Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eating my words

Lately I've been proudly proclaiming "I'm not knitting for anyone else right now!"

I've been careful not to use those words like "never again" as I know those instantly tempt the fates. We all know how the fates delight in making you do something you've sworn to never do again.

So I've been thinking about the things I'll knit for myself now that Keith's sweater is finished, as are the few holiday knits I've done. Then I checked my email. There are people and requests that are easier to ignore than others. Much of it, quite frankly, has to do with whether or not I actually want to knit the object. While my mom has been joking that I should knit her husband some socks, I've managed to avoid that one. He has large feet, and knitting those socks for Keith showed me I don't want to knit socks that big again, with Keith being the exception, and certainly not anytime soon. (Sometime in the future. The sort of distant future - as in maybe I'll tackle some in a couple of months.)

This email, however, was from a friend whom I've known since I was about 6 or 7, although we didn't become close until later. And she wanted one of the Noro Striped scarves I'd made for someone else.

I'll admit that I debated about sending her the finished one, then I decided this presented an opportunity for yet another color combination. Yes, I know here that I've expressed dislike for scarves, but I totally enjoy those darn Noro Striped ones. In fact, I'd already purchased yarn for one for me. Today I left work with yet another 4 balls of Silk Garden destined for the mesmerizing knitting of Noro Stripes.

At this rate, it looks like it will be Summer of Socks 2009 before I even get near a sock again.

Have a Happy and safe New Year's! We're keeping it low key by staying in tonight, trying to keep Lily out of things (such as Keith's dinner plate), and saving some of the bubbly for mimosas tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'll toss the salad for you....later

I've got to finish my nap first.


I've got a couple of yikes! I want to share.

(Should I explain what a "yikes" is? They are those thoughts that fall into the "have I lost my mind" category.)

1. Tomorrow is my last official day at work. While I'm burned out and need a few days (weeks) in solitude, I do worry that this is a crazy move.

2. What if I dye really ugly yarn? What if it turns out I'm a terrible dyer? What if's abound in my mind. I know that only action will shut them up. Action begins on Thursday. Besides, I do know that much of dyeing yarn is a flexible science. In other words, there are formulas and recipes to learn, and much of the time you will get the desired results (or something close to them). It's a lot like cooking, and I'm pretty good at that. However, those what if's lurk all around like pesty gnats in the summer.

Hmm, writing them down shows me that I have fewer "yikes!" than I thought. Now I can go eat breakfast and work on that darn list that woke me up at who knows when this morning. This isn't a yikes, but all these things I need to do are also floating around like gnats. Some of them wake me up in the middle of the night, but then when I'm fully awake, they've vanished like a mist. I may have to start sleeping with a pen, notepad and flashlight so I can get back to sleep instead of tossing and turning.

The sun is out for a few days. I did notice clouds and rain in the near future, so I'll try to get some pictures of knitting today. That will have to wait until after the caffeine has been ingested, and I'm off to do that now.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

No pictures today

Alas, the dementor weather is still with us, rendering my favorite stone bench much too wet for pictures. I don't really have a good spot inside for taking them, at least not yet.

I have had some very good fortune. A friend has remodeled her kitchen and is giving me her old stove. Now I'll have a place for baking or steaming yarns that won't be in my own kitchen. A real dye studio can be set up!

Keith has been quizzing me about the yarn photos. I showed him some photos online to give him examples, and now he's looking for a light kit. Apparently he's been planning to help with the photography.

Now, I've got to get started. I've had some more colorways pop into my mind over the past few days. I've only got to work out how to translate them into sockyarn. I've got 3 days left at my job, so I'd better get moving on the studio set up.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


OK, I know they're not real, but lately it seems like they are. It's been chilly, foggy, misty and damp here for several weeks. Not much rain, but not much blue sky either. The lovely lights from all the Christmas trees and such are almost as good as a Patronus. However, the dementor weather is also a great excuse for chocolate. I'm really looking forward to some sun since I feel so sluggish right now.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How long does it take to get a kitty to settle down

for his sub-q?

This morning it probably took a little more than an hour. At least an hour.

Scooter needed his sub-q, and sometimes it's difficult to get him at night. Like on the nights when you don't eat dinner until nearly 9 p.m. Those nights slip away before you know it.

So Scooter was on the top of the to do list this morning. However, a cat's to do list almost never synchs with the human's to do list. His included breakfast, more nibbling, a visit to the litter box, then another snack if possible, and finally getting beneath a piece of furniture to snooze near the heat vent. I tried to get him to settle down with Keith who was reading the news while lounging on the bed. That didn't work. I let him snooze under the vent for a little while, then I got out my knitting, popped a DVD in, got Scooter and tried to pet him into dozing on my lap. After all, I have to make him think everything is ok even though the humans are acting very wierd with these nighttime activities while it's light out. It took some time. Longer than I had hoped. Then there was that moment when I realized he had dozed off.

I must tell you, giving him sub-q while he's groggy from napping is sooooo much easier than when we act clinical and put him on a table. It went almost totally smoothly. He didn't get antsy until we were nearly finished, and we got nearly the whole 150 ml into him. I'm sure he's off under something to sleep off the indignity of being disturbed while napping until greed and the sound of a sandwich meat wakes him again.

Business as usual?

On Sunday night, after a lovely Hanukah dinner with friends, we came home and settled in to watch a little TV. After all, we had to let those delicious latkes digest.

A little background on what I'm about to tell you:

1. We're both fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

2. Keith has been wanting to learn Spanish. You know, the easy way. As in you wake up one morning and suddenly you can speak it.

That way is best done by immersion, and what could be better than watching The Running Man on one of the Spanish stations? Which is what we did. Yes, I haven't had Spanish since junior high, and Keith has never learned any, but we do know the plot of that movie very well. Maybe what I'll start doing is changing the language selection on movies. I know you can learn conversational Spanish by watching soap operas. Do you think it will work with action/adventure movies? I'm looking forward to finding out.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Scarf pictures

I've finished the second Noro Striped Scarf. This one is much more colorful, as you can see from the pictures. I used 2 balls each of colors 225 and 258.

This one also took about a week of knitting when I could. I would have finished sooner, but I know I didn't knit at all one of those nights. I succumbed to perusing those books of annuals and perennials while dreaming of a real garden someday.

Scooter's fluids arrived on Friday, so now I have enough for several months. The good thing is we now know that he needs the sub-q pretty regularly, so he and I won't be going to the vet quite as often as we have the past few months. Thank goodness. While I like my vets, I was kind of tired of spending most of the morning there on a such a regular basis.

As for the dyeing, I'm thinking about it a lot. I plan on starting very soon after I leave my job with the goal of having the first yarns in an etsy shop by month's end. Hopefully life will cooperate, but I know the best laid plans...

Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. The wheel of the year turns, and before you know it spring will be here again. I'll enjoy the wintery weather while wearing hand knit socks until then.

Hanukkah starts tonight, and Christmas is a just a few days away. Enjoy all the festivals that fill the darkness with light, knowing that tomorrow we'll have more day light that we will today.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A day stuck at home

Obviously, I'm not going anywhere today. I'm waiting for Scooter's fluids to arrive via Fedex, and who knows when that will be.

Actually, that's not so bad. While I have things like the never shrinking laundry pile, I also have a scarf to get finished and into the mail. I joined both of the second balls of Silk Garden on Wednesday night, so I've reached and passed the halfway point on it. Woo hoo!

While part of me is still terrified about quitting a job in this economy, another part of me is so excited. My yard looks like shit. I've not gotten out to do yardwork in ages. It seems I've got so much inside stuff to do that the yard is totally neglected. Instead of knitting last night, I looked through an annual and perennial guide I bought this past summer. I've got visions of borage and daisies and dahlias racing through my mind. I really hope that the weather evens out, and the drought goes away. That's the other reason my yard looks so bad. I mean, why bother when the drought will kill everything? While I do have some plants that have tolerated the lack of water, I haven't planted anything new since they do need extra watering until they're established. Maybe this year. Until then I can double dig the area where I normally plant veggies. It's on a sloped area, so I can add some stones to the lower side and level out the planting area. I can even probably plant a few snow peas with our usual schizophrenic southern weather. You know, up in the 70's today, and down in the 20's a couple of days from now.

The other good thing about leaving? I've got a couple of pattern ideas that have been floating around in my head for some time now. They're the type that I'll have to post here for free when I finally get some time to work them out. Also, a couple of dye names popped into my head, so I have to actually figure out the color blend to go with them.

Anyway, off to breakfast and sorting this past week's laundry. Housework sucks, but someone has to do it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Poor sad kitty

One thing I did notice while at the vet's yesterday was that Scooter really is deaf. I wonder sometimes if his hearing is selective (how does he always know a can is being opened?). However, while waiting for the vet to finish with an emergency, I heard bloodcurdling yowls coming from the back. Some other cat was not happy at all, and Scooter didn't even seem to notice.

At night when he's in the kitchen by himself, he sits and yowls. I feel so bad that he can't hear me call his name anymore. I had never thought before about how being deaf can really isolate a person or animal.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Good news from the vet

Today Scooter and I spent a couple of hours at the vets. He needed bloodwork and another test to see if the bacterial infection he had was finally controlled by the antibiotics. Yes! No more bad bacteria, so no more antibiotics for him. They also got the results back from the lab late this afternoon, and his anemia is almost non-existent. However, the vet said keep giving him his liver and add his supplements back to his diet over the next few weeks. I had gotten slack about giving him the pet mobility and the glucosamine since we were having to dose him with pills twice a day and give him eardrops.

I knew today's trip would not be a quick one, so I was prepared with knitting. I'm still working on my second sock of Woolly Boully's Meanie sock yarn in Luna Moth. This poor sock has been sitting in my car for weeks, maybe even months. Lately I just haven't been knitting while in traffic, so I worked on it today while I waited and waited. Being prepared and knowing that I would be there for at least 1 1/2 hours or more made it - well, not exactly easier since my morning seemed to be slipping away, but bearable.

I'm knitting away on the second Noro Striped Scarf. It's interesting and surprising and definitely not always what I expect working on these scarves. There are parts on this one I don't like at all, but overall I think I like it. More importantly, I hope the recipient likes it. I did mention these weren't my colors, so that may be part of my less than enthusiastic response to it.

My day's not over yet. I've got to go tackle the mountain of pots and pans in the kitchen. I made vegetable curry, a separate curried chicken dish and brown rice for dinner. While it was delicious, it leaves quite a mess. The sooner I wash up, the sooner I'm knitting.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Computer help

I forgot to include these pictures that I took of my computer assistant. She hears me sit down, then appears out of nowhere to settle into my lap. These aren't that great as I had to take them left handed. Some of her expressions are really funny.

Why did you wake me up?
Give me that camera!
Darn human!
Fine, I'm ignoring you and going back to sleep.

That's right! It's Sunday!

And that means some pictures.

First, here is the latest scarf, started just last night. As you can see by the pinks, that's not one of the normal colors that I wear. I was justified in having to do some gift yarn shopping. It is Noro Silk Garden in colorways 225 (discontinued) and 258.

Next is the completed hat made from Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Handpaint. This is the skein without a wrapper that begged me to buy it and knit a gift from it.

Here is the Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole. I'm finding Noro yarns really are like crack for knitters. I have a difficult time putting Noro projects down. I'll work on them until I'm exhausted and can't keep my eyes open any longer.

Now, to express my severe disappointment upon learning that some of the abs in 300 were digitally added. Honestly, I'm not really surprised. While watching last night I even mentioned to Keith that I wondered just how much those actors had to work out to get those amazing bodies. (I didn't say it quite like that, but I was curious. Those men really are amazing.) I'd best mention too that if you decide to watch it, it's based on a graphic novel (comic book), and there is much stylized spurting blood and detached, flying limbs. If you want to learn more about the Spartans, let me go into public service announcement mode and suggest this. There are many books out there as well.

And to Teresa, I know you're a sock knitter too, and as I have copious amounts of sock yarn, I'm just as glad now you can't look at my stash. ;-)

And finally, I think the yarn for my Jayne Hat will work. Look out for it sometime early in 2009.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New eye candy movie

Wow! We just finished watching 300. What a movie! I must once more admit that I like to watch the action movies with the shirtless, muscly men in them.

It did have some historical accuracy to go along with all the hot guys. PBS ran a documentary about the Spartans last year that I watched as I knew very little about them. Most of what I knew about ancient Greece was definitely Athens-centric, and that's been at least since college.

Guess what? There was knitting involved. I've been trying like mad to come up with one last knitted gift, and I found I was more than reluctant to part with any of my stash. The other difficulty is that the person I need to knit for doesn't wear the same sorts of colors that I do, so I didn't really have anything that worked. (How's that for justification and rationalization? Would Freud find me a textbook case?) Thus, more Silk Garden was purchased today, and another Noro Striped Scarf was started tonight. Scooter has been mega-pesky. While I'm glad he's feeling well enough to act that way, he really cut into the knitting time with all the climbing in and out of the lap, trying to get into my ice cream while I was eating it and scratching while using his claws to hold onto my leg. I think he's asleep now, so I may be able to get a few more rows completed tonight.

The Thing

There was nothing I wanted to watch on TV last night, so I searched through the small stack of deep discount DVD's I just got from Amazon. Amongst them was a classic movie. A movie that I enjoy the remake of as much as the original. Yes, it is The Thing From Another World. It's great fun and not scary at all. If you want a few chills and thrills, watch the remake - John Carpenter's The Thing. Keep the barf bag nearby if you're easily grossed out. Here's the wiki if you want to read more.

What I have discovered is that if I'm watching a classic sci fi movie that I haven't seen in 20 or so years, I don't get much knitting done. I'm much too busy watching the movie.

So, what's on for tonight? If the DVD player is working (which is iffy), we're watching Snakes on a Plane. After reading all about it on Ravelry, I've got to see it. I've heard that it's a B movie which knows it's B movie and has a lot of fun with it. I do love Amazon's year end DVD sale. I also got some Benny Hill and 300 with their deep discount sale.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hissy fit

In a fit of pique today, I deleted part of my stash from Ravelry. I'll probably get around to deleting the rest of it later.

I input much of my stash into Ravelry as a tool for me. It is so useful to see what yarns I have, the quantity, and the colors. It was eye-opening to see all the same colors in different yarns. Yes, I have olive green.

However, what finally set me off is that other people see my stash and want to buy my yarns. Would I be willing to sell them 1 or 2 from that bag I have? Would I sell this one I just bought to them because they want to try it? Well, I wouldn't have bought it if I wanted to turn around and sell it. I buy yarn by the bag because I'm no longer a size 4, and I unfortunately need all that yarn if I want to make a sweater. I'm sorry that they don't have enough for their project, but I'm not running short for their convenience.

Whew! Thanks for letting me rant. Anyway, if you're looking at my stuff on Ravelry and wonder just what happened to the yarn, now you know. There's still some sock stuff there, but only because I ran out of time this morning.

There has been knitting. I finished the gift cable hat last night. Weather cooperating, I'll take a picture of it tomorrow. I've been knitting away on Lady Eleanor and completed 1 1/2 to 2 rows last night! Entrelac gets easier the more you do it. I do have one last gift to knit up, and I've been letting ideas percolate. I think I'm going to break down and do a multi-directional scarf. It should be really quick to knit up, then I can get back to my shawl.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The moment of realization

It's that moment that comes out of the blue and hits you like a ton of bricks. I've ordered the wrong size yarn for my Jayne Hat experiment! Oh well, I'll have some interesting colors for bear clothes next year. The good news is that I'll be able to use a yarn I can get at work instead of having to order something online.

I worked on Lady Eleanor some last night. I've found that I usually have time to knit across one whole row of squares in the couple of hours of primetime TV watching. If I must watch Alfred Hitchcock Presents, that gives me most of another hour and couple of more squares.

I had Keith try on the cabled hat I'm making for a gift. I thought that in the past few years he may have actually seen me try on a hat in progress. Boy, was I wrong! He's much more glued to his news and video games that I ever knew. He tried it on upside down, complaining that he didn't know what he was supposed to do. (Upside down means he had the circular needle part around his ears! Thank goodness I am using magic loop, or I shudder to think how many stitches would have been pulled off!) The outcome is that I need another pattern round before I start decreasing for the top. It was a mini ordeal to figure this out, so I'll definitely keep a note about it. I'd hate to torture him like that again. I must be the worst wife in the world.

Scooter is doing well. He's just finished another round of antibiotics, and my trip to the vet should be pretty short today. He needs fluids weekly, and I haven't heard yet from the online supplier the vet recommended. I'll just run by there while I'm running errands today and see if the doc thinks I need to go on and pick up a bag. In the meantime, last night he was very grumpy to see Princess Plumeria sleeping in my lap, so he nipped her ears! I thought he would just sit on top of her; after all, that's what she would do to him. Instead, he ran off after the nipping. Don't worry and think he's deprived. I think I'm starting to have some real knee problems after sitting cross legged for hours on end with a sleeping geriatric cat in my lap.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I do remember

While talking to Teresa at work one day, I mentioned something about "best leather moment" in a movie. Teresa, I haven't forgotten about it. I'm more amazed that I haven't found the movie still online. I guess that the guys who usually pull stills and post them don't have the same appreciation for this movie moment that women do. I'm still looking for it. Worst case scenario - I have to get a computer that plays DVD's (mine's an older model and doesn't), and learn for myself how to capture a still. I may also be able to find it on youtube when I have some time to look for it.

I've been watching Firefly again, and I find myself thinking about making the Jayne Hat. Many of the ones I've seen on Ravelry are close, but there's something off about many of them. I may have solved that problem to my satisfaction in theory, but I'll have to work on the application. It's a puzzle for 2009 as any knitting I do now is for a few more quick gifts.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Time for Sunday Pictures

Here are the long awaited pictures of a certain husband sweater. First is a side view to show the flames on the sleeve.
Next is shot of the front of the sweater. To remind you of details, if you are a knitter, here they are. The sweater is based on Jesse's Flames from Stitch 'N Bitch Nation. I used Galway Wool by Plymouth instead of the Lion Brand called for in the pattern. This changed the gauge, so I used my Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns to find a bottom up, raglan sweater that could be adapted to look like the Jesse's Flames Sweater. The JFS is knit in pieces while this one was knit in the round. I did have to work the sleeves flat in order to do the intarsia. There was definitely some math involved in doing this one, but nothing very difficult for a knitter who has the confidence to alter patterns. I love the way it turned out. Of course I know of some things I would do differently next time, such as the red stripe is too high and gets partially used in the underarm seams. That is only visible if Keith is running around with his arms in the air, but I know about it, and I would lower the stripe by a few rounds next time.

Next, we have another cabled hat. This one is just freshly started. The yarn is Plymouth's Baby Alpaca Grande Hand Painted. A kind of odd thing happened. Someone bought several hanks of this yarn, and when I was straightening up the bin, I came upon this one with no label. I looked for the label, but it was hiding from me. I left the yarn on the side table near the register, thinking the label would reappear. In the meantime, I've been knitting up some stash yarns for a gift, and so far I was not pleased with the way the yarns were working for the recipient. As this bare, naked yarn sat there all day, the thought occured that this might work quite nicely for the person in mind. Thus, I purchased it, and there it is. I'd be further along with it, but Lady Eleanor and the Kureyon have enchanted me. It's mostly what I've worked on this past week. Granted, I have done a fair amount of ripping. For one whole row of squares, I picked up as knits when it should have been purls, so I had to rip that entire row out! If not for that, I'd be further along. As you may remember, you can click on any picture to enlarge it and drool over stitch details. And I apologize for Princess Plumy not being included in my photos. It is cold outside, and she's a sissy cat.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I <3 Stephen Colbert

Who else would bring you this kind of groundbreaking coverage? I must add that I saw this over at Mason Dixon Knitting, but I had to share it with you here.

Please take a minute to watch this. Don't drink anything while watching. You'd hate to do a classic spit take all over your computer.

Bears, bears everywhere

Last night was the night when the Atlanta Knitting Guild donates the bears we have collected all year to the Georgia Center for Children. Unfortunately, we were unable to donate as many bears this year as we did last year. I had done my part by knitting 5 items of bear clothing, but we need more people knitting even just one item.
Of course, many knitters do make things for charities, and that's the problem. You can't possibly knit for every worthy cause. This year I made the 5 bear items (actually 6, but I forgot to take one with me, so it counts towards next year). I also made some chemo caps, both for charity, but unfortunately more for people I actually know with cancer. I knitted the hat for Innocent Drinks in the U.K., spurred on since it was a charity one of my favorite knit blogs had chosen to help.

The Atlanta Knitting Guild itself has many charities that we work with in the metro Atlanta area, not to mention all the helmet liners guild members have knitted over the years.
If you decide you want to knit something for a bear, take a look at the guild's website. There are free patterns available, and some are very quick knits. I made 2 bear skirts this year since they are just like hats without having to do all the decreasing at the top.
All the bear clothes here are made from the same pattern that is available from the guild. I made two of the sunsuits, and they are very fast knits.

You can make items as simple or complicated as you would like.

Or, you can donate a bear, like the Halloween bear I found at Starbucks for 1/2 off. He's got such a cute face, and he's already dressed like a pumpkin.
In other knitting items, I still have to get a minute when we're both here to take a picture of the finished Flame sweater. This has been a busy week for us both. The Lady Eleanor is moving right along. Entrelac is amazingly easy to do, as well as amazingly easy to royally screw up. I think I've unknit about 50% of what I've knit. Honestly, it's so easy that I've been lulled into complacency, and I'm not proficient enough yet to do it on auto-pilot. I must admit that it's very strange to think that entrelac could be as mindless as basic cable knitting is for me, but I think it will be so in the not too distant future.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Project pictures

Ah, a few pictures for your perusal. First up is the very beginning of the Lady Eleanor Stole. It's for me, and I'm using the Noro Kureyon from last spring's disastrous Knit Around Scarf. I think this will be much better. I'd tell you what needle size I'm using, if I could remember. I believe it's size 8.

Next up is the Noro Striped Scarf in Silk Garden. Normally I would give you a bit more information, such as colors used, but Princess Plumeria is in my lap, quite exhausted from kneading my flesh until it almost bleeds. (She definitely looks at me as Mama cat, but sometimes I suffer from this affection.) This is such an easy pattern,yet I couldn't put it down since the yarn is almost magical as it changes from color to color. Go buy some Silk Garden and knit this scarf for yourself. This one? It's a gift.

Another day at the vet

Both Scooter and I had appointments for bloodwork this morning. My new doctor is within walking distance of the vet, which makes it easy to schedule both of us for nearly the same time. I thought this might be quicker. Hah! I was proven to be quite wrong.

We both have to wait for results from our tests. I seem to be doing well with this new dosage of Synthroid. As for Scooter, he gets another round of antibiotics, and we'll know tomorrow if he needs to get sub q again. They had to give him fluids this morning, so I'm thinking I'll be picking more up later this week.

I finished the Noro Striped Scarf on Saturday night. The weather has been uncooperative for picture taking, but I'm thinking I can get some today. Hopefully you will see the wonders of Silk Garden for yourself later today.