Sunday, June 28, 2009


Houston, we have a finished project!

I cast on these socks at the NCAA Division II Softball Championship in Salem, Va. I needed a plain stockingette sock that I could knit successfully while still keeping most of my attention on the (30) games taking place in front of me over a two-plus week span.


Arch increases on the insteps

This is my second pair of Spiraling Master Coriolis socks from New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I like knitting them because there is just the tiniest possible bit of “pattern” which comes in handy to keep my attention, but it’s still brainless and I don’t have to look AT ALL.


Yes, the spiral continuing into the rib is intentional.

As this is my second pair, I expanded the cuff of the socks a bit as they reached the point where my calf started widening.


Standard New Pathways heels

I’ve done a ton of these socks. I can pick up and put down the heel turn, no problem. Most of the time.

I have no idea how I got the heel turn that f’d up!

Notice there’s about four rows missing between the one stitch that’s dangling and the stack on my left needle. I have no clue how I did that, and since the wraps had been picked up already, it wasn’t worth trying to fix it. That was the second sock and the heel was ripped out and started again.

These socks suffered through multiple week-long knitting hiatus stretches, most recently during last week’s car debacle. I just wasn’t in a knitting mood (or crafting mood for that matter) while I was at the Lake last week.


Yep. The left socks is more blue. The right sock is more red. Three cheers for handpainted yarn!

I picked them back up when I got to Bloomin for work on Thursday and finished them off on Saturday at the store. They got me through Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals (a much better project than the Postwar Mittens I knit … and tinked … during the Super Bowl) and served their purpose nicely in softball press boxes in Virginia and Oklahoma.


2009 Softball Socks

: Spiraling Master Coriolis
Source: New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Size: mine (8.5” circumference, 9.5” length)
Yarn: Pagewood Farm Alyeska
Color: Crayons
Source: Wolf Creek Yarns, Grove City, Pa. (Purchased at 2009 Pittsburgh K&C Festival)
Needles: US 1.5/2.5mm Hiya Hiya 16” circulars
Started: 22 May 2009
Finished: 27 June 2009
Mods: Increased a bit as I got near the top of the cuff, then did a 2x2 rib instead of garter ridges atop the leg

Note to the curious: Yes, the coriolis socks are a challenge to get on/off of my feet. That's probably because I'm a tight knitter and prefer bulletproof socks. But I've never felt them bind or be in any way uncomfortable once they're on. New Pathways rides again!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vacation: FAIL

Where do I even start? I guess I’ll start by saying that I’m very happy that June is almost over, since it has become one of the worst months I’ve had in recent – and distant – memory. Excuse the lack of pretty pictures. I have plenty of stuff I want to get back to, but I’m not “there” tonight.

As you may remember, two weeks ago, I found out my full-time job was going bye-bye come Sept. 1. On that same phone call, I arranged to take the first five of my 17 days of vacation during the week that ended today.

So last Friday, I shut down my work laptop and figured I’d enjoy a good solid nine days away from ye olde full-time job. A little time at the lake, an afternoon sewing at the quilting store … what could be bad about that?

Last Saturday, we had Ysolda Teague at the store. It was much fun, but was quite literally a 12-hour day at work. I was completely shot when I got home around 10:30 pm. I hope to post more about that day a little later on.

Sunday morning, I woke up and got my act together to leave for a few days at the Lake. I finally got on the road around 1:30 pm. One of the last things I did before I left the house was to apply my “6-10” (June, 2010) registration sticker to my license plate. The plan was to stay at Van Buren until Thursday morning, then head homeward in time to work at Bloomin.

So I start driving. It’s my first trip up for the year, but I’ve made this drive a million times. I’m listening to “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me” on my iPod. The world was good.

Two hours later, I’m still headed northbound on I-79 and am just south of Erie, Pa., when my cruise control clicks off. No big deal … until I hit the gas to get back up to speed and nothing happens. I hit the hazard lights and coast at 35-40 mph for two miles to the next exit. When I brake at the bottom of the exit ramp, I truly have no car left, so I coast at the speed of frozen molasses to a stop on the side of the road. No cell signal, so I climb a nearby hill to call AAA, the Hubster and my parents (at the Lake).

Tow truck takes me to a dealership in Erie, where my parentals meet me. I get to hug my dad for Father’s Day and then he starts driving back to Pittsburgh. Mom and I grabbed some dinner, then headed back to the cottage.

My timing belt had stripped at 70 mph. Pistons and cylinders collided, also known as “catastrophic engine failure.” The car has been donated to the Butler County Humane Society.

Which leaves me car-less and job-less. Hubster was budgeted for the next new vehicle, but now we’re crossing our fingers that his Corolla with 117,000 miles holds on for a few more years.

Earlier today, I test-drove a few cars and picked what I think is going to be a winner.

[Side Note: Knitting Friends have been invaluable through the Car Debacle of 2009. Knitting Friend #1 has a mechanic husband who was very helpful through the “fix it or trash it” debate. Knitting Friend #2 has a husband who has business relationships with a number of dealerships in the Pittsburgh area and has really been a huge help with the purchasing process. Don’t want to think about how much more icky this whole thing might have been without their guidance.]

I though I had weathered the storm. We’re on track to drive home a new vehicle tomorrow after a half-day of work at Bloomin. I went to knit night at Borders tonight and stayed longer than I had planned with LaurieG and CelticQueen. Much fun!

And then I came home. And checked my least-used email address. And found out that I’ve been let go from the first job I picked up when I moved to Pittsburgh. The one closest to my heart.

I don’t know when I became radioactive, but I’m ready for it to stop. Seriously. Stop.

Is it July yet? I know there are only four days left in June, but I’m starting to think I’m not going to make it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WiP Wednesday: Spirals

I’ve been knitting, but not a ton. I cast on these socks as my press box knitting for the 18 days I was on the road for the end of may and start of June.

Simple Master Coriolis. Pagewood Farms Alyeska in Crayon

They also turned into good knitting for the Stanley Cup Finals. A much smarter choice than the Postwar Mittens that I had to tink after the final minute of the Super Bowl.

Either way, that’s pretty much my only active project at the moment. If you want to see me get to the heel turn on Sock #2, come and join us at the Barnes & Noble at the Waterworks mall at 7 p.m. tonight for a little Hurricane Knitters action. It’s been six weeks since I’ve seen this group, so I’m really looking forward to it!

Oh, and since I anticipate horrific traffic on Rt. 28, I’m going to leave early and go visit The Quilt Company before knitting to avoid all the icky detours.

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stanley Cup Champions!

Hi! I still exist!

I survived my 18-day road trip for work, got home, recovered for a week, and was terminated on Friday. Effective Sept. 1, 2009. I'm better off in the long run, but it was a serious shot to the ego.

[SIDE NOTE: I'm extremely fortunate that this will not put us in dire financial straights, and it looks like it's not going to affect my professional reputation. I was terminated because the boss doesn't want this position telecommuting anymore and I'm unwilling to move. If you know where my employer is located, that makes even more sense. Don't worry about me. I'll be fine, the Universe has a plan and all that.]

What made my crappy day much better was Friday night's Stanley Cup Final win by the Penguins! Since I went to the Steelers parade back in February, I figured "why not!" and went downtown today to the Pens parade.


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To hit some of the highlights and recap my day as I did back in February ...

• Leave house a few minutes before 11 a.m. Stand on the T platform at Castle Shannon for (no joke) 25 minutes before the first car comes by.

• Stand the whole way in. Realize that Hubster was dead-on that this parade will be more heavily attended than the Steelers parade. Think this is a combo between better weather and the fact that school is out.

• Exit the Steel Plaza T station at 11:57. Yep. Grant Street is packed. Troll the sidewalk on the "uphill" side of the street for a bit, realizing that I'm not going to be elevated enough to get any decent photos.

• Attempt to get to the New Jersey barrier. Realize that with people five deep, I'm never going to get decent photos from there.

• Try to take photos anyway when Mario Lemieux drives by. Fail miserably, but get a half-decent crowd shot. (I like the energy and motion of the shot)


• Climb up on one of the concrete flowerpots in front of the Allegheny County Courthouse. Perfect spot for photos. Highlights:



My old boss. From 15 years ago. Yeep!


SUPERSTAR!!! Max Talbot is the guy in the white sweater. Sadly, he never turned towards me. :-( Bill Guerin is the guy on the left with the video camera.


Flower with the Cup!


• Parade wraps up around 12:40. I hung around for a few extra minutes to let the crowd thin, then headed over to the supplier of Dan Bylsma's Magic Burritos to grab some lunch

• Get on an inbound T at 1 pm sharp

• Listen to the crankiest T driver ever: "Yinz keep touchin stuff you don't know nothin' about. Now we're gonna be stuck on this here hill!"

• Walk off the Castle Shannon platform at 2 pm. Head home. Do minimal work for remainder of day. Take a nap.

Tomorrow's plans include starting my workout routine and doing the minimum amount of work necessary for survival. If I get motivated and remember to take pictures again, hopefully you'll start seeing regular blog posts from this here URL again!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Niagara Falls!

I’m home after a hellacious 18-day business trip. We are now officially watching the Cubs tonight, since the Pens aren’t doing so hot (we have TiVo, so we can go back and catch up if there’s a reason to).

Hopefully, I’ll be flush with free time once I get caught up on sleep. Meanwhile, I bring you a Yarn Pr0n Friday Saturday from one of my very best sock club sign-ups, Fiber Baristas.

The May shipment was handled by the #1 reason I signed up for this club in the first place – Roxanne from Zen Yarn Garden. Do me a favor and admire the texture in the first three pictures, the color in the final one.

The theme of the 2009 Fiber Baristas sock yarn club is “Postcards from Home.” Each dyer has done something to give us a taste of the area of the world they call home. Roxanne lives in Toronto, so other than generally being in love with the yarn she dyes, I was particularly excited to see her shipment.

This yarn showed up just hours before I left for the first half of the aforementioned business trip. As many of you know, my family has a summer home on the shores of Lake Erie, about an hour’s drive from Niagara Falls. The postcard in with Roxanne’s shipment was of the Falls with a Maid of the Mist included in the shot, but it focused on the Horseshoe Falls.

There are many tones of seafoam green in this yarn (yes, it’s green, not blue. Remember, I told you to wait for the last shot to look for color!) and nearly white spots representative of the foam in the falls. It’s the Serenity Sport base, 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon, 4 oz, 250 yards, and I adore it.

Roxanne took the time to get the color right in the above photo. I thank her again for letting me "borrow" this shot. Yes, I asked first and am using my own bandwidth.

It is a perfect reminder of “my” lake, and I’m going to have to figure out something perfect to make with it. Many thanks to Roxanne for letting me borrow her color-corrected photo of this yarn. I tried, but just couldn’t get the color figured out properly!