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.