Tuesday, April 29, 2008


It’s been a long time since I put together a real blog post. A recap?

To once again quote an all-time great movie

Let me ‘splain … No. There is too much. Let me sum up …

• I woke up at 4 am one week ago tomorrow (Wednesday) and almost never got out of bed all day. Thursday was only marginally better. Friday, I was vertical for most of the day, but had a relapse on Friday afternoon while shopping in my mother’s closet for the hospital’s Harlequin Ball. I managed to recover sufficiently to attend the dinner to its conclusion.

• I tried to work at Bloomin’ on Saturday. I made it down there at noon and was shot by 2:15. Pathetic. Came home and slept for three hours.

• I stayed awake all day on Sunday. Major moral victory.

• I did not sew or knit a stitch between last Tuesday night and Sunday night. I have the shoulder seams sewn together on the side-to-side vest and I found really nice buttons for it at Bloomin’ before I got sick

• My sock knitting has been Cables & Corrugations from New Pathways. It has been smarter than me for much of the last week, including a day or two before I was sick. It took until this afternoon to figure out precisely what I need to do to marry the master numbers that fit my foot/gauge to the pattern. I’ve done this on several other socks I’ve knit out of this book, it was just tougher than usual on this particular pattern.

• No matter what you are supposed to be eating/drinking when you’re sick (the doc told me to drink Gatorade. Ick.), you want what your mom gave you when you were sick when you were a kid. For me?

Yep. Ginger ale and pretzel rods. Has to be Canada Dry. Has to be pretzel rods. Can’t be twists or any other shape.

• When you’re supposed to be potassium-loading but you hate bananas? Orange juice is surprisingly high in potassium!

• When I came down with the evil bug, the cherry tree in my neighbor’s backyard and the flowering tree in SuperNeighbor’s yard across the street were both flowering and awesome. And the leaves where just coming in on the maple trees over our hill. When I became vertical again? I can no longer see the street across the gully and both the cherry tree and SuperNeighbor’s tree had moved along to leaves.

• We do, however, have this cool-looking tree in our front yard. It’s just starting to switch to leaves

• I played with both neighbor dogs today. You’ve seen plenty of “my” puppy, Sidney. Here’s Mia, the full-grown black lab who lives in the other house next door.

• Must call Landscaping Dude. It’s getting scary.

• Damn good thing I was “recovered” in time for Monday. I easily had 300 incoming emails between lunch and 6 pm on Monday and the volume has only slowed a little bit since then. And can I just tell you how utterly fed up I am with people who DIDN’T READ any of the snail-mail or half-dozen email reminders they received and missed a deadline as a result? And now want special dispensation so they can play too now that they’ve missed the damn deadline? BE A GROWN-UP. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY.

• Let’s Go Pens!

So that’s about it from here. Hope your last week or so has been equally eventful, but not as painful. That stomach bug was a bitch.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Much like Westley ...

I haven't been all dead, only mostly dead. I don't get sick often, and when I do get sick, I doubt that I deal with it all that well.

Wednesday morning at 4 am, I woke up with a truly awful stomach bug. I never left the second floor of my house all day Wednesday, and the Hubster actually worked from home in honor of my level of miserable. That decision was probably influenced by seeing me lying face-down on the bathroom floor following my first attempt to do a little time-sensitive work. What can I say? I was hot and the tile floor was cool. It felt good! Yesterday was better, but still painful. And I slept. A lot.

Today, I feel human for the first time since Tuesday. I'm a little weak, but that's probably to be expected since on Wednesday I consumed about 30 oz of water, 8 oz of gatorade and two pretzel rods. Yesterday consisted of more water, a doctor's visit to reassure me that I wasn't dying, gatorade, ginger ale, a couple more pretzel rods, some tortilla chips and a string cheese.

I'm supposed to go to a fundraiser dinner tonight. We'll see how I feel when it gets to this afternoon.

I haven't knit anything since Tuesday. Thanks to Yvonne for checking on me :) I am feeling better, though, and I hope to post again relatively soon. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I showed you my Brooks Farm Riata vest yesterday.

That photo was taken pre-Hurricane Knitters. By the time I was done with the Hurricanes and came home and knit for a relatively short period of time … I’m now through two of the nine rows of button band, at which point all I have left is finishing work.

Hence, the problem.

I should have thought of this last Saturday when I was at Bloomin’ Yarns. I need buttons for this thing!

Speak up, Burghers! Where do YOU go when you need great buttons?

I can field trip on Friday. I do plan to check at Bloomin’ then possibly go down to Canonsburg and check out the Knit Shoppe and will probably swing by the J-store as well.

This problem needs to be solved pretty quickly. I don’t want to lose momentum on this project and the last thing on earth I need is another UFO!

In other news, I’m swatching this yarn

So I can knit the last architecture in New Pathways. WOOT!

Mom, Suzie and I checked out the Three Rivers Quilters quilt show today. I didn't take many pictures and none were particularly blogworthy. I must admit that I became quite spoiled going to Road to California and Glendale annually for the last seven years.

The good news is that we found multiple good shops that are between here and the Lake, mostly right off of I-79. I got two charm packs of 6” batik squares and a very reasonably priced kit for a cute Safari quilt.

Since the show was basically at South Side Works, we visited REI while we were in the neighborhood. I got a pair of fuzzy Merrells at a very good sale price, and I was weak and picked up another pair of the most comfortable sandals I have ever put on my feet (today, I got the Oak Tree Blue colorway. Already own Shirley Wedgewood).

It was a beautiful day and I didn’t go for a walk. Shame on me. Perhaps I’ll either do that tomorrow or Ill take a walk PLUS mow the lawn/leaf wrangle.

I love our trees, but damn, those leaves really kicked my ass this year.

Start talking buttons (please)!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WiP Wednesday: New Week, Old Project

Yeah, I still only have one thing on the needles, and it’s the Side-to-Side vest.

I figure I have one, maybe two nights left on this vest and it’ll be done. The big trick is going to be forcing myself to do the finishing work on this the as soon as I have the body knit.

Won’t be much finishing on this project, but still. I’ll have to sew the shoulders and pick up the armhole bands and do a neckband. Not much, really, but we all know my love of finishing work (not).

Tomorrow, I’m venturing out to the Three Rivers Quilters quilt show. I’m hopeful that it will be a good time. RT will be on hand and we’ll see what he does with my wallet on this field trip. The little stinker!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wicker and Mondays

What do they have in common? I’m not a big fan of either one.

When I was a kid and we bought our summer home at Lake Erie, it was full of wicker furniture. I never really liked any of it and was certainly not sad to see it scatter to the winds when we built the new place.

Most of the reason is just that the aesthetics of wicker just don’t appeal to me. But then something like this

Does something like this

It was recoverable … two slippery yarns that like to snag when you look at them crooked, but that was 20 minutes I would have preferred to use doing something else.

(no harm, no foul in the end)

As far as Mondays go, I spend my Mondays wrangling information. The most important information is the 30 ballots that are due to me each Monday. At 6:10 pm today, I went to wrangle what I had at that point and remind the stragglers. I had 11 ballots. I usually am in the low-to-mid 20s.

That’s when it dawned on me that my usual (scary) volume of incoming email was lower than normal all day.

I hadn’t gotten a single ballot through our crappy website.

As of 11 pm Monday night, I only have 18 ballots. Let’s hope I get a flood in the morning. Because this really sucks.

I’m cranking along on the Brooks Farm vest. With a little luck, I may have it done this week. Which would be awesome, but I’m not counting on it. The trick is going to be doing the finishing very quickly once I finish knitting the body. Because we all know me and finishing. :)

This is going to be a good mail week. It started today, but I haven’t taken any photos and I’m tired, so perhaps I’ll wrangle a blog post for tomorrow night. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sew There!

I spent all of Friday and Saturday night sewing, and it was very much fun.

Unfortunately, since all of it was for my M&Ms swap, I can’t show you “real” pictures.

You see, our swap started when I was in California. We all “turned in” the first row of a quilt that we will get back at the end of the year. Carol diligently figured out the rotation for who gets whose quilt when. From that meeting on, we won’t see our own quilt again until the final meeting of the year in early December, when everyone will receive a finished quilt top.

I got Carol’s row first. She sent me her fabric early (remember my soggy mailbox saga?), but I got totally slammed with work and couldn’t get anything done before I left. Of course, the second switch was the Monday I got home from the super-long work trip from hell. I was at my house for a grand total of 48 hours between when I saw everyone in LA and when they swapped rows, so they knew I’d miss that swap.

When I was in LA, I got the background fabric for Lisa’s quilt (the second one I’d get), which turned out to have been a really good idea :) That's what let me get so much done this weekend

So I made up my mind that the weekend would be spent in front of the sewing machine. I already knew what my block was going to be for Carol’s row, then I picked the block and fabric for Lisa’s row. Since I had the fabric in my stash, I was able to go to the “closer” quilt shop rather than the “nicer” quilt shop … the only reason I needed an outing at all is because Carol’s row completely wiped out my stash of 3” finished Thangles. God, I love Thangles! They’re wonderful!

The best news is that I actually had a good experience at the closer quilt shop ... for the first time. Yay! There's hope!

First up was Carol’s row. She had a border print she fell in love with way back when and is having us all do blocks with a cream print background with colors that will match the border print. I sewed the bulk of it on Friday night, then finished it off on Saturday night. Here’s my row, sewn to her row and all ready to go to the Post Office tomorrow

Then it was onward to Lisa’s quilt. Lisa had a little too much time on her hands preparing for the start of this swap (ahem!) so she did the Lisa thing and went a little overboard (that’s why we love her!).

Lisa’s theme is M&Ms, the candy! Black background, the one color of fabric to be used should be picked because it matches the color of a traditional M&M candy. Block is to be five of the same, 12” finished size. Name must include “Star.” I think I did, OK, don’t you?

I used almost every inch of that green making the blocks. In fact, I had to “fudge” one larger piece to make it work … that half-yard of fabric had some appliqué-sized chunks taken out of it which is why I was so close to the edge on that fabric choice.

I finished Lisa’s row last night (Saturday night) while watching one of my very favorite movies and the row is sitting on my quilting table waiting for Lisa’s row and Carol’s row to arrive from California. I'll sew my row onto that, then it’s right back into the hands of the USPS to go back to California for the April 21 swap.

Nothing like cutting it close, eh?

In other news, I did do some knitting today. I’d guess I’m about 60% through the vest and actually attached the second skein of Riata today. I’m the tiniest bit annoyed … I was on the edge between knitting the medium and the large and chose the medium because the large called for three skeins and I only had two. Judging by where I joined the second ball, I would have had enough yarn to knit the large.

Oh well. It should still be fine.

I also wound the yarn for my next Cat Bordhi pair of socks. It’ll be my eighth and final architecture. Wow! Then it’ll be my RSC Leafling socks with some sweater knitting thrown in. And I really do miss sewing. And I neeeeeeeed a wall hanging for the “landing” on my entryway stairs and found a pattern at the quilt shop on Friday, so it’s a good excuse.

OK. Off to watch some playoff hockey on Versus (doesn’t hurt that they’re pulling the Hockey Night in Canada CBC feed right now!) and knit a little more before bedtime. Hope you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

WiP Wedneday: Vest!

Nope. Not a sock on a needle anywhere in the house! Instead …

It’s a side-to-side vest knit in the Brooks Farm Riata so recently featured right here on YPF. (color is much better on the YPF post)

You start with the left front. I’m a the increases point of the left armpit (about to start on the back). It’s going quickly.

Winding all of those KidSilk HellHaze kits for the Modern Quilt Wrap at Bloomin’ convinced me that I didn't really have a mohair sensitivity. I may have been wrong about that, since this project is making me the tiniest bit itchy if I work on it all night.

But it’s nice. And I like the colors. And if I’m going to go to MDSW, I should probably knit something from the yarn I got at my previous fiber festival, yes? (no, i haven't decided yet)

In other news, it may officially be spring.

Since my mom can’t really garden at her new house, she has an area in my backyard where she can still play in the dirt. She put in a bunch of bulbs last fall, and now whatever they are, they’re blooming

No, I have no idea what they are. Tulips, maybe? No clue. I have a black thumb.

Oh, and we’re officially first base again

The back corner of our house is first base for the “diamond” the boys next door use for their pick-up baseball games in the side yard.

In other news, yes, I deleted a comment from yesterday’s refrigerator post.

Yes, it was essentially an ode to an appliance that had been in this house for just about as long as I can remember. Yes, we will probably replace it. Eventually.

(rant warning)
And if you have a problem with that, I’m more than happy to talk with you about that.

But if you’re going to put an anonymous comment on my blog telling me that I’m killing the environment and that having a second freezer/fridge is irresponsible? I’m going to delete it. If you have something to say and you want me to take you seriously, SIGN YOUR DAMN NAME.

I found this particularly irritating/ironic because just last night I read a blog post that I thought was written on faulty principles and was making a point that I found offensive. But I decided that I didn’t want to get into a dialogue with the person who posted to their personal blog. That left me with two options: Leave an anonymous comment or keep my trap shut. Wanna guess which one I picked? That’s right. I took a deep breath, closed the window and let it go.

So if you have something to say to me, fire away. I can take it. I’m a pretty reasonable, rational person.

But don’t do it anonymously. That’s not cool.

< /rant >

And finally, isn’t it awfully cruel of the Pirates and Cubs to subject the fine folks of Pittsburgh to 27 innings of baseball over two games? Seriously.

Oh, and Melissa gets total credit for pointing this out, but how in the world has the Pittsburgh sports media not latched on to this movie in connection with our local baseball team? Really. It’s almost as easy as using “We Will” to mock the team, and it’s funnier with a catchy kid-friendly tune (Enter the site and skip the intro. It’s worth it.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Paging Dr. Kevorkian

Rather than running for public office, the Doc should perhaps visit my laundry room.

When we bought this house, it had two refrigerators. One in the kitchen, the other in the laundry room.

This is the laundry room fridge. It was the kitchen fridge before my mom remodeled the kitchen in 1996. And it’s old.

In fact, it’s on its last legs. About two weeks ago, I noticed that a previously frozen-solid loaf of bread was “squishy” when I took something else out of the downstairs freezer. My secret stash of ice cream (it lives downstairs. It's less tempting that way.) was soft, but still frozen.

I moved the “really must stay frozen” stuff upstairs, but most of the other stuff was OK down there, as it was probably hovering around 35 degrees. It all came upstairs on Sunday night when pretty much nothing was still frozen solid

Now? It’s probably about 38-40 degrees, and the refrigerator portion of the program isn’t all that cold either.

We can’t really afford to replace the thing right now, and it’s probably not worth it to try to get it fixed. It’s old. How old?

Anybody remember these? Yep. It’s the Envelope of Life! (holy crap! I had no idea they were still doing that! Who knew?!!) And how long has that envelope been in this fridge?

April 4, 1982. That’s my dad’s semi-legible chickenscratch, by the way. Oh, and my last tetanus shot being in 1981? My dad and I were both listed with 1981 as our last tetanus shot, which means that was the year of the Great Hamster Incident, in which hamsters escaped and were captured, but managed to bite (and draw blood) both my dad and me.

That coincides with end of our hamster ownership. Ahem.

Anyhoo, the date on that Envelope of Life being in 1982 means that this fridge is at least 26 years old. Probably closer to 30. We’re talking about what to do replacement wise and when. We’ve talked about the Sears scratch-and-dent on Rt. 50 which has a lot of potential. We’re also talking about getting an upright or chest freezer rather than another traditional refrigerator. However, I didn’t have any other blog fodder, so this is what you get today.

I’ll try for crafty content tomorrow. And yes, I have had a teatnus shot since 1981. Two, actually!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Finished Fountain Foxgloves!

Yesterday, I spoke with Carol Martin of Farmhouse Yarns about her Bo Peep's yarn.

She explained why it’s so “rustic” (her description, and a very good one, by the way!). She doesn’t believe in superwash wool because it’s to hard on the environment, so Bo Peep’s is 80/20 wool/nylon. It’s washable because of the nylon content and how it’s made.

And these socks will wear like iron. Carol likes a very firm sock, as I do, and she examined my finished first sock along with my nearly finished second sock. She approved and said these socks will never wear out. I’d have to guess she’s right. :-)

These were a pretty quick knit. I figured out pretty fast that doing the “official” Fountain Foxglove patterning on top was pretty worthless, but I did it anyway. The stitch work just gets lost in this particular variegated yarn

Carol tells me that they’ll soften up a bit with washing. They aren’t uncomfortable now. I like a closely fitted sock and these fit the bill. Like all the other socks I’ve knit from New Pathways, they fit great.

Pattern: Fountain Foxgloves from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Yarn: Farmhouse Yarns Bo Peep’s
Color: Storm
Source: Bloomin’ Yarns, McMurray, Pa.
Needles: KnitPicks 16” US2/3.0mm
Sock 1 Started/Finished: 24 March/30 March 2008
Sock 2 Started/Finished: 30 March/6 April 2008
Mods: None

Just made ‘em a little shorter than my normal socks. Mostly because I wanted to be done with them. I had plenty of yarn to go taller, but these are just fine.

Next project is already on the needles, but you’ll have to wait to see what it is. One hint: it's not a sock! Hope you had a good weekend!

Friday, April 04, 2008

YPF: Brooks Farms Riata

Hmmm … not quite midnight. Can I sneak in a Yarn Pr0n Friday post?

Sure, why not!

Remember this little stinker? Stealing my wallet at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival?

Well, I thought I was all done with Brooks Farm on the first day. But then at the end of the day on Saturday, I saw this really cool sideways-knit vest that they had knit up as a sample of their Riata yarn.

I fell in love. First thing on Sunday, RT snuck over there and brought this back to the stash

Two hanks of Brooks Farm Riata.

48% Wool, 36% Kid Mohair, 16% Silk. About 365 yards in each 8-ounce skein

Worsted weight. Very pretty.

I wound the first hank to take to Hurricane Knitters on Wednesday night, but didn’t feel like swatching.

I think that if I make it to MDSW I may trip and fall in the Brooks Farm booth again.

But really. Is that such a bad thing?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Enabler Alert

OK. First, this has nothing to do with yarn or fabric.

I highly recommend that you either read this or, even better, listen to this. It’s OK. I’ll wait.


OK. Welcome back. ☺ Pretty awesome, huh? I thought so when I heard it on NPR last night. There’s a reason Wait Wait won a Peabody!

I forgot to take pictures of my sock-in progress. Picture the same thing as last week, just on the second sock and three pattern repeats farther up. I’m gonna turn the heel tonight after I post to ye olde bloggity blog.

And then I’ll fly up the leg of the sock (I didn’t make the first sock very high. Mostly because I wanted it to be finished) and be done.

Next pair of socks will be the final architecture from New Pathways, and I’ll use the February shipment from my Zen Yarn Garden Harmony Semi-Solid sock yarn club. That I apparently forgot to photograph. If the weather is decent, I’ll do that tomorrow but meanwhile, here's the Flickr photo from the Harmony blog.

Meanwhile, I just want to tell everyone how freakin’ great this sock club has been. As a reminder, here’s my January shipment

And here’s my March shipment. Roxanne had a supplier problem and this is a brand new base yarn. Tencelicious Yarn, 50% Superwash Merino, 50% Tencel. 2-ply fingering weight. 375 yards/4 oz. Colorway is called "Sun Kiss."

This has been a fantastic sock yarn club. Sign-ups are open now (until Sunday) for three-month and six-month memberships in the club. Go! You will like!

Last night was Hurricane Knitters at the Waterworks B&N. I do believe that a good time was had by all, including Yvonne, who had some automotive nightmares en route. I still really enjoy that group of humans. It’s a good mix of people.

OK. That’s about all I have for tonight. Sorry I haven’t been much fun. I did swing down to Bloomin' Yarns tonight. The sale is already going on, and it’s pretty good. Michelle even got some new bags in to the store today. One is already sitting on the stairs waiting to come home with me … last night I re-discovered some Christmas present gift cards from BY that really want to be spent. I’ll bring my mini-haul home on Saturday. Remember, birthday cake, Carol Martin from Farmhouse Yarns and ME if you stop by the store on Sunday!