Friday, October 26, 2007

I Meet Crazy Aunt Purl

I've never attended a book signing before and after my sister's disaster with a local romance writer (ask her about it sometime) I was not interested in attending one ever. And it seems a little like legal stalking, but I had to make an exception.

I've gotta tell you that I was pretty weirded out about going to a book signing for someone I've been e-mailing with for the last couple of years. But in the end, I wanted to meet Crazy Aunt Purl in person and I'm awfully glad I did because she is just as funny in person as she is online. If you are one of the ten people who haven't read her "knitting" blog, by all means take some time right now to do so. We'll wait. There is a button just to the right of this post. She is the only one I know whose knitting blog contains less actual knitting than this one, so even my family members reading this will enjoy it. Especially the females.

Having never attended a book signing I was unaware of the protocol involved. Now being a veteran attendee I feel as though I can give unsolicited advice to any of you that might be thinking about attending a book signing in the near future:
  1. Do not go straight from a work event that involved adult beverages and no food
  2. Do not wear high heels because you are coming straight from work even your most comfy pair
  3. Do take half a day off so that you can stake out a good seat aprox. 4 hours before the book signing (I did not do this and yet still do not regret it, but apparently this is what the veteran book signing people and author stalkers do)
  4. Do not piss off the 22-year-old from the book store who controls the line. Even though it is clear from his introduction that he has not read the book or understood anything about the author. Even though he is wearing a velvet jacket and has long unwashed hair and braces on his teeth.
  5. Do not piss off those around you when dissed by the velvet jacket wearing line control guy whom you have told that you could well do a complete Marie Osmond right there while waiting in the heat because your blood sugar is dropping due to #1.
Actually I think the three women around me thought I was funny and in the end Velvet Jacket realized that he should probably let the people who had attended the entire reading standing up get into line before he had a whole pack of crabby, low-blood sugar women (some of whom are packing pointy sticks) on his hands. I don't like to be a credit hog, but I do think that my argument that the people who had been sitting there since 3:00 with their big knitting baskets might just be the people with the most time on their hands, may have turned the line tide.

Anyhow, I got Laurie to sign my book. When she saw what I wanted her to write she exclaimed, "You are THAT Kate?!" and jumped up to give me a hug. And remind me that she does indeed have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Gilligans Island, but will only use this knowledge for good.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I've put a link in yesterday's post to see RC on t.v. Apparently he was on the local ABC affiliate today and was interviewed by two newspapers too. Can an RC drinking game be far behind? I don't think so.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Various & Sundry

This weekend was terrific. I bowled for Shriner's Childrens Hospitals on Saturday without completely humiliating myself. Any time I can engage in anything that takes physical coordination without falling, tripping, slipping or generally looking foolish, I count it in the win column. Many don't think of bowling as a sport, but I'm all for calling it a sport. In fact, I'm all for anything I can do while drinking beer and still call a sport. So bowling, bocce ball, golf, fishing, right up there with my favorite sports of all time. My right leg is super sore still, but I had a great time. (Yes, I'm old and falling apart. Bowling hurts for two days afterwards. Sad but true).

Speaking of sports, as a long time Sox fan, I'm really really happy about them getting in the Series again. I didn't think I'd ever actually see them win a World Series in my lifetime, but now there is a real chance they could win two in my lifetime!!! Downside is the playing in Colorado thing. Games that happen in Mountain time are generally going to last past my bedtime. This could be problematic.

Of course the World Series is a great time to knit. Or crochet. I don't know what has gotten into me, but I'm crocheting a couple of afghans right now.

Today's most exciting news? RC was on the news today. You may be asking the first thing I asked when I found out my brother was going to be on the news, "Oh good God, what did he do?" He didn't drive his boat down mainstreet wearing nothing but a smile while smoking a cigar, did he? He didn't do his famous Fat Bald Guy dance in front a fire after drinking and fall in, did he? (As RC always says, "What's funnier than a fat guy dancing the robot? A BALD fat guy dancing the robot.")
"No, no, no," my sister replied, "The quints in St. Cloud."
"Oh God, he's the father and his wife murdered him."
"NO!" my sister is just way over me now, "The mom works for him."

This was interesting since he's always telling me how all his employees in his small town are 112- year-old women. Now this quint story is sounding interesting! Turns out that at least one employee is of childbearing years and they interviewed him about it on the news. He's very smart, articulate, and he showed well on t.v. Plus he was wearing his pumpkin halloween tie so he was looking pretty dapper too. If they post the video on the KARE 11 website, I'll link it here.

This is totally going to blow his image as a guy imitating the flying monkeys from "Wizard of Oz" while wearing a felted bag on his head. Sorry RC. Feel free to make outrageous comments to restore your street cred in knitting blog land. Okay, let's face it. Being the bad boy of my knitting blog makes you a pretty lame bad boy anyway.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Susan and the Turkey (or how I came to knit socks)

It's been well documented here that I have absolutely no interest in knitting socks. I wear high heels nearly every day. I'm not really the colorful sock type. I don't have a handknit sock kinda life. I loathe double pointed needles. I hate knitting two of anything. Sleeves drive me crazy because I have to knit two.

So why did I knit socks? Because my sister, Susan, wanted to knit socks. Susan is a quilter who occasionally veers off the piecing path to knit, crochet, and scrapbook. There is a woman in her (now our) office that I talked into trying knitting a few years ago and has become a very prolific sock knitter. I don't know if this woman even owns socks she didn't knit herself at this point. My sister has been fascinated by these cute colorful socks and told me several times she'd like to learn. I thought taking a class together would be a great way to spend time together and I knew that sock knitting would be the best way to tempt my sister into taking a class with me.

We will be lucky if they invite us back to take a class again. Mostly because we are nuts. It was really the turkey's fault that we were standing in the parking lot the first night laughing like escaped mental patients. Let me say first that until a couple years ago I had never even seen a wild turkey let alone wild turkeys walking along city streets. Okay, suburban streets but still. Lately I keep seeing turkeys. Not like, I'm seeing dancing purple elephants, but turkeys. Real turkeys.

Amazing Threads, my favorite knit shop ever, is in a complex of new office condo/townhouses. You've probably seen them, they are springing up everywhere. Buy your office/store space instead of leasing without having to be Trump buying a gigantic office tower? So I'm pulling into the complex the first night and I am struck by the sight of a cop with his lights flashing parked next to (you guessed it) a wild turkey. I drove around the corner and parked in front of the shop, which faces the other direction so there was no way to see the turkey being pulled over! Upon entering the shop I saw my sister shopping for her yarn and needles for the class and told her that I had just seen a turkey pulled over. She immediately thought I had been drinking.

The class was great, we learned to cast on and start knitting on two circular needles. I've got to admit I've tried to teach myself this technique before unsuccessfully and once I saw how the technique works it was one of those "duh" moments (how could I not have gotten this before?). We were relatively well behaved. I didn't even let on that I came into the class pretty sure that sock knitting was a big waste of time.

After class we walked out to our cars and stood talking, my sister standing with her back to the street. Over her shoulder I see the turkey walking along the boulevard!! Interrupting my sister mid-sentence, I exclaim loudly, "There it is!", startling her into grabbing my arm and replying, "What, what, where, where?!" Of course by this time the turkey is behind a bush and she once again thinks I'm nuts. I told her to wait and watch.

Quietly, like kids in a game of hide-and-seek, we waited and watched. When the turkey appears from behind the bush I point, "See, see I told you there was a turkey". To which my sister replied loudly and quickly (and I believe these words will be forever entered into family lore), "Shoot it!!"

What?! Shoot it? With the shotgun in my knitting bag? Oh yeah, that's right I don't own a shotgun and if I did I would be highly unlikely to have it in my sock knitting bag. When she realized the absurdity of what she had just said, she got the giggles. Which gave me the giggles. Which made us both have to pee. Which made us laugh harder. So here we are standing in front of the knitting shop laughing like loons, telling each other to stop because we are going to have an accident. I'm surprised they want us back at the shop. Ever.

So that is how I came to knit socks and nearly embarrassed myself at my favorite yarn shop to the point of not being able to go back there. (I mean seriously I do spend plenty of money there and Bobbie is really nice and laid back but I've gotta believe she would frown on people peeing their pants in front of her store.) The whole thing is (and I don't get to say this very often in my family) ALL MY SISTER'S FAULT.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Never Say Never

Hello. I'm back. I think. After 2 years of being absolutely miserable in my professional life, I've returned to the company I left in 2005. I'd been there for 16 years before leaving. I learned a ton in the two years of misery but I'm glad to be back. I'm hoping that I've overall gotten my groove back and can once again blog on a regular basis! (BTW, I think I'm working in the same building as Chaos' mom but so far no actual spotting has occurred.)

This should tell you just how wacky my life has been lately. I broke my hard and fast no sock knitting policy.
My first socks! Knit with Shi Bui on two circular needles from KnitPicks. The yarn was wonderful to knit with. This doesn't make me a convert by any means. I'm still unconvinced that I want to spend a ton of time knitting socks, but I must say they do make a nice airplane project. I'm not giving you the whole leg shot because I haven't seen a leg shot of socks that didn't make the wearer's calves look enormous and my psyche is not up to huge calves right now.

Yes, I do have one remaining source of angst. My weight. Since January I've gained 15 pounds. I tried Weight Watchers, lost 7 pounds and realized I don't want to live in a cookie-free world the rest of my life. So I'm on an exercise program. It's only week 3 so no earth-shattering results yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Tomorrow: How I came to knit a pair of socks and learned the importance of "packin' heat" in your knitting bag.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

So much to say and none of it knitting

Yes, I'm knitting, I'm knitting like a fiend! I'm working on a ski sweater for my son, a sweater for my niece, and planning mittens for practically everyone. I've solved my "I hate knitting sleeves" (honest to God, you finish one and you have to do another EXACTLY the same) thing by knitting sleeveless stuff.

So in my last (long ago) entry, I told you about the great time we had with my family at the reunion. Notice how many of the women jumped on the comment bandwagon to note that they are not the planner?

After sending visiting relatives on their way, we settled in to enjoy our time off. You don't have to leave home to enjoy vacation! Here are some of the ways we enjoyed our time as a family:
  1. Waiting for the Best Buy repairman to come fix my husband's giant t.v. He subscribes to the MLB channels so that he can watch aproximately 7 gazillion baseball games a week in high def.
  2. Listening to my husband whine about being unable to watch 7 gazillion baseball games on his 52" t.v. because the Best Buy guy can't get here until Friday.
  3. After the temp spikes into the 90s we all stand over the air conditioning vents and agree, "nope that's just plain air, not cold air".
  4. Wait for the air conditioner repairman to come out. He was early, told us that rabbits had chewed through the wiring (yeah Maxine is quite the rabbit hunter), and hurried away because his family was spending their summer vacation in the Dells.
  5. Play nine holes of golf one everning as a family.
  6. Husband falls in a hole on the seventh tee box, twists his ankle and can't finish. 14-year old accuses father of "faking it" because he was losing.
  7. Husband has a torn something or other and is still in the air cast three weeks later.
  8. Husband whines about how hard it is to be laid up with an injured ankle and no giant t.v.
  9. Best Buy guy arrives to fix t.v. I barely refrain from kissing him on the lips I am so glad to see him. He is the only thing that can stop the whining.

See, you can have plenty of good wholesome family fun on vacation at home. Or try the Dells.

Friday, July 06, 2007

It's Genetic

I know it's been a really long time since I posted, but I am now bowing to the peer pressure of my family. You can't really say no to a great 9-year-old who is a budding fiber fanatic, now can you?

Last weekend we had a family reunion. We are primarily a mild-mannered, fly-by-the -seat-of-our-pants kind of family. There was no seeking out long lost relatives. It was not 150 people meeting each other for the first time. When I got the first e-mails about planning back in February, my response was, "I cannot possibly care about who is bringing the rolls to an event that is scheduled 5 months from now." This attitude was not entirely embraced by the planners amongst us (namely my sister and cousin) Somehow, perhaps as a result of my attitude, I ended up hosting part of the event.

I have to say, in retrospect, the whole event was a blast. And not just because there was knitting and crocheting involved. Yes, as it turns out, my cousin (not the planner cousin) Pam's daughter (the aforementioned 9-year-old) is a crocheter and knitter. On Sunday, my part of the hosting, in addition to brunch there was a whole lot of knitting/crocheting going on. Here is Megan working on a long jacket of her own design:
Yes, that is the Schmooley Dog, Maxine in the background thinking "I thought I was the starring Blog-Dog" I'm sorry Max, but you do a lot less knitting and writing than most people think! Megan flew along with her crocheting and many of the adult women (including her mother who got skipped by the family fiber gene) were envious of her skills with a crochet hook.

My sister, (some of you remember her from long ago comments and the party in her cupboard over the fridge) was also a crocheting maniac, whipping up crazy flip flops for the girls at the party.
So in addition to the eating and drinking there was craftin' goin' on. And I was reminded that I come from an entire family of strong, smart, funny, opinionated women and men that love us. And put up with us daily. Life is really good.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Dazed and Confused

and severely reprimanded by my little sister, I venture back to the blogesphere. A bit chastened, but (of this I am certain) no wiser. I haven't had much to write about that would be of interest. I hate whining and I have been particularly whiney of late. I've determined that life is too short to loathe your job and I must find a new one. I've been very Grave-sy of late and who the hell wants to listen to me whine about my health. I quit smoking and gained 15 pounds. Oh yes, everyone wants to listen to me rant about the injustice of going from a size 8 to a size 10. Every time I want to spend time with my son, he has something better to do in the way of friends, activities etc. Yes, I'm sure you want me to write a lot about how popular and well-adjusted my teenager is.

Okay I can tell you this little tidbit. SHHHH!!! I'm a cheater-cheater-cheater-boots. Yes. I have been knitting with. . . . A MACHINE. Only on the very boring bits of endless stockinette. Only with the slippery irritating microfiber and the carpal tunnel inducing cotton. But still. I know I'm cheating. I've left the purist world to knit on a used "Incredible Sweater Machine" I picked up for $50 on e-bay.

In two days I leave for a business trip to (you can't get there from here) Montana. I'm sure that will be worth a story or two.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Button Up Your Overcoat

'Cos it's snowing again! It's snowed twice since we put the spring weed n' feed down on the lawn. In typical bureaucratic fashion, this week is the week that my town cleans the streets so gosh darn it the streets will be clean! Instead of a salt or sand truck, the street cleaner just passed by, looking silly with the falling snow. Did I mention I've got a big deal thing going on tomorrow? Did I mention executives from places like Houston are flying here today. Welcome to Minnesota folks. Don't worry the weather will change tomorrow. In April we never know whether to wear our parkas or shorts. Sometimes you need both withing 48 hours of each other. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Last weekend I decided to pull an old UFO out of the closet and finish it. It was on the cover of Vogue knitting a couple years ago, an orange seed stitch cardigan knit in Brown Sheep Burly Spun. None of my LYSs carry this yarn so I had to special order it. It was the most I'd ever spent on yarn at the time and I was excited about knitting the sweater in my choice of color not dictated by what was on hand at the store. I think I abandoned it because of the sorta crappy instructions for shaping the sleeve caps. I had to make notes now to do it correctly and I'm sure that it would have scared the crap out of me three years ago.

My biggest concern about the sweater from day one was finding the super cool buttons that were pictured on the cover. I also knew that if I found them, they'd probably cost $3-$5 apiece, officially making this the most expensive sweater I've ever knit. But Saturday I scored big! The local Hancock Fabrics is shutting their doors. I'm sad about this, but I was a happy shopper on Saturday as their special of the day was all buttons, 70% off. Being kind of a button-a-holic anyway (I have my grandma's old buttons, I save all buttons, etc.) I was thrilled.

The big purply blue button in the middle is for the sweater in question (obviously there are more than one) but if they are practically givin' em away I'm buying more. I'll hopefully post a picture of the finished sweater this weekend.

You've all probably noticed that RC is living up to his standards. Yes, my immediate family are a family of hunters. He owns a ton of non-feral cats and two dogs in real life so before you light up your torches and grab your pitchforks. . . . . You weren't really expecting unshaved legs and tree hugging here though, were you?

Monday, April 09, 2007


Okay, if you are easily offended, look away. This morning in our staff meeting there was a lot of discussion about an event that we are hosting this week. I've been in charge of the planning and execution of the event, so I was a little worried that someone was going to try tossing something new on my plate concerning this soiree. I was right to worry. My boss, really the nicest guy in the world, says "why don't we all wear ribbons on our lapels so that people know that they can come to us for questions." Sounded like a great idea and once again leaving the filter between my brain and mouth off, I said "sure, I can do that!".

Later this afternoon I realized I've never made one of these ribbons. I googled charity ribbon and came across a site that had me in stitches the remainder of the day (PREPARE TO BE OFFENDED NOW). I'm all for supporting charities, causes, having opinions but honest to God, I had no idea that just about every cause now has a ribbon. Here are some examples that had me laughing like an idiot at my desk (I'm sure people heard me laughing alone in my office and are figuring that I have finally gone around the bend).

Did you know?
  1. Orange ribbons are for feral cats? I don't know if they are for or against exactly. . .
  2. Silver ribbons-elderly abuse. That's all it says elderly abuse. I've gotta say I am against elderly abuse although my dad would argue this (he can dish it out but he can't take it now that he's old)
  3. Teal is for a variety of things including sexual assault and food allergies. So now if I see someone wearing a teal ribbon I'm going to wonder if they are the victim of a horrible and violent crime, or just lactose intolerant (not that lactose intolerance sounds like a picnic or anything)
  4. Purple represents domestic violence (against), religious tolerance (for), and Pagan Pride. I did not know that there are a lot of Pagan Pride activists out there, but I certainly am hoping for an invite to their next big rally.
  5. My personal favorite: Black: mourning, melanoma, anti-gangs, anti-terrorism in Spain, narcolepsy, POW-MIAs, primary billiary cirrhosis, and Amish support.

Number 5 has left my husband in a quandry. He's for Amish Gangs with narcolepsy.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Spring Cleaning

Spring is time for really tearing things apart and giving them a good cleaning. Just make sure you put things back together when you are done.

She looks a little sad because we woke her up with the camera. The hole in the side of her bed? She chewed it. She is nothing if not adaptable.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Gee, Look At Me! I'm a Diplomat!

Those who know me well are cringing at the thought of anyone, or any organization, relying on my skills in diplomacy for anything. But it seems that once children become teenagers, your life as a parent immediately changes. If you are the parent who happens to be the opposite sex of the child, then you become the diplomat. Somehow since puberty kicked in (I waged a two year stop-the-puberty campaign that ultimately failed miserably. Okay the campaign consisted of me stating to anyone who would listen, "I'm on a stop -the-puberty campaign", but still.) the father and son who have been best pals for years have been clashing more frequently.

Today's argument: The cell phone. First I should tell you that my husband was very against the cell phone. Not my son's cell phone, but his own. He hates carrying it. He forgets to turn it on and he still doesn't really know how to use it. He has killed three cell phones in four years by 1)forgetting it was in the pocket of his hoodie and throwing the hoodie in the wash, 2)losing it, 3)leaving it in a canvas bag on the floor of a baseball dugout during a tournament. One of his players spilled a sports drink on the bag rendering the cell phone useless.

My son on the other hand loves his phone. He saved up for a new fancy phone and paid for it himself. He bought a special "jacket" for it. He may be the Speilberg of cell phone movies. He always has it with him. He sends me text, picture, and video messages just so I know he loves mom. He has never lost a cell phone. Ironically I carry the replacement insurance on his cell phone rather than his father's cell phone.

I called home this afternoon to talk to the crabbiest Dad on earth. When I asked him what was wrong he told me that our son had lost his cell phone. He was extremely put out that he had to contact our cell phone provider to put a hold on the phone so that, as he put it, "some kid at school doesn't find it and put 10,000 minutes on it that we have to pay for". I pointed out that it is probably in our son's locker at school and that while our teenager has been surprisingly responsible about his phone, HE has lost, ruined, etc. not one but several phones. This did not improve his mood and he went from being crabbiest Dad on earth to crabbiest husband on earth.

Thank goodness for knitting. And wine.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Lots 'O Yarn

I've been waiting by the mailbox like Ralphie looking for his secret decoder ring. And today, after 4 days at home knitting and hanging out, while I was at work the mailman brought everything I'd been waiting for.

On the left, my knit picks yarn for my Spooky Train from plastic canvas. I haven't done this in years and then it was coasters and easy stuff, nothing three dimensional. It's taken my two hours to cut out the engine. Good thing I've got 7 months until Halloween. The center is cotton chenille for a new pattern I've got in my head. On the right is cotton blend I bought on e-bay. A yarn bonanza.

Have to go vote for DWTS (I'm totally addicted). Drink more Ovaltine (or was it Drink Your Ovaltine? I always forget. RC will know).

Really Bad Blogger

Sorry. I just haven't felt it lately. I've been knitting I just haven't been writing about it. I've been on a big towel kick lately. I made my parents a towel while visiting them and they were so appreciative that I decided to make them a couple more. So this weekend I made this:

I don't use my swift exclusively for hanging things, I sometimes even use it to wind yarn.
I've also caught the washrag bug again and have been making washrags that match the towels. The matching towel has already taken up residence at my sister's (my mother told me that she was not interested in anything lime green).
I figure if you are going to go bright, it might as well be in a dishrag. Especially now when I have a bit of the spring cleaning bug. I've been shining things up around here like crazy.

Today is the first day of school after spring break. I should have invited the marching band over to wake my son up, but I'm not sure that would do it. He got a new bigger more comfy bed over spring break and he's been sleeping in until 10 every morning. His cat is a co-conspirator, he has no interest in my son ever getting out of bed. I better go roust them out of bed.

Friday, March 16, 2007

On the Road

I'm blogging from South Dakota today as my son and I hit the road to visit grandma & grandpa. I didn't want him spending his entire spring break laying around the house playing video games so we have come here and he's laying around the house playing video games with his grandfather. Surely you can see the obvious benefits of intergenerational video gaming. It involves me saying things like, "put down your grandfather I don't care if he's hogging all the purple coins". Maybe a video game where the characters can't use "the dark force" to pick each other up would be a better choice next time.

Yesterday we spent a good portion of the afternoon working on this:

Mom and dad are working on this crazy plastic canvas Easter train. At Christmas time they made all of us "kids" a set of plastic canvas birdhouse ornaments. Confident in their newly found plastic canvas skills they decided that the little ones would enjoy the train decoration at Easter. They have it all cut out and stitched so I just worked on the finishing stuff with them yesterday. I haven't done stuff like this in years, but it was a lot of fun. It reminded me that I really enjoy crafts. I don't think of knitting as "crafty" but I know some do. Once I started knitting, I kind of abandoned my craftiness. (I've got a closet of craftiness too by the way) I might just borrow this book and make the halloween train to add to our halloween decorating this year.

Besides working with my parents and getting a chance to hang out, it was the chance for me to make an important discovery. There is a second shop in town selling yarn. We are heading to bustling downtown Watertown SD today to check it out. I already stopped in at the LYS and loaded up on the cool colors of Sugar n' Cream they carry so I'm ready to hit another yarn shop.

On the road back to Minneapolis today we'll be hitting the Montevideo LYS. They are the only store outside of Michigan that carries the merino from Stonehedge Fiber Mill. The wonderful soft merino I love. This time I'm ready for their cash only policy and will be taking home several skeins. All this family togetherness is making me want to go off somewhere by myself and knit.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Drastic Measures

It is time for drastic action. I have a lot of yarn. Really. A few weeks ago I took one of my bins marked, "full skeins for felting" out of the stash closet to post on the blog and someone left a comment about my "little" stash. It was cute. Like the one little bin was my whole stash. Sweet really. Here is part of my stash.

It's getting ridiculous. In addition to the full size closet devoted to yarn, I have baskets of yarn all over the house. I have yarn that I cannot for the life of me remember why I bought it or what I was going to do with it. I have yarn that I know exactly what I bought it for and after it has been ignored in the stash closet for a couple of years, I am coming to the sad realization that I probably will not knit a Clapotis with the beautiful Lion & Lamb. Not because I don't want a clapotis, but I've discovered I'm allergic to Kate Gilbert patterns. Although this one doesn't have a line that reads, "Row 78 repeat row 12". (This is why I don't have a Sunrise Circle Jacket). I love her stuff, I just can't knit it.

ANYWAY, as my current yarn yearnings are exceeding the space to put more yarn, I am taking drastic action. Tomorrow my husband, the ebay king, is helping me sell some yarn. So I will have room for more yarn. Details tomorrow. I hope my husband has an AED stashed somewhere in the house in case I have a coronary parting with some of this.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Kate's Cockamamie Medical Theories

I have been knitting. Really. But as you may know I have opinions on nearly everything so today I present my cockamamie medical theories. I have no science or empirical evidence behind these theories, they are simply mine.

  1. Everyone is on Prilosec, Nexium, etc. because everyone is addicted to highly caffienated, over-roasted Mc-coffee. I'm not naming names. We all have our favorite poison. I just don't think it's any coincidence that a few years after the $4.00 a cup coffee chain sprang up on every corner in America, we all have acid stomachs. I'm just sayin'. Kate's cockamamie health theory: try banning the char-roasted after noon.
  2. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women (not my theory). We have a whole generation of women, primarily older boomers, who grew up after the invention of electric appliances and before Title IX. They've never sweat or really worked hard. They wouldn't have dreamed of playing competitive sports even if there had been organized competitive sports to play. Their husband's have done the heavy work. My grandmother didn't own an automatic washer until the 1970's and then it was a little thing that washed and spun the majority of the water out so that she could lug it out back and hang it from the line. She never had an ounce of body fat. My mother thinks exercise is fine unless her heart beats too fast or she "glows" and then she's done. No offense mom. Kate's cockamamie health theory: sweat once in while for God's sake. If you can do it without buying a bunch of fancy workout clothes and subjecting yourself to some overly perky fitness instructor, even better.
  3. You feel better if you drink some water everyday, get 8 hours of sleep at night, are regular, and eat and drink in moderation. Laughing everyday is important. I think all of this makes your skin looks better too.

Okay, three of my cockamamie medical theories are probably enough for one day.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Too Much Snow if You're Long and Low

It's a snow day! My office is closed, the school is closed and we have about 14" of new snow on the ground. Grocery Guy delivered last night, I've got plenty of yarn and a fire, we are all prepared to be snowbound. Everyone is happy, except for this one. This is too much snow if you're a dog that's long and low. Maxine & Maggie go out the back door to do their "business". This is primarily because the BHFH is a runner and we have to let her out into the fenced backyard. My son and I shoveled a path out the door and down the deck last night, but this morning another four inches had fallen and the snow had drifted. So I had to get back out there first thing this morning so that she could get out the door.

The giant mound on the right is the grill. I figure as long as it's not bitter cold, I can fire it up all year long. Of course, getting to it will now be an issue. On your left you will notice that the snow has piled up in my window box to the point that it is blocking the kitchen window. I'm going to have to get out there and clear that off.

Last Friday the backyard was brown grass. No snow, just brown grass. Between last weekend's 10 inches and yesterday's 14, the landscape around here has changed dramatically. The mailbox post is completely covered. The mounds at the end of the driveway are over my head. The drifts in the backyard are up to my thighs. So imagine how difficult it is to get around in this if your legs are only 6 inches long. We've shoveled a path but she has to leap up and down to make any progress. She comes in from outside, collapses by the fire, and power-naps. After shoveling for an hour or so this morning, I might just join her.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Snowy Weekend Project

Yes, it has finally snowed here in Minneapolis. We had about a foot in our neighborhood over the weekend. But the plows and the salt trucks have been out. The driveway is shoveled. 12" of snow qualifies as no big deal around here especially when it happens on the weekend.

A snow storm is a perfect reason to stay inside and knit. So I made this:

Sorry for the crappy picture but I stayed up past my bedtime watching the Oscars. I need to finish the turtleneck and put a small bit of ribbing around the sleeves, but I'm nearly done. I started out with the Fitted Tank pattern from Blue Sky Alpacas and modified it a little bit due to gauge problems, my desire to knit in the round, and I wanted it to be a turtleneck. Other than that, it's the same pattern. Someday I'll faithfully follow a pattern again. Not today, but someday.

The best thing about this is the yarn. It is Shepherd's Wool from Stonehedge Fiber Mill and it is the best. Soft with a little bit of sheen and great stitch definition. 250 yards a hank for $8.50 so this tank only took 2 skeins. Here's the issue, I bought it back in August at a little shop in Montevideo MN. They didn't take credit cards and as I use my check card for everything, I don't carry a lot of cash. So I was only able to buy two skeins. I need more of this yarn, but I'm not driving to Montevideo to buy it. I'm sending an e-mail to Stonehedge to see if they'll ship and I'm even considering a color that isn't brown or blue. Yes, really.

Just a little rant on why the hell the Oscars have to be on Sunday. I can't stay up until 11:30 on a Sunday. We sat down as a family and had a nice dinner and then settled in to watch. By 9:00 we had all run out of steam and they hadn't given out a single significant award! I can't stay up so that they can have interpretive dance about the nominated movies!!! After 9:30 (my son had bailed by this time) I kept drifting off to sleep. I even missed roll call of the dead. This is getting ridiculous. How is a normal family supposed to celebrate Oscar night? How are we supposed to stay awake to make fun of bad dresses? What if there is a Richard Gere "Free Tibet" moment after I've drifted off to sleep? Saturday, they need to move this to Saturday.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Blame Big Bird

Okay, you've all heard enough about my knitting for now, I need a little ranting space. Something is bothering me. It's not earth shattering. It won't change the fate of mankind (okay darn it, it will a little) but it's bugging me.

When I was a kid I can remember going to the Children's Theater to see Huck Finn, James & The Giant Peach and I think Charlotte's Web (honestly, could this be a sadder story to subject children to?). I saw Romeo & Juliet and A Christmas Carol. No, I wasn't seeing Albee or Brecht as a child but at least they were real plays or based on works of literature. Apparently that has all changed.

I feel sorry for Children's Theaters all over the country because what is now considered theater is very different. When did theater for kids become "Elmo Live"! or "Go Diego Go, Live" basically whatever cartoon kids character you want LIVE. I've been to one of these productions. Once was enough. The house lights are on, the kids are loud, the story is thin and there are vendors hawking Officially Licensed merchandise.

We wonder when kids get older why they are talking on their cell phones in movie theaters and breaking up their styrofoam drink cups during Shakespeare. (I had this happen to me in college during a monologue and the urge to jump off the stage and whack the teenager upside the head was nearly overwhelming).

Gee, I wonder. Do you think it's because we are raising our kids to be culturally illiterate? Theater to them is now an officially licensed light-up plastic toy and a glow in the dark t-shirt? I blame Big Bird. I think Sesame Street was the first production to go "Live" and it's been downhill ever since. Damn Big Bird.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Three Day Weekend

I love a good three day weekend. This one was particularly great. Saturday my sister, the quilter, gave me this:

Cute huh? She figured it would be just the right size for me to haul a project around. She is correct, but I also think it's a perfect size for packing my low-cal frozen lunch and water each day. The idea of cutting big pieces of fabric into little pieces (perfect little pieces no less) and sewing them precisely back together has no appeal to me as a process, but I love the end result. So thanks Sis!

In other family news, for those of you who keep track of my crazy family, it was my little brother's 33rd birthday this weekend! You know my little brother as RC or Roger Clinton. He lurks here nearly every day, so take time to wish him a Happy Belated Birthday if you can.

Saturday morning I finished the knitting on this:

I now have aproximately one bazillion ends to weave in and blocking to do. But I'm pretty sure I'll wear this so it meets my definition of a successful sweater endeavor. I am especially pleased as it was working without a net. No pattern, just knittin'.

Sunday I went to the Knit Out at the MOA. It was pretty much a bust as it was laid out really poorly but I did buy this book and had Annie sign it. The whole Annie family was there as they'd arrived here in Minnesota ahead of their personal possessions so they were all at the mall. I was glad to meet her as I've missed her everytime she's been spotted at my favorite places to hang out, buy yarn and knit. She was very sweet and gracious considering she'd just moved across the country.

Yesterday was spent shopping with my son for clothes. He's quite the clothes horse so I gave him a budgeted amount of money and off we went. He did really well staying within the budget and a good time was had by all.

So, all in all a good weekend. Now, I gotta get back to work.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sleeves Suck and Quirkiness

I'm working my way slowly down the sleeve of my saved sweater. It's incredibly boring. Every so often I have to pick up the sweater and remind myself that I'm in the home stretch. Almost done. I've got two inches 'til I hit the ribbing. I'm hoping that I will have a completed sweater this weekend. But sleeves suck. I never seem to enjoy knitting them.

Yesterday I received a package from Jimmy Beans. No, not yarn. I'm being a good girl and knitting from my stash. But I did order some patterns. This because I have some DK in my stash that I want to knit. I love the "Knitting Pure & Simple" patterns. They are well written, simple top-down patterns that result in nice wearable garments. This because my two nieces are very into dance and gymnastics and leg warmers seem a perfect gift. This because I've loved the look of it since I first laid eyes on it. It was in an ad in one of the many magazines and I really love the wide ribbing and the fit on the arms and neck. I don't know about you, but I'm 42 years old, bras aren't optional so I like this tank. I will need to buy 3 or 4 hanks of yarn for this tank, but I still have money left on my Christmas Yarn Cafe gift card so I don't think it counts as a purchase.

I was officially tagged by Mrs. MJW to respond to 10 Quirky Things About Me. Only 10? I've got a lot more quirks than that. I'm not usually a big meme kind of gal, but this is the very first time anyone has tagged me by name. So I must respond.
10 Quirky Things About Me
  1. I'm a bit phobic about germs. I need to have hand wipes in my purse at all times. I'm actually a little peeved at Bath & Bodyworks for discontinuing their antibacterial wipes. I know they are smaller and 10x more expensive than the ones I can get at Target, but I liked them. I Clorox wipe my office on a regular basis. I can't use the communal microwave at the office without wiping down the keypad with antibacterial wipes.
  2. I can't bring myself to wear socks that aren't black, brown or white. White is only for tennis shoes of course. This stands in the way of my total participation in the knitting blogesphere as so many knit bloggers are also sock addicts.
  3. I have a terrible speech habit of using the phrase, "quite honestly". As if I'm lying most of the time so I have to preface this sentence with, "quite honestly". It drives me nuts and I can't seem to break the habit.
  4. If I decide I'm interested in something I go completely overboard. I have to have all the equipment and the right clothes for it. I am no good at the whole moderation thing. Lately I've been working out and yesterday I caught myself looking at overpriced "workout" clothes. As if the t-shirts and sweats I've been wearing have somehow adversely impacted my workouts. It's been like this with knitting for about 5 years now. Thank God there aren't expensive special shoes for knitting. I'd have 4 pair.
  5. I can fall asleep anywhere. Sitting on a plane, laying on the sofa, outside on the patio. I love a good little nap. Not more than 30 minutes though or I'm cranky and sleepy all day long.
  6. I hate spending time on my hair. I'd love to have long beautiful hair but I resent the 5 lousy minutes I have to spend with a blow dryer on my short hair. I always hate my hair but I'm pretty much completely unwilling to do anything about it.
  7. I'm a worrier. I worry about my friends and family. I'm always saying things like "wash your hands, you don't know what you might have picked up at the mall" and "did you remember your jacket?". This is mildly tolerated by my son. Less so by my friends and parents.
  8. I have an irrational fear of flying animals. Any kind of flying animal. When I was a group rep we used to go to trade shows and the Mutual of Omaha people would be there with wild animals. I could pet a bear, a lion or a snake, but the tethered eagle scared me to death. I couldn't get near it. Even canaries scare the snot out of me. Don't even mention bats.
  9. I'm a neatnik. I can't stand stuff sitting around looking at me. We are picker uppers around here. Being someplace cluttered or messy makes me nervous. I want to pick up. Lately, I have stuck to my vow of not taking apart my sister's stove top and cleaning it more than a couple times of year. I think she appreciates me not taking things apart every time I visit. (PLEASE NOTE I AM NOT SAYING MY SISTER IS NOT NEAT HERE. SHES AN AMAZING HOUSEKEEPER. I LOVE AND ADMIRE HER. SHE IS SMARTER AND MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN I. SHE CAN ALSO KICK MY ASS.)
  10. I have a deep and abiding distrust of the perky. People who are always sunshiny and happy are strange. I think they are either completely insincere or a little dim-witted.

I'm tagging Renee, Chris, Julie, Guinifer and Annie.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Save The Sweater, Save My Sanity

Okay, it doesn't have the same ring as "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World", but my sanity is pretty important to me. Recently, I was faced with the prospect of frogging two half-done sweaters. Upon further inspection I decided that I might be able to save one sweater by extending the bottom ribbing to make it more interesting. So this weekend, that is exactly what I did.

There was nothing wrong with this sweater that made me want to rip it out. No glaring errors or mistakes in gauge, it was just boring. Then I remembered a sweater I bought a couple years ago. Kind of retro with a fair isle yoke, but it had a wide band of ribbing on the bottom that made it sorta cool. So with that as inspiration I kept knitting. I'm glad I did. After trying it on in progress several times, I think I'm going to wear this sweater a lot.

In other knitting news, I'm working on a cover for my heating pad. I know that probably sounds nuts, but I just bought a new one and I can't stand the icky cheap fabric that they use to make the covers.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Shoe Shopping

Today is my 1st Blogiversary. Laura left me my first ever non-spam comment the following week. Yay Laura! Thanks.

Yesterday my sister, my niece (who will be 5 in May) and I went shoe shopping. I only have a son, so I was unaware of the joys of having a daughter who likes to shop. My sister is practical so she by and large stays out of the mall, but I would be in real trouble if I had a full-time shopping pal. There is probably a reason that I was not blessed with a daughter.

DSW Shoe Warehouse was having a big sale. A BIG sale. My sister needed shoes for the school's fancy schmancy fundraising dinner so we really were there with a purpose in mind. But with so many shoes 50% or even 70% off things got out of hand. As a nearly professional shoe shopper I feel that I should categorize the emotional stages of shoe shopping for you before you run out to the nearest shoe sale yourself.

  1. Browsing. You walk in the store, look around. Of course there are some cute canvas, ankle-tie espadrilles right in front, but come on it's February. It's 3 degrees outside and a slushy mess.
  2. First sighting. You come across a tall rack of boots and pick up a pair of brown, suede, pull-on, stretchy boots with fashionable toes and heels that aren't too high. Upon further inspection you discover that at 40% off these boots are only $40. OH MY GOD!
  3. Frenzy. 20 minutes later you are wishing that you hadn't brought your purse. It's getting in the way as you scurry from aisle to aisle accumulating pairs of sale shoes that you must have.
  4. Insanity. I have a pair of strappy, purple, shiny, leather sandals with rhinestone heels in one hand and a pair of 4" teal blue imitation-ostrich pumps in the other. I have my eye on furry lime green clogs with giant wedge heels. I work for an insurance firm. The Ward Cleavers there would have coronaries if I wore any of this. I don't have outfits for any of this. If I buy these things I will never wear them.
  5. Jaded. 40% off? Are you kidding me? I've got a pair of Steve Madden pumps in my pile over there that are 70% off and will only cost me $20.98. 40% off? I spit on 40% off. I need more.

Once you reach jaded you'll be okay. You will end up buying things you'll actually wear. You won't spend the grocery money on pink lucite wedgies. The problem is that most people don't ride out the insanity to get to jaded. They panic and run from the store without purchasing anything or find themselves buying a single pair of sensible shoes. They will regret this later. Ride it out, you'll come back to your senses.

The insanity lasts a lot longer if you have a blonde, green-eyed 4 year old with long curly hair modeling all the shoes for you. Finding shiny shoes and saying "OOH, Kafryn, look at these!" By the way, the first pair of brown stretchy boots didn't make the final cut when we culled the pile down to the budget. But between the two of us we bought 12 pair of shoes. I kinda want to go back for those boots. Maybe I'll take my niece.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dear Aunt Kate

Dear Kate,

Thank you for the i-tunes giftcard and the slippers that almost fit me and fit Benny. Love Joe

Okay, let's spot the subtle message here. The slippers I knit for my nephew's birthday don't fit. I'm back to square 1 on the slipper knitting. I'm thinking that I will knit the slippers and leave it to Joe and his mom to do the actual felting. That was they will be able to felt them to the perfect size.

Luckily I always have feltable yarn in the stash.Here it is, in the box labeled "Full Skeins Feltable Wool". This is not to be confused with the bin labeled "Left Over Feltable Wool" or the "Noro" bin. When knitting frustrates me or I'm pressed for time or generally feeling harried, I always seem to fall back on knitting felted accessories.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Guilty Pleasure

I did really well on my college entry exams. I'm not the smart one in the family. But I'm the clever (read smart ass) one in the family. The point being that I'm brighter than this next admission would indicate. I'm totally addicted to "The Real Housewives of Orange County". First I've got to tell you I actually know a woman in the OC and she is totally nothing like these women. (Okay, it's MFF's sister and she is SO not these women) These women (except Jeana, I love her) are shallow and not the brightest bulbs on the tree. They are so obsessed with money and possessions its ridiculous, but I'm addicted. Okay Jeana is shallow and obsessed with money and possessions, but she makes the money so she should get to spend it. Plus she's a baseball mom.

So, this is my guilty pleasure. It's like reality t.v. porn. It's the lowest form of reality t.v. and I still want to watch it. The only way this could get better is if Jo and Laurie tried to knit. Of course they might end up stabbing each other with the needles, but still.

I wonder what, "The Real Housewives of Hennepin County" would be like? So that's what I'm doing tonight. I'm knitting Tubey and watching RHOOC. It's bad, it's wrong, but I'm 'fessing up to it. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Sunday

It was a super Sunday. I went yarn shopping, found some bargains, and finally decided on a project.

I watched a little bit of the "Knitty Gritty" marathon yesterday. I was hoping to see someone I recognized from blogland. I haven't had a chance to watch much "Knitty Gritty" in the past as it's on during the weekday and I'm at the office. If this is your favorite show, let me apologize right now. Don't get me wrong. I'm so glad that there is a show just about knitting. And I'm glad that the production values and sets are more interesting than the run-of-the-mill, but honest to God I just can't take much of this show.

The strained, "I'm so hip, I knit, so therefore knitting must be hip" message is constant and unrelenting. From Vickie Howell's uber-hip, I don't care hair (which I'm sorry looks like she did it herself with kitchen shears. After a bottle of wine. Or two.) to her saying things like, ". . . but if you knit continental, rock on with your bad self" ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Most of the guests that are demonstrating projects seem nervous and a little put-off by Vickie's never-ending, "hip-to-be-perky" -ness. I mean isn't enough to worry about knitting on t.v. without having to worry about being cool enough for Vickie? I mean do they make normal people get $600 haircuts and tatoos before they appear on the show? I salute everyone who is brave enough to appear on the show, I just wish it was more watchable. So there you go, I'm a horrible critical person. I'm not fit to carry Vickie's knitting bag. Let me have it.

I did decide that after swatching my Knit Picks alpaca silk to the point that I'm worried that it's just going to grow legs and run off screaming, "enough already, make up your mind! stop swatching and frogging!" I am going to be the last person on earth to knit Tubey. I've wanted to knit this forever, but I haven't had just the right yarn. The alpaca silk is definitely the right yarn. And I have to give it high marks for resilience. I've swatched and frogged, swatched and frogged and it still looks and feels great. I started Tubey last night during the Super Bowl and I wish I could just sit and knit today. By the fire. It's -16 outside and it would be a perfect day to stay home and knit. But I'm off to work. Have a great day. Stay warm.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My New Healthy Lifestyle is Killing Me

I really tried to take a picture of my three-hour hair, but I look like absolute hell. My new healthy lifestyle is killing me. My friend's doctor told her, "how you take care of yourself in your 40's will dictate how you live in your 60's". I have no empirical evidence to support this statement, but it seems reasonably sound. I haven't heard any doctors say that your 40s should be a time to smoke, drink, eat what you want, etc. (If you have a doctor that will tell me this, please e-mail. My health plan is pretty liberal on which doctors I see and I'm open to change) So since December 1st I have:
  1. Given up smoking just because I don't want to die an untimely death. My family was surprised by this decision as it breaks with tradition. Most of my family members wait until they have a heart attack or stroke before quitting.
  2. Started eating breakfast at home. I've been eating yogurt and a little cereal rather than going through the McDonald's drive through for breakfast.
  3. Bringing Lean Cuisine to the office for lunch. This is mostly because I'm sick to death of paying $7 a day for mediocre (I'm being kind here) cafeteria food at the office.
  4. I've stopped drinking caffeine after noon. I'm not a conspiracy theorist but I don't think it's any coincidence that everyone needs Prilosec now that there is a Starbucks on every corner. I can do a double shot of espresso at 9 o'clock at night and fall asleep at 10, don't get me wrong but my stomach lining was screaming for mercy.

In the words of my boss, "Holy Hannah why don't you warn us ahead of time when you are going to try this stuff!?" Let me tell you all the gains I've made through my sacrifices:

  1. I have gained 9 pounds.
  2. I am a big bloated mess.
  3. I have zits. Every day a new one.
  4. I want a nap by 3:00 every afternoon because I'm off the vital 'eines (nicotine & caffeine). I fall asleep on the couch about 9 pm.
  5. We have a new phrase at the office, "Lean Cuisine will make you mean"

So today, I got out of bed early, put on my sweats and left the house at 6:30. To work out. My calves are killing me. I'm just saying right now, you will have to pry the wine bottle out of my cold dead hands. There are some things I'm just not giving up.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Faux Finished

First let me apologize for the pictures. I don't take good pictures. Mostly because I just don't take the time to bother taking good pictures. And I think I could use a new digital camera. Anyhow, I've got pictures.

Here is the little hat I made with Misti alpaca as a swatch for this faux cable stitch. I like the faux. When faux finishing walls was all the rage, I was right there. Armed with plastic bags, sponges, and damp rags, glazed with gusto. Some of them looked awesome, some turned out to be "do overs". I love faux jewels too. Give me big ol' sparkly czs anytime. I have an aunt who loves them because lab created jewels don't mess with the enviroment. I just like them because I'm cheap and practical. I'd rather have new granite countertops than a big diamond ring. And now, of course, my hair is now faux. Maybe a picture of that tomorrow. I hate posting pictures of myself.

Faux cables are a good thing. Since it is just basically 2x2 rib with the knits twisted every three rows, it can be substituted for any other 2x2 rib. At least I think it can. I can't think of a reason it can't. The back side looks like plain old ribbing so it would probably be a good scarf pattern too. I will recover from the current faux obsession eventually. I got over the towel thing and the tweed stitch. Someday I might even get over Fuzzyfeet. Or not.

And finally, pictures of my organizing work this weekend.

Yeah, I know this doesn't look like hours worth of work, but there are 10 boxes of magazines. I may need a knitting magazine/book intervention.

Monday, January 29, 2007

This Week's Obsession

Two weeks ago I spent all my knitting time with tweed stitch. Tangled up in multiple skeins of yarn, I made slippers, coasters, dishcloths all in tweed stitch. This seems to be the only way for me to truly embrace and learn a stitch by memory.

This weekend was a twisted stitch that looks like a baby cable when you are done. I started with a ball of Peaches 'n Cream at the salon on Friday. Saturday I started and finished an alpaca hat for my neice in the faux baby cable. Now I'm working on a sweater for her that uses the pattern stitch for ribbing.

I have pictures of all of this for you but they are stuck in my camera because the batteries died. I also took pictures of my newly organized work room. I spent most of the day yesterday re-organizing. I wish I could tell you that I'm just so organized and on top of things around here that I did this proactively. No, this was prompted by the fact that I was losing things in the piles of yarn, magazines, unfiled patterns, etc. So all is well in the work room now. Pictures tomorrow.

The salon appointment did actually take the entire three hours. I guess I'd have to just book a full day session if I had long hair. I'm really happy with the overhaul. The double/triple process on the color was totally worth it but it's a good thing that I've been brown bagging it lately. The colorist told me that I can single process next time and maintain the look. Good thing too. I was the only one knitting in the salon and was getting "the look" from some of the other patrons, but Jillian the colorist was very excited to see me knitting. As it happens, she had purchased a kit and DVD at JoAnn the previous weekend and spent an afternoon teaching herself to knit. She was understandably pretty proud of herself. I love meeting a new convert!

Friday, January 26, 2007

New Look, Same Old Blog

I've switched the "new & improved" blogger. I haven't played around with it enough to decide whether or not I like it yet and I don't have time this morning. So, consider this fair warning, the new look could change from day to day. Feel free to weigh in on the readability of the colors.

I took a couple of days off work since I've been feeling crappy and my son doesn't have school today. Not that at 14 he really needs me hovering, but it's still nice. Luckily he doesn't need me to hover because I have a 3 hour hair overhaul scheduled for this morning. I was shocked and a little insulted to find out that the salon scheduled me for 3 hours to get a six week tint touch-up, some highlights/lowlights and a trim.

This being my schedule for the day, I woke up this morning thinking about what I need to take with me in the way of knitting. I mean, if I'm going to be sitting around "processing" I've got to have knitting with me. Last time I got this done I was without knitting and had to read "Town & Country" for an hour. Not that I am not fascinated by the engagements, homes and tasteful soirees of the northeastern horsey set, but honest to God I have to have my knitting. (Who are these people and moreover, who cares?)

I'm working on the Somewhat Cowl in this cashmere but I'm worried about taking my beloved cashmere to the salon. What if something spills on it? I wouldn't wear cashmere to get my hair colored, why would I tote it along with me?

I've got two sleeves on one big needle, but they are at the big and ungainly point. I of course have a pair of fuzzy feet on the needles, but what if they go too fast?

I'm thinking I have to take some cotton and refine this:
Not the best picture, but the beta version of my retro diner towel. Gotta run to my hair appointment. Hopefully the 3 hours will be worth it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Stop Stop the Muffin Top

You have to practice this to achieve the desired cadence. So I'm interrupting my usual knitting broadcast to give you this unsolicited advice and public service announcement on a pervasive problem. Muffin Top.

Post-holiday, I'm betting just about everyone can find themselves battling the muffin top. My swing from crazy-overactive hyper-drive metabolism to slow-motion metabolism (don't worry me and Dr. Rebecca are all over this one), combined with quit smoking snacks have resulted in a 9 pound weight gain.

Listen, I'm not saying that 9 pounds is anything. I'm unconcerned. I'm still in the actuarial table as not even qualifying for being considered overweight. I've never had issues with my weight and I'm not here to say I have any inkling of what it is like to constantly battle real weight issues.

So, I'm not qualified to lecture anyone on weight. I'm here to talk about muffin top, which you can get if you are a size 2!!! For those who stay away from the television and pop magazines and conversations, muffin top is that little roll over the top of your pants. I've been battling the muffin top and here is my secret to getting rid of it. I bought bigger pants.

Yep. I bought one size bigger. It's comfy. My butt, partially due to the weight gain, seems plenty big enough to hold the bigger pants on to my person while the bigger waist band doesn't create the muffin top. And I've stopped worrying about the 9 pounds! This new plan to enhance my body image and make me more comfortable may lead down a dangerous road, but I'm embracing it for now.

So stop worrying about standing up really straight so that the muffin top will disappear. Don't wonder during endless meetings whether or not the table is hiding the muffin top. Grab your credit card and march to your nearest retailer chanting, "Stop, Stop, the Muffin Top" in a sing song voice, and buy yourself a bigger pair of pants.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Let the Swatching Begin!

Okay. I may have some winners on my hands. If you haven't shopped at the Garter Belt, let me tell ya, you are missing out.

  1. They have patterns designed by independent knitters, not knitters who have been commissioned by the yarn company to design a sweater that will sell skeins of yarn.
  2. The patterns are wearable and functional. I love the free patterns at the online mags, don't get me wrong, but I'm 42 years old. My need/desire for kitchy wristbands, dolls, and to-go-coffee cozies is pretty limited.
  3. The patterns range from fitted sexy tanks to weekend sweaters to sweaters a teenage boy would actually wear.
  4. You buy the patterns online and download them via PDF. This is how all online pattern purchases should be.

So that's my rant on the Garter Belt. This weekend I ordered these: Hyde Park Pullover because it is a textured turtleneck, knit in the round from the top down with worsted weight yarn thus meeting all of my criteria. I also bought this Adirondack pullover. It says unisex and quite honestly after gaining 9 pounds (a combo of my Graves disease getting over medicated and quitting smoking) I could use a nice big comfy sweater that doesn't show my now pervasive muffin top. (I've discovered another clever cure for muffin top that I will share tomorrow). The Adirondack is knit top-down in the round as well.

I'm going to buy this one as well, because it has a nice size range and might be a good sweater to knit for my nephews.

So I best get swatchin'. But I'm awfully busy making more towels. Here is my "diner towel" so far. Trek this is for you.

As you can see, although still struggling with the schneezle weezles, (yeah it's a medical term) Al is feeling well enough to resume his duties as head yarn inspector.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Feeling Better

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. Al is doing much better. Giving him his antibiotic has become like wrestling an alligator and he is eating like a trucker.

Earlier today I visited my favorite LYS, Yarn Cafe and met Idymosquito in person!! She asked about Al right away and I was happy to report his improved health. Its so great to meet another blogger in person. Idymosquito is currently blogless but I don't think you have to maintain a blog to be a blogger. Reading, commenting, etc. counts too. MFF and I had coffee and chatted for awhile and then it was time to get home for football.

I've ignored football all season because the Vikings were so terrible that after the first couple of weeks, I just couldn't watch any more. So today I had to catch up by watching the division championships. The weird light saber noise that CBS uses every time their graphic shows is going to drive me insane. I'm watching upstairs now because the sound of it over high def surround sound speakers was killing me.

Sitting around watching football is a great opportunity to get some knitting done. As I've done two grandma towels this week, I started a third. (Sorry the second one I gave to my sister without taking a picture). I've had it in my head to make one using a pattern that looks like a retro "diner towel". You know, the clean white with a bright primary stripe? I'll post a picture when I'm done and maybe the pattern if it works out. So far so good.

In my continued search for a sweater pattern, I purchased a couple patterns from the Garter Belt this morning. I'm going to swatch before I reveal my choices. So while I search I've continued to knit my old faithful, Fuzzy Feet. This pair was done in a combo of fuschia Malabrigo and Noro Kureyon #102. I did them in tweed stitch and the result is a retina-burning pair of mighty fine slippers. (If I do say so myself)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sick Kitty

Albert (you can call me Al) has a terrible cold in his snoof. It's very tough to be a kitty-kitty-cat with a cold in his snoof. I know it's hard to remember that I too have a cat, because he doesn't leave the second floor (which is a huge step from all those months that he wouldn't leave my son's room), but I do. And he is sick.

And when you are sick, sometimes you just need to be left alone. So this is a nice place to be alone if you are a kitty-kitty-cat who has a cold in his snoof and doesn't trust basset hounds.
He went to the vet today. He's on medicine and he's been hydrated (don't ask, needles were involved and he did not enjoy it at all. Plus he's leaky now) and they say he'll be just fine. He doesn't want to eat because he can't smell the food. This has led to the entire family dancing around with little bowls (my fiestaware bowls. Only the little tiny ones mom, don't worry, not bowls you'd ever use) of various kinds of cat food, people food, and warm milk trying to tempt him. Did I mention he would like to be left alone?

Thanks to everyone who has given me sweater ideas. I'm very curious about Idymosquito, as it seems she works at my favorite LYS. She appears to be blogless. The people at Knit Cafe are so great. I've often wondered if any of them are bloggers that I read. Or if any of them read this blog. It appears that one of them does, I wish I knew which one! Idymosquito, I'm going to ask for you by alias next time I'm in the shop. Which will probably be Sunday.

Taking care of sick kitty-kitty-cats bores me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Search Continues

You guys are great. Thanks for the ideas. I'm giving serious consideration to Rogue. Eris is out because for some reason the last couple of sweaters I've done are cardigans and I don't want to make another cardigan right now. If I did, I have the pattern for this which might fit the bill. "Heather", Kay's suggestion might be a possibility but I have no hard evidence that it is knit in the round.

Someone suggested Knitting Pure and Simple patterns, which I love. I have several. They are all simple and top down, but they are all endless amounts of stockinette. The Garter Belt has some great top-down patterns. I have most of Wendy's but again a lot of stockinette.

I feel like I'm ready for a little bit of a challenge. Not something that is going to make me crazy with tons of stitch markers and yarn overs that I forget to do (okay, I'm not looking to do lace). I'm not talking about detailed fair isle or anything but maybe something with some cables or color.

I'm going to continue the search, but I'm starting to think I may have to make something up myself.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In Search of The Right Sweater

I'm not saying that I'm looking for the perfect sweater because the gals over at Mason Dixon Knits claim that they have the pattern for the perfect sweater. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty swell sweater, but not perfect for me. I need a pattern. I've been searching through magazines and books and I can't find it. Here is what I'm looking for:

  1. In the round either top down or bottom up, but no side seams.
  2. I think it may be a turtleneck because I love turtlenecks.
  3. It is not endless, mind-numbing inches of stockinette stitch. There is a pattern involved.
  4. There could possibly be cables but not a ton of cables because I want to use my knitpicks Andean Silk and I only have 13 balls.
  5. It needs to be worsted weight as I have lots of stash in worsted.
  6. Most of the really cool kinda cabley patterns I've found are in DK or sport weight yarn.
  7. I know I could adapt them to a different gauge but that is too much math.
  8. It needs to look cool but not belly baring (I've gained 9 pounds quitting smoking)
  9. It might be tweed stitch as I am currently obsessed with tweed stitch.
  10. If it's tweed stitch I'm using my stash of brown Galway and Kureyon because I love the subtle stripey-ness of it.

So the search continues. It's like needing a dress for a wedding. You can picture in your head exactly what it will look like. You search every store fruitlessly for the dress in your head. The sweater in my head is perfect, I just can't find the pattern. I suppose I could use my Barbara Walker and Maggie Righetti books to draft the perfect pattern myself. But the math.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Happy New Year

I suppose I should address the fact that I have been away for so long, but denial is my friend so I'm not even going to mention it.

I hope you all had a happy holiday. My strategy of only knitting accessories and small items for gifts worked. I had a relatively stress-free holiday.

Since we last spoke, I've half knit and ripped out two sweaters. In frustration, I've turned to my old friend fuzzy feet and tried a couple of different variations. They are gifts so I can't post pictures until next week.

Last night, while watching the Golden Globes, I knit this:

It's a variation on a web project from Knitscene magazine. Let's face it. I'm much too lazy to spend time on embroidery for a kitchen towel. Thus the adaptation. I really love towels that button for the kitchen. They are hard to find these days. I have a couple that I bought at a church bazaar but they are holiday themed. So I'm pretty darned happy with this. Literally took me one night to make and I've already started another. I used one ball of Sugar 'n Cream in brown and part of another ball in a creamy tweedy sort of color. I think this would be really cute done in white with bright stripes in kind of a diner theme.

Hope you are all well, sorry for my lack of blogging and commenting.