Thursday, June 26, 2014

TBT - The Barbie Jeep

Because yesterday was our 21st anniversary & I'm still all googly eyes for my husband, today's Throwback Thursday picture is spouse related.

Mike's Barbie jeep.  Although it was a total piece of cr@p, I loved that jeep!  Mike traded a canoe for the jeep back in the days of frequent fishing trips to the Outer Banks.  It was plastered with surfing & fishing bumper stickers & the cargo area had been sprayed with that foam insulation stuff so it acted like a huge, gigantic cooler.  The problem was, it barely ran & the floorboards were so rusted out you risked road-burn on your feet.  Sadly, Mike never did take it fishing.  Mostly, the Barbie jeep just took up space in our driveway & eventually, Mike traded it for new seats for  his pickup truck.

In knitting news, well, there's not a whole lot of news.  I finally turned the heel & knit the gusset for  the second Christmas sock.  I haven't had a lot of time to knit on it at work & I started a new at-home project that's getting all my attention.

The new at-home project is Allegro.  I'm not very far into the knitting of it either, but....   Allegro is one of those serendipitous projects that just seemed to fall from the sky when I needed it.  I knew I wanted to knit myself a simple dark blue cardigan but I didn't have a pattern in mind.  I guesstimated how much yarn I'd need & placed my KnitPicks order.  The day after the yarn arrived, an ad for Allegro showed up in my in-box.  It was the perfect pattern!  It was a simple pattern, yet has an interesting cable feature on the back.  The cable draws the sweater inwards at the waist which is also perfect.  (I have wide man-shoulders & I end up looking like I'm wearing a sack sometimes.)  AND, the pattern calls for the exact yarn & yardage I had ordered from KnitPicks.  Now, let's just hope the pattern's yardage requirements are correct.  Keep your fingers crossed!

As you can see, I'm not very far along on the project.  Actually, I'm further along than it looks like.  It's top down, all in one piece so although I've only knit about 8 inches, that's 8 inches on the fronts, back & sleeves.  I'm slightly worried because I've already used 2 full skeins, but again, those 2 skeins knit both fronts, the sleeves & the back.  I'm telling myself I'll have enough yarn & keeping my fingers crossed really, really tightly.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

TBT - the honeymoon is over

It's Throwback Thursday & since our wedding anniversary is only a few days away, I thought I'd celebrate the day with a 21 year old picture of my husband.

Our honeymoon was not your typical honeymoon.  No fantastic trips to Hawaii, Paris or even Niagara Falls for us.  We spent two days at some lake I can't even remember the name of.  Mike fished & I sat in the sun with my toes in the sand.  It was wonderfully relaxing.  Then we drove home & on the way, we stopped & picked up Mike's backhoe & spent the rest of the week clearing the lot his parents had given us for a wedding present.  This picture was taken not long after.

And if you are wondering, the truck's name is Big Red.  She's not quite that shiny these days, but she's still on the road.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Move to the city

This city girl turned country girl is ready to return to city living.  Yes, the country life is relaxing and there's a lot less traffic & only one stoplight.  But the wildlife!  OMG!   There's just too much wildlife here.  Since the bat incident two weeks ago, I've seen more deer & rabbits than I can count.  Deer & rabbits are fine as long as I'm not trying to garden, which I'm not.  Due to the deer & rabbits, I finally gave up that ambition.  We've also given up using our front door due to the insistence of a group of hornets & wasps.  They are both determined to make our front porch their home.   I've also seen something large & dark with green, glowing eyes run across the road, a bobcat, a coyote and multiple snakes.  One of which was a large copperhead.  A large copperhead between our hot car full of groceries & our back door.  In order to protect the ice cream, we had to brave the wasps & hornets.  And then there's the bear that lives in our woods.  I haven't seen the bear recently, but he/she's out there somewhere.  And today, ants are trying to take over the house.  And let me tell you, nice, earth-friendly, non-toxic bathroom cleaning spray does not begin to work as well as Windex for killing ants.  The ants seem to be flocking towards it instead of running from it.  Perhaps it's the nice minty scent.  What ever.  It may clean mold, but it sure doesn't kill ants!

One more wild creature, just one, & I'm packing my yarn and moving back to the city!

In knitting news, I'm proud to say that I'm not suffering (badly) from second sock syndrome.

I had a rather fun day at work the other day & got quite a bit accomplished.  The day was spent training someone so other than about an hour of explaining what to do, the rest of the shift was spent sitting & knitting & being available in case the trainee had questions or ran into problems.  And because I'm a master trainer (in my own mind at least) she had no questions or problems.  Thus, I'm almost ready to start the heel.

Now, if I can only convince work that I need to train someone else, I may actually finish the Christmas sock before Christmas.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I'm so excited

I'm so excited & I just can't hide it....  Okay, so yes.  The Pointer Sisters' lyrics are stuck in my head.

Why am I so excited?  Because my most recent KnitPicks order arrived.  Of course I'm excited - new yarn!  But do you know what I'm even more excited about?  The freebie gift package they sent along with my order.

When I ordered, KnitPicks was offering a free knitting tools set with purchases of $25 or more.  Of course I took them up on their offer.  I didn't pay any attention to what was in the set, I just saw that it was a freebie & used the coupon code.

But when I opened the big giant box of yummy yarns they sent, imagine my surprise when I was more excited about one tiny thing in the freebie package than I was about the whole big box of yarn.

Can you guess which item it is that's making me do my Pointer Sisters imitation?

It's that tiny lace weight sized tapered sewing needle.

First, I LOVE my old tapered sewing needle.  I've had the same, one needle for 20+ years.  I guard it with my life.  I'm more protective of that needle than I am of my wallet.  But it's big.  A little thicker than the biggest needle in the KnitPicks freebie package.  I don't often knit with thick yarn.  I knit mostly with fingering weight yarns.  (Worsted or bulky weights tend to make my carpal tunnel scream.)  It's a major pain in the butt to sew fingering weight yarn seams or weave in loose ends with that big eyed needle.  The yarn is constantly falling out of the needle.  But that tiny little lace weight tapered needle....  That baby is going to see some action!

I'm so excited....

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Monogamous knitting

I recently blogged about my poor attempt at adulterous knitting.  It turns out, monogamy is the way I roll.   And after thinking about it, I really do live a monogamous life.  One knitting project at a time.  When I eat, I eat one food group at a time.  Unless I have mashed potatoes & peas; I like to mix them together.  Even when eating chunky soups or stews, I tend to pick out the chunks & eat one type of chunk at a time.  Back in my dating days a lifetime ago, I always dated one guy at a time.  I even obsess over my hobbies one hobby at a time.  I get on a reading kick & put down the knitting & read five or six books in a week.  When I took up running, I gave up knitting & spent my days preparing to run, running, cooling off from a run, reading about running..... And when I knit, I knit.  One project at a time.

If you want proof, take a look at my Christmas sock progress.  While trying to knit adulterously, it took me weeks to knit the first few inches.  I decided to go back to monogamous knitting & voila!  A whole sock.

How do you role?  Do you live adulterously or monogamously?

And an even better question, am I the only one slightly creeped out by mannequin parts?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fun without yarn

I don't often have fun without yarn, but yesterday was an exception.  It was one of those miracle days that only seem to happen about once every 56 years.  My husband & I both had a work-free day.  On the same day!  And there were no plumbing or automotive issues to be deal with!  We actually had 20+ hours to enjoy each other's company.

We had no particular plans but knew we wanted to do something away from the house.  It was hot, humid & storms were predicted for the afternoon.  We decided not to bother heading towards the beach.  We decided we'd find a few winery's to tour but somehow in the process of searching them out online, the spouse ended up in the real estate section of Craigslist.  The river front section of the real estate section, to be exact.

Instead of touring winery's, we toured our future home site.

2.57 acres off a creek leading out to the Potomac River.

The pier permit is pending per the realtor, but Mike is standing where the pier would go.

The creek narrows considerably on the other side of what I'm already calling "our" property.   The land part of the property wasn't all that exciting to look at, but it's located at the end of the wide part of the creek & the house would sit facing out the creek & out into the river.

The neighbors are friendly.  This dog greeted us & hung out with us the whole time we were there.  I love the way he plopped down in the water.  I also love the way his butt fits perfectly in that spot. Sort of makes me wonder if that spot is naturally occurring or if he dug it out himself.

Now, if I can only convince the spouse that water front living is worth the extra 60 minutes he'd have to tack onto his daily commute....  Actually, it wouldn't even be an extra 60 minutes every day.  Depending on which area he was working in, some days it would save him about 45 minutes.  I really, really think we need to buy this land.  Besides, we've already sketched out the house we'd build & decided on what we'd name the dog we'd get to celebrate tidal water-front living.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

TBT - Childhood BFFs

It's Throwback Thursday!  Today I am reminded of childhood BFFs.

Amy & I met in kindergarden.  We became BFF's after fighting for the swing.  From that day until our marriages took us in different directions, we were pretty much inseparable.  We went to Girl Scouts together, we smoked our first cigarettes together, we double dated, we snuck our first beers together, and apparently, we even shared the same hair stylist.

We learned our mad camping skills while in Girl Scouts & we continued to test those skills long after we'd given up scouting for boys.  Being city girls, we frequently "camped" in the alley behind my house.  We'd build our campfire in the alley & sleep on the screened porch.  Ahh, those were the days!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top 10 Knitting Books

Do you have a favorite knitting book that you find yourself using over & over again?  I sure do!

 My top 10 favorite knitting books, in no particular order are:

The Knitter's Companion by Vicki Square
Vogue's Knitting Stitchionaries (I have several & use them all.)
Wendy Knits Lace by Wendy D. Johnson
Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Knitter's Almanac, also by Elizabeth Zimmerman
How to Knit by Debbie Bliss (best ever entrelac instructions!)
Mason Dixon Knitting (both books) by Kay Gardner & Ann Shayne
Mastering Color Knitting by Melissa Leapman
Kaffe Fassett books.   Okay, I'm cheating here, but I love all of his books equally.  I rarely knit his patterns as intended but use the graphs to make blankets, pillows & scarves.  Not to mention, I can spend hours & hours just looking at the pictures.

What are your favorites?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Adulterous knitting

Adulterous knitting never works well for me.  I much prefer to be monogamous with my knitting projects.   I also have problems with decision making.  When I have multiple projects going on at once, I can never decide which one to work on.  I end up knitting a few stitches on one project, putting it down & knitting a few stitches on the next, then picking up yet another project.  None of them ever show any visible progress & I get frustrated.  When I'm frustrated, I start a new project.  It's a vicious cycle.

Lately, I'd reached the point of indecision where I'd almost stopped knitting.  Although I promised myself the Christmas socks (if they didn't turn out to be wine bottle bags) would be an at-work-only project, I decided to focus on them yesterday.  At home.  It was my day off.

Looky what happened.

It's a sock!  Or at least it will be.

I'm loving the way the self striping yarn is working with the stitch pattern.  It almost looks like entrelac.  It's not though.  It's just *k2, yo, k2, k2tog* repeated row after row after row.  It's so simple!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Material Girl

So, this week, I'm definitely a material girl.  It's been an excellent week for obtaining stuff.

Yet another KnitPicks order arrived.  Cheer, Lighthouse & Splash, all clearance Felici sock yarns.    Rating up there with new yarn is my new tablet.  I've been wanting one forever but since I spend every dime on yarn.....  Anyway, the spouse texts me out of the blue one evening to say that he's bought me a gift.  He came home with my tablet.  Best Husband Ever!  (He also drove all the way home from working in a different state to take care of our bat problem.  That officially makes him THE BEST HUSBAND EVER!!!)  And on my day off from the summer job, my daughter, our friends & I had a girls day out shopping trip.  I scored The most comfortable flip flops ever, a Vera Bradley bag from a second hand store so it was dirt cheap.  Well, dirt cheap for Vera Bradley.  It also looks like it's never been used.  I'm so excited!  I love the fabric colors & pattern and the size is perfect for a small project knitting bag.  I also found deli paper at Costco to use with my art journaling.  I'm really excited about this find.  1,000 sheets for $9.99.  I can now paint/create myself silly.

Sadly, I'm calling the Estuary shawl an epic fail.  I'm not throwing away the pattern because I love the shawl and one day, in the far distant future, I will attempt it again.  But for now, I do not have the patience for it.  I don't know why I struggled so because it's really not a difficult thing to knit, but for some reason....  I could not knit this thing to save my life.  I had to knit, rip, & re-knit every single row.  Sometimes multiple times.  It was proving to be a very unenjoyable project & life is too short to be irritated that much by something that is supposed to bring joy & a sense of calm.

The moment I press "Publish" at the end of this post, that baby is getting frogged & the needles are going back  into their storage container so that I'm not tempted to give it one more shot.  At least not right now.

Meanwhile, progress on the Ladder scarf is almost as slow as the progress on the Estuary was.  Good grief!  I knit & knit & knit but the scarf never seems to grow in length.

Part of the problem could be that the theme park I work for has suddenly gone from being open only on weekends to seven days a week.  It hasn't left a lot of time for knitting.  Luckily, I woke up way too early today & have a few extra hours before I have to get ready for work.  I'm going to fill those hours by watching Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing & ladder scarf knitting.

Anyone else out there a Joss Whedon fan?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A visit from Dracula

So, Dracula came to visit last night.

How does my house know that the spouse, i.e. Mr. Repairman/Problem Solver is out of town?   The minute he leaves, something goes wrong that I can't/won't fix.  Last week he was out of town & the stove broke.  This week....  Dracula shows up.

Off & on during the night the dog kept waking me up scratching at the wall & either his nails on the wall sounded like nails on a chalkboard or something was making a squeaking noise.  We occasionally (ok, frequently) get birds, mice &/or squirrels in our walls so I didn't think too much of it other than to continuously beg & plead with Max to hush.  Finally around 4:30 a.m., I realized I'd never heard the boy child come in from work.  Being an over protective mother & the fact that it had been storming pretty badly, not to mention the fact he normally gets home around 3 a.m., I was a little freaked.  While waiting for him to answer my "where the hell are you" text, I noticed a shadow swoop across the room.  Then the shadow swooped by going in the opposite direction.  That's weird, the shadow is bat shaped.  Holy Hell!  There's a bat in my room!

After laying there a while trying to figure out if I was imagining it or not, I finally got brave enough to crawl out from under the covers, flip the light on & run to the safety of the bathroom.  A few minutes later, I cautiously came back in the room but couldn't find any signs of a bat flying around.  Phew.  It must have been my sleep deprived brain imagining it.  I flipped off the light & got back in bed.  I rolled over & looked at the window.... and there he was.  Crawling on the window ledge.  Aack!  There's a bat in my room.

I donned my bat fighting costume

and found that in the time it took me to get geared up for bat fighting, Dracula had crawled into  the one window in our whole house that has a window air conditioner.  So now, there he is, between the windows where I can't get to him.  Part of me is not complaining.  I really didn't want to get to him.  I have no idea how to go about bat removal, but I'd also really like him not to be hanging out in our house.  

Not to mention - he's in the yarn room.  Dammit!  There obviously won't be a lot of knitting going on today!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

ABC's of what to knit

Wondering what you should knit next?  Here's an alphabetical list of suggestions:

ABC's of Knitting Projects

A - the alphabet, of course
B - baby booties
C - cowl
D - dog sweater
E - entrelac stole
F - Fair Isle sweater
G - gloves
H - hat
I - infinity scarf
J - jumper
K - Keyring backpack
L - lace shawl
M - mittens
N - Ninja everything!
O - octopus
P  - poncho
Q - Queen's crown
R - ruffle scarf
S - socks
T - tea towl
U - umbrella
V - veil (wedding)
W - wine bottle bag
X - X Marks the Potholder
Y - Yuletide gnomes
Z - Zoo animals

Monday, June 2, 2014

Manly lace

Is there such a thing as manly lace?  Yes, I think there just might be.

The lace pattern is called "Ladder" and the yarn is Chroma in the Fossil colorway.  I think the combination of the two is quite manly.

I haven't abandoned the mitered square "thing" yet, but it's one of those never ending projects.  Specially if I really am going to make it bed sized, which I hope I will.  The main idea behind the mitered square "thing" is using up all those tiny bits of left over yarn, but even after 104 squares, I haven't even made a visual dent in the pile.  Which again, means it's a never ending project.  Anyway, I was getting a little bored with it & felt the need for something I could finish fairly quickly & check off the to-do list.  Thus, the Ladder scarf.

So much for knitting monogamy.