Sunday, December 23, 2007

I have no creative title

Your Brain is Green

Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance.
You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.
You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Final Package

After a couple of days spent chipping through the layers of ice on my trusty mailbox, I was able to get to my mail and retrieve the final package from my secret pal. Once again my pal has done a wonderful job of selecting just the right items to make me squeal with joy when I opened the package. I didn't notice a card in the package but I am guessing that this package had a theme (the last package was socks) that had something to do with customized items or do it yourself. Here are some photos of the items in my package (except for the chocolate because I ate it all!).

Aren't these the cutest stitch markers you have ever seen? They are custom stitch markers because my pal rocks but the etsy shop that sold them has lots of other cute stitch markers if you want some. In addition to being cute, they seem to be well made so you should get some for yourself or your favorite knitting friend! I can't wait to use them.

Check out this adorable kit so I can make my own little owl. The etsy shop that my pal got them from has a lot of other varieties if you don't fancy an owl. You could make a squirrel, a skunk, or numerous other little delights.

I got this super soft merino yarn (about 1100 yards total) that I am going to use to make a super soft shawl. Plus my pal sent Kool-Aid packets so I can dye it in my favorite colors. I have seen tutorials on Kool-Aid dyeing and had thought about trying it out and now I have no excuse not to give it a shot. She also sent the Seraphim Shawl pattern that I have been drooling over. It is such a beautiful shawl and I was so happy to zip on over to The Loopy Ewe and take it off of my wish list!

Finally my pal sent me the perfect handspun yarn that she made for me. The colors are perfect for me, although due to the sheen of the yarn they didn't photograph too well with my camera. Also, she beaded the yarn with all of these delightful beads that match but aren't too matchy. It is such a thoughtful gift and I will have to think long and hard about what to make with it. Here is a closeup.
So thank you secret pal for knocking this last one out of the park! And if you haven't finished your Christmas shopping, you should check out etsy and support an individual artist/crafter.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hello again

Sorry for the long absence. Work has been horribly challenging and it's sapped my energy for anything other than sleep or escapist TV. Work is still challenging but I decided to just force myself to post or who knows how long my poor neglected blog would languish. I did have a lovely bright spot last weekend in the form of a trip to Indiana to see some some friends. It was wonderful to see them again, to catch up on what life has thrown our way in the last year, and to just have fun and laugh a lot. We got the very exciting news that B & D are expecting their second child at the end of May.

I found out that Holly has taken up knitting. She is working on a pretty scarf for her mom so we did some knitting and talking about knitting that weekend as she and Derrik were gracious enough to let me stay at their house. I waxed poetic about The Loopy Ewe to Holly and I showed her the Dream in Color Classy in Deep Sea Flower that I had just received so she could pet it. It was nice to have someone to talk knitting with in person who understands fiber instead of the people at work who are confused by the concept of being able to easily spend $100 at the local yarn shop. "How much yarn do you need?" What kind of question is that?!?

I discovered a new-to-me artist on Emily Martin, the woman behind The Black Apple. I have two of her prints with a print and two cameo pins on the way. There are at least 16 more prints that I want to get but I am going to try to pace myself. I would love to own some of her original artwork but the one that I wanted sold about 10 seconds after it posted while I was still trying to decide if I could spend the $200 or if I should wait until I get those pesky student loans paid off. You should check out her work and if you are an artist looking for a following, maybe you should give Etsy a try.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I thought today was going to be good because the McRib is back at McDonalds. It turns out that today is good because I got a rockin' package from my secret pal. It was a sock-themed package including some handmade socks in Socks that Rock (Sapphire colorway)light weight. The socks are really beautiful and I can't believe that a very nice stranger would go through all that work for me. Also included in the package was a needle roll to keep my DPNs in, stitch markers, a cute card, hand sanitizer, and a beautiful skein of Fleece Artist in the Seafoam colorway. Thank you secret pal.

Here is a close up of the socks:Here is proof that the sock fits. I know the angle isn't so great but this is my very first pair of hand-knit socks so I am still learning the best sock angles!

Here is the lovely yarn. Do you have any suggestions on a project for it?
Last but not least, here is the whole glorious package. Whose secret pal rocks? Mine does!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Progress...yes! Pictures? Um...not so much

Wow, sorry to be away from the blog so long. I have been very busy and some of it even envolved knitting. Mom and I took our sock class and had a great time. The instructor was just lovely and I am thinking about sending her some Speed Demon sock yarn as a thank you. The class was two sessions but probably could have a third session added on if people don't already know how to knit socks. The instructor said that in her other classes her students had all knit socks before and were just taking the class to learn the Magic Loop method. I am only to the heel flap on the first sock and I am about 10 rows away from making the turn. I need to take a photo of my progress.

I finished the two red scarves that I made for the Orphan Foundation of America and got them mailed off by the due date. Did I take a picture of the two scarves nestled in the shipping box with the cute tags with a message and washing instructions attached? No. I meant to but I was so excited to get the box out that I sealed it before my brain could catch up with my hands.

I started Emily's scarf which is only fair as she has started the painting that she is making in exchange for the scarf. This is the first time that I have used black yarn and it requires a brightly lit area so I will have to abandon some of my usual knitting spots in favor of the couch next to the floor lamp so I can point all three bulbs down at the knitting.

I will be doing training the next three days. Wednesday I will be taking the second of three classes so I can be certified to teach First Aid/CPR/AED through the American Red Cross. A coworker and I are getting certified for work so that we have someone on site that can teach the classes. Thursday and Friday I will be at an IPCSA conference which should be fun but I am not looking forward to the commute to get to the training. I hope everyone is healthy and happy out there and next time I will remember to take photos. ^-^

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ravelry...the new addiction of choice

So I have gotten completely addicted to Ravelry. I love the forums, searching the the patterns, the groups, all of it! One of the best things for me is seeing what other people have made with a specific yarn because I have a bad habit of buying yarn with no project in mind. If the yarn is pretty or soft I will take it home and then it just stays in my stash indefinitely. Now I have a great resource for ideas and patterns and all the wonderful things knit-related. I have great local knitting stores that I could use but I'm a tad socially awkward and I can't imagine saying to another knitter that I am not creative enough or smart enough to figure out a pattern for my new yarn. If you are a knitter and not on Ravelry or on the waiting list, I encourage you to sign up. It is so many things to so many knitters: some like the social aspect, some like the pattern and yarn database, some like having an all-hours place to get their knitting questions answered, some like having a place to organize their stash, some like having a place to keep track of all of their projects (in progress and finished). Me? I like it all. I did volunteer to be an editor. I decided I should help out as much as I can since I am getting a lot of enjoyment out of Ravelry!

I got some new yarn today in the mail. I had heard a lot of talk about Dream in Color Smooshy so I ordered some to see what it is like. It definitely lives up to its name. I found out on the Ravelry message boards that The Loopy Ewe is going to start carrying the worsted version of Dream in Color and I can't wait to try that once she gets it in!

I have done some actually knitting. I am about 3/4 done with the red Irish Hiking scarf that I am making for the Red Scarf project. Once I get it done I will be making another Irish Hiking scarf for a girl at work. I will post photos later this weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hey NerdGirl...what'd you do today?

Um...let's see...I woke up. I brushed my teeth and took a shower. I got dressed and put in my contacts. I had lunch with Nan. Oh...and I got my Ravelry invite!!!!! I played around on the site a little bit today and I think I did okay getting myself set up. I still have more things to add but I feel it was a respectable day's work. I am NerdGirl on Ravelry so feel free to check me out and say hello. I am thinking about being a volunteer editor when I get a little more familiar with the site...any thoughts from someone who does it?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Exciting developments

One of the women that I work with wants a scarf from me so badly that she offered to paint something for me in exchange. I felt honored that she wanted one of my handmade scarves but I didn't feel right just making one for her without offering to make one for everyone at work since I am a supervisor and I can't seem like I am playing favorites so the deal works well. She asked what I wanted her to paint and I told her that since she was the artist, I would let her choose. I gave her these hints to stir her creative juices: I love nature; my favorite colors are green, blue, and purple; and fall is my favorite season. I am looking forward to seeing what she comes up with as the "clues" leave a lot of room for her artistic vision. She wants a machine washable Irish hiking scarf in black with fringe at the ends. I am going to knit up some sample swatches in a couple of different yarns so she can decide which she prefers.

In other exciting news, there are only 95 people in front of me for a Ravelry invite!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I might have a yarn problem...but on the upside you get some lovely yarn photos.

First is the lovely sock yarn that I got from The Loopy Ewe using the gift certificate that my secret pal got for me. Thank you secret pal!
Here is the sock yarn that I got to use in my sock class.

Here is a nice laceweight that I got just 'cause it is pretty.

There has been a little bit of knitting progress. The photos aren't the best but you should get the general idea on how the cable scarf is progressing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I was finding it difficult to bring myself to work on my Red Scarf projects and then I was feeling guilty about not wanting to work on a charity project so there was a lot of knitting avoidance going on. I wasn't working on my charity projects so I didn't want to work on a project for myself despite the fact that I have several waiting in the wings that I am really anxious to get started on. My relief from the seemingly endless cycle of working on a couple of rows and then dropping the knitting in disgust came in the form of a Norma post. Now that I know that I really don't have to make five scarves and that the OFA might be better off if I only make one or two, I have relieved myself from the prison of a project that I hate (otherwise known as Red Scarf #2). I don't know if I will always dislike Cascade Superwash or if it was just an unfortunate combination of yarn, needle size, and pattern but I really did not enjoy that scarf at all! I resented it taking time away from other knitting projects that I might love if I had some time to devote to them. So, I cast off the start of the scarf and gave it to my cat to cuddle with. Now, I am happily working on Red Scarf #3 which is now the new #2 and that will be my last Red Scarf. It is the cabled scarf and I think that it looks really good despite the fact that it is my first cable project. I will have to get a picture of it tomorrow since it has grown about a foot and a half since the last blog photo.

In other knitting news, I got a call from the lady that is teaching the Magic Loop sock class in October. She just wanted to make sure that I didn't need any help selecting a needle or yarn for the class and she wanted me to work up a swatch gauge before class because we are going to write up our own sock pattern in class! I had just assumed that we would make an average test sock that wouldn't necessarily fit so it is nice to know that I should be getting a usable pair of socks out of the class. Maybe this weekend I will swing by the LYS and get my supplies so I can get the gauge swatch out of the way. This will be a first for me as I haven't ever made a gauge swatch before. All of my projects have been things that I didn't have to pay attention to the gauge...scarves and shawls are great in that respect.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thank you

I just got a Loopy Ewe gift certificate from my secret pal. How cool is that?!? I get the joy of getting a wonderful surprise from my secret pal but I also get to spend time picking out yarn that I love and then getting a package in the mail from The Loopy Ewe with an extra surprise in it. I have to go drool over some yarn now.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today was yarntastic!

I went to Needleworks and paid for the Magic Loop class that mom and I will be taking in October. I am really looking forward to it and the shop owner seemed very excited that I was paying in full for two class spots. I think that we will have a lot of fun taking a class together. After I left Needleworks, I stopped by Klose Knit which just reopened about five days ago in a new location. I fell off of the yarn wagon and bought myself some lovely new yarn and a pattern.
I hadn't really planned on buying as much yarn as I did. I thought I would go in, browse for a bit, buy a courtesy skein, and leave. Um...not so much. I got some lovely Rowan Cashsoft Aran (2 balls green #SH018 and two balls gray #SH014) that I am thinking of making a scarf out of as it is so very snuggly. I almost succumbed to the call of 200yds of cashmere for $30 but I knew that to make the scarf that I wanted I would need at least 400yds and I can not justify $60 for a scarf. So, I went with the Cashsoft which is very nearly as soft as the 100% cashmere.I also got some indigo Banana Silk yarn that I use to have a go at the shawl pattern that I have that was written for recycled silk. I am using the pattern right now with Suri Dreams from KnitPicks but I don't really enjoy the Suri Dreams so I am going to try to redeem the pattern with the a yarn similar to the intended version as it is a little ho-hum with the Suri Dreams.I was almost out the door when I was drawn in by the Interlacements yarn and patterns. I got a lovely feather and fan shawl pattern and the Interlacements Kansas yarn in the Woodland color way. I am really looking forward to starting the shawl project with this yarn. The colors aren't my normal color palette but it was so pretty that I had to pick it up. After I picked it up, I practically ran to to the counter to pay before I took even more yarn home. There was some Malabrigo, Rowan Tapestry, and Rowan Felted Tweed that I wanted to take home.Did I get any actual knitting done? You know...the two scarves that I am supposed to be finishing...nope! I just don't enjoy the Cascade 220 Superwash so it is hard for me to enjoy knitting that scarf and the cable scarf is something that I need to pay attention to and I wasn't in the mood...maybe next week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Training session

Today I went with five co-workers to a training session in Springfield on mental health issues, the trauma model of dealing with youth, and suicide prevention in juvenile detention. It was a wonderful training by an incredibly well-qualified instructor but it probably could have been a two day session as there was a bit of rushing over details at the end of the day. It is always nice to get a reminder on the manifestations of trauma and mental illness that may be exhibited by the residents at my place of employment. On the way back from training, the woman driving took a wrong turn and we ended up going a bit out of our way. I enjoyed the detour as it took us through lovely small-town, rural America.

I am been poking around on-line a little bit look for things to spoil my secret pal with and I ran across the cutest stitch markers on Etsy. I am thinking about getting her some and if you are a knitter you should definitely check out weeones shop on Etsy. I love the cats and dogs in Halloween costumes and the woodland creatures [squirrels, skunks, etc...]. I wish that she would make owls or an owl and squirrel combination!

I have only managed to do a couple of rows of knitting since my last post. I am such a slacker. Hopefully I will get a lot accomplished in the next two days since I don't have to work. I am trying to come up with a plan that will make me accomplish knitting without getting distracted by other pursuits. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What I did on my fake vacation

My fake vacation was great. I spent Saturday with my friend Kas seeing the sites in Springfield, Illinois. We went to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library which took about 2 hours to go through. I had Kas pose with the fake Lincoln family at the museum even though she was a tad creeped out by the figures. Note John Wilkes Booth lurking in the background.
Before we left the museum we hit the gift shop where I resisted buying anything. I almost bought a magnet for mom but she has a ton already and she isn't a big history buff so I decided to skip it. I was excited to see a penny squishing machine so I did spend $1 squishing pennies (50 cents a penny). It may be silly but squished pennies are my favorite souvenir maybe because they are cheap and easy to lug home.

After the museum we headed to Lincoln's Home which is free to tour because of a stipulation that Lincoln's son made when he gave the home to the state of Illinois who in turn gave it to the National Park Service. The tour doesn't take too long so if you happen to be in the Springfield area you should have time to work it into your schedule. There are a couple of other homes in the historic neighborhood that you can tour on your own but we skipped those in favor of lunch! I did snap a shot through the view tube that shows "the most photographed view of Lincoln's home."
After lunch, we headed to Camp Butler and then hit Allerton Park on the way home. Kas had never been and I thought she would enjoy the Garden of the Fu Dogs. It was enjoyable until I was swarmed by mosquitoes! I ended up with probably 40 bites which are making me itchy-itchy-itchy! Here is a shot of the end of the Garden of the Fu Dogs which leads to the evil mosquito trail.Monday (after taking it easy on Sunday) I went to a family cookout at my brother's house. Ribs, deviled eggs, baked potatoes, and seven layer salad. Yum! The lemon pie that my brother made was the so good it deserves a double yum. I did manage to get a little bit of knitting done on the third red scarf but I discovered that my first cable project is not good social knitting because I have to pay attention to the knitting. Are all cable projects like that or is it just because I am new to cables? Hopefully this week I will get a lot of knitting done.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Heart fake vacation!

My employer has a policy that if you don't use the three personal days you earn every year on your anniversary date by your next anniversary date then you loose them. Right now I am enjoying a fake vacation because this is the last pay period before my anniversary date and I needed to use up my personal days so I took off Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday...and bonus...Monday is a holiday! I love having time off work with no plans to leave town. I get to hang out with friends that I don't normally see because of my wacky work schedule and spend a little time knitting and watching movies or TV on DVD. My current DVD favorite is season one of Psych which is the funniest show I have seen in a while.

Today I went to lunch with my friend Meg and her two month old daughter Haley. This is the first time that I have seen Meg since Haley was born, mostly because Haley had to have emergency surgery and then she couldn't be around a lot of people because her immune system was compromised while she was recovering from the surgery. It was lovely to catch up in person and Meg let me hold Haley most of the visit! Now, I don't want children of my own but I adore babies and my heart went pitter patter when Haley fell asleep while I was holding her. Meg is doing well and she said that she has gotten into a good routine so it should be easier for us to get together semi-regularly for lunch. Did I mention that Meg wants to learn how to knit? She wants me to teach her and I am a little nervous because I am still a beginner myself. I will give it the old college try though because I love the idea of being responsible for creating a new knitter!

I talked to my mom yesterday and she agreed to take a knitting class with me at the LYS. She is a lapsed knitter but she is an active crocheter who is working on a huge afghan for my brother. We are taking a sock knitting class! I am so excited to learn how to knit socks. The class is on the magic loop method as no prior sock knitting experience is needed. I am sure that eventually I will take the top-down sock class or the toe-up sock class but you need some experience working on double-pointed needles to take those classes so I will have to save them until I get a little practice in on the double-points. I am already coveting a lot of the sock yarns at The Loopy Ewe so this class is probably going to cause me to do a lot of damage to the ol' bank account.

I am still working on the scarfs for the Red Scarf project. I have the first scarf completed and I ended up really enjoying working with the Plymouth Encore worsted. I am not enjoying the Cascade 220 superwash as much but it is working up into a nice scarf. I started on scarf number three which is my very first cable project and so far, the cables look like cables! I was talking with my mom about my quest to find a good machine washable yarn to make these red scarves out of and I almost fell over when she professed her love for Red Heart! I guess I have turned into a bit of a yarn snob because Red Heart feels so scratchy to me. Mom said that when you add up the fact that the yarn is cheap, readily available, and can go in the washer and dryer you just can't beat it. I think mom would have a fit if she knew how much money I spent on some of my yarn. Oh well. Of course, I wouldn't trade the afghan she made for me out of Red Heart for the finest yarn in the world so I can't be too much of a yarn snob.

That will about do it for me today but here is a picture of scarf number three. Cables rock! I will try to get a better picture once the scarf is a little bigger so you can see more of the cable detail.

Monday, August 27, 2007

What to do...

I finished the first red scarf but I need to bind off...the problem is the only bind off I know is a bit untidy and leaves the finished edge a bit wonky and lopsided. I started on another dishcloth for my mom using up the scraps of leftover dishcloth yarn. I am crocheting it so it is going pretty fast. I won't post any photos of it since it is a sad mis-matched scrap project. So to the knitters out there, please post your favorite bind-off method in the comments! Hopefully it will give me the inspiration that I need to bind off scarf number one so I can cast on scarf number three [which should be an adventure since I am going to teach myself cables for the third scarf!]

Monday, August 20, 2007

Picture perfect

Just a quick update...I finished the dishcloth that I started this weekend for my mom. Here is a photo:
Just for fun here is a copy of the other dishcloth that I finished recently, the green diamond dishcloth:

The same, only different

Hello again! In the spirit of multi-tasking I did decide to start on another scarf using the same pattern with a different yarn. Oh, did I mention that it is on needles that I hate! I officially hate plastic least the Lion Brand needles that I am using. I also started a dishcloth for my mom using a self-striping yarn (Sugar 'n Cream stripes in the color Natural Stripes) using, you guessed it, the same pattern. I stuck with the pattern because it is really easy and doesn't require much thought so it is great when I just have a few minutes to knit. Of course, by using the same pattern I have semi-defeated the purpose of being able to switch to a different project when you are bored. I did buy some cable needles on Saturday when I was at the grand re-opening of the Hobby Lobby (the best place in town to buy dishcloth cotton) so that I can try a cable pattern for my next red scarf. I have never done cables before but I think that I can teach myself and a scarf seems like the right size project to learn on.

While I was on a shopping spree on Saturday I bought the latest Interweave Knits and I am absolutely drooling over some of the patterns. I probably won't be at the skill level to make any of them for a while but I could not resist the siren song of the patterns! I think part of the lure may have been the colors they used for the projects. Would I have cared for the tilted duster in yellow or the mirepoix in orange? I don't think so. Before I went shopping on Saturday I fueled up with breakfast but only because my friend Bill and his family were visiting from Florida. I met Bill for breakfast after I got off work on Saturday morning and it was lovely to catch up with him. We used to go out to breakfast all of the time when he lived here but I haven't gone much since he moved. Sunday I spent the day with my parents canning tomato juice. Again. My dad said it would probably be the last of the canning for the summer so we were left with a grand total of 86 pints canned for the summer.

Lastly, here is another questionnaire for SP11:

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?
I am not really sure. Needles and yarn aside, I think stitch markers are the only real accessory that I have used and in a pinch I can use scrap yarn to replace those. I like point protectors so that stitches don't jump off the needle when I put my work down.

2. If you're heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? If
so, how much and what type of project?
Yes, I take whichever project I am working on and enjoying the most.

3. Where have you traveled to that you'd consider your favorite spot?
Pretty much any place involving nature: Niagara Falls, Alcatraz in spring (yes it used to be a prison and a fort but the island has gone a bit wild and is really beautiful), the Smokey Mountains, etc...

4. What is your favorite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?
I have a thing for knitting books. Right now my favorite is Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and I do own it. I love the Yarn Harlot's sense of humor and her practical basic "recipes" for different projects.

5. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favorite(s)?
I do listen to podcasts (I *heart* i-tunes) and here are some of my favorites: This American Life, Cast On, & Lime and Violet

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Quick update

The first red scarf is now about 36" long. I know that a lot of people would be finished by now but my knitting time has been a bit sporadic. I didn't take a photo of it so just image the photo in the previous post but longer! Hello to my secret pal who left a comment for me on the 13th. I love getting comments...more people should comment. ^_^ (Yes Kas, I stole your smiley face.) I do think that I am going to break down and start another project. I am good at multi-tasking so I will see if that skill applies when the tasks are multiple knitting projects. Finally, because I know every post is better with a photo, here is the cypress vine that is growing up the side of my parents' garage.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Scarf-ing along

I have been working on the first red scarf and so far so good. Today I only felt the desire to cast on three different projects [dishcloth, chevron scarf, & hat] and I resisted the impulse each time. Maybe I do need to have another project going so that I don't burn myself out on scarf pattern before I get all five done. What do you think? Here is a (lousy) picture of scarf 1 so far:
In other knitting related news: how is it that I have never listened to the Lime and Violet podcast before?!? I love them and they have a blog that is newish [the end of July] that I would recommend as well. In fact, go read their blog because mine is being turned over for the Secret Pal 11 questionnaire and unless you are my secret pal, you probably don't care.

SP 11 Questionnaire:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers to you absolutely *not* like?
I am not the most experienced knitter so I don't have the most vast fiber knowledge but I do not like fun fur or trellis style novelty yarns. I haven't tried ribbon yarn so I don't know how I feel about it. I don't think I enjoy mohair and I don't really enjoy acrylics. Really I am trying to expand my fiber knowledge so I am pretty game for anything.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I store my straight needles in a lovely felted bag and I have my double-points thrown in there too. I don't really have a storage plan for my circulars...I just have them hanging on a hook.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I would consider myself still a beginner. I have made a lot of scarves and dishcloths, one hat, and one wrap. I have two lace projects [a shawl and a scarf] in progress.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, I have an Amazon list with a link in my side bar.

5. What's your favorite scent?
In general I have to be careful with scented stuff because too much scent can give me a headache. I like apple cinnamon, mango mandarin, spearmint, and peach.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Um...candy? Yes please! Wow, favorite candy is hard but you can't beat chocolate & peanut butter or chocolate & caramel. Or Nerds or Twizzlers [the original] or M & Ms or...yeah I like candy.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I don't spin but I really admire anyone who does...without you, I would be yarn-less and very sad. I dabble in sewing and crocheting and photography.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like "alternative" which is about the least specific or descriptive genre label that I could go with plus other random artists. Here are some groups that I like: Cake, They Might be Giants, Barenaked Ladies, The Dresden Dolls, Lilly Allen, The Ditty Bops, Belle & Sebastian, Badly Drawn Boy, The Dixie Chicks, The Killers, Marilyn Manson, Missy Elliot, The Streets, Tegan & Sara, Tilly and the Wall, the Presidents of the United States of America, and the list goes on!

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I like blue, green, and purple but I'm not a fan or orange or yellow.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Me, myself, and I with a cat.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes, yes, yes, and I haven't but I would

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I am currently obsessed with lace and shawls but I am just trying my first projects. I am still a beginner so I am loving trying new things.

13. What are you knitting right now?
A red scarf for Red Scarf 2008; a lace shawl; a lace scarf

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I am still trying things out but I think I prefer metal needles and the straight or circular depends on the project. I have used bamboo and it is okay but I was not a fan of the plastic needles that I tried.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No--but I will have to invest at some point

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I have an afghan from two years ago when I first tried to teach myself how to knit. I probably won't ever finish it because it is out of a very scratchy Red Heart.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
I don't really have a that bad?

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Books and yarn

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I don't have any knitting magazine subscriptions. I have a bunch of knitting books in my Amazon wishlist. I am always game for more needles and patterns!

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I would love to learn how to knit socks!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Not a sock knitter and I don't know what measurements a sock knitter would need.

23. When is your birthday?
Dec. 31

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
Still waiting for my invite.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Keeping busy

This weekend I kept myself busy knitting, canning, and shopping for books. I went shopping on Saturday for Red Scarf 2008 yarn and some old books on canning. I ended up with a Ball Blue Book from 1969 and 1979 and a U.S. Department of Agriculture pamphlet on canning from 1971. I ended up with two different yarns for the Red Scarf 2008 project: Encore knitting worsted weight color 174 and Cascade 220 superwash color 809. I decided to use the knitting of five scarves as a chance to try five different yarns so that I can expand my fiber knowledge a bit. I also ended up getting a skein Noro Silk Garden in color 252 and color 243 after running across a pattern for a cute hat in the Yarn Harlot's archived blog entries. I was catching up on all of the old entries that I had missed since I didn't start reading her blog until late 2006. I am really anxious to try the hat pattern but I am making myself wait until I have all 5 scarves knit since they have a due date!

On Sunday I went to my parents house to put up more tomato juice. We have now put up over 70 pints of juice and eaten about a bazillion tomatoes this summer and that is off of 7 plants. Dad said that by the middle of the week there will be more tomatoes ready but Mom had excused me from helping since I will be working and/or sleeping getting ready for my night shift. After Mom and Dad cooked a delicious meal of hamburgers on the grill, tomatoes, cottage cheese, potatoes, and gravy [for the tomatoes--if you haven't tried the combination I would highly recommend it]. Yum! Having a home-cooked meal definitely makes all of the hot sweaty canning worth it.

When I got home I cast on with the Encore using the Yarn Harlot's one row scarf pattern which I also found in one of her archived posts. I really like the pattern and it knits up fairly quickly, at least it seems like it. Maybe it just feels like it is going fast because it is such a nice break from the Broken Muppet shawl. I had convinced myself that I liked the Suri Dreams but after working with the Encore I know that I do not enjoy Suri Dreams! It feels sticky when I knit with it so I will be taking a break from it while I work on the scarves for Red Scarf 2008. Here are some photos; the first is my progress on the Broken Muppet and the second is the Red Scarf that I started. I am a lot farther along on the Red Scarf than the photo shows...I actually have about 8 1/2 inches done.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Catching Up

Sorry, I have been away but my grandmother passed away. I will miss her and she was my last living grandparent but she has been really sick and her doctors told us that she was dying in March so we have been prepared for a while. Still, it is sad and I miss her.
Now for the catching up:

The Suri Dreams project [AKA: The Broken Muppet Lace Shawl] is moving along. I am doing okay with the yarn but I did learn that I never want to make a mistake with this yarn again! I had to rip back about six rows because of a pattern shift caused by my repeating the same pattern row twice. I guess that is what I getting for knitting and watching Psych on DVD at the same time. After fighting with the yarn because all of its fuzzy little tendrils were clinging to each other [in a couple spots, I very briefly contemplated scissors] I vowed to pay better attention and started to re-knit only to discover that I needed to rip back one more row. Oh how the knitting fates laughed at me! So after some more fighting, I finally got back to the proper spot and corrected the error. So, hopefully the Broken Muppet and I can be friends again and play nicely. I will try to post some pictures tomorrow.

I haven't worked on the other 1, 2, 3 Easy Lace Scarf because I have been busy with other things namely learning how to can tomato juice. Okay, so it wasn't really hard but I hadn't ever done it before and didn't feel like getting a book from the library and all of the necessary equipment so I asked my mom to show me how. It turned into a nice family affair with my mom and dad both involved in the process. We ended up canning 40 pints [11 on the 5th and 29 on the 8th] and there will probably be more before the summer is over as there are more tomatoes to come. Maybe we will switch it up and try some tomato soup or (in a completely different direction) maybe I'll luck in to some beets and mom will show me how to pickle them. Does it make me incredibly simple-minded that my favorite part of canning is the "pop" or "ping" sound that the lids make when the canning jar seals? It makes me smile every time that I hear it and if several pop at once it makes me want to do a little dance. Here are a couple of canning pictures but feel free to ignore them as they are mostly for my entertainment.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Killing time

I just can't resist some of the quizzes that I see on other blogs and this one tickled my funny bone:

You Are a Pinky

You are fiercely independent, and possibly downright weird.

A great communicator, you can get along with almost anyone.

You are kind and sympathetic. You support all your friends - and love them for who they are.

You get along well with: The Ring Finger

Stay away from: The Thumb

Getting my knit on

I am sure you guessed by the lack of whining that my yarn order came in!! Of course, while waiting, in addition to the lace weight yarn that I bought at the LYS, I also bought a skein of lace weight from The Loopy Ewe! So, that would be three lace weight purchases before I even cast on my first lace project. {Hi, my name is NerdGirl and I am a yarn-a-holic!} But, I have rectified the situation:

The top photo is Suri Dreams and a modified lace shawl pattern. I started using the pattern as printed but found between my newness with lace, the texture of the yarn, and the blunt end on my needles I could not {without great difficulty} knit two stitches together when the previous row was I am knitting the in between row instead of purling. The pattern isn't quite as pretty but at least I don't want to throw the knitting at the wall.

The bottom photo is Shadow in a free lace scarf pattern. I find this yarn much easier to work with [evidently fuzzy or mohair-like yarn and I are not great friends] but working on such a tiny scale is taking some getting used to. I love the point on the end of these needles because even though the stitches are tiny I have no problems knitting stitches together after the purl row. Okay, the stitches seem tiny to me but they are on a US size 3 needle so I know they aren't tiny for lace.

I don't know that I would get the Suri Dreams again but I would definitely get the Shadow again if I stick with the lace obsession that I have developed. I also learned that I will need to get a ball winder and swift sometime in the near-ish future because rolling lace weight into a ball by hand is not a lot of fun especially when it leads to a tangle that can't be untangled!

Here is one last photo of the yarns going to sleep for the night.

Monday, July 30, 2007

For a good cause

I will be knitting for the Red Scarf Project this year. I ran across this project last year but the deadlines had already passed so I am happy that I am a little more on the ball this year. I will now be on the quest for the perfect soft red yarn! As some of you may know, I work with juvenile delinquents and a fair percentage of them are wards of the state. It is sad that once they are on their own at age 18 without any real support system unless they lucked into a mentor along the way who will keep in touch once they age out of the system. I can remember joking about my parents kicking my brother and I out of the house when we turned was okay to joke about it because I knew that my parents would always be there for me. Now imagine that you are 18 and that happens because you are a ward of the state. Goodbye money to live on, goodbye place to live, goodbye adult caretakers helping you make decisions--you are now an adult, deal with it! Fortunately there are groups like the Orphan Foundation of America that step in to help. I will be making scarfs and sending some gift cards for the care packages that they send to college students. Please consider doing what you can to help out. Here is the link to the charity navigator page so you can see that the are a well-run charity!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Impatience leads to:

One: More yarn--specifically a beautiful evergreen laceweight from the local yarn store. I checked the mail on Saturday and there was still no package so I went to Needleworks to check out their yarn--just to pet it, I swear--but once in the store I was overcome with the urge to buy. I my defense it was very soft yarn.

Two: Yarn holders--in this case a lovely woven basket with brocade fabric liner. I decided that I wanted a safe place to store my lace project so I picked up this lovely Lantern Moon basket while I was at Needleworks.

Three: Finished objects--in the form of the hat that was for a Klose Knit knitting class that didn't happen because of the blizzard this winter. Yes, I am aware that it's summer but I can procrastinate with the best of them. It was already cast on and I had about two inches done so this morning I decided that I would just wing it and finish the hat. I used the information provided by the Yarn Harlot in "Knitting Rules!" to guide me and finished the hat with minimal problems. My biggest hurdle was wrestling the hat on 16" circulars when I was down to the last few of rounds. I think that switching to double-pointed needles might have been a bit easier but that is only a theory as I have never used them (they couldn't have been worse than all of the tugging and contorting of needles that I was doing). But, the hat is finished and I think it is very cute even if it doesn't have the flower right at the top of the hat that I would have learned in the class. I don't know if it was just stitch work of if it was a fancy bind off but I am happy. Here are a couple of photos:
If you don't have "Knitting Rules!", I highly recommend that you get a copy!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Knitting or lack thereof

I am sad to report that right now the only knitting that I am doing is on a dishcloth. It is a pretty little dishcloth but the pattern doesn't show up very well since I am using a variegated it is a little frustrating to knit. I am close to finishing it so here is a picture:
I only have about another inch of pattern and then 4 rows of knit before the bind-off. I am waiting rather impatiently for my order from Knit Picks to get here. They are very timely with their orders, I just want instant gratification which won't happen until someone figures out how to download yarn. Maybe Willy Wonka has a cousin that specializes in yarn! I am getting some lovely lace weight yarn (Shadow--Jewels Heather) to make a scarf and some super bulky yarn (Suri Dream--Gloxinia) to make a caplet. Now if only the mail person would cooperate and deliver my yarn.

Monday, July 23, 2007

For a friend...

Tuesday and Wednesday please send all of your smart lawyerly thoughts towards Indianapolis where Holly is taking the bar exam!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I just finished reading the final Harry Potter book and I must say that, for me, it was the perfect conclusion to the series! [And, I was right about Snape.]

Book started at 12:23am and finished at 5:17am...not too bad for 759 pages.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Two more states and a wedding

You may or may not know that I want to see all 50 states and this month, thanks to a trip to attend a college friends wedding, I managed to cross two more states off the list! To add to the adventure factor, a former roommate and I took the California Zephyr from Chicago to Grand Junction which is a 27 hour trip. We did meet some lovely people on the train: on the trip out on the California Zephyr we had lunch in the dining car with Frank & Patty who were headed to California to see one of their kids and on the way back we met a nice couple [we never exchanged names] who were just traveling for fun. I can only hope to be as active as they are when I am retired: couple one likes to go white-water rafting and couple two likes to go distance biking!

I don't know if I would want to take that long of a trip again with someone but I think that I would do okay by myself because I could knit or read and keep myself occupied pretty well but when you travel with someone else that is a long time to try to make sparkling conversation. Plus, occasionally we were subjected to the excruciating conversations of others...the worst of which was the hippie granola missionary man. The sad thing is that I agree with many of the things that he was saying but the two hour proselytizing was just too much for me. Plus the girl that he was talking with kept confusing the words barter and banter. With 19 hours left on the return trip, Holly was wishing for the train to derail so she could get a rental car [granola man overdose!].

Overall, the trip was amazing. I haven't seen Tyson since college and over the years he has gone from occasionally funny to hysterically funny just about ever time he opens his mouth. Brad and Rachel's wedding was beautiful and the reception was a lot of fun. I hadn't met Rachel prior to the wedding but she seems like a tiny bundle of sass which is a perfect foil for Brad. I won't post any photos of their wedding but I will share some of the fun that Tyson, Holly, and I had with the gift. We were completely underwhelmed by the wedding gift wrap at Target so we went with some monkeys in a kick line and a Tyson created gift bag with a bride and groom monkey. It cracked us up but maybe you had to be there...I don't know.

Holly and I pose with the monkey-wrapped gift:
Tyson poses with his creation:

We were on a bit of a mad-cap schedule for this trip and if I make it back to Colorado there are still lots of things that I would like to do and see. I would like to go rafting on the Colorado River and I would like to drive through the mountains between Denver and Grand Junction and get out and explore and hike around. The train did afford a wonderful view but there were definitely places that I would have like to explored. In a three day trip we managed to fit in a rehearsal dinner, a wedding, a reception,

the Colorado National Monument,

a supposed ghost town {Cisco, Utah},

a scenic drive,

Arches National Park and souvenir shopping in Moab, Utah. Not bad!

Oh the places I've been...