Thursday, September 25, 2008

OK, I’m Ready

I feel like I blinked and missed this entire summer. I know a lot of that stems from my unhappy work situation for most of July/June/August. But, it’s water under the bridge and there’s nothing that can be done about it. And, things are getting better, so there's hope! :)

I’ve been at the Lake since last Thursday night. Aside from my iPod bricking on the trip up (please keep your fingers crossed that Gandalf can be resurrected when he’s plugged back in to our PC laptop, which is in Pittsburgh), it has been a wonderful week.

Take this to the bank: I will be taking a vacation up here next September. A real vacation, where I don’t even turn on my work computer for days on end. Right now, that sounds like heaven. It’s so incredibly peaceful up here at this time of year. There isn’t another person within two houses in any direction. I walked down to the beach at noon today and didn’t see another human as far as the eye can see. No kids. Few adults. Just peace.

Today has been a perfect weather day. Low-mid 70s. Light breeze. Calm, crystal-clear Lake. A walk on the beach. A paddle in the kayak. A few hours sitting in the sun.

And now it’s time to wrangle all the bits and pieces I’ve accumulated up here over the summer and head for home. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be up some time next month with my mom to close the house for the year, but otherwise? This is it. And I'm mentally ready to head home until next June.*

As soon as this is posted, I’ll pack the car, visit my favorite humans down the street (who are headed back to Florida in the morning), grab a shower, hopefully snap a few sunset pictures and start driving to Pittsburgh. I’ll have photos of sunset and today's adventure later on and I have a FO-post that I haven’t managed to get posted, but I’m working on it.

See you once I’m back to real life.

*Please don't confuse this for me being ready for LeafWars 2008. I'm certainly not ready for that yet!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ouch (but in a good way!)

First of all, thanks very much to everyone who donated. Krista’s Team Tweed exceeded their goal for the JDRF walk and finished with over $6600 fundraised for diabetes research. I’ll pick the winners later in the week. I’m just too tired to do it tonight.

It has been a good three days up here so far. I worked hard on Friday morning so I could sneak in a little beach time. I wanted to take a bike ride, but the cupboard was bare (No. Really. When I say “bare” I mean it. There was one egg in the house an when I tried to cook it for breakfast, it revealed that it was stuck to the carton and shattered in my hand. So I had toast. A neighbor took pity on me and fed me a ham sandwich for lunch. And that was pretty much all the food in the house), so I went into town for groceries instead.

I got home just in time for sunset

I’d like to officially protest the early-ness of sunset these days. Bah, Humbug!

On Saturday, I ran some errands. I went to a little local crafts shop and found a great beach glass necklace for myself (that I love) and got some Christmas decorating stuff that you’ll see eventually. Then I stopped by the local quilt shop and the local yarn store for quick visits. I went to the beach again, and wound up taking a 90-minute walk on the beach.

So I skipped the bike ride. I figured that even if I hadn’t done an official workout pace, 90 minutes of walking counts as exercise. After a shower, I watched sunset and then enjoyed the LSU-Auburn game. Here’s a look at the sunset

Today was busy. I woke up and got my bike put back together (I had taken the flat tire to Pittsburgh, the front tire was also off so my sag wagon brother could bring me home after the flat, and I re-filled my saddlebag with everything I need to fix a flat on the road if I need to) then hit the road. It was the longest bike ride I’ve taken in at least 10 years. I went 11 miles and it took about an hour. There was one ass-kicking hill, but I made it!!!

Then, because I am silly, I decided that it was most definitely not a beach day (really. It wasn’t) but that didn’t mean I couldn’t go for a walk on the beach.

So I did! Two hours later (!!!) I was home with a huge pocket full of beach glass. I had a semi-yucky dinner (apparently, this oven runs hot, and I should have checked on my pizza earlier, but I was starving so I ate it anyway) and have been trying to watch three things simultaneously (football, baseball, emmys). My legs ache and I’m gonna sleep like a rock tonight.

No sunset today. Just a blanket of gray from about 12:30 pm on. Hope you guys had as good of a weekend as I did! Happy fall equinox! (did you try to balance an egg on its end today?)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cue the Crickets

This is the last you’ll hear from me on this topic, pretty much forever.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund walk for Maidson, Wis., is this Saturday. Margy R. is going to have several options from which to choose, since she’s the only person who has donated to the cause. Previous posts on this topic are here and here.

Thankfully, Krista and Team Tweed have reached their goal for the walk, so I don’t feel like a complete ass for suggesting this flop of a raffle.

As a reminder, I have one skein of Fannie’s Fingering Weight (Farmhouse Yarns) and one skein of Trekking XXL up for grabs. If you’re more of a quilty type, I’ll find something of that ilk to send you. At this point, I’m tempted to offer a prize to anyone who donates $10 to the JDRF through Krista’s page. Here’s the link. Please mention on Krista's comments on the JDRF site that you found her through me, and I'll put you on the raffle list. (Don't worry, Mehitabel, I got ya on my list!)

And here’s a reminder of the yarn that’s up for grabs.

Ignore away.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Philosopher’s House Socks

These may just be my favorite New Pathways socks.

Meet my Philosopher’s House Socks!

There’s nothing particularly special about this architecture. Well, other than the usual Cat Bordhi genius.

Colors are most true in this shot

They are of the Upstream architecture, the only architecture that has yielded a failed sock, so it was a point of contention that I needed to have a pair of finished Upstreams.

These were my final Summer of Socks pair. They are worsted weight and went very quickly, but I still didn’t manage to start, let alone finish, another pair in time for SOS, which ended on Labor Day.

I’m seeing these as very comfy house socks, and they are a pattern I will most likely knit again.

Philosopher’s House Socks

Pattern: Philosopher’s House Socks (Ravelry) from New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy
Color: Dusky Aurora (1 skein)
Source: Bloomin’ Yarns
Needles: KnitPicks Options, US 5/3.75mm, Magic Loop
Size: US Women’s 8.5 (for me!)
Started: 9 August 2008
Finished: 20 August 2008
Mods: None! I did use master numbers, but no other changes.
Summer of Socks Counter: 4 of 4
Special Thanks: to my FO-tographer, Michelle, at Bloomin' Yarns!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Mental Break

I seem to have overtaxed myself mentally over the last few weeks. Physically, I feel fine. Not overtired or anything, but mentally? Yeah. I need a break.

Since the damn job allows me zero vacation days until they have squeezed 52 40-hour weeks out of me, a low-key weekend is all I can hope for.

So on Friday, I picked up the Hubster at CMU and it took us 90 minutes to cross the Allegheny river. Traffic was 405-on-a-holiday worthy, which is quite shocking in this town and had both of our heads spinning a bit.

Once we finally got moving northbound, it started to RAIN like nobody’s business. So we stopped in Mars for a dinner at Max & Erma’s, then completed what turned out to be a nearly six-hour 180-mile trip to the Lake. (dinner included)

We knew the weather forecast for the weekend wasn’t particularly good. Lots of rain, etc. But I also knew that the forecast got worse as Saturday moved along, so when it dawned overcast but “dry,” I started psyching up for what I figured would probably be my lone bike ride of the weekend.

It started raining very lightly almost as soon as I got out of our community, so I un-sunglassed (yes, I was wearing them in absence of sunlight to ward off wind and bugs) and kept going. The legs were feeling OK, so I kept going past the State Park (my easy bail-out for an under-30 minute ride when I feel like something is better than nothing or when the legs just aren’t there).

Less than a mile after the State Park, I decided that the legs weren’t really there and that it was going to start to really rain soon, so I turned around. About halfway back to the Park, I crossed a side road and immediately started hearing a mysterious “fwip fwip fwip fwip.” Couldn’t figure out what it was, so I pulled over into a handy parking lot, spun both tires to see if I could replicate the noise (I couldn’t), drank some water and decided to continue home.

Suddenly, the ride was no longer fun. It was like pedaling through jell-o, and it felt like the back end of my bike was sliding off the berm … like I was fishtailing. I looked down and … shit. A rear-tire flat.

This is a brand new bike (i LOVE it!), and I’ve been lazy about making sure I have the necessary supplies on hand, but fortunately I remembered to take my cell phone on this adventure. A quick call back to the house, and the baby brother was in the sag wagon ready to pick up me and the bike. It was a straight puncture, I have the offending tire here in Pittsburgh and will head over to my favorite bike shop tomorrow to get some spare tubes and everything else I need to fix a flat “in the field” in the future.

And yeah, pretty much as soon as I got back to the cottage it started to rain, and it just kept getting heavier for the rest of the day. How wet was it?

We’re growing mushrooms in the side yard. There are at least a half-dozen outcroppings, all about the size of a basketball. I like eating mushrooms, but these … smell … and I must admit that they creep me out a little bit. ::shudder::

It was also humid as hell today. 80 degrees with about 90% humidity, which was just awful unless you were on the beach in the stiff breeze.

I hope to get back up there this week. And I’m hoping the Lake will look less like it did today

And more like it did on Labor Day. I consider this my absolutely ideal Lake day. Multiple consecutive days of dead calm let all the seaweed in the lake settle down and it turns into a giant warm perfect swimming pool. It just about killed me to leave on Labor Day. All I wanted to do was take a swim then get the kayak out into the water. Here’s hoping I get a few more days like this won in September.
"Waves" ... i'd say they were about 1-2" high. Yes, inches.

I was probably standing 20 yards into the water. I love how shallow Erie is, that's why it warms up so nicely and is very swim-able in the summer!



Please don't be scared by my scary-looking leg and big toe. I was standing in water above my knee while wearing shorts. Just wanted to show you how crystal-clear the water was.

Happy Monday, and have a great week!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fully-Grown Sprout

OK, we can tell the crickets to take a break now. I’ll go back to talking about my finished projects!

I was neck-deep in the Summer of Socks when I made the mistake of walking into Bloomin’ Yarns and got sucked in to the store KAL on this project.

I found the perfect buttons straight out of the gate at Bloomin on the day I bought the yarn. I think Michelle wanted to tackle me when I picked them out. They were her favorite buttons in the store and I bought ‘em all. But they were dead-on perfect for my yarn, so I was mean and I bought them.

I wanted to knit these buttons into the sweater, but then I realized that the hole in the shank would be a great needle sizer for a US 00 or US 000 needle, so not so much. Sewing thread and needle to the rescue. Ugh.

My Cat Bordhi sock knitting spree came in handy on this project. I was totally comfortable on short rows, and was easily able to do properly-leaning increases around the shoulder cable as a result of my sock knitting.

As even more evidence that I need to get back in the gym and start eating better, the above is a modeled photo. The sweater has maybe an inch of negative ease, so if I can lay off the cookies for a bit and start sweating again, it’ll fit perfectly. Ugh. I really hate that shot. (and yes, I fully intended for the sleeves to be a little bit short)

I’ve worn the sweater once, for a football gameday. It was almost perfect, except that when I wear it open, it tends to slide off of my shoulders. I’m hoping that was because I was wearing a tank, so there was no fabric-to-fabric traction on my shoulders.


Knit top-down in one piece with sleeve and torso lengths eyeballed for yours truly

Pattern: Sprout, Top-Down, by Amy King
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy
Color: Deep Seaflower
Amount: Four skeins (approx. 1,000 yards)
Source: Bloomin’ Yarns
Needles: KnitPicks Options, US 10. Sleeves were Magic Looped,
remainder of the sweater was knit in one piece.
Size: 48” bust, but it came out smaller than that, which is OK.
Started: 11 July 2008
Finished: 22 August 2008
Mods: None, other than eyeballing the torso length and length of sleeves to the length that I wanted.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Raffle Yarn!

In an effort to continue catching up on my finished objects, I had planned to make this post a Sprout FO post, but … well, that’s gonna have to wait.

What we need to talk about here is the JDRF. Remember last week? When I talked about Team Tweed and all the good they’re doing walking for Diabetes research? A disease they deal with on a daily basis in their family?

Well, so far, Margy R. has an outstanding chance of winning the raffle, since she is THE ONLY PERSON who has donated to Team Tweed!!!

Now really, folks. We can do better than that! In order to properly tempt you, I’ll show you two yarns that are potential raffle prizes. And if you aren’t a yarn-y person, I can come up with something quilty for ya too. Basically, we’ll find you something from Chez DPUTiger that you’re gonna like.

Meet Yarn #1

Fannie’s Fingering Weight from Farmhouse Yarns. The tag is MIA, but I’m pretty sure that this is the Storm colorway.

And Yarn #2

Trekking XXL. It’s one of the soon-to-be-rare Trekkings, since it’s a plied yarn. The factory that makes this is shutting down and these are going to get harder and harder to find.

So Go! Donate! Do your good deed for today and give yourself a chance to win some fun yarn. Each $10 donated gives you one raffle entry, just tell Krista in the comment that you came from here and would like to be entered in the raffle.


Monday, September 08, 2008

SOS #3: Black Socks of Doom

I finished these over a month ago. You’d think that the recipient sleeps in Siberia, not the other side of my bed! These socks were horribly baggy on all existing sock blockers, so it took quite a while to get daylight, camera, socks and Ginormous Ski Feet all in the same place at the same time.

Meet the Black Socks of Doom.

These are knit for a U.S. Men’s size 11.5 wide foot. Or, as I described on Ravelry, “Really Big.”

They’re a nice plain vanilla pattern and they went quickly

I did have a “yarn emergency” when I realized that I was either going to knit ankle socks (which the Hubster would never ever wear) or that I was going to need a second skein. Thankfully, the Gourmet Yarn Co. in Oklahoma City was very helpful and solved my crisis.

Even though this yarn isn’t completely monochrome, they are Chris-Approved.

I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On, and this was the pair where I really learned in spades that tight is bad with JMCO. If you do the cast-on tightly, you wind up with Mouse Ears. Judy even got a blog post out of my question about preventing this problem! Yes, I will keep this clearly in mind in the future!

Black Socks of Doom

Pattern: Riverbed Master Pattern from New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Yarn: Fiesta Boomerang (1.25 skeins)
Color: Onyx
Source: The Gourmet Yarn Company, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Needles: KnitPicks US2/3.0mm (yes, I like dense socks)
Started: 8 July 2008
Finished: 26 July 2008
Summer of Socks Counter: Pair #3

Mods: None, but I wanted to share these numbers with you, so that my knitterly friends can be impressed. I used Cat’s Master Numbers for these socks. B, the length of foot number, was 11”. C, the width of foot, was 10”. Now do you see why they’re the Black Socks of Doom?

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Yep, that’s where I’ve spent the week.

I flew to Memphis on Tuesday morning and then drove down to Oxford, where I met up with the best friend. I did a few hours of work from his office on Tuesday while he finished his day’s work.

After we headed out and had a bit of dinner, we headed down to his house, where I had an incredibly fun evening just hanging out with Bill and his dogs.

Oh yeah, the dogs! They didn’t do very well at staying still long enough for a photo, but here’s the best one I got of the little stinkers

Jackson on the left, Peggy on the right

They’re both great dogs and Peggy is a trip. She’s a great puppy and is gonna be a great dog when she grows out of the “everything-goes-in-my-mouth’ stage ;-)

After a morning working in Bill’s office on Wednesday, we did lunch in Oxford then I sucked it up and drove southeast to Starkville, where my “home office” is located. Not fun. The leaving, that is. I never get enough time in the same zip code as Bill and it’s always hard to say goodbye, even though I know we’ll be chatting online again in just a few hours.

Anyhoo, the hotel in Starkville is perfectly nice. Nothing flashy, but that’s fine. It does have one rather unique feature that I have completely fallen in love with

RT likes it too!

It has a window seat! Yeah, it’s designed to camouflage the air conditioning unit, but let me tell you, that thing is comfortable!!! I spent a few hours sitting there last night and am typing to you from that exact spot right this minute. The view isn’t the best, but you can’t have it all, I guess.

Today was pretty much an entire day of sitting at a conference table with all of my co-workers. I feel slightly hopeful about the next few months of ye olde jobbity job, so keep those fingers crossed.

A full morning of meetings is coming down the pipe tomorrow (Friday), then it’s a 3-hour drive to Memphis and a pair of flights back to the ‘Burgh, landing around midnight. I look forward to getting home, I just wish someone would figure out that teleportation thing. Someday …

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Raffle Time!

Greetings from Starkville, Mississippi, where I am ensconced on a quite comfy window seat in my hotel room that will get its picture taken for a future post. I got to spend yesterday in Oxford with my friend Bill. I had a fantastic time and it was hard to leave, but for now, I have a bigger topic on my mind.

Earlier today, I received an email from a good friend that I’ve been getting annually for quite a while.

Krista is a dear college friend of mine. We were sorority sisters and good friends at DePauw (in case you’ve ever wondered where my username came from? DePauw University’s mascot is the Tigers …)

When I first started thinking about starting to quilt nine years ago, Krista is who I emailed for advice. To my left coast quilty friends? You know Mary Ellen’s “Welcome to the North Pole” quilt that she taught several times at Bearly? If you read the “thank-yous” in the front credits of that book, the Piece O’Cake authors thank Krista’s mom and praise her quilt shop in Broken Arrow, Okla., in that book!

Anyhoo, Krista and her family live in Madison, Wisconsin. They have spent years dealing with two kids who have Type I diabetes. For the past several years, they have participated in the Madison Walk for Diabetes and this year is no different.

I have already pledged to Team Tweed, as I try to every year. But I’d like to help Krista do a little more.

So I’m offering all of you a chance to chip in :-) You can read more about Team Tweed at their JDRF page. I offer to you a chance to win stuff if you contribute to Team Tweed!

Like I said, I’m in Mississippi until late Friday night so I can’t tell you exactly what I’m offering quite yet but y’all know I have quite the sock yarn and I promise it’ll be something good. If you’re more of a quilty type, I’ll find something similar to send along if you win.

You will get one entry into my raffle for each $10 you pledge to Team Tweed. If you’re interested in making a pledge, CLICK HERE. You can read more about Krista’s family there too. If you decide to donate, make a note in the “Message to Walker” box and Krista will give me your info.

Once I get home, I’ll pick out some cool yarns and get pictures up. I know not everyone has disposable income for this kind of stuff, but a little can go a long way and I figured this little raffle idea might be fun.

Hope everyone has had a good Wednesday. Please cross your fingers that my all-day meetings on Thursday go well. This could be a big day for me work-wise, and make much of the miserable go away. That’s it from Starkville! I’ll try very hard to check in after the 12 hours of meetings on Thursday, but no promises!