Sunday, December 30, 2007

One more trip to the frog pond

Oh, I forgot to tell you the latest on the Knit Round Scarf. It's positively hideous. I could tell by the look on Keith's face when I tried it on as I was deciding whether or not to add another decrease round. I didn't need him to tell me how bad it looked. I could see it for myself. Let's face it, what looks good on a petite person doesn't look quite the same on my larger size. Since I spent an awful lot of my life as a size 4-6 (in my younger days), I have a very hard time remembering that I'm a much more bootyliscious size 14.

Anyway, the durn thing has 5 balls of Kureyon in it. What the hell was I going to do with 5 balls of Kureyon? The only thing to do was to buy 5 more in the same dyelot, set them aside, and put Lady Eleanor on my queue list.

I haven't frogged it yet. I do want to take a picture of the ugliness of it for Ravelry's ugh! files. I want to save any other curvy gal from making the same mistake.

New Year's 2008

I don't usually make resolutions since I know most of them are pie in the sky, doomed to failure, and abandoned after 2 weeks. That said, I decided to post a few for this year in a more optimistic outlook towards the New Year.

1. I've really got to do something about my health. The hypothyroidism made that very clear to me. Keith and I both need to lose weight (as our doctors tell us), so we are working as a team to clear out most processed foods, unnecessary dairy (we don't need to eat a block of cheese in just a few days), sugar, and to replace said things with as many fruits and veggies as possible. Some items we will keep, such as half and half. There is no good substitute for the real thing, and why make our food life totally miserable? Besides, if there is any way we can eat the suggested 9 servings of fruit and veggies a day, I think I deserve my 2 - 4 T of half and half.

2. Yarn purchasing moratorium. I've got enough yarn. Some of what I have has been purchased after consideration of a pattern, but a lot of it (most of the sock yarn) has been spontaneous, impulse purchases. So, no more yarn until I knit down some of my stash.

3. Finish the projects that I have on the needles right now before starting anything new. I hear this at the shop all the time, but so many times these are women who only have 1 or 2 projects! How in the world do they do that? I've got 6 on the needles right now if I'm remembering correctly: Keith's sweater, Mystery Stole 3, Janice's armwarmers, basic sock, sock for Keith and the Roses for You sock. I finished Honi's wrap last night. I would have made it just a little longer, but I ran out of yarn and decided not to buy a new one just to add maybe another 6 inches. It looks fine to me, but I'll post pictures later once the rain and gloom lift, and you can decide.

4. I'm clearing out some of the stuff I've collected over the years, mainly books. In fact, today I plan to list 10 on Amazon. Mostly Anne Rice since I won't be reading them again.

5. I'm planning to start clearing out some of my other items on Etsy and Ebay. I'm a confirmed packrat who has had a lifetime of hobbies. I can sell finished items on Etsy as I finish them (like some of the beading), and I can sell the components on Ebay.

6. Numbers 2, 4 and 5 lead to the most terrible of all for a packrat (who has, let's face it, quite a lot of honest to goodness junk) - cleaning up and organizing! My office is absolutely terrible. It looks like one of those hoarders lives here. Keith's office is so clean you could spot a pin on the floor, but mine is pretty terrible. It doesn't help that the cats think mine is wonderful because there are places to hide, things to climb on, and odd places to sleep. And let's not forget that part of the reason Keith's office is so clean is because I think he moves stuff into mine thinking I won't notice. Well, I do notice.

Wouldn't it be just hilarious if I made so much money cleaning up that I could quit my job? Then I might actually have time to knit! I doubt that will happen if I'm selling old Anne Rice paperbacks and the odd Michael Crichton hardcover, but it's like winning the lottery. Something nice to think about.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hiatus on travel

I know there must be some pet caretakers out there who would do the same, aren't there? Keith has mentioned a few times this month that we should go to California to visit his dad who moved out there about 3 years ago. His dad had been coming back to Atlanta very often that first year or so, flying back about every 6-8 weeks to tie up loose ends. However, we haven't gone out there to see their home or visit, and I think Jeanne, his wife, hasn't been back to Atlanta since she moved.

I'm not adverse to the idea of going to visit, but I have other things to think about. Scooter, who turned 17 1/2 on December 21, is who I think about. If he is like Brownie and Pixel, I only have another 8 months with him. To be totally honest, he is my favorite cat. He has been my favorite almost since he was born. He's got a great personality; he's very affectionate; and he almost always climbs into the bed, gets under the top cover and naps on top of my stomach when I nap in the afternoon. We've done this for years.

I told Keith that to be honest with him, he couldn't get me to travel anywhere until Scoots crosses the Rainbow Bridge. Both Pixel and Brownie passed when they had an acute condition pop up, and I don't want 1. For Scooter to suffer while waiting for a pet sitter to come by; and 2. if he's to be put to sleep, I need to be there. Keith wasn't surprised about this. Sometimes I wonder if he thinks the same thing, but I have to verbalize it.

As of right now, Scooter seems to be in good health. He has to go back in for some bloodwork to make sure his iron levels are coming back up. I'm sure if he knew, he's be hoping they are still low so he can continue to have liver every other day. He won't eat canned catfood anymore, but maybe a little hamburger or smoked turkey or ham from your plate will satisfy him very briefly. I expect the stare any minute since I haven't opened a jar of babyfood meat for him yet this morning. Yes - I know who has trained who in this relationship, and I'm not complaining. We shall miss him terribly when that awful time comes.

No wonder Seattle has such a high suicide rate. We've finally had some typical winter weather with clouds, fog and rain, but see where my thoughts have gone. I am rejoicing we have rain, but wouldn't it be great if it could rain while the sun shone?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Unintended holiday hiatus

It's amazing just how quickly time flies by when you are busy. Any of you who work in retail or retail support know that this time of year gets a bit crazy, and when you leave work, you're not exempt from the food prep or gift wrapping activities. Other things slide, like mopping and blogging.

So what's up with us, you may wonder? First of all, our holidays were quite pleasant. We as a couple decided no gifts for either Hanukah or Christmas. Honestly, it took a lot of pressure off of us. We don't need material goods to prove we love each other, and we've reached the point where we're trying to get rid of stuff instead of adding to it. I will admit that in 2006 we exchanged almost all media - cd's or dvd's for the holidays - and my hubby was the ultimate recycler as he bought them all used.

Now that the holidays are almost over, we're looking towards 2008 with lofty goals. Replace vinyl flooring in the kitchen (that we installed ourselves) with bamboo flooring from Ikea (which we will install ourselves). Clear out some of the books I've bought over the years. Sometimes I wonder what other people think when they come over and there are books everywhere. Bookcases in every room. Books in piles on tables and the floor. I love reading, and tastes change over the years, so there are books I don't mind parting with at all. What was I thinking when I got the book on millinery a few years ago? Was I really going to ever make a hat with buckram? I'm not a re-enactor. Or the Vampire Chronicles? Most of them are a one time read for me. After a while all of Anne Rice's books seem the same. I'm left thinking haven't I read this before? I will admit that Ellis Peters can be formulaic, but I actually like Brother Cadfael. Anne's vampires can get a little tiresome. Anyway, I can clear out piles of books, take them to the Book Nook to trade in, or just take them to Goodwill for a tax deduction, or post them on Amazon's Marketplace. Any way, they're out of here.

Oh wait, I forgot that we'll probably get blown-in insulation sometime in 2008. I will admit that I draw the line at installing insulation. I don't want to be covered with prickly fiberglass. Luckily, none of our lofty goals are necessary maintenance, so we can do them as the budget allows. If I still have vinyl flooring in 2009, I won't be thrilled about it, but I'll live with it. I'll never get a white floor again unless I have pets with white fur to go along with it. Black dog hair does not go with white flooring.

As for knitting, I'm almost finished with the re-knit of the Knit Round Scarf. I've done the required sets of decrease, but I think I'm changing the pattern and adding another set since I've had to add more stitches to get the darn thing to fit. I'm also thinking of ribbing around the neck instead of a rolled stockinette stitch collar. I'll have to see how it all works out. Hopefully pictures soon.

I know this isn't an exciting post, but it has felt like a long work day, and the glass of wine with dinner helped to suck the remaining blood away from my brain. It seems I can think more clearly in the mornings with a cup of java.

Wishing you all a happy new year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Resolutions

I'm in the midst of last minute holiday gift buying for several reasons.

1. Keith's family just decided to exchange presents. For the past few years we drew names, then last year we did nothing at all. Just a few days ago it was decided to exchange gifts, and now I'm waiting for wishlists from people. (and waiting...) We're all at that stage in our lives that if we want something (and it's reasonable - not a Ferrari), we just go on and buy it. That makes it hard to find something to ask for as a gift.

2. My own procrastination. I still have to find something for my Mom & her hubby. Last year I knitted, but this year I decided I wasn't putting myself through that. Now I'm stuck as to what to get for them.

My resolution - I think I'm knitting presents again for 2008, and my resolution is to make 1 or 2 (depending on size & complexity) per month. Do you think that will work? We'll test my resolve in 2008.

As for me, I hit a few online sales this morning and last night, but it's all laceweight yarn for me. I'll figure out what I'm doing for next year, look through my stash, then maybe hit a sale or two again. I do want to decrease my stash this next year, but somethings, like Zephyr, are going up in January.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Yikes, The frog pond

Well, I finished the Knit Round Scarf last night, bound it off (keeping the last stitch "live") and tried it on. I knew that it would be a bit tight, but hmmm.

Yesterday I spoke to Kim about some Monkey socks she had knitted up. She said that if she decided if she was telling herself she could like something that it meant she didn't like it. I'm paraphrasing (and probably badly) but you know what I mean. When you are trying to justify that piece of knitting it's time to rip it out. And I did. As I had it on I kept pulling and tugging and playing with the rolling that stockinette makes, then I sat down and just pulled every stitch out to the very first cast on stitch. I kept it since I do long tail cast on, and my long tail had been too long. I cast it on again with 40 extra stitches to start over. Also, the rolling that stockinette does drives me crazy, so I'm doing a seed stitch border.

I only looked at other people's on Ravelry on Thursday night, and I've decided before I start the next project I'm looking there first. I could have saved a helluva lot of time by checking their notes. I'm posting copious amounts of notes there. Can't help it - I'm used to documentation. I'll take pictures in the next couple of days so you can see what I've done now.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Separated at birth

I must apologize for not being able to figure out how to get the pictures on here, but you have to check out these two guys. (Maybe after dinner I'll be able to get my act together.)

Donald Fehr You'll have to scroll down to see his picture.

John Inman The beloved Mr. Humphries of Are You Being Served.

More later. Almost finished with the Knit Round Scarf.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Oh no! I'll be spending even more time on Ravelry and less on my actual knitting. A Needle Nook (k)nitting group has been started. There's a calendar in the works so we can post class schedules and knitting nights. We just have to wait for Jess & Casey to get it up and running. Now I just have to finish photographing my stash so I can post it there.

Thank you for all the nice comments on my knitware model. I'll see if I can get her to pose for me more often. I must admit she's not the best model since you want to look at her and not the knitware. What would Tyra say?

Tonight is the last night of this season of America's Next Top Model. It's down to Saleisha, Chantal and Jenah. I have to admit I'm rooting for Saleisha. We'll see who wins tonight.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Why doesn't my printer do this?

funny pictures I want these little ones.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sucked back into it

Crochet, that is.
I've got to say that it's all her fault. The Mad Crocheter has this on her queue list - a crocheted Bender amigurumi. I have been able to avoid crochet for years now. I really like the way knitting looks. However - I love Bender. Not that I would ever want to date an animated, drunken, chainsmoking, homicidal robot, but I do love watching him on Futurama. Enough to pick up the hooks and some gray acrylic yarn and go for it. It's on my queue now. As if I don't have enough to do.

I wanted to get some pictures of my knitting posted here today too. It was a lovely day here in Georgia. Sunny and warm with temps in the low 70's. Something about my putting knitting on the stone bench piques the interest of my favorite model, so without further ado here are 2 knitting projects with that cat supermodel, Grey. Just remember that her stage name is Princess Plumeria.

Please note in the shot above the kitty ecstacy of being on a sunwarmed stone bench with knitware to paw. I caught an action shot in mid-wriggle. See the tongue sticking out. That's one happy cat.

This next shot is also in mid-wriggle. I had dared to put the glove on her, and she was going to squirm until it was off.

It's so wierd in December when it's pitchblack outside at only 6 p.m. It feels like midnight. It's about dinner time, so I'd better go see what we have. (Keith usually has food duty on Sunday, so I bet we're either finishing leftovers or having frozen pizza. Don't get the wrong idea. He's very good in the kitchen, but why whip up something from scratch if you don't have to? Besides, grocery shopping will most likely be done tomorrow, and I want him to save his cooking prowess for grilling some steaks.)

It's a small, small world.

Keith and I went to a Hanukah dinner last night. It's been ages since I've had latkes and even longer since I had them that I hadn't made.

Anyway, I knew a few people there, and you know how we all are. We ask questions about where are you from, and who are you related too. It seems that if you're Jewish and from anywhere in Alabama, you'll eventually find mutual friends. In our course of conversation, when I mentioned my maiden name, Jack said I knew some attorneys with that name, who's your father? I told him, and then he asked who my grandfather was. I told him, and it turns out that we are distant cousins. Not only did we know some of the same people, but we are related. I'm cousins with my boss's son-in-law!

We are related on my paternal grandmother's side, and I know next to nothing about her family. We were estranged for some time after my parents were divorced, and when I started visiting her again, we just never spoke about her roots. You know how it is. When you are young, you don't always think about that stuff. Besides, you have all the time in the world. As I've gotten older I've wondered a bit. My grandmother has Alzheimer's, and it's pretty advanced, so I can't really ask her. All I really knew was that her parents immigrated from Russia right around the time of the revolution. Last night I find out there is a family genealogy book for that side of the family, and I can get a copy of it. How cool is that?

I have to admit I was a bit shocked about all of this. When I was younger we visited with cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, but we got progressively more nuclear as I got older. I really know nothing about my family outside of this very small nuclear group, and here I am confronted with some very enthusiastic people telling me all about people I've never heard of, and where they live, and how we're related, and on and on. I got another drink. I needed time to absorb all this.

Of course I thanked Arlene for a most entertaining evening when I left. It was. I had a lot of fun, the food and company were great, and I left with a hugely extended family.

As for knitting content, I started on the Knit Round Scarf from The Knit Stitch. It's been chilly in the mornings, and I need something that will keep me warm while not interfering with my range of movement. This is really like a tiny poncho that sits on your shoulders. It takes 3 balls of Silk Garden, but I'm using Kureyon since it had a colorway that works better for me. I'll probably be able to post a picture of the finished product in a couple of days. It will be a quick knit. Of course now that I've started it I'll be wearing hippy skirts and sandals for the next few days while the temps are back in the low 70's. Welcome to December in the south. People have been saying how warm it is, but even before global warming I remember Decembers where I'd be wearing sandals. You just never know. One year it will be 28 and snowing, the next year we'll be wearing shorts.

Have a great Sunday.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Is it hair pulling time yet?

Needle Nook is setting up the Malabrigo Afghan Knit A Long. OK, I'm doing all the computer work, and a LOT of it is new to me. Yikes!

Arlene has been tossing around the idea of knitting a Malabrigo afghan for some time now. We've been brainstorming on the best way to do it. We wanted it to be a sampler. It needs to be something all skill levels can do. Different knitters have different skill levels and what's challenging to one may be easy-peasy to another. How do you cater to all the different skill levels, speed of knitting, etc?

I kept thinking of the block of the month quilts I used to participate in when I was quilting more. I thought we could do this as a block of the month knitting afghan, but really, how to work it out?

We also wanted to have support meetings once a month for the knitters. We can help them pick out patterns and colors. The support is free with the purchase of the yarn and joining the group.

It struck me! Why not a Yahoo group and we can do it as a modified KAL? Each knitter could work at her/his own speed, post pictures and comments on patterns, and still join us for the once a month meeting for some knitting camaraderie and get help if needed.

The problems with this is we really want it to be an adjunct to the real world knitting experience, not a traditional web-only kal. The Yahoo group is secondary, a tool if you have a question in the middle of the night, that sort of thing.

And here's where I find the limitations of my ignorance. I've already had to possibly turn one person away since she's under the impression that this is a traditional kal where you can work on your own Malabrigo project. I feel very badly about this. I see I need to improve my descriptions (a lot).

I'm wondering just how much tinkering I can do to the original group to make my description more clear. I guess I'll find out.

Have a great Monday everybody. Here in Atlanta the temperature currently is dropping as the cold front comes roaring in on those northwesterly winds. Much of Georgia is under a wind advisory today. (Sorry about that. The closet meteorologist pops out from time to time.)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Knittin' content

Ah, it's weekly picture time. Without further ado, here we go:
Petra's Fingerless Glove #1. As you can see, I'm almost finished with the cabled area.

Yarns hand-dyed by yours truly. The one on the left was done first, the one on the right was with leftovers and some more red.

Here is the latest car sock. It's toe up in Claudia's Handpainted Merino Fingering weight.

I've been experimenting. I found the flash tends to wash out the colors, so these were done with no flash. I'm still not happy with the photos, but you get an idea. The sock is really much brighter than the picture shows. More mucking about with the camera later (maybe).

The Needle Nook is having a Knit A Long for a Malabrigo Afghan. It's a great way to learn some new pattern stitches and be as bold or demure as you like. The one thing that was wrestled with was how to do a KAL. It was decided after some debate to have it for knitters who can actually get to the shop. The major reason is that this is a shop KAL, much like the quilt shops that have the block of the month program. Who knows, there may be a virtual KAL in the future? Arlene will have to see how this one goes before making any decisions about future ones.

As for this weekend, remember all the fussing about the Neighborhood Watch and cleaning up the neighborhood? Well, people do like to fuss, but many don't like to actually do anything. One of the houses had the tenants evicted, and they left a mess in the yard. An old bedframe, toys, etc. are strewn about. Has the landlord or anyone been there to haul it to the street? Hell no! I decided a day or 2 ago that I would do it myself. This neighborhood used to be nice, and I'd like to make it that way again. Meeting so many of my neighbors I've found that they want it to be clean and safe. Like I said, it seems the actions stop at their property lines. Screw that. We're taking the time later to go clean up that yard, and we'll pick up any trash in the street on the way. Sure, I'd rather be knitting, but someone has to step up.

Tut tut, it looks like rain. Maybe we'll get lucky and get some later today.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Serving my cat masters

Remember that the vet said Scooter is supposed to have liver every other day? Well, Keith has given him his serving of liver for today, and I gave him baby food meat for breakfast. I can hear him in the kitchen begging for more meat. The furry devil thinks that by meowing at Keith quite loudly another chicken liver will appear. He's wrong, but I'm sure he'll be having whatever I'm having for dinner. He's gotten so spoiled that his Eagle Pack Holistic formula kibble is just not worthy of him (unless he's really really hungry, and the humans have been able to resist his meows, stares and pawing.) Wish me luck. I have to head in there to eat in just a minute. I will be strong. I won't feed him the best bits of fish off my plate.

There is some knitting content today. I taught a hat class at work today. I'm not comfortable in front of crowds, so teaching has been a challenge for me. I find it's like anything else. The more I do it, the better I get. I still have a lot of room for improvement. I have to stop and think about how to explain things because I just want to show each person one on one how to do the join or whatever, but that doesn't work in a class environment. So remember if you're ever in one of my knit classes that I'm working very hard to make sure you learn what I'm teaching. I do want you to understand it and be able to do it.

I guess that wasn't really knit content. I'll make up for it tomorrow when I take an updated picture of the wrist warmer. Have a great evening.

Belated Happy Birthday

to my sweet, wonderful hubby Keith. His birthday was yesterday. I am usually prepared for it, but this year I was the one stopping to buy birthday cards and presents on my way home. I had found and ordered the first season of Banacek for him (thank you Amazon), but he also has a 3 page Excel list of CD's he wants. I've been meaning to print the durn thing out and get to Wuxtry (he likes his CD's used since they're cheaper, and he can buy more of them) all week, but finally remembered yesterday!

I have to wonder if the guys at Wuxtry like to see me coming. I'm polite, but I come in, hand them a list and say "I want 6 from this list please." Then I stand there trying not to be bored (Wuxtry is definitely a guy's place) while they find the CD's. I've done this several times, and I figure they like getting the sale. It's not a huge one, but in this day and age a $40 to $60 sale isn't bad either.

Keith had been debating about what he wanted to do for his day. First he thought maybe dinner out. Then it was going to the DeKalb Farmers Market and getting steak & lobster to grill at home. Late yesterday he finally decided we needed to go get Mexican at El Toro. They have great margaritas. I wish there was a lot to write about, but we had a nice dinner. We usually go out and eat on random week nights, so it was very strange to be out with the crowds on a Friday night. We skipped the dessert and came home to the bourbon bread I got from Great Harvest Bread Company. From what I can tell, my local store doesn't have a website yet. Ted has been tinkering with the recipe for his bourbon bread, and he's finally got it mouthwateringly right.

As for Keith, poor guy. All of our wrapping paper is in storage, so I handed him 2 plastic bags with birthday cards and said dig in. I think he was happy (I only got things from his list.) We watched 2 episodes of Banacek last night, so that was fun too.

Oops! time is slipping away, and I've gotta get ready for work. More later.