Monday, March 31, 2008

The Lost Day

I had big plans for yesterday (Sunday). Yes, I fully intended to sleep until I woke up naturally (translation: no alarm clock!), since I hadn’t done that in months.

Then I wanted to do a little housecleaning (It’s out of control. We desperately need to find a maid service here. I'm horrific at housecleaning and I hate it. I will give up yarn/fabric money to get someone to do it for me.) and I reeeally wanted to do some quilting. I’m sadly, pathetically behind on my M&Ms, and that’s not fair to my friends in California.

[We shall not mention that those terrible people are all at Asilomar. I’m so envious I can hardly see straight]

But that’s not what happened. Let’s back up a bit.

On Friday night, the hubster and I went out for dinner at South Side Works. While we were there, I stopped at REI to shop. It’s one of my very favorite places to browse, and yes, I’m a member. They had a good chunk of stuff on clearance and we found Derf a new hat. See?

Yeah, I know I’m capable of knitting something similar. And someday, I will. Meanwhile, I’m quite happy to have gotten a nice fleece-lined TurtleFur earflap hat on clearance, thankyouverymuch.

Anyhoo, after food, we went to Heinz Hall for a little culture. Then home. Saturday, I worked at Bloomin’ Yarns while the Hubster had his crash-and-burn day. Remember I told you how different each individual skein of a single Farmhouse colorway can be? Looky here:

Those are all Fannie’s Fingering Weight in the Kalidescope colorway. Honest Injun. I promise! This is why you should select your Farmhouse sock yarn in person! And, if you want, you can pick them out with the help of Carol Martin, the owner of Farmhouse Yarns! She’ll be at Bloomin’ for their anniversary sale on Friday and Saturday, April 4 & 5 (and if you come on Saturday, you can see me AND have birthday cake!)

Anyhoo, on Sunday, it was my turn to crash and burn. I slept until 11:30 am and came downstairs to finish the first Fountain Foxglove sock. Check.

That’s where my list for the day ended. I wound up needing a nap that afternoon, which was nice. We did leftovers for dinner and I went to sleep at a reasonable hour.

But this morning? Instead of my normal AM groggy, I feel like somebody punched me in the throat. Not just a sore throat, but an ache. I wanted to take a nap this afternoon, but I never pulled it off. I did manage to accidentally help Sid (my cute furry next-door neighbor) break her collar. Oops. All is well though, and it’s time for me to go to sleep. Nighty-night!

Friday, March 28, 2008

YPF: Farmhouse Edition

Yes, I know that the traditional YPF features just one yarn. But who says you have to be traditional?

I first heard of Farmhouse yarns when Melissa was knitting away with some Bo Peep’s at Hurricane Knitters back in January. Then, while we were setting up the Bloomin Yarns booth at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival, we had two cubbys worth of amazing worsted weight sweater-worthy yarn that I am still drooling over (Mary's Little Lamb Light Worsted).

And at that point, I hadn’t even met their fingering weight yarn!

First off, we’ll meet the two Bo Peep’s Sock Yarn that had to come home with me. First, the one I forgot to photograph before I wound it and started knitting

It’s the storm colorway. Bo Peep’s is 75% Merino, 25% Nylon. They suggest a US 1-2 needle to get 7-8 sts/inch. I had to get one more, though.

This is the Old Glory colorway. 450 yards/5.4 ounces. Machine wash gentle, cool. Tumble dry low heat.

I will use this yarn. It makes a nice thick sock and it goes quickly since I knit it on either a US 2.5 or a US 3 needle. But it feels to be the same weight as the Fiesta Boomerang, and given a choice, I’d pick the hand of the Boomerang every single time.

However, that is absolutely not the case with Farmhouse’s fingering weight line!

That’s the Farmhouse Fannie’s Fingering Weight, also in the Old Glory colorway.

Strangely, it is listed at the same gauge as the Bo Peep’s, but there’s no way it should be. It’s a significantly thinner yarn, but the hand? WOW. Very soft and yummy

400 yards, 4 ounces, 80% merino, 20% nylon. And boy-oh-boy is it soft!

I also caved in and bought a hank of their Rainforest colorway that was part of the St. Paddy’s Day display at Bloomin’ Yarns

Yeah. It’s nice. Me likey.

As great as the yarn is on the Fingering weight, I would highly recommend purchasing this yarn in person rather than via some of my favorite online pushers like The Loopy Ewe. You can put 2-3 skeins of the same colorway together on a table and they’ll look totally different. If this yarn has you interested, I’d say find a local retailer and dig through their stock. Bloomin’ Yarns, for instance, has a big ‘ol basket of just Fannie’s Fingering Weight with multiple hanks of each colorway.

And, the fearless leader from Farmhouse will be at Bloomin’ Yarns next week for their big anniversary hoo-hah. Come stop by!

On a side note, the weather was actually nice on Wednesday. What the hell happened since then? I'm cold again! Oh well. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WiP Wednesday: Foxglove

Yes, it’s another Cat Bordhi sock. Did you expect any different?

It’s going to be Fountain Foxgloves and I’m using Farmhouse Bo Peep in the Storm colorway. I fell in love with this yarn when I saw Melissa knitting with it at Hurricane Knitters back in January.

It’s going very quickly and I love the colors. The feel is about a C+ or a B- It’s OK, but it’s not great. I have one more skein of this that I will knit up, but then when I want a heavier weight yarn for socks, I’ll be reaching for that Boomerang again.

In other news, I finally made an office supply run on Monday and I got sucked in by a calculator.


Because it converts English to and from Metric! This one is totally going to be living in my knitting bag!

Oh, and remember my adorable new neighbor? She’s getting big!

She’s a big gold ball of energy

I can’t wait to puppy-sit!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's a Fiesta!

This is a yarn I will absolutely use again.

In my fervor to knit all eight sock architectures* from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters, I have used several yarns that have been great to deal with. This one leads the pack. Last summer, Turtlegirl spent an early-September YPF waxing poetic about some Seacoast Handpainted she received as a birthday present.

When I commented that I had some of that yarn and it was certainly necklace-worthy, Aimee (I think) emailed to tell me that if I thought Seacoast was awesome, I should try Fiesta Boomerang.

So I did. The Loopy Ewe to the rescue once again!

This was an exceptionally quick pair of socks. I cast on the first one just after returning home from Florida. I finished the second sock in three days.

Pattern: Woven Ridge from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Yarn: Fiesta Boomerang
Color: Coyote
Source: The Loopy Ewe
Needles: KnitPicks 16” circs US 2/3.0mm
Started: 13 March 2008 (sock 2: 20 March 2008)
Finished: 23 March 2008 (sock 1: 20 March 2008)
Mods: Used the master numbers rather than the numbers specific to the Woven Ridge pattern. Simply subbed in the 7-stitch Linen Stitch pattern.

I also changed the cuff. Pattern calls for a K3P1 rib. I did a K2P2

I really like the bind-off on these socks, too. It’s just a regular bind-off (knit the whole thing, don’t bind off in pattern!) but with the yarn doubled. Even with the yarn doubled, I intentionally made it a reeeally loose bind-off. Wanna see a close-up?

I still have nothing but good things to say about this book. I’ve now knit six of the eight architectures with no complaints. Well, there were the failed Dove socks that went to the frog pond, but I think that was a bad yarn-to-pattern match and was no fault of the pattern.

It’s past my bedtime and I need to pick a stupid Player of the Week in the morning, so I had best get myself off to bed. We’re sleeping under my M&Ms quilt for the first time tonight. I’ll try to take pics to show it off tomorrow.

*Why the hurry to get all eight knit? I'm teaching a New Pathways class starting Saturday at Bloomin' Yarns. But so far, nobody has signed up, which means the class will most likely be cancelled. Oh well. It's not going to stop me from casting on for the next pair of socks from this book (probably Fountain Foxglove)!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

You call this Spring?

First, Yvonne tagged me for a meme, so I’ll get that out of the way:
1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 (or more) pages (All Creatures Great and Small/All Things Bright and Beautiful 2 volumes in 1 by James Herriot. I actually had a wide variety to pick from, but this was at the top of the pile.)

2. Open the book to page 12 and find the 5th sentence: That man over there, bent double and slashing away at the air with one hand – he was castrating a colt in the standing position.

3. Post the next 3 sentences: And the one with his arm out at full stretch, his fingers working busily at nothing – almost certainly foaling a mare; probably correcting a carpal flexion. And doing it effortlessly too. Veterinary surgery was a childishly simple matter in a warm bar with a few drinks inside you

[Note: Thank God that last sentence was included. These are the first two of a four-book series that I can’t recommend highly enough for anyone who ever likes animals. The BBC series based on the books is fantastic too.]

4. Then tag 4 people. No thanks. I’ll pass on this part, but feel free to do it if you want.


So on Thursday (remember, the equinox was Thursday! You’d never know!), I headed up to the Lake with mom and aunt Suz. We took care of the primary reason for the trip first

And we picked up our quilts at Quilted Memories (that's a 716 area code if you're in the area. No website, sadly). Also bought some fabric (duh). No pics of either of those. I’ll post quilt pics once I can get the binding on. I hate binding. Almost as much as I hate making labels. I need to find some good transfer paper so I can make labels with my computer. Any suggestions?

So after we picked up our quilts and some fabric, we headed over to the cottage.

The following is usually a big field on the main road into our community

Gee, I wonder why we had a major mosquito problem up here when I was a kid? When things aren’t frozen, there’s a pump that helps this water get out of this field and into the Lake, which “solves” the mosquito problem.

Yeah. It’s most certainly still winter on the shores of Lake Erie.

You’ve seen this vantage point before, many times, but I’d never seen it like this!

The Lake is still frozen. Yes, frozen. I wanted to go out and tromp around a little bit, but if I wanted to do that, I should have gone up a month or two ago when I could be a little more confident that the ice is thick. So I stayed up on the neighbors seawall and took my pictures from there.

That ridge there? It’s the one closest to the bottom of the picture? With the small animal tracks in the snow leading up to it? That’s the boulder that’s in almost all of my sunset pictures.

That’s looking east from our little vantage point. You can kind of see the “ice volcanos” that formed when the lake was starting to freeze. Oh, and those ridges? Probably 20-30 yards into the lake from the shoreline.

We then did a little driving around the community and stopped between our community (the Point) and the neighboring community (the Bay). RT jumped out of the car and got his picture taken with the frozen Bay and Dunkirk in the background. (Again, that would all be water in the background if everything wasn't still frozen)

After dinner at the country club, we went over to The White Inn, (sorry SJ! They have typos!) where we stayed the night

No, we can’t stay at the cottage in the middle of winter. It’s not winterized. That means no insulation, no heat (well, baseboard heat, but that’s not particularly effective vs. 30-degree temps!) and no plumbing. We drain all of the plumbing so it doesn’t freeze.

On Friday morning, RT wanted a photo-op with the White Inn in downtown Fredonia, then we hit the road southward. We stopped at the Grove City outlets (who knew that Good Friday was a major shopping day? That place was crowded!) then home.

Now, I have a second sock to cast off, then bed. Yap at you later!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Things I Know

• Staying up until 3 am is much more fun if you are knitting/quilting/reading a good book/hanging out with friends than it is if you are working.

• Working until 3 am is OK if you can do it in your sweats/PJs and it buys 24-36 hours of guilt-free field trip with mom and aunt.

• Barnes & Noble sucks. First the one at South Hills Village was mean enough to my closest-to-home knit group that they moved to the nearby Borders. Now, the host B&N for Hurricane Knitters has decided to close (along with almost all the other 'Burgh B&N locations) at 9 pm instead of 10. They made this change on Sunday and only had teenytiny signs announcing the fact. We were all surprised when they announced at 8:55 pm that they were closing in five minutes [side note: the collective "WHAT?!?!?!" from our string of tables was probably pretty amusing]

• Giant Eagle didn't like that five of us sat in the cafe to talk and knit for an hour or so until our normal departure time. They sent a scary-looking employee to watch us until we left.

• I am probably going to be not-quite-ready when mom and aunt show up unless I wrap this up NOW.

• I am picking up my pineapple quilt today from the machine quilter. Yay!

• I had several other good ideas for this bullet-point list, but it was 3 am and sleep was a higher priority. Sorry!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Finally Finished!

This would have been done many, many moons ago, were it not for the Work Trips from Hell. However, fortunately, it did get finished. And, it came in just under the wire.

The Cobblestone for the Hubster is FINISHED! And just in time for his birthday, too (it was today) (Happy Birthday!)

It was colder outside than I thought. That's why he looks semi-grumpy. That plus the fact that we were on our way to his b-day dinner with my family and he doesn't like to think he might be late, especially if it's because his crazy knit-blogging wife needs pictures of her latest FO. In the cold. With no jacket.

Pattern: Cobblestone by Jared Flood (Interweave Knits Fall 2007)
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers, 7 skeins
Color: Ocean Tweed (#9414)
Needles: US 9/5.5mm KnitPicks Options
Started: 19 January 2008
Finished: 16 March 2008

Mods: My gauge was a little small for the pattern, and I hated the fabric when I tried going up to a larger needle to get gauge. So I knitted one size up from what I had planned. As a result, I had to jerry-rig the neck a little bit.

Hubster insists that the sweater is fine. I’m not thrilled with it at all. Yeah, I’m glad it’s done, and as Alyson said on her blog when she knit this sweater for her husband, the garter in the round yoke is a soul-sucking black hole of knitting.

I like the length of the torso just fine. Yeah, it’s a tiny bit long, but that’s better than short. But, the sleeves are way too long and the whole thing is just kind of big on him. It’s better than being too small, which was my biggest worry. He has no intention of wearing it for work, and he’d rather have big and comfy than fitted. But this is the first fitted thing I’ve ever knit for someone other than myself, and I wish it had turned out better. Or at least not something that would fit Andre the Giant.

I thought I had the damn thing finished around lunchtime today, but the neck looked big, so I had Chris try it on. Yeah. Ginormous neck hole. So I ripped out the neck, did another round of closely-spaced decreases, another round of purl, then re-knit the neck. Much better. I’m pretty sure this was a function of me compensating for my off-kilter gauge and I do not blame this on the pattern.

It is an easy/quick knit. The length of time you see above is deceiving. Remember, I lost three FULL weeks of knitting to work. There is almost no finishing for this project. If you use wool (like I did), it’s easy to spit-splice the hanks of yarn together which almost entirely eliminates the ends to weave in. Finish the neck, kitchener the armpits and you’re left with fewer than a half-dozen ends to weave in. I'd give my finished object a "C" which is not what I like as a final grade on a finished object.

Ah well. The next pair of socks are on the needles, and this now leaves my Options set (in my kick-ass new case [mine is the last 3 pics in her photoset] by Zonda!) free to knit my Alpaca with a Twist Highlander into the top-down Raglan pattern that’s been patiently waiting in the queue for way too long.

This week should have at least the tiniest bit of fun. Keep your fingers crossed! ☺

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wait! Wait!

Don’t Tell Me …

I had tickets for something tonight (good seats! Off to the side so we were a little obstructed by speakers, but third row!)

What was it? Hmmm …

Yep. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, my very very very favorite NPR show, was in Pittsburgh tonight. I went to see the show with my mom and aunt Suz. My face hurts from laughing for two solid hours.

Yep. We had Mo (in a very lime green blazer), Roxanne (in a SERIOUS dress) and Tom (who left a light on ... somewhere). Our Governor was there in person to play “Not My Job” and was pretty decent! A good time was had by all.

I forgot to take a picture of it, but I had all three panelists and both hosts (Peter and Carl) sign my program. I did get goaded (by Aunt Suz) into getting my picture taken instead of letting RT have all the fun.

Yep. It’s me with the Rock Star of NPR, Mr. Carl Kassel! All of the panelists were super nice and hung around to sign autographs and talk with the people. It was much fun!

I have YPF photos sitting around just waiting to see the light of day. I’ll try to get my sorry self motivated tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dorothy was Right

There’s no place like home!

I’m still exhausted and mentally empty. Which is a problem. Because The Job has a big ‘ol chunk of hate waiting for me. Tomorrow needs to be a productive day.

Anyhoo, we finished the last tournament on Sunday. Stopped at Panera Bread for dinner then I was dropped off at the hotel. While my co-workers started the eight-hour drive back to Mississippi, I headed up to my room to dump my stuff, then looked out the window. Great sunset.

So RT and I headed downstairs. First, we watched some spring break bikinis dump a Big Gulp worth of rum & coke on the elevator, then went out to the beach.

I talked to the Hubster and took waaay too many photos of the sunset. But it was a great sunset.

Eventually, we left the beach and headed upstairs. It took forever, because the spring breakers managed to make two of the three elevators malfunction. I got back to the room, did my Sunday night work, packed, showered, and realized that it felt like it was 3 am. It was 10:30.

I was up at 5 to meet my ride to the airport at 6. But he didn’t show. So I took a cab. Once I got to the airport, I investigated the oversold flight situation and discovered that a $200 Delta voucher was mine if I was willing to wait 90 minutes and take a first-class seat from Atlanta to Pittsburgh. So I did.

I’m still exhausted, and need to get a good day of work in tomorrow, or I’m in tough shape. Wish me luck!

And with that, RT and I bid adieux to work travel until some time in mid-May.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Apostrophes R Us

This is just for SJ.

And it's a lovely little sample of my life this weekend.

This (obviously) is in the press box. Actually on the window of the field I've been using as my "office" for the last few days.

And, this one is on one of the (many) entrances to the facility. Oh, and the identical sign is at every entrance.

And, just so my employer can fit right in, here are the plaques for the trophies we'll be handing out tomorrow.

The photography isn't the greatest (sorry, low battery + tired + trying to be a little sly, but hopefully you get the picture) Nice, huh? (we can get the plate changed out)

Two more sleeps. :)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

RT's Day in the Sun

While I was off doing the work thing today, RT had himself a nice little day on the Gulf Coast beaches of Panama City, Fla.

After I got back from my 40-minute walk on the beach, I took a shower, packed up and headed for the ballpark to get ready for the tournament to start tomorrow (weather permitting, of course). That little striped wallet-stealer made his plans for the day

First, he trotted on out of the back door of the hotel to survey his options. Plenty of chaise lounges supplied by the hotel for rental. Canopy or umbrella, sir?

Then he played in the sand for a little while. It's very different from the beaches of Lake Erie that he's used to. There, it's lots of rocks of all shapes and sizes. Here? Just pure white sand and lots of it. Hardly even any shells unless you go right up to the edge of the surf.

After playing in the sand for a while, he needed to take a rest.

His Shirley Temple was on the way. He's a little Tigger. No need for booze!

But, the lure of the waves was too much after a while, and he went down to jump around in the waves for a while

After a good play in the waves, he took a little rest on his chaise, then headed on up to the hotel. The sun disappeared for the day around 1 pm and he was waiting for me in the room when I got back from lunch. A good day was had by all (I guess).

I did my two-hour thing at the field, went to lunch with my co-workers then spent the afternoon writing. Four sleeps 'till home. I just keep reminding myself that I'll be there soon. Not soon enough, but still very soon.

I'm also trying to not think about the fact that I have a 7:30 am flight on Monday and what that means in terms of wake-up. It's best to just go station-to-station at this point. Hope all of you are doing well. I'm OK in a big sense, but am very much looking forward to being home again, in case you hadn't figured that out by now. :)

No sunset tonight thanks to the big 'ol storm coming in (that may or may not wash us out tomorrow. I don't really care if we get these games in or not, to be honest). But we did get some cool sky action going around 5 pm. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Getting Closer

Well, I would have totally finished Ocean Toes 2 on the drive to Panama City today, but ...

Yep. Ran out of yarn. Fortunately, I think the finished sock is a bit too long and I just need a little yarn to finish Sock 2. The big question is how much should I rip out of Sock 1. I made a pretty awesome hash of the pattern from where I started the increases for the arch. Yeah. It's that bad.

I'll probably leave this project exactly where it is for a while while I knit the two remaining sockitectures in New Pathways so I'm ready for my class. Ridgeline is next.

The hotel in Panama City is significantly nice. It's actually one of those condo-that-rents-like-a-hotel places. RT, Bear and I have the master suite because my suitemate co-worker is quite cool.

We're right on the beach.

Like right on the beach. Awesome. We're gonna do our best to take a walk on the beach in the morning. Schweet! I'll also post better beach photos from the field tomorrow. The wireless card I have is better than nothing, but not by all that much.

And, as an added bonus, I got to take sunset pictures tonight! We all know that's one of my favorite photo subjects! :)

Dinner was supposed to be at 6 local (central) but got pushed to 7 because "we" had to pick up some guy I never heard of. He's a coach who lives in Kansas? Beats me. All I know is that today is the first day in almost a month that I haven't been bone-crushingly tired. I'd like to go to bed at a relatively early hour so I can bring that streak to a whopping two days. Wish me luck! I had a really awesome meal for dinner, which was followed by the Meeting from Hell. Five more sleeps, and I think it might be a long weekend. :(

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Six More Sleeps

Until I'm home. Can't wait. I leave for Panama City tomorrow morning, 8 am sharp.

I just worked a 12-hour day. Literally. But I got most of what I need to get done, done. But boy, am I ever exhausted.

The bad part is that I let the Tired win earlier today. I really hate it when that happens.

Oh well. It's over now. I'm off to get some grub and go back to my boss's house while everyone who lives there is at a game. Me? A little knitting on Ocean Toes, a little repacking/organizing of my stuff, and bed.

That's the pic I wanted to post yesterday. I went out and bought at 1GB card/reader combo at Wally World. We all know that this means I will find the original reader tonight, right?