Friday, December 29, 2006

Knitting Progress!

Yes, I actually did some knitting while I was in the 'Burgh. Finished the fuzzy feet for Bigfooted friend #1 (big-footed boy #2 would be the hubster. He's going to wind up trying on this first pair). No photos of those Fuzzy Feet. Hey, they're Fuzzy Feet. They all look the same.

This, however, is FF#1 for the next-to-last pair. I changed the toe a little. Did the decreases differently so they aren't so pointy-toed. I like it better. Knit and learn, right?

I also cranked on my Jo Sharp cable sweater. Above is a progress shot. The longer front piece is ready for the shoulder-shaping decreases, but I decided that I'm Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer when it comes to the instructions for this shoulder shaping and therefore I'll wait until I can visit Beach Knitting and get Irma to help. Yes, I should be beyond this need for hand-holding, but let's face it. I'm not.

Close-up money shot of the fronts. There are eight purl stitches on either side of the 25-stitch cable pattern, but they are all rolled up. Can you say "blocking before piecing?"

I had a few things in my living room jump out at me while I was taking my knitting progress shot this morning. First:

Derf and Baxter. Still playing nicely together. Aren't they cute? (Hey. Most knitters have cats. I have bears. Get over it.)

Secondly, it was all the stuff on our mantel above the enormous pile of knitting stuff and various other fribble fireplace. What do I "collect?" Well, it's up on that little shelf.

Art glass (or "paperweights." Take your pick)


My aunt Suzie gave me another glass penguin for christmas to add to my collection. He'll get a Glamour Shot taken tonight or tomorrow and I'll post it on the blog. I haven't unpacked my suitcase yet, and he's in there.

Why have I not unpacked? Well, yesterday morning I got up and went straight into the office for an un-productive day of fake work. When I got home, Hubster and I went to drop off my engagement and wedding rings to be re-sized so they will no longer fall off of my hand at random moments. This is yet another casualty of my weight loss.

Wedding band was a size 9, and has been since Day 1 (7/12/03). Engagement ring was re-set in August as a size 7.5. When Hubster picks them up later this morning, they will both be a size 6.5. Scary.

We also went out to dinner (Outback is yummy), then went home to watch the end of the bowl games, then watch my employer's men's hoops team squeak out its Pac-10 opener. I barely stayed awake for all of our game, then fell asleep while "watching" the double-OT game across town. Having my body clock on east coast time isn't all bad, though. I kind of like waking up on my own around 7 am.

I'm very happy to hear that Marie has the pattern for my mom's quilt. Awesome! And thanks for the comments. It's nice to feel like someone is reading these rantings. :)

Well, off to sweat then get some good writing done. It's good to have goals, right? If I can sweat and then work efficiently, I may try to get in a few field trips this afternoon (or tomorrow). Ideally, I'll visit here and here, and try to not spend too much money. These would be much more frequent stops, but they're too damn far away from my regular life here in LA.

Happy New Year if I get lazy over the weekend

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Back from the Burgh

OK, so I didn't manage to post while I was home. These things happen.

Why do I love this city so much? I don't know the answer, but I know it has to do with more than my family living there.

This shot of the city was taken from Heinz Field during the suck-fest Steelers game on Xmas eve.

I was only able to catch "the pouring of the ketchup" once. It only poured twice. Not a good day for the Black and Gold. Nor is it a good shot, since it's slightly out of focus. But you get the picture.

I wanna make THIS HAT. There's another one too, but I didn't get a pic of it on an actual human and can't find it on any of the Steelers Store websites. Bummer!

The day we arrived in the 'Burgh, I had to felt all the fuzzy feet that I made for family gifts. My dad's wound up too small and I'll have to re-knit. Width was the problem, not length. I'll probably add eight stitches to the round. Also concerned about two of the three pairs that remain to knit. They are both for big-footed boys, so we'll see what happens.

Anyhow, my mom's new washing machine at the condo is a front-loader. Useless for felting. So I had to go over to Eisenhower, to the house where I grew up.

Which was a great big empty. I knew it would be, but it was still hard. I cried (big surprise), but recovered fairly quickly. The new house is perfect for my parents, but it's different and I'm not all that good with change (but i'm improving!!)

Here's what my room looks like. Empty. I enjoyed the felting and will certainly do it again. Of course, I'll have to figure out how to program my home machine so it will agitate at its strongest level for 20 minutes. Easy to do on a "manual" machine.

Finally, here's a pic of the first quilt my mom ever made. It also happens to be my favorite one that she has made, and one that I very much want to duplicate. Eventually.

Now, after an entirely un-productive day at my desk, I'm heading home to start trying to think about what I should do for my exchange blocks. That are due on Jan. 15. Yikes!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Why I Think ...

... that Beach Knitting rocks: As I mentioned yesterday, I was a victim of the amazing separating Destiny Circular needles. I left the office at an "I have a chance" time to get to BK before they closed, but traffic wasn't friendly. I called about 30 minutes before closing time, talked to Joan, and she said if I didn't make it, she'd leave a replacement pair between the front door and screen door in front of the shop. How's that for service?!!! Curious what a busted pair of expensive circs look like?

Tah-Dah! The scary part was that I was knitting away on my cable sweater (oops! Forgot to take a pic. Sorry!), put my knitting down in my lap for a minute, looked back down and I had two loose stitches in the middle of my knitting. YIKES! Fortunately, I got everything back on the needles fairly easily. Unfortunately, I didn't even think about getting a blog pic, I just wanted those stitches safely back on a needle!

... that I hate where I live: Among other reasons, traffic in Los Angeles county sucks. And local authorities do things that let it slide deeper into Hades. For example ... Why couldn't I make it to BK before closing last night? Well, I'll tell you!

Just off of "my" freeway exit on the 405 southbound is a major traffic light. Left-hand turn arrows (these are way too rare out here, but that's another story). FOUR lanes approaching the intersection in every direction -- a left-hand turn lane, a right-hand turn lane and two straight lanes of traffic.

Last night (and this morning), the intersection was just a blinking red light. With the left turn lanes blocked off with traffic sawhorses with big Ghostbuster-type NO LEFT TURN signs. And stop signs on more traffic sawhorses. This created so much of a back-up that the freeway was backed up more than two exits. People approaching the intersection from the west were backed up for almost two miles. This morning at 6:30 am, it was a 10-minute back-up.

Would it kill these people to station a traffic cop at an intersection like this? Even for rush hour? I guess so.

... that living here doesn't completely suck: Um .... uh ... We get some pretty cool sunrises? And I have some pretty amazing friends, at work, at Beach Knitting and at Bearly Stitchin' even if I don't see them nearly enough around my work schedule.

... I can't wait to fly home tonight: Well, I'm excited to see my parents and their shiny new digs. The last time I saw the condo, it was just a shell. Totally under construction. Now it's shiny and awesome and they have been living there for almost a month. Plus, tomorrow is my dad's birthday and I have a haircut at 12:30. Yay!

Plus, there will be plenty of reading/knitting/movie-watching/family time. Gotta love that.

... I need to start my day: I haven't worked out in almost two weeks and that's first on the agenda. Plus, I want to leave the office for a week with a clear conscience and mostly clear desk, so I'd better get moving.

... I enjoy holiday music so much: A lot of it is just plain fun. The religious Christmas music is so familiar that it's really enjoyable. Then there are fun remixes from favorite bands ... Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" to name one. And don't forget music from the other tribe. My favorite? Check out The LeeVees! I saw them at the Barenaked Ladies holiday concert last year and they were FANTASTIC.

I'll do my best to check in from Pittsburgh. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Yes, I suck.

I have been a bad blogger. I've been traveling. I've been sick. I have not been taking pictures, blogging or doing much knitting. Humble apologies.

Here's an update: Returned from Hawaii on Dec. 10 at about 6:30 am. Slept until about 1 pm that day, then started doing a bunch of work. Worked all day on the 11th, made it to the M&Ms holiday potluck, only an hour late (sorry, ladies!). Here are pics that Lisa took of a few of the (nearly) finished objects made from our mini-group blocks. They were both AWESOME!

Beth's quilt made from the black-and-white blocks (2nd and 3rd exchanges). Top only

Sandy's quilt made from the red-and-green blocks (1st exchange). Sandwiched, not quilted.

Sandy's across-the-street neighbors who have got to be close to blowing a circuit with all the stuff they have going on out front.

After the potluck dinner, I zipped home and got packed. Left for Omaha on the morning of the 12th. I didn't take any pictures of the Qwest Center or any NCAA Volleyball stuff. Sorry. There just wasn't time, and it really wasn't that interesting.

We returned to beautiful Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 16). Watched the final on TV. Lots of happy Husker fans in Omaha. Whutever.

I did get some knitting done on my Jo Sharp cable sweater, got the pocket placed and was cranking along on Sunday night ... until my Lantern Moon needles fell apart in my lap. Yep, I'm a victim of their problem with the Destiny circulars. I'll sneak over to Beach Knitting to get a replacement pair tonight so I can take them with to Pittsburgh for my vacation.

Oh yeah. I leave for Pittsburgh on a red-eye tomorrow night, arriving on the 21st. Can't wait. :)

Otherwise, the hubster and I visited the Mouse House last night. The halloween decorations were a lot more fun IMHO. We did dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. Food was OK. Then, since the place was not in its normal mobbed-by-schmoos state, we went to Build-A-Bear workshop. That's where I met Baxter.

Baxter is DERF's cousin, since I got DERF at Build-A-Bear on one of our first trips to the Mouse House.

Family Photo

Today's final at-home activity (before I left the hubster to tackle a mountain of laundry so we can pack clean clothes tonight) was preparation for my best impression of Santa.

BUCKEYES AND BLACK-EYES! In the fridge ...

On the kitchen table ...

Packed up to take to the office (Yes, Barbara. I used my friends-and-family card. Thank you!)

They have now been (mostly) distributed to happy recipients. And now that I have done my mental stretching for the two things that I must actually write today, off I go. Will try to not suck quite so much while in the 'Burgh.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I have not slept well since we've been here and have been awake for 15 hours already today even though it's only 8:15 pm HT. Please bear with me if I wander in this post.

Why did I wake up at 5:15 this morning? Well, I didn't sleep well (again) because the beds in our hotel are crap and the pillows aren't any better. And I woke up 30 minutes before my alarm was set thinking "I forgot to check what time sunrise is. We planned to meet at 6 to go to Diamond Head, and I don't want to start the hike in the dark!"

Sure enough, sunrise today was 6:57, so we hung around the hotel a little while and headed out at 6:20. By the time we got to the crater, it was definitely getting lighter and we could see easily as we started up.

I remember being exhausted and sore after my last trek up the crater about four years ago. Now I'm probably at least 60 lbs lighter and in MUCH better shape than I was now. I got back down feeling like I hadn't gotten in my full workout today. Scary, huh. OK. Time for Pictures!

Left to right, this is Jessica from OU, Darren (our radio guy) and me at the very tiptop of Diamond Head with Waikiki Beach in the background.

Me, flyin' solo.

Needless to say, it was quite windy this morning. And tonight. This is my first non-Labor Day Weekend trip to the Islands and apparently, winter is windy in Hawaii.

Wanna see the knitting I haven't touched since I left LA?

Jo Sharp sweater, first front, not quite ready to put in the first pocket. I'm also just a few short decreases away from finishing my fourth-to-last Fuzzy Foot for intended Xmas gifting. I'm gonna have one kick-ass felting party when I get my life back.

That's about it from here. Too much shopping (but it's actually fun), lots of volleyball. And hopefully, soon, some dinner and a decent night's sleep. Aloha!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A 65th Anniversary Reminder

Disclaimer: I have 10 minutes to write whatever I'm going to write and post it. The hotel here is adequate at best. No workout room. No internet access. Functional but not particularly comfortable beds. On the up-side, it has the most functional/comfortable teenytiny shower I have ever used and their towels are top-notch.

Sometimes I get so caught up in my job that I forget what's happening outside my little world of sports. Especially around postseason travel.

Which is why I was a little surprised this morning when I turned on the TV for a weather report and discovered the 65th Anniversary remembrance festivities for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I majored in history in college. I enjoy studying and reading about WWII. It has been an honor to share the elevator in our hotel with veterans, giddy with excitement about today's ceremonies. I am thankful that I have been able to speak with these men, even if it's just to say "thank you for your service" and watch their visible happiness when they hear those words. I was touched by Tom Brokaw's keynote speech that I thought was quite appropriate to the occasion, and particularly moved by the end of the ceremony over at Pearl Harbor this morning when they asked all of the veterans in attendance to stand and be recognized.

Gotta go. Hope to have some pics to post tomorrow. Bummed that our rescheduled admin meeting tonight means that I have to miss the team dinner at Duke's. Stupid Trojans.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"The Best Sushi In L.A. ..."

So one of the riffs that Ed and Steve brought up repeatedly during the "Barenaked Ladies are Me" show that Bill and I went to last Wednesday focused on this billboard. Notice the quote is not attributed to anyone. At all.

So it could be anything. It could be "The Best Sushi in L.A. is nowhere near the Universal CityWalk." It could be "Could you please tell me where to find The Best Sushi in L.A.?" You get the point.

Even if Bill and I had eaten at this particular restaurant, I would not be able to render an opinion as to whether or not this really is the best sushi in LA, since I don't eat things that used to swim. Especially raw things. It isn't that I don't like them (well, maybe a little bit), it's honestly that I'm allergic.

So Bill. We had a really great time last Wednesday. I picked him up at the shiny new Galen Center over on USC's campus and even found it on the first try. The same could not be said about our next destination, his downtown hotel. I got pulled over for an illegal left-hand turn while trying to get from A to B, but fortunately got off with just a stern talking to and examination of my paperwork (whew!).

Fortunately, we had a ton of time, so Bill got to change clothes at his hotel, ditch his work bag and we headed off to Universal CityWalk and the Gibson Ampitheater. Got some dinner and headed in to catch the opening act. Big mistake. They were awful in ways I can't even describe. Ed came out and sang a song with them and the only reason that was entertaining was because he was guitar-less and obviously couldn't figure out what the hell to do with the hand that wasn't holding the mic.

In all, I got to spend about eight hours with Bill last Wednesday night, and saw most of the Ole Miss-USC game the following night. I meant to get a pic of the two of us, but never managed to get that done. He's one of my very best friends and I talk to him almost every day, but it was a special treat to be able to go to such a fun show with him and just hang out for an evening. And before you ask, the hubster didn't mind at all (yeah, I think I'll keep him!)

What is this, you ask? Well, it used to be the dark green cable sweater in this post. I love this sweater and I had both fronts and the back (pictured) finished. Now it's all in re-wound balls of yarn. Why? Because it was sized for the "old me" which was six sizes bigger than I am now. This sweater was useless to me the way it was, so I frogged the whole damn thing. Right now I have pocket linings knit and will be taking the yarn with me to Hawaii.

Technicalities: It's Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky in forest green. It will grow up to be a Jo Sharp cable sweater (Uproad). Sorry. Can't find a pic of the finished product but trust me, it's awesome.

Oh yeah. I leave for Hawaii on Wednesday noon-ish, returning (probably) on Sunday. I'm hopeful that I can hike Diamond Head on Friday morning with a counterpart from one of the other participating schools. At worst, I should be able to replentish my Crazy Shirts supply, since the ones I currently own and love have the same problem as that green sweater, pre-frogging.

One little special treat arrived in the mail today. I got two skeins of hand-dyed yarn from the Etsy store of adam knits. The blue and yellow one is finger paints and is a thicker gage yarn (above)

while the sock yarn is called "fruit loops" but the hubster immediately thought of "Lucky Charms" so that's not so far off.

Well, I'm gonna watch the rest of Monday Night Football (which I'm sure turtlegirl is watching since her team is playing and it's tied!), sneak in a little knitting then go to bed at a responsible hour (I hope). I'll do my best to update at least once while I'm in Hawaii, but it will all depend on the job. Have a good one! :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We Have Sleeves!

Sorry I have been so quiet lately. It's a busy time of year with the job (you know, the thing that lets me continue to buy yarn and fabric?)

I'll get to the actual knitting content shortly. Tomorrow is going to be a long, but kick-ass day. Why? BLAM!!!!! Yep, I'm going to the Barenaked Ladies show at Gibson Ampitheater in Hollywood tomorrow night. With good seats. But WAIT! It gets BETTER!

I would like to extend a personal, heartfelt thank-you to the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Committee. Why? Because they sent Ole Miss volleyball to USC for the first round. They are playing their games Thursday/Friday. That means that my best friend Bill, who works at Ole Miss, is here. In Los Angeles. As I type. AND I'm about 95% sure he can go to the show with me tomorrow night. WOO-HOO!!!!!

On to the fluff.

Meet Troy DERF-amalu. You saw a look at Mr. Bearamalu here. Since the Steelers have continued to stink not play well, we tried something else. Bear went back to what he was wearing last year -- my "off jersey" (I wear the jersey the team is wearing -- white or black -- he wears the other one despite the fact that is 10x bigger than he is). It's a little tight over his head, but Derf (that's Fred spelled backwards. He's a build-a-bear and he looked like a Fred to me. Then the hubster started on his Harry Caray riff about "Sosa spelled backwards is A Sauce." He's been DERF ever since) looks pretty cute in the jersey too, don'tcha think?

Next. As we have previously discussed, my office is a thinly disguised meat locker. I went in to the office on Monday in my workout gear, plus a sweatshirt and shorts (I sweat in spandex shorts-- nobody needs to see that outside the gym). After 10 minutes in my office, I was freezing, so I pulled out a fleece zip-up jacket that lives in my office for obvious reasons and used it to cover my legs. I shifted a few minutes later and felt something poke my leg. When I went to investigate what it was that hurt, IT DREW BLOOD.

See? Blood! Ouch! What caused this?


Whoever sewed this jacket broke a needle and didn't bother to find the business end. Which wound up in my leg. Then my thumb. The truly amazing thing is that I've had this particular jacket for more than seven years and Monday was the first time I ever noticed the needle. Scary. And impressive, in a weird way. The really odd thing? My first thought was OOH! Blog fodder!

Knitting content. Really. I now have both sleeves done on the purple V-neck. I'm hoping to have it finished and ready to wear in Omaha if I need to be go there in two weeks. We'll see, though.

OK. Off to watch Boston Legal on TiVo (we just finished Studio 60) then get packed up for tomorrow's busy but FUN day. I'll blog again as soon as I can squeeze a few spare minutes together. No guarantees when that will be, but I'll do the best I can. Have a great day! :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Little Yarn Family

Last Wednesday, Beach Knitting was open late (they're open until 8:30 every other Wednesday at the moment ... next one is Nov. 29) so I stopped by for a little toe-finishing help on my second sock and got sucked in to the free class ... Christmas Stockings!

Now, I didn't jump on the bandwagon for the free pattern that Charlo was teaching. Nope. I already owned this book, and decided I wanted to take the plunge to knit the christmas stocking on the cover. Now, I'm not saying it's going to be for this Christmas, but I figured it would be a good first color-work project and it's really cute, so why not?!!!

So I went ahead and purchased three skeins of my new favorite perfect-for-almost-everything yarn, Cascade 220, in red, green and white.

While I was hanging around home waiting for the termite guy to spray on Saturday morning, I decided to swift those three skeins into balls. Green. Done. Red. Done. White?

Well, we had a little issue. After I pulled the slipknot and got the ends ready to start winding, I noticed a few other ends sticking off of the swift. Hmmm ... Here's what I wound up with

Yep. A little yarn family. I decided that for this particular project it's irrelevant, plus Cascade 220 is such a reliable yarn that I know that this particular hank was an abberation. Still, I took it back to Beach Knitting on Saturday just so Karen could see how it came off of the swift (remember, scissors never touched this yarn once it was in my possession. I un-did the "knot" by hand!)

Of course, Karen decided that she needed to photograph the little family of yarn balls, at which point someone else suggested that they could be arranged in a different manner:


In other news, I have some mild progress to report on the purple sleeve:

On my third try, I got the toe on my toe-up short row heel sock completed correctly. (No picture today. I forgot!) I had a little trouble on the first rows past the "point" of the toe on the first two tries. Then my only issue is that apparently I picked up my stitches through the wrong part of the crochet chain for my provisional cast-on, so I had to un-pick my waste yarn by hand. Live and learn, though! And bring on that second sock!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Behold, my first ever pair of socks hand-knitted by yours truly:

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn
Yardage: one skein with a decent-sized chunk left over (what the hell am I gonna do with that?)
Source: Beach Knitting (where else?)
Needles: US3, using 5 DPNs
Pattern: Cuff-down, heel flap pattern generated by Sock Wizard, courtesy my socks class teacher (Charlo)

They were fun. Charlo, the Queen of Socks at BK, is doing a toe-up short row heel pattern for me that I'll pick up (and attempt to figure out) on Saturday. Socks may become my traveling knitting once I'm through my current Fuzzy Feet Frenzy, but as tempting as wonderful sock yarns are, I doubt I'll become a hardcore sock knitter. The hold-up? Teeny-tiny needles.

Sock #1 is on the right, Sock #2 on the left. How can I tell? The first sock striped perfectly the whole way down the cuff and the second one spiraled for a while then went straight down, then started to spiral again. Not only did I decide to not care, I really don't notice the difference. I don't know what that says about me as a sock knitter, but there you go. Either way, I must admit that I'm pretty damn impressed by my Kitchener Stitch-ing abilities. They look pretty damn good.

Oh, and one more awesome thing about socks? No seams and only two ends to weave in! :)

I've made a huge dent in the avalanche of duties that had me freaking out yesterday. This is good. I had to confront the co-worker I mentioned yesterday. This is not my forte, but I also feel good about that.

My only other even remotely interesting piece of news is that I got a flu shot this morning and my arm hurts where they poked me. Waaahhhhh!!!!

I'm in a holding pattern for some work stuff right now, but if I can get out of the office in time, I may go do something fun with the hubster tonight. We'll see. Meanwhile, have a great evening! :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A New Look

Yep. I changed my Blogger template. I decided the old one was too dark. I "auditioned" several other templates and while there were others I liked, this was decidedly my favorite. Hope you like it.

I'm in a mild state of panic today. I feel like I'm letting things fall through the cracks and it's really starting to bug me. This is my mini-mental health break before I dive in to the "full speed" portion of my work day which includes arranging some interviews and getting in my workout.

The other thing that's going on is that my parents are moving today and tomorrow. They bought the house in March, I was born in May and they have never moved. Until today. I know it's just a building, but it's home. Today, the furniture that won't fit in the new house (they are moving about 1.5 miles away, into a condo) is being moved into my brother's basement in a neighboring suburb. If the hubster and I can ever manage to move back to the Pittsburgh area, we'll take possession of that stuff. The rest is moving over to the condo tomorrow.

This move is without question the right thing for my parents to do. I'm happy for them. But I'm a little sad that when I go home for Christmas, it won't be to that house. It'll be weird, ya know?

OK. Off to kick my day in to high gear and probably have an argument with my least favorite co-worker. Wish me luck! (no new knitting or quilting content, although I'm hoping that I can finish my first official pair of socks tonight. Woo-Hoo!)

Monday, November 13, 2006

ssetnuoC = Countess

I'm writing from home on my home laptop. Unfortunately, all of my photos are on my work laptop. At work. So if you're reading between NOW and oh, about 7:30 am PT on Tuesday, you'll just have to bear with the spacers that will become photos when I edit the post in the morning.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a so-so knitting day. Got up, got a little organized, got showered and went over to Beach Knitting. Love that place! :) As you may remember me saying, after last week's fun over at BK, I came home and F'd up every single project I touched.

The sleeve of my purple V-neck sweater? Odd number of stitches, which means I missed an increase somewhere. Irma, my favorite knitting magician, helped me fix that pretty easily.

I hadn't F'd up my alpaca sleeve #1, so here's a nice boring progress photo. Sorry I didn't realize until just now how bad the color looks on this. It's still that peacock-turquoise, it's just really blown out in this pic.

I'm trying really hard to dress like a grown-up and look a lot more business-like at my office. this would be MUCH easier if the air conditioning (yes, I said air conditioning while we're in No-freakin-vember) in my office building wasn't set for about 50 degrees. I know I collect penguins, but I didn't know I needed to BE part penguin to work in my office without turning into a human popsicle. I gotta finish my alpaca cable and my purple wool V-neck so I don't freeze to death in the office every day.

Then there's my beautiful Countess. When I went to BK last Sunday, I thought I was in decent shape, but then eight rows after I split the V on the neck, Houston we had a problem. 39 stitches on one side, 41 on the other. Ruh-roh, Shaggy! Here's a photo of Countess as it looked when I walked in to BK yesterday morning

First, Irma waved her magic wand and tinked back to the split on the right front of the sweater, 'cause I had obviously missed a neck decrease on that side. I got back to work. At this point, my brain was starting to melt. But I perservered. Re-knit the right front to match the left front. Counted again. SHAZBOT! So I took a deep breath and we decided to rip back to the split for the neck. Ripped. Picked up. Counted. 80 stitches. I started with 78, side shaped down to 70, then side shaped back up to 78. In theory at least. SHAZBOT! (this was the first time I shouted the F-word in the store. All friends in da house at this point).

Took a close look at the sides, as Irma joked that I was gonna have to rip the whole thing. Within 5 minutes, I knew that while she was intending to joke, she was absolutely right. I had missed the first three of the four decreases on the right side of the front. No wonder I was fat after the split and had an uneven number of stitches on each side. Would have yelled the F-word again, but there were people I didn't know in the store, so I just grumbled a lot and took the sweater into the back to use the winder to frog the damn thing.

So now it's sitting on a small needle at the end of the 2x2 rib waiting for me to be willing to pick it up again. I will, because I love this yarn and love this pattern, but it's frustrating as hell to have to re-knit this thing. But I'd damn well better pay attention when I pick this thing up again, and not just paying attention to the cable! Here's a current shot, as of 6 am Tuesday:

It's now 7:30, I got home in a reasonable amount of time, cooked up some yummy dinner (pasta with meat sauce) and cracked open what's left of the white wine my mom left behind. No Countess for me tonight. Haven't decided what I'm gonna do yet. Could read, could sock or could Fuzzy Foot. I really want to embroider some quilting labels, but that's more set-up and general work than I'm up for tonight. We shall see.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Lone Stars, Pumpkinstein

That's how I spent my Veterans Day Holiday (Observed), and it was awesome!

First, I took a 10a-4p Lone Star Tree Skirt class from Bobbie Moon at Bearly Stitchin. We did it with the Quiltsmart system (4x4 Lone Star), which was amazingly fast, easy and best of all, ACCURATE!

I showed up at the store at about 9:55. Traffic cooperated, I just hit snooze one too many times. Got all of my crapolla out of my car (no small feat!) and was in position for Bobbie to start instruction at 10 am.

Despite all of my stellar intentions, I didn't do crap to be ready for this class, beyond pulling three fabrics from my stash. I was thin on reds and knew there was a background fabric sitting at Bearly that I liked.

I started cutting out the quilt at about 10:15. 32 rectangles that are 2.5x5.5 (FYI, if you cut 2-5.5" strips, you're just about guaranteed to have the perfect number of rectangles). The first of my eight "pie pieces" was a teensey bit slow, but once I got into a rhythm (fuse, glue, sew), it flew by.

At lunchtime, I took a field trip to Unraveled in Monrovia. My friend Beth works there some Sundays. I had a BLAST and found some really great yarns for very good prices. Everything was either on sale or was great yardage for a very good price.

Even with my hour-long field trip, I had all eight of my pies finished by 4 pm. I guess that makes me the class over-achiever, since nobody else got that far. It took until about 4:30 or 4:45 to get all of the long seams pressed open (the worst part of the process, by far). Here's a pic:

That cream-colored square in the bottom right corner is my background fabric

And here is a close-up!

I didn't feel like continuing on the Lone Star as we morphed from "normal" class into Friday night. After a dinner field trip with Beth, Carol and Lisa to Whole Foods for extra-yummy salad bar dinner, I switched machines and started cranking on applique for Pumpkinstein.

At the start of the evening, I think I had four of the pumpkins zig-zagged. everything was fused about a year ago, laid out before they were pressed so the seams will next. I'm hoping that I have that digital photo on my personal computer or on the memory card on my old camera so I can remember which pumpkin goes where, since I just chukked these onto the table for a photo op at the end of the night.

This quilt was in Quiltmaker magazine about a year ago. It was great fun and I'm looking forward to getting it pieced, sandwiched and quilted.

A few little catch-up notes:

1. Thursday was a day that made me loathe living in LA. I stayed home until 8 am to hang out with mom and Suzie a little bit before they headed off to Vegas. It took me 90 minutes to get the 16 miles from my house to work. I left work at 5 sharp, and it took over two hours to get home. I don't think I topped 20 MPH the entire ride home. It was awful.

2. I'm almost done with my third pair of fuzzy feet. I'll polish off this toe and cast on the next pair as soon as I'm done with this blog update.

3. I'm past the heel on my second "real" sock. Look out, I'm learning toe-up and short row heel next! ;-)

4. Going knitting tomorrow. Better get to bed reasonably soon so I can be at Beach Knitting at their open (11 am). I managed to screw up everything I touched right after I left the store last Sunday, so Irma has her work cut out for her in helping me fix everything.

Enjoy whatever is left of your weekend! :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I'm the Mayor

No, I didn't win an election (of any kind) and neither have any of my Roaming Gnome nominees (yet). It's just that my mom and Aunt Suzie have been in town since Saturday night.

I love having them here, and I love having the totally valid excuse to only spend half days in the office. But it's still tiring just having your normal routine disrupted. HOWEVER, the biggest bonus of having them here? They're doing my holiday "baking" for me. BOO-YAH!

Mom in the foreground, supervising the BlackEye dipping. Suzie is keeping the assembly line moving. Thanks again! :)

What have we done on this visit? We spent half of Sunday at Beach Knitting, then came home and watched the Steelers suck, again lose to Denver.

Monday, we went shopping. For clothes. For me. THANKS, DAD! :) Banana Republic enjoyed our visit, I'm sure.

Yesterday was particularly fun. We stopped by my Aunt Janet's house in Pasadena for a brief visit, then went to The Huntington for tea (YUM) and to tour the gardens. No pictures from tea, but afterwards we went walking!

First, to the Japanese Gardens. Wow. Very cool, literally and figuratively. When we walked down to where this bridge was, I'll bet there was a 20-degree temperature difference in the little valley.

Also, lots of koi in the pond. Big koi!

Here I am with Suzie in front of the house in the garden

And this is me with my mother. The goofy look on my face is because mom was torturing trying to tickle me while Suzie was taking the picture. She's good at that.

The Huntington was awesome. I'd love to go again.

Today, we were planning to go to LACMA, but lo! It's the only museum on the planet that is closed Wednesdays, not Mondays. Who knew?

So instead, we hit a couple of yarn stores in Santa Monica. First, a new store that has only been open five weeks. I found two skeins of Cascade 220 in colors that Beach Knitting doesn't carry. I'll probably go back. I enjoyed it. It's called Compatto and is on Wilshire in the 2100 block. Then, over to Wildfiber, where I found a skein of sock yarn, a set of straight cable needles, a mini-kacha kacha and two additional yarn needles. Mom and Suzie did OK too. I was the only one to purchase at Compatto.

That's it for the trip details. Mom and Suzie leave tomorrow morning to go back to Las Vegas for my cousin's wedding on Saturday. I'll try to post my knitting updates tomorrow. Really. :)