Friday, January 30, 2009

Blog Silence

It’s been a crappy week work-wise. Had about 15,000 words to write for the wonderful full-time gig. Blech, but at least that particular flavor of suck is done until next year.

It’s hard to write for the blog when you’re required to write that much for work. I have a finished project to blog. Perhaps I’ll get to that over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the other excitement around her has been some significant winter storms. On Wednesday, we were hit with a lovely “Winter Mix” overnight, then snow on top of that during the day. The Hubster stayed home from work, which turned out to be a good thing, since the storm got worse during evening rush.

Of course, that slush under the snow turned to ice, and he got stuck trying to leave for work on Thursday. By the time the big ball of fire in the sky was out long enough to help, he wound up not going in for a second straight day.

Today, we got 5” of powder. Yes, I measured. No, I don’t have pics with a ruler, ‘cause the aforementioned work suckage prevented me from going outside for more than a minute or two during daylight hours. The worst of the storm came in while I was on a conference call this morning. I shot about 80 frames today.

I made a photoset of my photos from the storm. The mosaic is below. You can click to the photoset from any of the links at the bottom of the set. Enjoy.

1. DSC_0013.jpg, 2. DSC_0012.jpg, 3. DSC_J2801.jpg, 4. DSC_0065.jpg, 5. DSC_0042.jpg, 6. Jan28winter.jpg, 7. DSC_0007.jpg, 8. DSC_J2807.jpg, 9. DSC_0018.jpg, 10. DSC_0052.jpg, 11. DSC_J2901.jpg, 12. DSC_0035.jpg, 13. DSC_0046.jpg, 14. DSC_0008.jpg, 15. DSC_0015.jpg, 16. DSC_0040.jpg, 17. DSC_0021.jpg, 18. DSC_0001.jpg, 19. DSC_0060.jpg, 20. 365_Jan30.jpg

Monday, January 26, 2009

Leyburn Socks

So that evil Turtlegirl posted that the Socks that Rawk! group over on Ravelry was having a KAL for the Leyburn sock pattern.

Ever since I picked up a skein of STR Lightweight in Knitters Without Borders at Maryland Sheep & Wool, I had started looking at patterns to use with that yarn. I must be part sheep, since when I saw that the Yarn Harlot had picked the Leyburn pattern for her KWB yarn, I mentally designated that yarn for that pattern.

So why not jump in with the Knit-A-Long?

My pasty white legs … tried to get a cool snow-in-backyard shot, but I really must learn how to manually set my new camera. ::sigh::

I decided pretty quickly that this pattern would play nicely with the Riverbed Architecture from New Pathways for Sock Knitters.

“Standard Toe” complete with Judy’s Magic Cast On

Having recently finished a pair of socks in STR Lightweight, I knew I wanted a 68-stitch foot (used 31 of the 34 instep stitches to work the pattern). Of course, on the first sock, I kept waffling on whether or not I wanted to go down to 66 or 64 stitches and over-knit the toe. Tink back to where I should have started my arch increases and start moving forward again.

Standard New Pathways heels

I soldiered on and got to the leg. And once again realized that I needed to read the pattern more carefully. Tink back again, increase up to the suggested 72 stitches and fire away.

And away we go!!

I finally got the first sock finished at the end of last week and cast on for the second sock live from the big ketchup bottle while waiting for the start of the AFC Championship Game. I was not able to have a regular seat for this game, so I successfully hid in a corner and knit away on my sock toe, since I was well out of the sightline of Guy I Don’t Like (the one who decided it’s inappropriate for me to knit).

It all worked out just fine and Sock #2 went much faster than its predecessor. This is the reason I prefer to knit socks one at a time. The second sock flies compared to the first one, and it makes me feel smart!

Leyburn Socks

Pattern: Leyburn Socks by MintyFresh
Yarn: Socks that Rock Lightweight
Color: Knitters Without Borders
Source: The Fold (Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival)
Needles: US 1.5/2.5mm Addi Lace 40” (magic loop)
Sock Size: US Women’s 8.5 (8.5” circumference/9.5” length)
Started: 4 January 2009
Finished: 25 January 2009
Mods: Plugged stitch pattern and suggested leg/cuff stitch counts into Riverbed Architecture from New Pathways for Sock Knitters

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chocolate MiLK Day

I’ll start with explaining the bad joke. I had a roommate about a dozen years ago who always called Jan. 15 (her birthday, actually) or the observed Dr. Martin Luther King Day as “Chocolate MiLK Day” I still find it funny and can never get that out of my head. Hope you can find the funny too.

I’ll start with one brief recap from yesterday. I was at the big ketchup bottle for almost exactly 12 hours, had no seat for the game, and kicked Malibu Barbie’s ass (figuratively) postgame. It’s a long story, but a metric ton of fun in my twisted little brain. Very early in the whole process, it was snow-stormey and highly windy, leading to this

Shortly after this photo was taken, many many grounds crew folks were sprinting for that corner of the tarp to get it back in place. My photo-op was cut short by Round 1 of fighting with the TVs. It’s not easy to make changes on single TVs when there are literally 30 of the same TV working off of the same remote in a single room!

Anyhoo, yes I did have the day off today. RT and I took a little field trip with my mom. On the way to the stadium yesterday, I noticed there was a lot more ice on the Allegheny than I would have anticipated, especially since the Monongahela and Ohio were virtually ice-free.

Perfect for Penguins!

After a quick stop at the (good) quilt store, we made our first-ever foray to Ross Park Mall. Why?

The new LL Bean store, of course!

RT wanted to inspect the great big boot out front

Looks big!

And he had to get up close and personal

It’s slippy up here!

He thought about climbing up the laces, but …

Oops! Busted!

I got a pair of Bean Boots for Christmas and decided they were a size too small. Hence the trip up north. It’s just too fun having a store that I can drive t. Yeah, I know it’s no Freeport, but I’ll take what I can get!

I’m up too late since I didn’t get to sleep until almost 2 a.m. last night. Adrenaline (remember, the Malibu Barbie ass-kicking? Serious adrenaline creation there!) can be a bitch. Hitting “post” and off to bed …

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More Winter Photos

I went to bed last night knowing that I’d be waking up to a winter wonderland. All the trees were coated with snow. The wind hadn’t really started yet and the sky was a perfect rich shade of blue.

The above trees live in SuperNeighbor’s yard.

Speaking of SuperNeighbor (to those of you new to the blog, SuperNeighbor lives across the street and has literally known me my entire life. He’s SuperNeighbor since he’s always more than happy to help with any fix-it issues.), I was telling Cristi about my favorite snow-moving tool yesterday. It’s a simple 3’x4’ piece of plywood. And yet? She insisted she needed action shots.

Since SuperNeighbor was out shoveling his driveway this morning while I was snapping away, I asked if he’d consent to having a few “action shots” taken. He agreed!

Using the “wide side,” which is great for a light snow or short distances

Using the “short side,” which is mostly what I used today. Oh, and that's where the Hubster parks when we know it's gonna snow. I park at the top of our driveway.

There ya go, Cristi. Ask and you shall receive!

Oh yeah. MY driveway …

Bottom of the driveway just after I started shoveling (shoveling tool on the far right of the frame. Yes, I have my own piece of plywood, provided by SuperNeighbor!)

Bottom of the driveway by the time I finished the top. No salt used, just the great big bright star in the sky.

Top of the driveway.

Yes, it’s essentially two stories up to get to the street. This is why I take driveway shoveling very seriously. If you drive on this thing un-plowed, it can turn to a sheet of ice in minutes. Not good.

And finally, my Flickr 365 photo for today

My poor California mouse has no idea what to do with all this snow!

Yes, that’s a Sorcerers Apprentice antenna ball. He used to have stars and moons on his hat, but since my antenna hits the garage door every time I go in or out of the garage, they’ve all fallen off. I have spares, but don’t want to put ‘em into action when I know for sure they’ll get thrashed right away.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Yep. My winter storm seems to have finally arrived! I headed outside to shovel the front walk and use the camera for a while this afternoon.

My favorite puppy was outside. Sydney LOVES snow and goes bonkers running around her yard and dipping her whole face in the most convenient layer of snow.

Hmmm ... What can I tackle next?

Snow feels SO good on my nose!

Can I grab her gloves before she notices?

It probably started to snow a little before lunch and the first plow didn’t make it to our neighborhood until about 7 p.m.

I love how the snow makes everything look

Yeah, I know Santa is still up. It takes two adult humans and a ladder to get him down. We have yet to reach that confluence when it’s not late or raining/snowing/sleeting.

I really need to take the time to figure out how to use the non-automatic features on my camera, but I liked this shot of our streetlamp with the neighbor’s house in the background

And the one I took well after dark

Here’s hoping you didn’t have to drive on un-plowed roads tonight. I was perfectly happy to hear that my 6:30 meeting in Sewickley was canceled, so I could play with the puppy, talk to my neighbor and do only minimal shoveling. The car is parked at the top of the driveway (Hubster parks in SuperNeighbor's driveway across the street. Where it's flat. But I can put off clearing the driveway for a little while (at least until it stops snowing!), which is nice.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not the Sharpest Tool in the Shed

It’s been too long since I fed the blog. Sorry ‘bout that.

I also seem to have f’d up the inaugural unveiling of the 2009 M&Ms exchange. Crappers. The group just called, live and in person on cell phone speakerphone to razz me for not including blocks with my kit for 2009. Oops.

“My” quilt will be this one. There are 7 other people sewing on this quilt and 25 total blocks, 13 of which are appliqu├ęs. I’m ditching the heart blocks (go and look. I’ll wait.) and asking everyone to do at least one sheep.

I got the fabric together last Wednesday on the way to Hurricane Knitters and scrambled to get to the post office on Thursday so the box could get to Sandy’s house by today. Sadly, it never even occurred to me that I should have sewn a block or two. My brain was all “let the group sew their 14 blocks and I’ll fill in the last 11 when I get it all back.”

I am an idiot.

In other news …

I had a really long day at the big ketchup bottle yesterday. Call time was five hours before kick, rather than the normal four. Lots and lots of time just sitting around, “answering” a phone that doesn’t ring. I started out diagnosing why I’d been having some (minor-to-medium) computer issues and fixed them. Then I pulled out a little project for my upcoming New Pathways class at Bloomin Yarns.

BIG sock!

It’s a duplicate of Cat Bordhi’s teaching sock that she uses in her New Pathways classes. Since I want to be Cat when I grow up, I busted out some Rowan Big Wool and US 17 needles and started magic looping a 24-stitch New Pathways sock. I cast on around an hour before kickoff and finished it tonight. It’s not perfect, and I may do a second one with the leftovers. Or not. We’ll see. Remember, I’m an idiot.

In other news, I got to the heel on my Leyburn KAL sock.


The heel is turned and the flap has been decreased. Leg then onward and upward to Sock #2.

I’d be about halfway through the leg right now, but I blithely ignored the pattern and didn’t plan out my stitch count for the leg. So I’m now tinking back the 6-ish rows I knit tonight before I realized my mistake. I’ll be going forward again in no time. I think.

'Cause remember. I am apparently not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hello, Winter!

Weirdy Pants put up an I-hate-winter post tonight. I’m still the goofy person looking forward to our first real snow of the winter. Yeah, the lack of daylight leading up to my dad’s birthday was starting to get to me, but I feel the increased daylight already, so I’m good.

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of buckling down and getting into a work routine now that I’m back from my nearly two-week vacation. During my lunchbreak today, I was looking out the window of our TV room and the world looked like it was just washed out. It’s the lack of color that bothers me more than the cold or anything else about winter.

Neighbor’s non-green lawns and house(s) as seen from the warmth of my TV room.

Shortly after taking this picture, I snuck outside to retrieve today’s mail, came back inside and then started to head back upstairs to finish out my workday.

When I hit the turn on the stairs, a little voice in my head said “Hey! Stupid! You saw something cool outside! Go take some pictures!”

So I did.

Obviously, we haven’t taken down our holiday decorations yet.

I knew I was having focus problems with the new camera, even though I was switching between manual and auto focus and I wasn’t as careful as I should have been about making sure I was taking my time and making good pictures. Hey, it was cold outside and I just threw on shoes, grabbed the camera and headed out. But I still got one I really liked.

Hurricane Knitters tomorrow (Wednesday). 7 p.m., Waterworks Mall Barnes & Noble. Come and join us!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Like Potato Chips

I am here to tell you that these Noro Striped Scarfs are like potato chips. You can’t knit just one!

Special thanks to my cute, furry model, Derf!

They’re a perfect knit for when you need something to do that doesn’t require any brain power.

They go quickly. I knit this one in a week.

And it’s just entirely too much fun to photograph this thing with my “real” camera (I’m a closet photographer. I love my point-and-shoot, but to me SLRs are “real” cameras)

On a sunny day, you can just play with the depth of focus and take a bunch of different shots focused on different parts of the scarf until your knees start to ache from kneeling on the flagstone walk. Or the scary talk-your-ear-off mailman pulls up to your chunk of the street. Whichever comes first.

Noro Striped Scarf, The Sequel

Pattern: Basic K1P1 ribbing, based off of Brooklyn Tweed’s recipe
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden
Colorways: 2 skeins of 269. One each of 245 and 289
Source: Bloomin Yarns
Needles: Lantern Moon Rosewood Destiny Circulars, US 8/5mm
Size: Around 75” long
Started: Christmas Day (25 Dec 2008)
Finished: New Year’s Day (1 Jan 2009)

I was on vacation from work and needed a project that required 0.0 units of brain power and this was perfect. A much faster and more enjoyable project using US 8 needles as opposed to the US 6 I used the last time. And I don’t pull out those Lantern Moon needles as often as I should. They’re awesome.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Just Call Me Oscar

As in “Oscar the Grouch.”

OK, so it might be because I have to go back to work tomorrow and I really don’t want to. Why was I so bad at unemployment? I’d kind of rather be back there right now.

After quilting up a storm for part of last week (yay!!!), I tried to go downstairs to sew today and it just wasn’t there. Turtlegirl posted about the Socks that Rock Leyburn KAL on Friday and yeah, I’m a bandwagon jumper. So instead of sewing today, I wound my Knitters Without Borders STR lightweight, marked the center of the skein and promptly reminded myself why I vastly prefer my New Pathways Garter Toe to a Standard Toe. But I digress.

The rest of this post started out fairly rant-like, but I walked away for a while (had to pick up after myself) and deleted all of the whining. You’re welcome. ;-)

Here’s hoping Monday is not as painful as I anticipate it will be. ::gulp!:: Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Scratching an Itch

As you probably saw on Wednesday, I knit a lot in 2008. A Lot. It’s not that I don’t enjoy knitting, it’s that I miss quilting!

So that’s what I’ve been doing with a lot of my time during the second half of this vacation. Sewing!

I spent most of New Year’s Day down in the Dungeon (basement/sewing room), taking the second set of Bali Pop strips and turning them into squares for one great big quilt.

"Original" set of Bali Pop blocks on the left. Noro Scarf II in the middle, "New" set of Bali Pop blocks on the right.

It’s not that I’m planning to stop knitting. Not at all! In between those two stacks of quilt blocks is the Noro Striped Scarf, The Sequel. I finished that yesterday and it’ll get it’s official FO shoot once it has been blocked and we have a decent day (so I can play with my new camera in the sun again!)

Last night, I cast on my second Postwar Mitten and am about to join the cuff, but today I went into Oakland to have lunch with the Hubster (well, and one of the assistant coaches at a local college won a softball bat at convention and it was about 9” too long to fit into his bag to bring home. It fit in my bag, so I brought it home. So I also met with Jim to give him his bat), then came home to watch the Cotton Bowl (go Rebs!) and sew.

First, I put binding on a quilt that’s been giving me the evil eye for almost three months now. Binding isn’t difficult, it’s just annoying. I got my strips cut, joined and pressed them, then did my binding trick to finish Step One.

In the past, I’ve always hand-sewn bindings down, but a few years ago, I bought a thing of Roxanne’s Glue Baste-It to use to glue down binding so I can machine sew it instead of hand sewing it. It worked just fine! A little fiddly, but I’ll do this again for baby quilts or dog quilts or something I know is going to get thrashed.

Then I moved on and did some machine quilting for the first time in at least a year and a half! One of our Thursday night Stitch & Bitch regulars at Bloomin had pieced and sandwiched a wall hanging but had decided not to quilt it. She brought it in to see if I had any ideas of where she could get it quilted and I figured it was easier for me to just do it. Less than three hours later, it’s done! It’s far from perfect, but I feel like I have my machine quilting wheels back underneath me. Maybe now I can get quilting on some of the too-large stack of sandwiches sitting on the futon in the Dungeon!

Bound quilt on top, behind the Glue Baste-It. Bent-tip scissors, quilting gloves and quilt-for-cash project also featured.

So that’s what I’ve been up to the last few days! I’m working at Bloomin’ tomorrow, Sunday is free and clear, then it’s back to work (ugh) on Monday. I hope all of you have enjoyable weekends doing exactly what YOU want to do!