but I certainly want fall clothes. I want to fall asleep worrying about whether or not my best friend Becky will be in any of my classes and hoping like hell she will have the same lunch hour as me. Anyone else go through this in August?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Weekend Fun

Not a lot of knitting to report. I am working on the sleeves of the $9 cardi and it should be done this week. I had an enjoyable and productive weekend though. Thanks for all the suggestions for making my life as an Indexer easier and more productive. No, Renee, it does not surprise me at all that you are doing this too. Thanks Helen, but I think I will pass on the dewey decimal system in my own home (this would take it to a scary cat lady place I don't want to go) and try Chris' suggestion for KnitAble. The cat drowned my Palm in his water dish a couple years ago and I never replaced it, but it comes in a Window version that I am going to try.

My husband says the mouse is dead but I'm still creeped out, so Saturday I took apart my kitchen and put it back together. I spent 4 hours scrubbing and rearranging furniture. I washed the windows, dusted the blinds, washed the floors. No mice and no mice evidence so I feel a lot better. Plus, I really like how the dining area looks now.

The cupboard on the wall was my grandmother's. Not a family heirloom or an antique, but I always remember it in her dining area. The finish was in pretty bad shape so I painted it red a couple of years ago. It's a great place to store all my cookbooks. I don't cook, but it's nice to be able to read about it now and again. And no, my chairs don't match. This was not an accident, it was an on purpose. The guy at the furniture store thought I was nuts. The table expands into a big square with the leaf. I love being able to have 8 people around the table at once. If I'm going to torture people with my cooking, I can at least make them comfortable, right?

Sunday I met my friend Kim for lunch and shopping. She returns to school tomorrow to begin another year of teaching. This week will be a whole lot of meetings and preparation for students to return the following week. We'll need liquid sustenance the weekend after Labor Day when she will have been through the dreaded first week of school. She was carrying her beer goggles bag I made. She tells me that she gets compliments on it everywhere she goes and I now almost believe her. We had a sales person at the Aldo following us around trying to convince me to make her one too.

Last night we watched the Emmys and I knit. Simple relaxing weekend. Got some stuff done, had some fun. I like simple relaxing weekends.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

In Which I Become an Indexer

My husband collects comics. Avidly. They have their own room. They have little sleeves and acid-free cardboard to protect them. There is a system. By all rights, at 41 years old he should still be living in his mother's basement. Working at the comic shop and hitting comic cons on the weekend. He has friends like this. I scare them.

As a comic collector he gets magazines that no one has ever heard of except other comic collectors. Years ago he shared a letter to the editor in one of these magazines. It was written by a guy who obviously had no life outside his collection. It was all about how he could readily name each Herald of Galactus* and in which issue they first appeared because of his index. He built an index of all his comics. He gave examples of how useful his index was and at the end of each sentence proclaimed, "I'm an Indexer". My husband and I thought this was a real hoot and concocted a vivid picture of the indexer. We've referred to any obsessive, may live in his mom's basement kind of person, as an Indexer ever since.

Today, I became an Indexer.

Here's the thing. Besides being an incurable yarn stasher, I'm also a pattern hoarder, magazine buyer, book nut. I've always been a book nut but now I buy knitting books. Between books, magazines, and patterns I download/buy on the internet, I've literally got hundreds of patterns. I have to find some way to keep track of them so I've built an Excel spreadsheet to index them. I honestly considered buying MS Access to database them properly, but this seemed like going over the edge into a completely crazy, obsessed knitter place I'm unwilling to go at this moment. (Don't rule this out in the future however, I could go around the bend at any time) Now in the back of my mind I'm thinking about how I should index my stash too. I'm an Indexer. Heaven help me.

*This is a comic reference so completely obscure to anyone but Marvel collectors that I am frightened that I too can name several Heralds. Obviously I have let my husband influence me in strange and scary ways.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Christmas Rush

I'm freaking out about Christmas. Mainly because I've veered off the gift path by knitting the $9 cardigan. I have a lot to do. There are the fair isle hats to finish. There are bags, sweaters, and felted slippers. If I really think about it hard there could well be a cashmere scarf. I'm getting that freaked-out, I don't have enough time feeling and it is not yet September 1st.

Labor Day weekend should be good. I can do a lot of knitting in three days. Right? This weekend I'm going to finish the little scarf/shawl for my MIL and get my final gifts to my pals sent. I am also going to finish the cardigan. It's cropped so I only have a couple inches of the body to finish and the sleeves.
I'm a little worried. I know I don't have enough yarn to make this with the long sleeves in the pattern, but I'm running through the yarn pretty quickly. In my mind I'm going from 3/4 sleeves, to elbow length, to short. We'll see what how much yarn I have. The sleeves will be a mystery until I get started on them.

I didn't knit in my first steering committee meeting. I was busy trying to dry off. Just as I left the house last night it started pouring. The wind drove the rain sideways and I got drenched on the way to and from the car. So after my whole chest-puffed-out "I'm a prominent citizen" feelings yesterday, when I arrived to the meeting I was just some drippy drowned rat. Mother Nature making sure I don't get too big for my britches.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

From The Top

I'm crazy about the whole idea of top down sweaters. I'm working on a cardigan from Knitting Pure & Simple right now (the $9 sweater) and it's just cool. It just seems easier than anything else I've ever tried. If I can cobble together the time to actually read Barbara Walker's book I know I can figure out how to make top down sweaters for everyone. I haven't had time to do more than skim the book, so in the meantime, I ordered a bunch of Knitting Pure & Simple patterns from Jimmy Bean's.

I know I'm throwing myself completely off schedule with the Christmas gift knitting, but I can't help myself. And it's going really fast. Lookit

Yeah, the yarn is pooling, but I don't mind, I kind of like it. If I convince myself that I can part with this when it's complete, gift it to my sister, then I'm not really that far off track. Yeah, that's it. This is a gift. Crap. She reads the blog, now I'll really have to give it to her. And my SIL will want one too. This sweater could end up being the next poncho in my life.

For those of you who don't know the poncho story. I made a poncho for my friend Fritz's (MFF) grand-daughter.

Cute, right? It was easy and I really liked the way it turned out. I thought, I'll make another one for my niece. When I gave it to her for her birthday, my other nieces all decided they wanted one too. The fun pattern turned into a knitting death march as I made boring stockinette ponchos for little girls. One after the other. I don't know when I'll be able to stand even looking at another poncho. I'm hoping that the top down sweaters don't end up being my new poncho.

I was going to try to go to knit night tonight, but last night I got a call from the Superintendent of schools. My son's face when he heard me say, "hello Superintendent Lester, how are you?" was classic. I'm going to have to investigate what he thinks he could have done (during summer break no less) that would cause a call from the head of the school distrist, but imagine his relief when he realized that the call had nothing to do with him. Anyway, they are looking for someone to sit on a 4 member steering committee who is known in the community (?!?) and my name "kept coming up". So I agreed, but this means going to some meetings this week. I'm very flattered that they've asked. Do you think I can knit in committee meetings?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Yarn Stashin' on The Road

I'm back safe and sound and yarn-enriched. Yes, I made a couple of stops while on the road. My first stop was in Montevideo MN at Donna's Delights. It's a cute little yarn shop typical of small town yarn shops, Lion Brand next to the cashmere. She has sheep and sells yarn from their wool. She had some very cute mitten kits out that include her own wool too. I bought a couple skeins of this:

It is from Stone Hedge Fiber Mill and it is the softest stuff ever. It's beautiful. Unfortunately Donna doesn't take credit cards, I only had $20 cash on me, so I could only get two skeins. I may have to send her a check and buy the other skeins.

Montevideo is only the halfway point so I kept traveling to Watertown. Friday night we went out for our traditional chislik and beer followed by dinner at Mr. T's in the Watertown mall. No one seems to have heard of chislik, I think it is a Dakota thing. Now all of you tree-hugging "I won't eat anything that has a face" types need to scroll down. (I'm married to one of these. It's okay, but I like eating meat, sorry) Chislik is deep fried lamb chunks. It is much, much better than it sounds. I'm sure they only use lambs with crappy coats so no yarn opportunities were sacrificed in the making of my chislik. At dinner we talked about how the JoAnn in the mall is closing down and they are selling everything for as low as 80% off. Joann?! JoAnn has yarn. 80% off? Let's go. I bought the book "Hip Knits" for $3.00 and I got 11 skeins of this:

I'm making a top down cropped cardigan with it. It was really the only yarn they had left with enough of one dye lot to make anything. My mom and I spent a while standing in front of the yarn bins looking at dye lots and balancing balls of yarn in our arms. If they are practically giving away yarn, it's worth it. The cardi should be cute with jeans and I only paid $9 for the 11 skeins of yarn. I love a bargain!!!!

Saturday morning I went searching desperately for some decent caffeine source and found the Past Times Cafe. My parents haven't tried it yet because my dad says it looks like a sh)&*^& hole from the outside, but the inside is gorgeous. Restored old building with tin ceilings that are about 20 feet tall, big old woodwork, the real deal. Fortified by espresso, I went to the Knit Nook. I gotta say the owners of this shop are totally out of the loop. The shop is an art store/framing shop/yarn store and it's obvious that they are more interested in pictures of waterfowl in flight than yarn. They had bin after bin of the wildest new colors of Sugar 'n Cream. I picked out five skeins and brought it to the counter.

Knit Nook Owner: I see you found the new colors.

Me: Yep! They are great!

KNO: Yeah, I don't know why but they came out with all these new colors so I ordered a bunch.

Me: Mason Dixon Knitting.

KNO: Huh? What's that?

Me: The book, Mason Dixon Knitting. It's full of patterns using this yarn and everyone is knitting dish cloths and bibs like crazy.

KNO: Who's everyone? I've never heard of this.

Me: It's all over the web. Check out Mason Dixon Knitting online.

KNO: I don't really get the time to go on the computer.

Okay, so here is someone who is not going to be able to pick the BHFH out of a doggy line-up!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

So Tired

You cannot possibly imagine how tiring hanging out with 4 people in their 60's can be. I'm wiped out. I had a great time with mom, dad, and my two aunts. There was a lot of eating, laughing, and gambling involved. I'm exhausted. I did knit and score some yarn.

I'll write about it in detail later, but right now, I just need to get some sleep.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Off to So Dak

I'm headed out to visit the parents in South Dakota this weekend. The Codington County Historical Society is hosting their annual house tour. I had a great time last year so I'm going back. Both of my dad's sisters will be there too so it should be fun.

Monday at our weekly sales meeting one of the other sales people asked me if there was any way I'd consider driving out to Willmar for a meeting today. As it is halfway to my parents house, I was immediately onboard. Sure, I'd love to, sign me up!

The boys will be staying at home and finishing the school shopping. I'm hoping that they will buy at least one shirt for school that doesn't say anything, but I'm not optimistic. The teenager's current favorite shirt says, "friends don't let friends wear mullets". This is the general tone of his entire wardrobe. It's just as well they are doing this shopping themselves. It would be an exercise in frustration for me to be in on this particular excursion to the Sprawl of America.

South Dakota is just not the most wired state in the U.S. There are 770,000 people living in the entire state. That's about a third of the population of the Twin Cities. In the whole state! 320,000 live in either Rapid City or Sioux Falls. That leave another 450,000 scattered in little towns and on farms all over the rest of the state. The wireless companies haven't found it necessary or financially viable to wire the whole place up. In Watertown my cell phone only works outside. I'm thinking finding WiFi anyplace for my laptop is going to be tough. In short, I may be out of touch for the next couple of days. I'm sure I will bring back pictures of small town weirdness though, so stay tuned.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My First Knit Night & Life with a Famous Blog-Dog

First things first. Since Renee won my sock contest (why I don't knit socks, convince me) I e-mailed her and asked for her address. She responded, why don't we just get together and knit? My response was, absolutely! She invited me to her regular Wednesday knit night at Nina's in St. Paul.

If you aren't from the Twin Cities, you must understand that they aren't really twins at all. The Mississippi River divides the two cities and if you grow up on the east side you stay, if you grow up a westsider, you stay there. I don't honestly know how my family ended up on the west side of the river where everyone is Scandinavian. Stoic. Quiet. My family is loud and opinionated and mostly raving democrats. They should have made the trip all the way across the river. But they hit the northwestern 'burbs of Mpls and stayed there. I know people here in Minneapolis that go to St. Paul once a year for the state fair and that's it. I know Mpls people who went to St. Paul to visit the Science Museum in fifth grade and haven't crossed the river since. I have always had clients and prospective clients in St. Paul so it is NBD to me, I'm there a few times every month, but you have to understand if you don't live here, it's a big deal for most.

So I went to Nina's tonight with a little apprehension. I've never attended a knit night before. The only other knit night I've been invited to was one in a very high end 'burb and I just knew I would have nothing in common with anyone, so I didn't go. (Kate, you should come to the knit night in Edina and we can all laugh at your mini van and your clearance rack outfits! Yeah, that would be great! How about, no.) After reading Renee's blog the last few months, I knew I would have things in common with her and her friends, but still. This is an established group, would a newcomer really be welcome? They were fantastic. Funny, smart, opinionated women. I had a blast. And they invited me back. I will definitely go.

Renee (who I liked as much as I knew I would) and Deb (who seems to be a fabulous knitter and very cool) had both read my blog. Connie, the third member of their established group that could attend tonight (she's is hilarious by the way) had to be told, "it's the blog with the Basset Hound From Hell". This, as you know, is not the first time this has happened. Living with a very famous blog dog, is getting difficult. She does very little of the knitting or writing and she is a credit hog. She is expecting extra chew treats. She is giving me 'tude during photo shoots. She has mentioned a personal assistant. She has mentioned getting together with Chaos and starting their own new world order. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I am a Knit Geek

Luckily, I don't have to worry about writers block after two posts yesterday. Another Kate has provided the following questionnaire. This other Kate appears to be of Norwegian descent and yet doesn't live here in Little Scandinavia. How's that possible. I'm sure she must have relatives here at the very least. So let's consider her an honorary MN knitter and go visit her blog.

The Knit-Geek Questionnaire (unrelated to any swaps or secret pal exchanges)

1. What's your worst habit relating to your knitting? I lose gauge swatches. Sometimes I even throw them away. This is not the habit of a serious knitter.

2. In what specific ways does your knitting make you a better person? It calms me. It is the greatest de-stresser ever.

3. How might you or your life be different if you were suddenly unable to knit? I would be a fidgety, annoying, witch with a b.

4. If money were no object, what one yarn, and what one tool or gadget would you run out and buy first? Enough really good cashmere to make a sweater.

5. What knitting technique or project type are you most afraid of (if any)? What, specifically, do you fear will happen when you try it? Lace. It seems fussy. All those little stitch markers hanging there clanging at me. "You'll never finish, you'll never finish" (Stitch markers are nasty that way). I'm afraid that I will get halfway through a project see a monster error and never have the nerve to rip back and correct it.

6. Who is/are your knitting hero(es), and why? EZ of course because she didn't make a big deal out of making your own things with your own patterns. Eunny because her patterns are beautiful and complex without having that "see how clever I am" look. Everything she makes is very now and wearable.

7. Do you consider knitting, for you personally, a mostly social activity, or a mostly solitary activity? Both. I'm not in a SnB so I don't knit with other knitters, but I knit everywhere. (although I'm going to my very first knitter's gathering tonight thanks to Renee) Out to dinner, at the ballpark, at the lunch table, in the office, on planes. Everywhere!

8. Is there a particular regional tradition in knitting that you feel strongly drawn toward (e.g., Fair Isle, Scandinavian, Celtic, Orenburg lace)? Any theories as to why it calls to you? I love the idea of doing a really great Scandinavian sweater, but I know I would never, ever, in a million years, wear one.

9. If you were a yarn, which yarn would you be? I'd be a nice superwash wool. Practical.

10. Some statistics:(a) How many years have passed since you FIRST learned to knit? 32. My grandma taught me when I was 9.
(b) How many total years have you been actively, regularly knitting (i.e., they don't have to have been in a row)? I've been knitting constantly for nearly 4 years. (c) how many people have you taught to knit? 20 or so. I'm a total knitting evangelist. I always have some extra needles and yarn on me in case someone wants to learn. (d) Roughly what percentage of your FOs do you give away (to anyone besides yourself, i.e., including your immediate family) About 80% of my knitting has been for other people. I love giving handknit gifts. My entire family has always knit, crocheted, sewed, crafted, etc. so they understand the amount of work involved. They are always super appreciative of handknit gifts and that makes it easy to give.

11. How often do you KIP (knit in public)? i.e., once a week, once a month, etc. Where do you do it? Nearly every day. EVERYWHERE!

12. If a genie granted you one hour to stitch-n-bitch with any one knitter, living or dead, who would you choose and why? Laurie. There would be wine and she would never critique in a negative way.

13. What aspect or task in knitting makes you most impatient? Casting on. I use a long tail cast on and there is nothing more frustrating that casting on 150 stitches only to find you are short on the tail with 30 more stitches to cast on. It's weird, but I actually enjoy weaving in ends.

14. What is it about knitting that never lets you get bored with it? There are always new ways to challenge yourself. There are so many techniques I haven't tried. There is always a project I want to knit.

15. Describe how and where you most often do your knitting - where do you sit, what is going on around you, what tools do you use and how are they (dis)organized? I really like knitting on the sofa with my feet up while watching t.v. We have this giant leather ottoman that I can spread stuff out on (this is how the BHFH makes off with the yarn) and it's all very cozy comfy. I have all my stitch markers, needle gauge, row counters, stitch holders, cable needles, etc in a little denim make up case. I sometimes lose it and the whole family has to rush around trying to find the case.

16. Which one person is the recipient of more of your knitting than any other? My niece Abby. She's still only 4 and a tiny little elf so I can really churn stuff out for her. I've knit her a hat, mittens, a little bag, a sweater and a poncho.

17. What's the oddest thing about your knitting, or yourself as a knitter? I have no shame about knitting. I am completely comfortable knitting in public. There is a whole group of people that call me G-Ma (short for grandma) because I knit. I don't care. I think it is cool and I refuse to acknowledge that anyone else might think differently. I was quite honestly surprised by the whole Knit in Public day. Doesn't everyone knit in public?

18. What do you see yourself knitting - if anything - twenty years from now? I'll always knit sweaters.

19. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only ONE SKEIN of yarn, which yarn would it be and what would you do with it? It would have to be a really big skein and hold up to frogging because I'd have to unravel and knit again and again until rescued.

20. If you were allowed to own only one knitting-related book, which would it be? (you'd be free to browse others, but you couldn't keep them) Elizabeth Zimmermans' "Knitting Without Tears". Everyone should have it.

21. Is knitting the new yoga? Why or why not? Whatever. It is a centering, calming activity for me MOST of the time. There are moments that it makes me crazy too. The whole trying to find spirituality in knitting seems like a pretensious way of making yourself feel comfortable with your knitting. The new yoga theory is for people who are secretly embarrassed that they knit. Besides I have clear evidence that it is not the new yoga. A)It has done nothing to lift my butt or give me upper arm definition, B)there is way too much math involved in knitting for it to be any kind of yoga.

EDIT: This last question added by Caroline:22. What important thing are you trying to put off doing whenever you knit?" Cleaning the house. Dusting the wooden blinds and cleaning floors most specifically. I think that is why I'm always knitting for other people. "I can't clean the house, I have to finish this before ______'s birthday!"

I'd be a Knit Geek too if she'd only give me some damn yarn.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

. . . But You Totally Rock

I know two posts in a day might seem excessive. I may have nothing left tomorrow morning during my usual writing time, but I'm taking that chance.

I don't have the most popular blog in knitting-land, but I definitely have the best readers/comments. I've noticed a lot of finger shaking and lunch-room-lady tendencies in blogland lately but I don't see it on my blog. You know the lunch-room-ladies. They were the women who monitored your lunch hour in elementary school. They weren't the boss of anything anywhere in any other aspect of their lives, but boy get them to keep order over a couple hundred kids and they could have been guards in a prison camp. Power mad and bossy. And then they went home to husbands who wouldn't let them cut their hair short. You know the type. There is one on every committee you've ever been on. They raise their hands in continuing ed classes just so the instructor knows how much they know. They love to correct other people's grammar. They seem to be leaving a lot of comments on blogs lately.

Maybe it's that I rarely talk about anything controversial. I've got plenty of opinions on controversial subjects, but I don't think this is the place for them. I'd rather fight with my dad about them over a nice dinner. Maybe I just don't attract that particular blog reader. Thank God! These are the people leaving comments how your cat is going to die because they ate a plant. These are the people saying, "well I'm sure you've checked the copyright laws on that". These are the people talking about how bats in your house are going to give your babies rabies. These are the people tellling you that ponchos are from Argentina and since I'm from Argentina, I can tell you definitively, that's not a poncho (okay that was a comment on my blog but it was just the one). You all are like a great family that never comes to stay or expects great birthday gifts.

This is a good thing since I told my real family today that the idea of renting a house with all of them and their various small children, to take a vacation, made me want to tear out my hair. I think the phrase, "how 'bout instead of that, you just run me over with my own car?" was used. I may be out of the big loud Irish family I belong to. We'll see.

My readers/commenters are great. You tell me, sure thing, you can do it/meet the deadline/make 4 fair isle hats without going nuts/break your yarn diet for a good cause. You guys tell me I'm not all that crazy, just a little nuts compared to them (thanks Laurie, you always make me feel better about my current levels of crazy). You give me great suggestions on my projects. You make me feel as though yes, I'm an accident waiting to happen, but a minor accident not an insurance claim accident.

Chris, Trek, Sydney, Beth, Becca, Annie, Anne, Laurie, Laura, Tygher, Wendy, Renee, Guinifer, Amy, Kelly and all the rest, you guys really rock. Thanks for not being lunch room ladies.

You Guys Are Enablers!

Everyone seems to think my four hat package idea for the neices and nephews is a swell idea. When I'm cursing the last hat, calling it evil names, and swearing on this blog that I'll never do another hat with this pattern again, I don't want to hear any complaints, you asked for it!

One Down:

Three to go:

Just to keep myself entertained, having the attention span of a three-year-old and all, I decided to make each edge different. The original pattern calls for a hemmed edge, but the orange hat looks so much "orangeier" with the rolled brim, so I'm leaving it. I did a seed stitch edge on the red hat. I have no idea what I'm going to do with the girl's hats.

As yesterday was pretty much smooth sailing, I have no Kate Klumsies to report. I've gotta go iron my work outfit and get to the office. Have a great day!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fair Isle Frenzy

Somebody needs to talk me out of this because I have an idea. This hat seems to be going really well. I had to buy 5 skeins of yarn to get all the colors (red, pink, lime, turquois, and orange) but the pattern only calls for 20 yards of each of the contrasting colors. Oldest nephew's favorite color is red, middle nephew's favorite is orange (Deb was pretty surprised that a 5 year old boy was this vocal about his hat preferences), youngest neice's favorite pink, oldest neice's favorite is blue. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? I could make each one a hat with their favorite color as the main color and all the rest as accents. I think I will have enough yarn. Have I lost my mind? Hats for kids were on my to-do list for Christmas gifts.

In other news, remember my big money-saving plan involving doing my own manicures/pedicures? If you will recall, the first casualty of this was my computer mouse. After digging around the house I found another mouse so I didn't actually have to pay to replace it, but it really put a damper on my lofty ideas of saving money by doing it myself. Last night this happened:

I was trying to open the bottle and the entire top broke off. Luckily (?!) most of it spilled on me so no yarn was damaged. But let's tally up my cost savings from doing it myself. Cost of mani/pedi at the salon $47 plus tip. Cost of the red OPI that broke $7, my ruined polo shirt and capri pants $25 and $10 (hey they were on the clearance rack) Total loss $42. So far I saved $5 plus tip. Yeah, I'm a financial genius!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

At the LYS

Yesterday I went to Coldwater Collaborative to find some things for my pals. Deb was working so after reading her blog and reading about her on Chris' blog I got to meet her in person. Of course she was only semi-familiar with my blog until I said, "it's the one with the basset hound from hell". Suddenly she knew. Crazy dog.

Deb helped me pick out some sock yarn for my pal and I got a big skein of fun, chunky yarn too. I also picked out a bunch of Cascade 220 to make a fair isle hat from the SimpleChic book that my SP sent to me. This is my first foray into fair isle and it's a simple pattern. I've already changed it to knitting in the round because I've discovered I'm really bad at purling with two colors (I can't seem to purl English-style and get a decent tension on the stitch) so I ripped back everything I'd done flat and re-started in the round. Here is how it looks so far.

Bright or what? But this is for my nephew Ben who was very specific about what he wanted in a hat. Mostly orange, but not all orange because that's boring. So it's mostly orange. The fair isle chart is pretty darn easy, but I figure that it's perfect for someone who is doing it for the first time.

As you can well imagine, we are following the Little League World Series pretty closely around here. We were watching Iowa vs. Missouri last night while I knit. I left the room for a couple of minutes and the BHFH jumped onto the rolly office chair, grabbed the bag from Coldwater and promptly took off with it. So I will be winding the yarn I bought for my pals into nice center pull cakes for them. They are a mess right now. Damn dog.

No quiet Sunday today, we are going school shopping. I'm torn between wanting to drive the SNC up the interstate where the speed limit is 75 and wanting my husband to drive so I can keep knitting.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Package In The Mail

From the Wonderful Wendy, my One Skein spoiler. I must confess that I've been waiting for the mailman ever since I saw what she had made me posted on her blog. She totally nailed me. I love handbags and I'm a felted purse nut (hence the 6 I've made so far this year) so this gift was perfect! A really lovely pink felted clutch decorated with vintage buttons, some watercolorish nautical Maine-themed notecards, an alpaca fingerpuppet (the BHFH is fascinated by this), blueberry tea, handmade wooly soap, (Teresa, now I get the whole sushi mat thing), and blueberry lip balm with the name "Moose Smooch". My son is a lip balm nut and I'm going to have to keep my eye on it to keep it from disappearing into his backpack. Thank you so much Wendy, you've been such a terrific pal!

I'm now finished with the hand knit gifts for my secret pals (of the OS and SP8 variety). I just have to find the fun stuff and yarn to go along with it. Last night I got an e-mail asking me to be an angel for the OS Pal exchange. I immediately agreed because it makes me sad that some people have been in the program for two months and received nothing. And, who are we kidding, I love the guilt-free shopping aspect of SP. "Have to go to the LYS, it's for my Pal".

Yesterday I picked up my shiny new car. I love it. It's completely impractical. The chrome dual exhaust makes it sound like a race car. It's my first car with rims instead of hubcaps. The sunroof messes up my hair. The 8 speaker Bose stereo (with in-dash 6 CD changer) is way too big and loud for such a small car, not to mention I'm sure a 40-something mommy speeding around blasting "Pink" last night looked crazy. It's really close to the ground for a car to be driven in a Minnesota winter. I don't care about any of this, it's fun. The lease is only a year long. Who knows maybe I'll be through my midlife crisis by then and will buy a sensible hybrid station wagon or something.

As it happens the dead mouse alert was premature and the thing has yet to be caught. I'm still uneasy in my own home and I'm really mad at this damn mouse. Is it so much to ask to live in a rodent-free zone?! How is it that, much to my husband's dismay, the BHFH can catch and eat bunnies but can't track and kill this stupid mouse? I know she's pretty busy what with her schedule of tipping over garbage cans, stealing shoes, standing on tables, barking at nothing, but for God's sake I need her to fit this in.

Yeah, I don't do pest control.
P.S. Note to RC, the mouse was found to have come through the garage entrance (chewed through the now-replaced threshold sweep). Traps have been set in the garage 'cos I'm scared of decon. I think I'm on to you. The meerkat reference reveals you're from Minnesota. I think I may even know your secret identity! Nancy Drew is on baby!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mice & Terrorists Suck Too

I'm sitting here listening to the Department of Homeland Security talking about how my hair products may pose a threat and I will not be allowed to travel with potentially dangerous liquids such as hair gel, lotion, coffee, etc. until further notice. As if I didn't hate business travel enough already, I'm really gonna love it when I get off the plane and look like holy hell the next day. I'm a patriot though so I'm behind them a hundred percent. When they see me without makeup, the government might ask me to move to Canada, but I'm behind them.

In other news, I have a mouse. Tuesday night after my long day dealing with cars and such, I came home, put on my p.j.s and sat down to knit my scarf. It was then that a big ol' mouse ran across the living room floor. Just as the gals from "Bring It On" were at the regional finals. Damn mouse. So the troops were gathered, brooms were brought out, I was carefully stationed on the kitchen counter spotting. It went something like this, scream, "there it is, there it is" broom troops, "where, where?!"

The broom troops cornered it in the laundry closet and it was decided that someone needed to go to Target for traps. There was no way in hell I was staying behind so I put my sandals on with my p.j.s and ran to Target. For anyone in the area that saw me late Tuesday, wild-eyed, running around Target looking frantically for mouse traps before the store closed, wearing rumpled p.j.s and dress sandals, I'm sorry for the ensuing nightmares.

As I am writing this the head of the broom troop squad is disposing of the now dead mouse. Mission accomplished.

I'm still working on the scarf but what with exploding hair products, vermin and last night being a "Project Runway" night, I have nothing to post on the knitting front.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cars Suck

So remember my midlife crisis convertible? Yeah, it's already history and I haven't even gotten it yet. I put my deposit down in March but it was unavailable until last week. I picked it all out last week, colors, features, the whole deal. At the time I told them the financial parameters and asked them to get back to me on delivery. Today I got an e-mail. I can get delivery in mid-November. Two problems with this, I have to turn in my current leased mommy van before that, and I live in Minnesota. We could have twenty inches of snow on the ground by then. Did I mention the convertible part? Here was the biggy. The monthly lease payment would be $578. Are they freaking kidding me?! That's more than I paid for rent in my first place! It's a VW not a BMW!!! No way. I could get my payments down to a reasonable level is to put $12,300 down. WHAT?! Basically they want me to pay the entire sticker price over the course of the lease. Not happening. Everybody probably already knows how this lease thing works, but the lease payments are calculated based on how long you use the car and what the dealer can sell it for at the end of the lease (known as the residual value). So in simple math take the sticker minus this residual and you get the price of the lease. Basically my dealer thinks that they can get zero for this car when it's returned which I know is BS and they know is BS but the car has become high demand so they don't want to commit to the original sticker price.

I told them where they could send me a refund of my deposit (I was very nice, I didn't tell them where they could stick the lease calculations) and no thank you, I will not be buying a VW. In a bit of a panic because I've been at this for 5 months, thought this was a done deal, have no back up plan and a van to return, I turned to my pal the internet. I found the local Infiniti dealership practically giving away G35 Coupes. They are a perfect screaming engine sports coupe for my midlife crisis. I can stick to what I wanted to put down and the payments are substantially less than I'm paying on the van. Whew!

So, as this is a knitting blog, I have actually been doing some knitting. I'm knitting the mistake rib scarf from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts". I'm knitting it for my One Skein SP, which is cheating because this requires two skeins of yarn but my One Skein plans have run into a glitch. I can't find my copy of One Skein. Anywhere. I've searched high and low. I've re-organized all my books and knitting stuff. Nothing. Can't find it. So I'm now a big fat cheater boots. I love this pattern though. The two skeins of Noro are interchanged every two rows and it turns into a cool stripey pattern. You never know what the next stripe sequence is going to look like and for the incurably curious, it is very hard to put down. Try it, you will like it!

In other blog news, I've had to implement the dreaded word verification on the comments. I'm being semi-spammed by weirdos trying to use the comment section to sell stuff. This is not about you Roger Clinton, we love you and need you to keep reading and commenting. (I'm not saying you aren't a tool short of a full shed sometimes, but we still love ya) But we'll have to start the word verification thing on my blog. I know most of you are using it on your blogs already and I'm a late starter on this. However, as I usually read blogs very early in the morning, I know that sometimes it takes me a couple tries to spell VHKJA or some such crap and I didn't want to inconvenience you all.

I've gotta get back to my scarf. I'll talk to you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wonderings (and I know a secret)

Yes, I'm a pretty good Super Snooper.

I've figured out my OSSP is Wendy DG. She has sent me the most wonderful gifts, commented on my blog, sent e-cards, etc. In other words, she's been the perfect pal. I don't know how she completes so many projects in wool while living in Florida (just thinking about it makes me sweat) but she certainly does.

I've always been naturally curious. It's in keeping with my personality that I've Nancy Drewed out who my pals are. I wonder about a lot of things. Here are some of the things I wonder about right now.

  • Will I ever feel like I've bought enough yarn? I mean really I've given up shopping for anything else and my wardrobe is starting to reflect this.
  • Why is Paris Hilton famous? Has she accomplished anything? Made the world a better place? Will teenagers stop dressing like her? Now, please?!
  • What does the cat think when he sees me coming out of the shower? Is he worried about my lack of fur?
  • Why does Hollywood make sequels to really awful movies starring The Rock and Jean Claude Van Damme but doesn't make sequels to movies like "Running Scared" (too late now on that one) or "The Librarian"?
  • Does Meg Ryan know that we are so distracted by her new lips that we can't watch her anymore? Does she secretly hate her new lips too?
  • Why is it that women will get botoxed or have their lips puffed up like the Goodyear blimp but won't change their hairstyle?
  • When I cut my hair short and women say to me, "my husband would never let me cut my hair that short!", do they realize that their problem isn't their hair, it's their husband?
  • Why is it that I have virtually no trees in my yard and yet baby trees keep popping up in odd places that make it really hard to get rid of them?
  • Will I ever get around to getting rid of the baby trees?
  • Is it really less filling or does it have more taste?
  • Does anyone else see a correlation between coffee shops serving really strong coffee on every corner and acid reflux disease? Do the Starbucks guys also own Prilosec?

Yeah, these are the things I wonder about. Not world peace or learning about chaos theory, I wonder who invented Cheetos. I'm not deep, but I'm diverse.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Let's start with the ugly and move to the good. The ugly was a wasp stinging me in the ass today. I'm not allergic or anything so it's just a minor, painful inconvenience. It caused my husband no small amount of amusement to see me jump aproximately 40 feet in the air, grabbing my behind. That's life with Kate. I'm an accident waiting to happen.

The bad was sitting under a tree for 4 hours while wasps circled us and baby box elder bugs chewed our ankles. We were selling beverages at a baseball tournament with the proceeds going to benefit youth baseball programs in our town. We sold, let's see, let me calculate, oh yeah TWO BOTTLES OF WATER! So we netted youth baseball about 50 cents. In four hours. Luckily the wasp sting broke up the monotony of sitting under a damn tree.

The good came in the form of a phone call from my son, who had better things to do than spend the day under a tree and stayed home.

13YO: Yeah, you got a box of envelopes in the mail.

Me: A box of what?

13YO: Envelopes. From Oregon. Or it could be something from your Secret Pal.

Gee ya think? Knowing the likelihood of anyone sending me envelopes, I was pretty excited to get home and open the package. I couldn't even get everything in a picture!

A couple of clarifications. Maxine Louise, assistant to the head dog in charge, BHFH was pretty sure this package was for her. I laid things out to photograph and ran up to the work room to grab my camera. When I came back she had already grabbed a skein and took off. So sorry about the messy skein, it was sent to me shrink-wrapped and in 30 seconds had been partially unwound by the BHFH. Yes, those are the toes of my tennies in the picture. I had to stand on a chair to get everything in the picture.

How cool is this? 3 skeins of Landscape, which I've wanted to try but thought was a little pricey for the yardage. A skein of Lanna Grossa Mega Boots stretch in a beautiful autumn colorway, 2 books! I love books and I don't have either of these. Folk Socks and Simple Chic (which I've looked at in the store aproximately 3 million times) The Noni Carpet Bag pattern!! Two purse handles, a row counter, stitch markers, a sushi mat, and a hand made dish cloth! Wow. Thank you so much Secret Pal. I'm going to have a blast knitting with this.

As for Maxine, she had to rest after all the excitement.

Yarn thief? Me? I don't know what you are talking about.

Friday, August 04, 2006

In Which I Discover I Can't Blog Without Pictures

And no one reads my blog when there are no pictures. But I was off work today and I finally got batteries for my camera. Here is what I've been knitting:

I can't tell you what it is right now because it is going to be a gift for my Secret Pal. Just in case she's Nancy Drewed me and reads the blog. But it is Cascade 220 Quatro in a great purpley, fushia, green colorway. I really love Cascade 220.

I'm an idiot. I finished the Noro Booga bag last weekend and gifted it to MFF's daughter without taking pictures. The Noro felts up so soft and wonderfully that I will use it again. Not nice to knit with because it's kinda scratchy. Because of it's thick, thin random ply I don't think I'd ever use it for a sweater, but I loved the bag.

So Scout asked everyone to flash their UFOs. I have more, but here is a good start:

No, that is not a lime green snake, it's the start of a baby sweater. And on the right, the final poncho of the year. Yes, absolutely no more ponchos. (And if you are Argentina spam commentor, yeah I know what a poncho is.) These are fairly new WIP/UFOs. Older and sadder:

A lace shawl (unblocked) from "A Knitters Stash" and the body of the Twinkle cardigan from the cover of Vogue Knitting about a gazillion issues ago.

I also have a Picovoli on my needles. I can't finish any of this stuff right now because I'm on a little crunch. I have two SP projects to finish and the baby sweater all in August. So they are getting my full knitting attention.

In other news this week, I cut off all my hair. On my lunch hour. On a whim. As my stylist Lana said, "it takes a really ballsy chick to decide to cut off six inches of hair at lunch". I'm so happy with it. My longer hair was just too much. I couldn't get it to look right ever because one of the symptoms of Graves is dry, brittle hair. So there wasn't enough Frizz Ease in the world to get my hair to look good.

I also finally got to pick out my car specifications. I've had a deposit down on my new car since March, but the specs haven't been available to dealers until recently. The lease on my van is up (we've extended it for a couple months) and I have to turn it in. I'll be glad to have a car that doesn't cost $50 to fill with gas. The new car is my midlife crisis car, a VW Eos convertible.

I have to go sell bottled water and such at a baseball tourney. More tomorrow. Really.