Wednesday, October 29, 2008

WiP Wednesday: ::Yawn!:: edition

Not much going on this week, so things look much the same as last week.

No progress on the Incredible Shrinking Barts. (cue elevator music while I wait for the USPS to arrive with the yarn to finish them)

Not a stitch on the Christmas Class Socks. (both of my students canceled less than an hour before the last class was supposed to start last Saturday. I’m hopeful they’ll show up tomorrow night)

Haven’t touched the Political Bolero. Maybe next week.

A tiny bit of progress in the Land of Dishcloths

And finally, I had to have a mindless project to take to the game on Sunday, so allow me to introduce to you

The Koigu Kermit socKs!

Yarn is Koigu (duh) from stash. The green reminds me of my favorite frog, although it's less neon than our favorite amphibian friend.

I cast on when I got settled into my seat around 1 pm Sunday. And I lost about two hours of knitting time when someone I already didn’t like decided it would be rude for me to knit during the game. Oh well. I still got a good three hours in. These are going very quickly and I had forgotten how great Koigu is. I picked this yarn because it was already wound. That’s it. That’s the list!

I’ve started sewing again as well. The basement was almost perfectly picked up before I set up the sewing stuff. I’d show you what I’m working on quilting-wise, but then I’d have to shoot you.

Hopefully some non-secret sewing is coming up soon. Meanwhile, I’ve been to the gym five times since I mentioned it last (yay!) and am continuing along as a busy little bee.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 27, 2008

When Answering the Phone Can Be Fun

A few minutes before 9 p.m., our home phone rang. We have caller ID.

The area code was 323 with “Unknown Name,” which was the Hubster’s work area code when he was at Cal State L.A.

I answered, figuring it was one of my California friends. It wasn’t.

The (male) caller asked for Chris. I asked who was calling, since I could clearly hear phone bank noises in the background.

“I’m calling for No on 8,” he said

Me: “What?”

Him: “Proposition 8”

Me: “Huh?”

Him: “Have you heard of Proposition 8?”


Him: … silence …

Me: “You know you’re calling PENNSYLVANIA, right?”

Him: “Uh, … no”

And just for the record? There is no possible way I would vote for Prop 8 if I still lived in California. But I don’t. And neither does the Hubster. We haven’t for about 16 months.

Chris explained the mechanics of how this happened. It has to do with companies that update phone numbers and nobody doing a sweep to make sure that the new numbers are still in California. Because why would anybody leave California? ;-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

YPF: Aisling Fingering Weight

I just searched my tags and discovered that I haven’t done a Yarn Pr0n Friday since August. Oops. As at least two of my friends noticed this week, I have done a massive Ravelry stash update, so I have plenty of yarn to keep me blog-busy for months. Basically, everything that has come into the house since Maryland Sheep & Wool in May.

Seriously. It’s scary. I have a metric ton of sock yarn in this house.

And we won’t even discuss the amount of fabric I folded and put away in the basement over the last week.

I am coming to the realization that I could use a few more wearable sweaters (preferably handknit … and, ya know, finished) but otherwise? I have plenty. Plenty of sock yarn. Plenty of fabric. Plenty. Plenty. Plenty. It's about time for a sock yarn stash spending freeze.

But enough of that. It’s Friday, so I’ll share my Yarn Pr0n.

This is a recent acquisition. It stared at me from its perch on the fireplace at Bloomin Yarns for about two weeks before it really had to come home with me. (it's twin is still hanging out there if you love this skein as much as I do!)

It’s extremely soft and squishy

It’s not my general first-choice color (I have way too much blue in the stash), but these colors really work together.

From a deep forest green to a nice fall gold with some light green parts and barely-dyed spots in between. I just love it.

Fingering Weight
Color #306 Duck Soup
100% Superwash Merino Wool
100 grams
460 yards

The basement is clean! I'll take pictures tomorrow, but if I can find the time this weekend, I have the space all ready to get some sewing done. YAHOO!!! :-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WiP Wednesday: Sock This!

I’m going to take a page out of the book of my bloggy heroine, Turtlegirl76, and post first thing-ish on Wednesday morning (gym first. blog second.). Here’s what I’m working on, photos as of first thing on Wednesday morning:

Incredible Shrinking Barts

Yeah, they look the same as they did on my last post. Still waiting for the USPS to do its thing. :)

Christmas Class Socks

I could finish these in a heartbeat, but need to put them down right now so they’re in the proper place for the class to be knitting along with me. They should be finished by the end of the weekend.

Christmas Presents

Dishcloth for my friend Bill’s sister. Will go with the two completed hanging mitered towels from the new Mason-Dixon book. Part of a set.

Noro Scarf

This has been getting some decent time. It’s most certainly going to need a nice blocking, but that’s fine with me. And yeah, I’ll go up a needle size the next time I knit it. But otherwise, I’m liking it just fine, thanks!

Yin Yang Bolero aka Debate Knitting

The Presidential debates got me past the arm decreases, so there’s not much left. My mojo on this sweater left with the warm weather, but I’m close enough that I may even be able to polish it off on Election Day. Wouldn’t that be cool?

And finally, (drumroll, please!) The Basement!

I’ve been chipping away. I have more crap than space and Oh. My. God. I need to not buy any more fabric until I sew up a goodly chunk of what I already have. I’m itching to sew again, and I have a stack of stuff that’s already basted and ready to roll. I just need to get all set up and ready to go again. Progress is being made, slowly but surely.

Hey, nobody ever said that project monogamy was required!

Oh, and the most important WiP? I renewed at our gym yesterday and went to a Yoga class this morning. Yay!

Monday, October 20, 2008


The indoor waterfall was caused by a failed shower pan in the master shower. Here’s the damage to the living room ceiling

Spot on the left, big seam in the plaster with big hole in the middle, more stains on the right.

Here’s a picture of that hole


That’s actually the toilet drain. Nifty, huh? Just what you want to see when you're standing in your living room, right?

We’re stuck on this fix because fixing the shower pan is expensive enough that it will make a master bath remodel prohibitive for 5-10 years if we just fix the shower pan.

So we’re waiting for the family friend architect to get back in the office a week from today and talk about The Big Remodel. If the master bath can be redone independently from any of The Big Stuff, then we’ll get cranking on that as soon as we can. If it’s going to be dependent on other renovations, then we could be walking across the house to shower for quite a while. ::sigh::

I’m also stuck on my knitting. About halfway through my first sock with the May RSC shipment, I started to realize that I was probably in trouble, yardage-wise. When I finished the first sock, I weighed it, then the yarn that I had left. The wrong one was heavier.

Here’s where I ran out of yarn last night

Ruh-Row, Shaggy!

No more knitting on those socks until I get yarn in the mail. Thankfully, I have a very generous friend who is helping me out of this jam. Thank you!

(and if you like those sock blockers, you should go here to get your own. Cristi has started producing the Turtle Daddy Sock Blockers again!)

Oh, and my sewing mojo is starting to tickle the edges of my brain. This is a good thing, but I'm stuck here too. The problem?

Yeek! Run Away! Run Away!

My basement, otherwise known as sewing area, is trashed. That waterfall two weeks ago went the whole way down the wall into the basement and I had to clear out the back corner by my cutting table. It’s a mess down there.

Fortunately, work is frozen-molasses slow. So I’m going to try to keep chipping away and get that up and functioning again soon!

Hope things are going more smoothly for you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to Mail a Hug

Every so often, the topic of who is “knit-worthy” or in general terms worthy of a hand-made gift comes up on Ravelry. I had always thought that my best strategy for figuring out who was “worthy” was to give a low-investment gift (meaning something I’m not emotionally invested in making, much like the two Jaywalker Scarfs I gifted a year ago).

You give the zero-baggage gift to a person. If they react positively (as in the case of those scarfs), then they’re worthy of future handmade gifts. If they brush it off, then No Soup For You! And they’re off of the list.

That’s it. Two categories. Nice and clean. Then, in August, I discovered a third category. Something you are compelled to knit for someone. You have a consuming emotional need to DO something.

As many of you remember, on the first day of the Olympic Games, a family that I respect, admire and care for deeply suffered an unspeakable tragedy.

There was nothing I could do from here. I hope desperately that the two interviews I conducted on August 9 were well-received by the family. Telling the world how wonderful Todd and Barb and their family are was quite literally the only thing that I could do.

As the days and weeks went by, it became obvious to me that I needed to do something else for this family.

So I started to knit.

The family’s company color is purple.

I needed something functional that wasn’t size specific. Here’s what I came up with.

I listened to the sage advice of Turtlegirl and weighed the first of my three skeins. Completed the increase section and weighed again. I made note of how much yarn I needed for the increase section (in weight) and when I had that much left on my last skein, it was time to decrease. So I did. And I didn’t have much left

The finished project was mailed to Minnesota just before I left for the Lake for that last stay at the end of September. I haven’t gotten any kind of confirmation that it arrived, but that’s OK. It was made with love and I hope it brings some comfort.

A Hug for Barb

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert from, Fall 2004
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy
Color: Visual Purple
Source: Bloomin Yarns
Needles: KnitPicks Options US 10
Started: 23 August 2008
Finished: 10 September 2008
Mods: Knit until I ran out of yarn, with love.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Down Memory Lane

Before we start today’s trip down memory lane …

• Monday’s indoor waterfall confirmed my gut instinct. The shower pan has failed. This means it costs enough to fix that we want to go ahead with the full renovation we had already been thinking about.

• Our plumber (who was awesome, came in on Tuesday, did the test he needed to do and said "yep. it's the shower pan" However, in order to do that test ...

• We have a foot-square hole in the living room ceiling. I forgot to get a picture during what passed for daylight today and if I tried now it would be all flashy and crappy. You’ll have to take my word for it until at least tomorrow.

• I’m finally to the armpit decreases on the Yin-Yang bolero. Since it has been my “debate knitting” for all three debates, I’m considering calling it the Obama/McCain bolero. I just hope it starts going faster. Soon.

• I think I can now go band-aid free on my sliced thumb, which should increase knitting opportunity. I hope.

OK, so now we’ll get to the actual blog post.

Two weeks ago Thursday (Sept. 25) was the last day I spent at Van Buren Point for the 2008 summer. I feel like I totally missed this summer, which made the few perfect fall days I was up there really incredible.

It was in the low 70s with a slight breeze. The water temperature was perfect and the Lake was almost dead calm and had settled enough that it was just about to my favorite pool-like quality.

So I took the kayak out for that day’s exercise.

I paddled down to Pulpit Rock, which is essentially the “turn” of the coastline that divides the Point from the Bay. You can’t walk around the coves to get to Pulpit Rock. You have to swim around the last cove. It’s the only part of “my” beach where the lake drops off quickly and becomes deep water almost immediately.

It’s Pulpit Rock because before erosion did its thing, it really looked like a pulpit.

Yes, I took my camera out in the kayak. It was in a zippy bag and in an enclosed water-tight area of the boat when it wasn’t in use.

I had been on a serious glass-gathering mission during that last week at the Lake. To the point where I decided that part of the reason for paddling in to Pulpit Rock was to gather glass. Success!

There's rumor that Mark Twain says he found gold on this beach!

This was me standing right where I beached my boat, on the “right” side of the cove

It was a lot of fun to beachcomb a section of beach that isn’t walked daily.

Then I hopped back into my boat and paddled back down the lake, towards “home”

I was about this far out into the water

I’d say about a football field from shore

And the lake was this shallow and clear

Yes, It was that shallow and clear. Probably about 6’ of water 100+ yards from shore

You can even see my shadow on the floor of the Lake!

I paddled back in, read my book on the beach for a while, then went to visit my two of my favorite Humans who left for Florida the following morning. Then I packed my car and went down to the beach to watch my last sunset of the year

It was awesome. The perfect end to the perfect day to end a too-short summer. I’m totally taking vacation during September next year.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I Give Up.

Friday afternoon, in the last few hours of the workday, I was informed that I was responsible for 9,000 words of writing on six subjects, to be completed in six working days. And each one required interviews. I freaked a little bit, then devised a plan to get out of the situation with my sanity intact and the deadlines managed.

This turned into an All-Monday pissing match, but I think I got what I wanted at the end of the day. So that’s good.

Saturday, the Hubster and I went to Morgantown, W.Va., and worked a football game. I need the cash (this goes to the "fun money" account. The household account is fine), so I’m sad I had to turn down the same gig for this upcoming Saturday.

When I got home, the puppy was in the yard next door, so I played with Syd for a while. And got a splinter in the pad of my right thumb. Ouch, but I could still knit.

I went to bed early and slept through the end of the Cubs season. We’re still hoping that their “century has arrived” but they’re going to have to execute the plan to add an additional digit to the “Eamus Catuli” sign.*

Sunday was uneventful. Until just a few minutes before kickoff of the Steelers game when I sliced my left thumb along with my bagel. OUCH. I can’t knit my sock, but I can still knit dishcloths. But really. Ouch.

Today started with the Hubster waking me up by saying “what plumber did your parents always use?”

This is never a good sign.

My brother (it’s his birthday today. So happy birthday, baby brother!) remembers when we had a miniature indoor waterfall above my dad’s desk in the living room. I don’t, but I trust my brother and dad’s memory on this topic.

We had a waterfall over the entryway between the living room and dining room. And it also spilled down the walls to the basement (some quilting magazines were dampened, but nothing, as best I can tell right now, is ruined). Within a couple of hours, we had a big line on the ceiling in the middle of the living room and it was dripping all over the smaller couch in that room. Yeek.

The plumber showed up a bit after lunch. He punched a little hole in the center of the living room ceiling and I’m guessing about five gallons of water poured out.

He’s coming back tomorrow. To cut a bigger hole. And make sure that it’s the shower pan that’s leaking and nothing else.

1. Archway between living room and dining room; 2. Towels and buckets catching the drips from said archway; 3. Close-up of Plumber-created drain hole (PCDH) in ceiling; 4. Another "wide" look of PCDH in action; 5. PCDH, looking towards back of house; 6. Carnage to catch all the water underneath PCDH.

Can I go back in time? The last two-plus days have really sucked.

And I wish I felt like tomorrow was going to be better. But I don’t.

*This is one of the rooftops in the outfield of Wrigley Field, across Sheffield Ave from right field. The numbers shown in this photo are for the 2007 season, since the Cubs were still playing October 1, 2007, but had already won their division. First two digits (00) are years since the Cubs won the division. Second two numbers (61) are for the number of years since the Cubs last won the pennant in 1945-- that means "advanced to the World Series" -- and the last two (98) are the number of years since the Cubs won the World Series in 1908.

The AC (Altus Catuli, or "Year of the Cub") number for the 2008 season was 006299 and next year it will be 0063100 since they won the division again this year.

See? You learned something today! ;-)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bad Blogger, No Cookie

I know, I know. I owe you guys:

• Raffle Winners
• Photos of my kayak trip on the last day I was at the Lake
• Sunset photos from that same night
• Finished object post of my clapotis
• Various and assorted ramblings on my life

But I’ve been feeling awfully swamped. Nothing bad, just a lot of responsibilities and significant concerns that I am going to let something Important fall through the cracks.

So I’ll just chime in that I’ve been knitting Christmas presents. Mitered hanging cloths

For best friend’s sister to go with a dishcloth set

And ballband dishcloths

For best friend’s mom to go with mitered hanging cloths
(they're navy and red. Photo ain't the greatest)

And the Sweater that May Never End

All garter! All the time!

The sweater is taking For. Ev. Er. It’ll speed up significantly when I get past the decreases for the sleeves and the torso gets narrower.

So what did I do to speed that progress? Well, I kind of cast on a pair of Barts in my May Rockin’ Sock Club yarn. Hey, I’d gone over a month without a sock on the needles. We can’t let that continue!

I submitted a photo of Dolores for the campaign trail. I have no illusions that I’ll win, but it was fun anyway.

Nothing particularly exciting going on here. I’m hoping that I can get the backhoe into the basement on Sunday and get my sewing area up and functional again. One can hope, right?

I’ll try to do better in future days. Stick with me, please!

***QUICK PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*** If you live in the U.S. and are eligible to vote, please don't forget that registration deadlines are coming up fast. The first few registration deadlines hit over the weekend, and my home state of Pennsylvania is Monday, October 6.

Voting is important. Really important. And this is a very important time for the U.S. So please register and vote!