Sunday, December 30, 2007

I had no idea!

I want one:

There are Mr. Yuk t-shirts!

Now on to what passes as news here. I updated the layout, and added a few links and lists and whatnot. If I missed you, and you want to be linked, just let me know.

Still working on clogs, though I am taking a baby-hat break. Just have to assemble the hat for Nina, and have a good start on a second hat, baby to be determined. Does anyone want to lend me their kid as a head model? I have no idea how big to make baby hats. I know, there are guidelines here and there, but I want something that can try on the hat, and Zuzu doesn't count. Kitty hair is a specialty fiber, but it doesn't necessarily mix well with wool and cashmere. So anyone want to lend me their newborn for a few minutes? I know baby heads are big, I just don't know *how* big. Oh well. I will follow the patterns, about gauge, and hope for the best.

Most of my mom's clogs are done; just need to do the cuff and second sole, then felt. I wound the yarn for another pair, probably my dad's, but obviously haven't started. Still looking for patterns for sweaters. Will hopefully get out to French Creek today, or tomorrow at the latest, to get more sweater yarn. Oh - went to Miss Chickpea's the other day, and bought lots of yarn for baby hats. So if you want a baby hat, let me know. I am looking for quick distractions from the big projects I am doing. Should probably just frog the bit of Jaywalkers that I have started, and try again later. No way the pair is getting finished before tomorrow at midnight. Perhaps I will get back on the Sockdown Challenges in January. I'll skip November and December, although I should look to see what December's challenge is, as it might be worth doing. Not that November's isn't, but it didn't happen. December probably won't, either, but I should look, anyhow. Especially since I have such wonderful sock yarn in the stash now.

Today is laundry day. It is about time. I have been lazy and busy, and it has not been done for longer than I will acknowledge publicly. Also spent some time cleaning the kitchen. If I clear up the living room floor, Mike will vacuum. Yay. I wonder if everything will fit on the sofa.

My camera is being evil. I can record video that looks normal, but any still photos are bleached out. I should look at the manual and see if there are any suggestions. Oh well.

I should get back to being productive. I had some insights to share once upon a time, but as always, have forgotten them as soon as I started to post. The washer just beeped, so that is my cue to exit........

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Time to breathe

It's been a week since my last post, and since then I have:
  • Finished and felted five pairs of clogs.
  • Traveled to Williamsport for my sister's husband's college graduation. (I drove to my parents' place; my dad did the rest of the driving. Pittsburgh-burb to Williamsport to State College back home.)
  • Knitted at the graduation ceremony, the brewpub across the street, and then at Zeno's in State College, not to mention in the car. Oh, and in the hotel lobby for five hours on Sunday morning. Thought about how George Michael was cute when he was pretending to be straight, although at the time I thought Andrew Ridgeley was cuter. Also thought about how women are portrayed as incredibly materialistic in Christmas songs. And how I'd never heard the song "Marshmallow World" until this year, when Raul Malo put out a Christmas album with it as the title track, and I've heard at least four different versions. And I haven't been going out of my way to listen to Christmas songs. I thought about lots of things in that hotel lobby. I woke up at 5am, and sat there until 10 when the rest of the family had stopped by and eaten breakfast. Lots of thinking can get done while knitting for five hours.
  • Finished the pin-tensioned sleeping hat. It is not as long as a traditional nightcap, and really just looks like a hat. It still works as a headwarmer.
  • Traveled in a triangle - Mike's parents' place to my parents' place back home. He drove, so I knitted some more.
  • Baked bread. Made the dough here, brought it to Mike's parents' place, where the two nieces "helped." They seemed to like making bread, and then eating it.
  • Worked today.
  • Helped Mike kick two kegs. Luckily they were almost empty.
  • Went to Wegmans, the greatest grocery store ever. Bought some Very Vanilla Decaf coffee. Yum! I love Wegmans!
  • Did other things I can't remember. Or am not talking about.
Well. It's after Christmas. (And I'm still just now ready for Halloween.) I didn't get *all* of the clogs done in time for the holiday, but I did decently well. 10 pairs. Made enough for Mike and his side of the family - two brothers and their wives, two of their kids, plus his mom and dad. And my sister's husband. My mom and sister will wait for theirs (Chica is passing through the area in January; they should be ready by then.), as will my dad, who decided that yes, he would probably like some. Then it's on to non-family clogs. Another 12 pairs or so. Oh, and I have baby hats to knit. At least three that I can think of now. Two girls, one unknown. The baby hats will add some variety.

My favorite gifts were a ball winder and a swift. (And a watch, but it isn't all that fascinating - it just makes my wrist feel not naked.) I have wound several balls of booty tonight. Mama Blue's yarn was the first, then several Yarn Pirate colorways. Had to stop because my winding muscles are weak. And my elbow hurts. I should probably take a day or two off from knitting. Today was at least one, I think. I caught up on Rav (well, somewhat) after having several days away from the computer.

Perhaps tomorrow I will go to Miss Chickpea's to buy yarn for the baby hats. And some Malabrigo for a sweater. I need to make more sweaters. I think I will make another sweater in January/February. I don't know that I will aim for getting it done in a month, but definitely two. I already have that yarn. (Fairfax Fibonacci Sweater - pattern isn't available anymore, and Googling it only turns up other blogs. My stripes will be green and orange and white-ish.) And I bought more at French Creek, and will probably pick up more, just because I can, and it's be-yoo-ti-full. Freedom Yarns, Spirit. I have a sweater-quantity of Nature, and a few Warmth. Will buy more Warmth, as my mom and my knitting group all agree that those are my colors. May do this jacket, or this one, or perhaps both. Suggestions? Thoughts? Comments are welcome.

Oh, and I need to get back on the sock kick. Must use some of my sock yarn. Was going to make my MIL socks for her Dec. 26 birthday, but never got around to it. Green Parade, I think. (Yarn has been discontinued, but the pattern shows another color.) Also owe a girlfriend some Falling Leaves socks. Need to find her foot measurements again. I know where the pattern is, and where the yarn is, just not the measurements. Also want to scale down the clog pattern for my nieces. At least they should go quickly.

What else? Kitty had a double dose of her meds today, as I put some in her breakfast and Mike put some in her lunch. So she is especially hungry right now. She is being a talky toaster, and staring at her plate, because that might make more food appear. Oh, now she wants chased. I'd better do what she wants. I am a good person to my kitty. At least I try.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What day is it again?

There are days that I love that the kitty alarm clock is set for somewhere around 4:00. This is one of those days.

Yesterday was a long day at work. Mike's car is due for a new timing belt, so he needed to take it to the mechanic. The mechanic (Lusty Wrench) is near where I finished my day. Mike drops off his car, and I start driving east towards him. ("I'll be in the parking lot on the right just after you cross Lee." I pull in to the parking lot, and no Mike. He is on the other side of Cedar, on the other side of Lee. He forgot which way was east Or something. Anyway, I finally find him. We head off to the Lizard for dinner, and have an enjoyable meal. I even reach the "can't go any further" point in the clogs I had with me, as I'd forgotten my extra needle, and I'm not skilled enough to pick up stitches from one side and knit them into the others without that needle. Fine. Mike thinks we should stop in a La Cave du Vin, to see what they have. I get out my backup knitting project (mindless stockinette hat - and see, this is why I carry a backup!) and start working on it with some Java Stout.

But I knew there was a reason that I wanted to go home. Aside from the fact that home was where the my forgotten needle was, and if I was at home, I could continue to work on Christmas gifts rather than my sleeping hat. (Because I think it will be a nightcap. Maybe. Maybe not. And I'm not tremendously attached to it, and would still give it as a gift if someone expressed an interest.) I just couldn't remember why.

On the way home, after 9:30, when I was far too tired for the bizarre way that Mike wanted to navigate home (When there's traffic, I'm all about finding back roads around the traffic. When there's not, just get me the heck home.), I had an OS moment. (And yes, I'm trying to keep this thing family friendly, as you never know when a 10-yr-old girl's mother will be offended by frosting boy bits - sorry, Ravelry thing.) As in, "OS, I have to make cookies!!!"

Yes, there is a cookie exchange today, for the Women's Committee of the Natural History Museum. So here it is, about 6:45, and I have already baked over 8 dozen cookies. (Yes, 8 dozen = about 100.) Oatmeal chocolate chip. Or chocolate chip oatmeal, if you prefer. And here I sit, with a laptop on one knee and Zuzu on the other.

She's a funny kitty - I got out my coffee beans, as this is a good day to make coffee. She was *very* interested in the bag. Apparently it makes noises similar to those her treat bags make. I let her sniff the bag (it's *coffee* so she didn't get very close) and she ran away to hide. Kitty doesn't like coffee. She does however want to smell my breakfast cookies. "No kitty, that's my cookie!"

They taste quite good with a latte. Skip the gingerbread syrup - too much sweet.

Anyhow, I guess I should provide the knitting update. Four pairs of clogs are felted, and just need anti-slip treatment. Another pair is ready to be felted. Another just needs the cuff bound off and then the bottom sole done and attached, and then it goes in the washer. I started decreasing on the sleepytime hat.

My camera is dead, I think. It has been washing out pictures lately, but the issue is resolved when I do a factory reset. The reset did not work this morning, so I don't have any good pictures of the cookies to share.

Oh well. I need to get moving. Must leave house by 7:30 to get to work on time, and it's almost 7:00 now. I don't know if Zuzu will allow me to leave. Kitty wants to snuggle. Oh, purrpurrpurrpurrpurrpurr and ooohhhhhhh, flexipaw! I love my kitty.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Driving in a winter wonderland

It's finally officially December. Well, it was the other day, when I heard "Christmas at Ground Zero" by Weird Al on the radio. But it's really *really* December, since we're getting a ton of snow. Left work an hour early to try to beat the weather. Didn't work. Make the left turn out of the parking lot and onto the road, and slid into the curb on the far side of the road. Luckily I don't think anything was damaged, I was just scared. Traffic slowed down a bit after that, thank goodness. Nothing like driving on an ice rink, especially a busy one. And I did not see a salt truck until I reached Summit county.

Anyway, made it home after an hour of stress. Poured a pint of chocolate stout; Mike tells me I should kick it tonight. He was surprised that I got a full pint out of it. We'll see how much is left. If I get a second full pint out, I'll leave the rest until tomorrow.

Work itself was relatively uneventful, although I had to gather all of the projectors and lock them away in the office for break. I am always amazed by how lazy people are at that school. I sometimes feel like I am the only one who uses the stairs. I use the elevator when going more than two floors, but it sees like all of the students take the elevator for just one floor. Oh well.

I'm probably behind on the holiday knitting, but feel like I'm doing okay. Oh yeah, I was going to felt the first pair of women's clogs tonight. But Mike is brewing, and needed help, so I haven't yet. The night is still young, even though it feels like it's getting late.

Excitement of the day: I got two packages in the mail. My Mama Blue sock yarn showed up (sooo gorgeous! and sooo soft!), as did my Mr. Bento. I will now be able to bring hot food with me for lunch. Which is good, as I don't always get the chance to stop working to pick up food. My friend Danielle reminded me of the existence of Thermoses, when she and I had coffee at 3:00 the other day and I ordered lunch, since it was the first chance I'd had to do so. Mr. Bento is better - I can bring much more than just soup!

What else? Zuzu just had her dinner. She got bad news the other day - she is due for an exam in January. Poor kitty will not be happy about that. But really, she's back to our old playful kitty. She's been grabbing my bum a lot since I've gotten home. Meow! *pawpawpaw* Feed me! Our dinner will be cooking soon. I think I will make cookies tonight. Just because I can. Also, there is a cookie exchange for the Women's Committee next week. I should practice, so I know that I can make good cookies for that. Yeah, that's it. What kind of cookies should I make?

A fellow Raveler posted the image below. I cannot stop giggling about it. The kitteh just looks so sincere. I want to share it with everyone I know, and everyone else that I don't know.

So Friday... Went to a CMNH lecture, learned a lot about Maya salt-making and snorkeling archaeologists, talked to another knitter and pushed Ravelry. I am a bad influence. It was a nice evening, though. Started a hat, as I wanted some mindless stockinette for the lecture. Otherwise, I have been working whole big bunches. Hence the few posts. Not much to say about work. It's work.

Anyway, our dinner is now ready. I really need to remember to remove my glasses before draining pasta. It's a lot easier to do it when I can see what I'm doing. Time to watch John Cusack!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ahhh, Clean

Me, that is, not the house. The house is going to wait. If it's lucky, the Halloween decorations will be removed sometime before Christmas.

Just took a shower, so it is once again time to thank our friend Chris, as he just happened to have the tools Mike needed to change the scald-guard setting on our shower. I hate taking lukewarm showers in the winter - give me HOT water. Anyway, thanks Chris. (I would link to him if he had a web presence.)

Zuzu has had lunch, I have had my yearly allotment of latkes, and Mike should be back in the near future. He did his Athens reunion thing this weekend. Hopefully the guys had fun. I feel like a slacker because I did not send any baked goods. Oh well, I had too many late nights last week. Went to bed at 9 yesterday. I was mostly rested when Zuzu woke me at 4. I have no idea how such a little kitty can make so much noise.

To be clear: I am a tea buyer, and not so much a tea drinker. I have quite the variety of teas in the cupboard, even though I rarely drink the stuff. Maybe I just *want* to be a tea drinker. Anyway, I have decided that I need to clean out the tea cabinet, and the best way to do that is to drink more tea. I emptied the Decaf Honey Chamomile Green Tea today. One box down, lots to go. Anyone want to come over and help me drink tea?

And on the holiday knitting front, well, I have 3.5 pairs of men's clogs ready to felt. I have 6 more pairs (women's) to do before Christmas. And quite a few other pairs in the queue, but at least those have some leeway, as they are not Family Gifts, so the due dates are somewhat movable.

I need some mindless knitting, though. The clogs are fun, and go relatively quickly (maybe faster if I can get into the pin-tensioned groove), but they require thought, to keep track of my stitch count and row. Although I *mostly* know the pattern, I still like to refer to it - and will
definitely need to use it when I switch sizes. There's a lecture at the museum on Friday, and I like to keep my hands busy while my brain focuses on the speaker. Thus, I need mindless knitting. Maybe I will start a plain old stockinette sock, or something with a simple rib pattern, so I can just go round and round and round while I think of other things. And most of the Christmas socks I wanted to make (will I? probably not this year) are more intricate patterns. Oh well. I'm sure I can find some nice sock yarn in the stash for that. That's the problem with becoming more skilled as a knitter - I want to make things that are prettier than plain stockinette. Even scarves are more fun with patterns. Oh, and the room is dark during the lecture, so even if I did an easily memorized pattern, I won't really be able to see what I'm doing. Maybe I'll work on version II of Mike's Toque. Oh! I have baby hats to do! Maybe I could work on those, although I kinda wanted to do something more fun than stockinette. Should I start another sweater? Nah, not until January. I'll come up with something, I guess.

What I will not be making: banananana hammock. Someone on Ravelry pointed it out, and I wanted to share.

Anyway, I should get back to my knitting. And I need to do the SAAZ newsletter. I think I finally have everyone's contributions - it will be a short one. Let's try to do that now, although maybe I will see if Mike will be home before or after I can make and eat more latkes. I think I want more.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I can't believe it's already December

Somehow, November passed me by. It is now December. Laundry is being done. Yay. I have two pairs of clogs nearly ready for felting. I really need to churn out more. Knitting group meets tomorrow, so hopefully I will come home with another clog (or two).

I met my November knitting deadlines, although I didn't sew the buttons on my sweater. Probably should have done that today, as then I could wear it to knitting group tomorrow. Maybe I'll bring it along. Or the group will wait a week to see completed sweater. (Will post a pic when buttons are on.) Exciting news, though -got the Eesti Trail Hiking Socks posted to the Sockdown Challenge board right before midnight on Friday, and as a result, I won some sock yarn from Mama Blue!

eesti trail socks
Zuzu and the socks

Now, the socks didn't (and wouldn't) win a prize for being technically superior or anything; I won thanks to a random number generator. I was selected as a winner out of the 90-ish people who finished their October socks by November 30. I feel very lucky, though - Mama Blue is being generous enough to dye yarn for me. She offered me any of her repeatable colorways, not just the in-stock ones, and (in a very close decision) I chose Siren. I've never used Blue Faced Leicester wool before, and am looking forward to trying it. If I like it (and I'm sure I will), I might just order more. Just *look* at the colors! Very nearly ordered Brassiere, partially because the color is gorgeous, partially because of the name. Smoke, Algae, Mermaid, Beekeeper, Currant, and Anvil are just of the few other tempting colors. Anyway, looking forward to getting the yarn, even though I won't do much but pet it before January.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the socks, why they are not as technically superb as they could possibly be, well, I missed a line in the pattern. Not really a big deal, but the top band of colorwork doesn't have as many rows as it should. I have two rounds of green, one of white, two of green, when really it's supposed to be 2g 2w 1g 1w 1g 2w 2g. Realized on the second sock that I'd made the mistake, and decided that it was fine. And that no one would notice, but here I am confessing. Oh well. Also, even though the toe described in the pattern is beautiful, Mike did not like it, so I frogged back to a wider point and grafted the toe. He has not yet tried them on; hopefully they will fit. If not, well, the beauty of socks is that they will fit someone, somewhere. (I believe that's attributable to the Yarn Harlot)

What else? Over 2000 miles on the car so far, in less than a month. Friday was a very long day. If I had brought my knitting (and dinner) with me, I would have been gone from 7am to nearly 11pm. Usually I take Friday afternoons off, but it's been a very long week, and Friday was a very long day. (Oh, I said that already.) Worked all day Saturday, too, which really throws off my weekend. I feel like today should be Saturday. Realized that it was Sunday when Mike turned on the Steelers game. Not exactly true - I did know it was Sunday, I knew that there was a paper outside this morning, that Chasing Infinity was on as well, but it didn't really *feel* like Sunday until I saw NFL football. It still doesn't feel like December.

Oh well. I should really get to bed. If this week is half as long as last week, my brain will be fried by Wednesday.