Friday, June 26, 2015

Orange is the New Black

Are you an Orange is the New Black fan?  Although I wasn't that wild about the second season, I was looking forward to the third.  And I got pretty dang, jumping up & down excited when I discovered there was an OITNB mystery-KAL (knit-along.)   I immediately ordered my kit (yarn and a link to the M-KAL/instructions.)  When I placed my order, the website said the yarn was in stock but two days later, I received an email saying that the yarn was not in stock & I'd have to wait for more to be dyed.  I was just a tad bit irritated, specially since I just happened to have June 13th off from work and June 13th was the day the third season would air.  I could binge watch all day, without even having to call in sick from work.  Or so I had thought.

My yarn finally arrived June 23rd, I immediately followed the link to find the instructions and.... wasn't that impressed.  Because I was so late starting, there were tons of spoiler photos already posted on the website, which turned out to be a good thing.  The MKAL instructions turned out to be for a shawl that just wasn't me.  Plus, it mentioned there was a good chance you'd need two skeins of yarn although the kit only included one.  So, instead of knitting the MKAL, I decided to knit a cowl.  I grabbed a couple of coordinating skeins from the stash pile and cast on during the opening OITNB credits.

It's just a simple, stockinette pattern with a few slipped stitches thrown in to create prison bars.

And no, the color is not off in the photo.  Instead of orange and black, the yarn is peach and grays.  Which I'm actually happy about.  I think the peach and gray combo will be much more wearable than an orange & black cowl.  An orange & black combo would probably look to Halloweenish.  Besides, the peach & grays are sort of dull, muted colors much like the colors of the OITNB prison.

Anyway, I'm happy with the colors and the yarn itself (it's a Lorna's Lace sport weight yarn) and the knitting project has outlasted the binge watching.  Yes!  I had two days off this week and spent them binge watching OITNB and knitting instead of going to the grocery store.  I will pay the price when I end up starving to death this week because there are no groceries in the house, but, I can now happily join the OITNB discussions at work.  It's a fairly decent trade off, I think.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

TBT - Disney

Zack and Sarah loved Tigger in the books and in the movies,

Zack & Sarah with Tigger, Disney World, 1998
but they weren't so thrilled to meet him in person.

Actually, their favorite thing about their trip to Disney World with Grandma was the wreck they saw on the way their.  A horrible accident happened right in front of them & the fire engine pulled up next to their car and they had a front-row view of people being cut out of the cars & the med-flight helicopter landing.  The helicopter was so exciting that to this day, you ask them how they liked Disney and they start talking about the helicopter landing near them.  They didn't even mind being stuck in a car, on a bridge, in the Florida heat for over four hours.

The kids get their fear of those giant, oversized, walking & waving, stuffed animal things naturally though.  I'll admit, they freak me out just a bit.  And every day at work, I walk past Planet Snoopy & most days, Lucy is right there, waving & walking and doing her photo op thing with the kids.  And I freak out a little, I stare at her to make sure she's not going to 'get me' and I begin laughing at myself and my silly fear.  And Lucy sees me smiling and staring & makes a beeline for me so we can high-five each other.  Every day.  You'd think I'd learn to take another route through the park, or to not make eye contact, or to burst into tears instead of laughing at my fear, but no.  No, I just start my day at work all wiggy, knowing that I've come in contact with a giant, oversized, walking & waving stuffed Lucy.

Friday, June 19, 2015

100 degrees and a gazillion trillion percent humidity

I think it's obvious I've already reached my summer slump as far as the blog is concerned.  I can't even remember the last time I posted something knitting related and if I'm going to be honest, the Thursday #TBT posts are all written & prescheduled way ahead of time.  There's been lots of drama preventing me from not only posting, but also from knitting.

First, it's sort of been too hot to knit.

And oddly, my car's mileage indicator pretty much equals the recent humidity levels.

And because it's been 100 degrees and a gazillion trillion percent humidity, our house's air conditioning unit died.  It took a week to get the new part and once the new part was installed, we discovered something else was wrong & the new part instantly shorted out.  A week later...  two new parts arrived and hopefully, keep your fingers (and toes!) crossed, we have working a/c once again.

And of course, since it was 100 degrees and a gazillion trillion percent humidity, one of our vehicle's radiators had to bust a gut.  Thank goodness the hubby is handy with a screwdriver and was able to replace the radiator in a matter of hours.

We've had extended family health issues to think about, so rather than knitting & thinking about that, I spent a rare 100 degrees and a gazillion trillion percent humidity day off at the lake trying to get a tan while not being struck by lightening.  Have I mentioned the crazy thunder storms we've been having?

And then there's been work.  Work has been taking up more time than usual.  We've been understaffed & the staff we do have are mostly all newbies so each shift is taking three, sometimes five or six hours longer than normal.  Have I mentioned the job is not a normal eight hour shift, it's a 'stay till the work is finished' shift.  Anyway, instead of leaving work at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., there have been many, many 5:00, 6:00, even 7:00 a.m. clock-outs.  And no matter what time I clocked out for the previous shift, I still have to clock in at the same time each afternoon.  And, on top of longer shifts, I've been busier during the shifts so I haven't had much at-work knitting time.  Anyway, the point is, work has cut into my knitting and blogging time.   I will admit though - the paychecks are nice.  Those extra hours are funding a lot of extra yarn shopping.

It's also been so hot, my work uniform belt melted.  Have I mentioned it's been 100 degrees with a gazillion trillion percent humidity?  I really think my leather belt melted.  There was nothing wrong with it when I put it on in the morning and after spending a shift in what I have renamed The Hot Box, the belt suddenly broke.  Not the buckle, not where the buckle joins the leather.  But the leather itself just suddenly tore in half.  I swear I think it melted.

Because of the belt melt-down, I spent this week's day off shopping for a new one.  I ended up at the local Bass Pro Shop (because I want a pair of hiking boots they have, but that's a whole other story.)  Sarah went with me & we got silly doing the 'tourist thing' in the store.

We laughed at how she didn't want to get too close to Mr. Bear.

And she was so freaked out by this big fish, she wouldn't even get close enough to the tank for me to get her in the photo.  Sarah is NOT a fan of big fish.  She wigs out over them like I wig out over spiders.  In all honesty, it was a creepy looking fish.  Dead eyes, huge mouth.  Pretty creepy.

So, all in all, I haven't gotten much knitting done lately.  I did finish the striped cowl knit with leftover Hawthorne yarn,

I knit a couple of simple, rolled brim hats, both of which need to be over-dyed.  I'm disappointed to have to re-dye the blue one.  I'd used food coloring to dye what I thought was enough yarn to knit a hat, but I was way off on yardage.  I love the way the yarn had splotches of darker color and I hope I can recreate that effect.  I started another simple, rolled brim hat in a deep, royal blue that is my current 'at work' knitting project.  I also picked back up a creamy colored lace scarf that has been in the stash pile for a long time.  And, I started a striped Thing.  I'm still not sure what the Thing will be.  When I cast it on, it was going to be a felted bag but it may end up being a cowl.  Or maybe even a sweater body.  I haven't decided.  Or more truthfully, the yarn just hasn't told me what it wants to be yet.

And now, I have to go get ready for work, put on the new belt, and go face the weather.  Have I mentioned it's 100 degrees and a gazillion trillion percent humidity out there?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

TBT - Gentlemen, Start your engines!

Being a good ol' country boy, my husband was a big fan of NASCAR and we frequently went to the races.

Start your engines, Dover, September , 1998, Dale Earnhardt
Dover, 1998

This was the start of the 1998 Dover race.  Earnhardt didn't do so well but it was still a good time.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

TBT - Gone Fishing Part 2

Only my husband would have back surgery then go fishing and catch a fish heavier than he was allowed to lift while in the healing process.

The big fish.
Luckily his friend, Ron, was there to help.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Today on my needles

To combat all the gray I've been knitting with lately, and well, honestly, to keep from having to put the yarn away, I started knitting a cowl with the yarn I had left over from the Hawthorne scarf.

knit striped cowl,
Striped Cowl

And in typing that, I just realized I never showed a photo of the finished Sweet and Simple lace hat.
Sweet and Simple Lace Hat

The new cowl being knit is actually a combo of all three Hawthorne yarns.

As for the Sweet & Simple lace hat, I'm super excited to announce that the pattern designer has given me permission to sell hats knit from her pattern.  Now, to just find the time to knit them....

Friday, June 5, 2015

Shades of Gray

Everything is gray around here.  It's been raining for three, maybe four days straight.  I feel like I'm starting to grow webbed feet.  And it's cold rain.  Last weekend was typical Virginia summer weather.  Actually, it felt more like a typical Virginia August than a Virginia May.  It was in the mid 90's, hazy blue skies & a gazillion percent humidity.  And then it thundered, the temperature dropped into the low 60's and the never ending rain began.

While I admit that I'm complaining about the rain (it is cold & raining on my day off so cut me some slack) I'm also enjoying it.  It's giving me a, maybe not "good" but good enough excuse not to spend my day off going to the grocery store.  It's also made things at work slow way down so I have gotten some knitting done.

Lately, my yarn choices seem to match the weather.  Gray.

hand knit rolled brim hat
rolled brim hat

I finished this simple rolled brim hat knit with Patons Kroy Socks in the Eclipse Stripes colorway and started a matching set of fingerless gloves.

Patons kroy socks
fingerless gloves

The  fingerless gloves are progressing slowly because I started a more colorful & fun 'at home' project and I try not to take dpns to work.  The dpns, at least the wooden ones I prefer, tend to break in my backpack.  It's a long & complicated story, but the backpack gets treated fairly roughly & frequently gets smashed under super heavy stuff, thus, the dpn breakage.  Anyway, as much as I love the Eclipse colorway, these fingerless gloves are getting the unloved stepchild treatment.

rolled brim hat,
City Tweed Hat

This was another simple rolled brim hat I knit at work.  This one is knit from Knit Picks' City Tweed in the Obsidian colorway.  It was the first time I've used this yarn, but it won't be the last.  The blend of alpaca & wool make the yarn incredibly soft while the tweed adds just enough color to keep me from going insane knitting solid gray on a gray, rainy day.

knit hat,
Martha Stewart extra soft wool blend

And then there's the Martha hat.  I'd picked up this Martha Stewart yarn from a big box craft store recently.  I love the soft gray color, it was on sale & dirt cheap and feels as soft as it's name implies.    While I'm enjoying knitting with it & I like the fabric it creates, I'm not happy about the many, many bad places in the yarn.

extra soft wool blend, split yarn, broken yarn, Martha Stewart fail
Martha Stewart fail

See that little fuzz ball?  The yarn is full of places where parts of the yarn were broken & not spun properly.  I just pray it's bad yarn & not a moth issue.  I'd bought a ton of this yarn (like I said, it was on sale & dirt cheap) with the intention of knitting lots of things for my Etsy shop but I'd never offer my customers this poorly spun/cruddy yarn.

And on that note, I think I'll go find a blanket to snuggle under & some more colorful yarn to knit with.  Or maybe I'll just take a nap.  This is perfect napping weather.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

TBT - Gone Fishing, 2001

Sarah caught the big fish.

Hatteras, NC, beached basking shark,
Beached Basking Shark, Hatteras, NC, 2001
Okay, so I made that up.  But we did see a big shark.

After a week of being official homeschoolers, we decided we needed a break & went on vacation.  While out riding on the beach at Hatteras, we came upon this beached basking shark.  It was still a tiny bit alive and while it was sad to see, it was also fascinating & was the start of a whole giant shark unit study.
beached basking shark
Hatteras, NC, 9/10/2001
And while exciting to see & a fantastic learning opportunity, the experience put an end to my kids ever being satisfied with learning science from a text book.

It was also the last time Sarah willing swam in the ocean.