Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Home Sweet Roll

Today's post brought to you by My Sister Laura (the library-school student and the only one of us three girls who can operate a sewing machine. Mom likes you best for that very reason, you know.). She's responsible for the glory you see here.

(Ziggy presides over the picture-taking)
It's a needle case for my straight needles! They have an actual home now! (I was keeping them in my notions bag which, while sufficient to hold my crochet hooks and notions, was inadequate for holding needles. As you may have guessed.)

This red tie you see here is from an old pair of pajama pants that I loved and that died (or, more accurately, I grew past--in every sense of the word). Hooray for the bit that lives on!

Here is the case in its unrolled state. I love that there are so many different fabrics in this case... more to look at!

My needles have found their way into the specially-sized pockets already. Now that they have such a posh new home, they're getting a little uppity--"Take us somewhere nice!" "Don't you have a knitterly meeting tonight, the sole purpose of which is to show us off? Yes, you do. Show us to other knitters! Do it! Now!"

Resting comfortably after the energy-sapping boss-KathyMarie-around-fest.

Hooray for Laura! Thank you!!
(and Hooray for My Mom&Dad, who gave us a new digital camera! Thank you so much!!)

The pattern is found in Stitch-n-Bitch by Debbie Stoller. It is the Roll-Your-Own needle case in the back of the book.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Spam egg sausage and spam!

This is what happens when spam goes bad. Or good. Or something.

I've been spammed by the following alleged people:
Vowel J. Causeway
Positron E. Senate
Quixotic U. Alton
Fruition M. Consisting
...and my personal favorite... Ewe D. Scalawag

You can't make this stuff up.
I didn't make this stuff up.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


When I was younger and my Mom was explaining to me the concept of the "golden birthday" (when your age is the same number as your birthdate), I never thought I'd ever ever be old enough to hit my golden birthday. Twenty-six was so freaking old. It was beyond any age I had ever heard. My grandma was probably twenty-six, at least!

Man, it's only 8:45am and already I've had a super-awesome day. I got a wake-up hug from the Beloved, my Mom called early to nearly sing to me (as is tradition in our family), and I just got an email from my friend in the Navy, who--amazingly--remembered my birthday. And the sun is out and it's a fantabulous day!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

(Parenthetically Speaking)

So, I'm sitting here at work repairing DVDs (oh, the joys of widely-used audiovisual materials!), getting way high from the fumes (all the scratch-repair products are petroleum-based and toxic! Hooray!), and reading the emails flying back and forth among my family members. My family now numbers seven (we were five, but now there are boys) and when we try to organize for family events like birthdays, it gets a little bit insane.

(I just noticed that there are three parenthetical comments in that two-sentence paragraph. I seem to have a lot to say but can't make it happen linearly. I defy the accepted forms of space, time and grammatical construction! I create my own ways! I cannot be bound! Mwahahahha!)

Yes. Anyway. My family. Was I saying anything important there? Oh yes: I am looking forward to seeing my weird and wonderful family this Saturday to celebrate my and Laura's birthdays. Yes. Plus, seeing my Dad and Nick crack jokes and be silly in emails warms my little heart.

I just realized that I have three nights of awesome birthday plans staring me in the face: tomorrow (my birthday) I have a date with Nick; Friday we have dinner plans with friends at my favorite Indian restaurant in Rockford; Saturday dinner with my family (and possible climbing at the gym during the day!) (see how I love the parentheses? See?)

(These are the subject-change parentheses!)

Heather and Anna have written about Monday's Sit-n-Stitch and how it was all kinds of fun. I was needing some non-work venting time after my amazingly shitty day and I got some, but I also got someone asking me questions about why the Library is inefficient in some areas. Great question to ask me that day, dude. Are we playing the "Raise Kathy's Blood Pressure to Soaring Heights!" game? How sweet of you to think to ask me and not, say, THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE. (And of course that night I had a horrible nightmare in which I was closing the Library building and trying to get the patrons out, but no one would leave! And people kept making faces at me and acting like I wasn't in charge. And my supervisor (a truly lovely woman) told me that this was the last thing I had to finish before I became a Librarian, and I couldn't do it!) I hate dreams like that!

Anyway, I did make some progress on the wrist-warmer/handwarmer/whatever the hell these things are called:

I bound off the thumb gusset stitches. Progress! I have since cast on to make the palm part of it, but I think I screwed up somehow (really, Keyes? How astonishingly unlike you!) (Shut up.). The pattern says to cast on 3 sts "using the backward loop method." Holy hell, people, I could not find a "backward loop method" of casting on anywhere. Not in Donna Kooler's, not in Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook (which surprised the heck out of me--that book has twenty pages of cast on methods). Does anyone have any suggestions on alternate names for this elusive "backward loop method" cast-on?

I did cast on using the half-hitch (I think?) cast-on, but the stitches got a little stretchy. It's not a huge deal, because these mitts are mine and what the heck do I care about a loose cast-on? But I do want to learn what the heck a backward loop cast-on looks like. Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Brain spasms

Today is all about the tiny soundbite (typebite?) of information. It seems I lose all capacity for coherence and prolonged attention span when I get my period. (Yes, that's right. I just told the internets that I have my period. My mom is going to be so scandalized--her eyebrows are going to just disappear into her hair.) I want to talk about lots of stuff, but then I can't sit still long enough to do it. The brain just doesn't want to --hey, was that a squirrel!?

Faster, Higher, Stronger, Knitty-er

This is just sweeping through blog-land like the wildfire. I joined the Knitting Olympics, which I'm sure I need not describe as it's possibly the most popular topic in the wool-based world just now.

I'm going to be making my first in-the-round project, a hat, in 16 days. Small beans to some, but the whole point is to take on a challenge at whatever level you find yourself. I find myself at the new-to-3D level. The awesome thing is, I have yarn for this already in my stash (pictures later), so I can count this toward stashbusting. Don't you love multi-tasking? Now all I need is dpns and lots of wine. Oh, and possibly a pattern. Or I could just frankenstein one from this book and give myself fits. Which will make me cry the most?

The Lloyd Scarf is Finished!! Mostly!!
Holy hell, I didn't think it was possible. But it is. (and the weather was nice enough to oblige with a pretty backdrop) (click to bigginate)

Okay, I still have ends to weave in (my least favorite part of stripes), but the knitting part is done. And I have mastered the crap out of 2x2 rib. Only, the binding off went a little loose. Not so loose that I ripped it back (are you nuts? This is already almost a month late!), but I had heard that most knitters bind off too tightly, so I took pains (pains, I say!) to make sure it was loose enough. Alas, too loose! Sigh. Putting that in the "lesson learned" pile and moving on.

Progress, Obstacle, Progress, Obstacle, Wine
So, the first wristie--now with increases!--is coming along beautifully. As you can see.

I had stopped in the middle of a row, (which I hate doing and did because I was meeting a friend who (whom?) I haven't seen in a hundred years and who was leaving the very next day for a YEAR-LONG TRIP TO AFRICA and so of course when she got to the table I jumped up and hugged her and we talked knitting--she knits! I love her!--but I didn't knit and instead we talked for hours and that's the story of stopping in the middle of a row) and last night started up again and knit three rows while Heather struggled with dpns and Lamb's Pride Bulky.

At the end of the third row I thought I saw a mistake. Back at the place where I had stopped in the middle of a row for two days. I swore, sighed dramatically, and proceeded to rip back three rows of perfectly good knitting. For no reason at all, as it turns out. There was nothing wrong with the knitting. Just the stupid knitter. Pass the Merlot.

The Day The Weather Came In
This has nothing to do with knitting, but everything to do with... weather. It was 50 degrees on Thursday last, and then Friday came and snowed us in. I think we got at least 7 inches of snow. Here's the aftermath on Saturday.

It sucked to drive home in on Friday night (so I heard), but it was lovely and calm on Saturday morning. Ah, the peace that is walking to work.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Happy Birthday Laura!

Today Laura turns 23 and triumphs over being 22. Well done! (Here you see the girls in our natural habitat... the tree farm. Laura on the left, me, Maribeth)

Laura is a great actress, a driven student, supremely organized, and a funny funny girl. (Woman! Sorry!) She's one of my bridesmaids this summer, and will also be coordinating every single thing that happens on my wedding day, for which I thank her because I tend to crumble in the midst of stress.

Laura rocks at making jelly, pies, cookies, and cakes. She has been known to spend hours digging up recipes that could be made vegan, because she loves me and Nick.

Laura knows what's up when it comes to books and movies, and always has the latest good-movie tip for her eldest sister who has no TV and is sadly out of the media loop.

Laura is making me The Afghan of Doom for a 23rd birthday 24th birthday 25th birthday wedding present (shh! I'm not supposed to know!) using worsted-weight chenille, an H hook, and the double crochet stitch. And nothing else except her determination to keep me warm.

Laura is an amazing human being, and I'm so freaking lucky that she's my sister.

Pineapple eggs, sweetie.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Snrain-drops keep falling on my head

Mother Nature has a messed-up sense of humor. Yesterday it was beautiful... sunny, warm (darn close to 50 degrees, according to "they say"), did I mention sunny? It's been gloomy for days and days here, and yesterday was such a nice break from the dreary mucky muck. So nice. Of course it wasn't going to last.

Today the weather is bastardous. It is either snowing or raining, or possibly both. First it was rain, then it was snow, then it was snrain (a more descriptive word, I feel, than "sleet"), and now it's snow. Bastard weather!

Ah well. This just makes me appreciate these pictures from yesterday more. Because yesterday's light was lovely and made for some great shots of new knitting. [interruption for bastardous weather update: it's either raining again or snowing with more aggression.]

(This picture not taken in the pretty light. This picture is old and is used only to advance the story. Click to bigginate)

This is what I bought 3 months ago (or more) for to make the wristies/fingerless mitts. The yarn is Knit Picks' yummy Sock Garden in Zinnia, the pattern is free from their site and is a 2-needle pattern (happily, because I haven't even tried dpns or circulars). I procrastinated (as is my nature) on starting these, using my lack of size-3 straight needles as an excuse. Then for Christmas, my wonderful mother [who is being an absolute treasure about this whole wedding deal, by the way... very helpful but at the same time being very hands-off] gave me a whack of straight needles (Clover bamboo ones!) in sizes 0 - 4. Because she loves me and understands the crafty nature (she quilts. Sews too, but only under duress). [Bastardous weather update: snowing fluffy flakes again, like it's all innocent and sweet. Liar!]

(My work basket next to the couch! I love it! Love it! Again, click to bigginate)

Here is the first wristie in its infancy, perched atop the Lloyd Scarf (don't ask, it's getting finished today, dammit!).

Here is the wristie just before beginning to shape the thumb gusset, now perched atop Ziggy, my finger plant. My (mom's) camera is just tempermental enough to get the plant in focus, but not the knitting. Of course. But the red/orange/yellow wristie looks so nice against the green, so I'll let it slide.

And now the snrain is coming in sideways. Off to finish the Lloyd Scarf and do mad amounts of housework. Or not.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yes, It's a Meme. No Hating.

I got tagged by Pica with this "Seven" meme that's going around. It's kind of like a flu, but with fewer hallucinations brought on by high fever and more coherent thinking. At least in theory.

Seven things to do before I die
1. Become a certified midwife
2. Go to Tuscany
3. Make some babies
4. Waterski
5. Become proficient in some form of mixed-martial arts
6. Be a better rock climber
7. Become bi-lingual

Seven things I can't do
1. Flare my right nostril (no, really)
2. Be at a bridal expo while the Bears are playing
3. Abide incompetent people
4. Go back to sleep once I'm up and thinking
5. Stop adding to the list of wedding guests
6. Wear pastels
7. Apply makeup properly

Seven things that attract me to ...
1. ... my Beloved: the way he smiles with his whole face
2. ... knit and crochet: giving people tangible proof of my love
3. ... working in a library: meeting good people, getting the new books first
4. ... Excedrine: it kills my migraines dead dead dead!
5. ... mystery stories: the problem always gets solved at the end
6. ... my Beloved: he's making me nori rolls right now (this very moment!)
7. ... beer: mmm... beer.

Seven things I say most often
1. "This is Kathy, may I help you?"
2. "Oooh, what's that you're eating?"
3. "Dude."
4. "Sweet."
5. "Ah shit!"
6. "Do I have to dress up for it?"
7. "I love you."

Seven books I love
1. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (the comfort food of reading)
2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
3. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
4. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
5. Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD
6. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
7. Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin

Seven movies I watch (or have watched) again and again
1. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (coincidence?)
2. Pirates of the Caribbean
3. This is Spinal Tap (with and without commentary)
4. Under the Tuscan Sun
5. Sweet Home Alabama
6. White Christmas
7. Clue

Huzzah. There 'tis, folks. Now to tag me some bloggers (they're in season, you know). Heather, Anna, and anyone else left in blogland who hasn't gotten the tag. Ready? Go!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Caution: Increased Fiber Content

Alright, I admit it. I've been avoiding talking about knitting, crochet and yarn this whole year. (I love saying things like that, though I also find them stupid beyond measure.)

Thing is, I got sucked in, chewed up, and spat out by The Christmas Projects and I haven't had much enthusiasm for the stuff. I worked up potholders (no pictures because I was too busy), scarves (see above: busy excuse; also didn't finish some, so no pictures due to shame), ... other stuff... I swear there was more, but maybe it just felt like it. Whatever the final count turned out to be, I was on the losing end and I had to bail on the yarnish crafts for a while.

And then it was Sit-n-Stitch time and I felt compelled to bring a project (being the organizer of the group and all). I thought I would bring the yarn for the wedding shawl and see if I could figure out how to make a pattern written for worsted weight yarn work for sport weight yarn. In a Borders cafe. With 6 chatty ladies working around me. (I am nothing if not blindly optimistic.)

Here I am, slipping the 4x4 rib scarf off the size 8's and
onto a holder. Size 8's, I tell you! With double-stranded yarn!
How little I know of knitting! (If you look very closely,
you can see the other size-8 running through my head.
Haha, just kidding. It's running through my ponytail.)

After realizing my naive and hopefully endearing error after a cast-on and two rows (too awful for pictures), I ripped out and switched up to size-9's. Unfortunately, this didn't work on two counts: (1) Too small (could have stopped there, no? No! On to #2!) and (2) The aluminum (aluminium to my British friends) needles are all scratched or otherwise bollocksed up and kept snagging the yarn. Now, you may not be friendly with Patons Brilliant so let me set you wise: its strands are knit (or woven... may the yarn gods strike me down, but I'm not sure) and are very loose and prone to snags at the best of times. Frogged went the work, out went the nines, in came the tens.

A little photo-essay about my time with the size-10's:

(L) Pretty good so far (just imagine that you can see it--the yarn is
pretty glare-tastic) (R) A mess of crap, that's what it is! This was just
after missing a k2tog and I couldn't swear because Sandi's offspring
was just across the table from me.

(L) Three rows in and it was a little tight, but I was feeling pretty good
about finding success in knitting again--yes, it was only 3 rows of a 16-
row repeat, but come on! First lace project here! (R) The fourth row.
It kicked my ass. This is just prior to ripping and blindness.

After a suitable length of time passed, I decided that I need to use 10.5's on the double-thickness of yarn and cast on fewer stitches to compensate for the width of the doubled yarn. Or use just one strand and work it up on size 5's and never be done until the children are taking the SATs. Or I suppose I could just by the yarn that the pattern calls for... but where's the challenge in that?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

It's Not Cool

I woke up this morning at 6:45, all set to do some yoga and shower before work (see goals over in the sidebar. Showering daily isn't listed as a goal, but it's something I continue to strive for). I walked from the bedroom into the hallway and was about knocked over by the heat. Yes, the HEAT. It is probably 80 degrees in the living room. The thermostat is set at 62. What the crap is going on?

Whatever it is, it's preventing me from doing yoga (I got a little woozy just being in that room, and the other television set/DVD player is in the bedroom, where my beloved now reposes) and it's not cool. So, because I cannot go back to sleep once I wake up and have something on my mind, I give you New Year's Eve Pictures, which are cool.

(Matt & Wade. There exists no picture of them together in which they are smiling. It's impossible. For they are Too Cool For School.)

(Margaret & Wade. She makes him smile. She makes everyone smile.)

(Margaret, Amy, me, Stacey. Margaret lives in Florida and Stacey lives in Alaska now, so it was Cooler Than Cool to have us all together.)

(Wade, me, Bottle of Wine, Margaret. Funny... he drank the whole thing and I'm the one who looks well and truly sloshed.)

(Nick and Margaret. Yay!)

(Stacey provided cuteness by falling asleep on the chair)

(Mark provided cuteness with this face)

(Margaret provided cuteness by managing to look surprised and sneaky at the same time while hugging me.)

(Margaret [not Amy!]--with the hair flip!--and Jason rocking out. Rock!)

(Me and Nick. It seems he finds my hair funny.)

It was a fantastic New Year's Eve. Much fun was had by all. Much beer and/or Wild Turkey was had by most. I can't wait for the weddings.

And now it's time to shower and work. And to figure out why I have "Big Country" in my head.

Edit: Thanks to Margaret for correcting me on the persons depicted in the dancing picture. I'm a bastard.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Can't take me anywhere

Today was a rough day at work. We'd been closed for three days, which apparently makes the library patrons go COMPLETELY INSANE. Everyone needed their library fix, and they needed it all at the same time. And some of them were rude about it, too.

All day we were backed up with phone calls not being made, books not being shelved, books not being picked off the shelves for other libraries. I don't work up at the desk very much anymore, but I got called to help out 3 times tonight.

I'm running around, shelving DVDs, cursing a staff person for their lack of effort, cursing patrons in my head for their rude and snarky ways ("I have to read a book that's about the pre-civil war time, but I don't want to read the book. I want the audiobook or the ClifNotes.") and then the night was over and I came home and I got to relax and I was thinking about getting a glass of wine and I was getting into my pajamas when I noticed something.

My fly was open and had been since about 6:30pm.

Where's the merlot?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a fantastic time last night. Myself, I was undone by the Wild Turkey (bourbon, not rye--thank god. The rye gives me nosebleeds. Long story.), hence the late-in-the-day post.

Last night I got to see some good friends, some of whom I haven't seen in a long time. Two are in Florida now, two in Indiana, one in Alaska. For a few years we all lived in DeKalb and partied like rock stars every day during the summer, and had a reserved table at the downtown bar during the winter. I'm really happy everyone is doing awesome stuff in new places, but I miss having that group all together. But with two weddings in the group this year we'll see everyone again, and sooner than usual.

I had a list of goals (aside from the stitchtacular ones, which are down on the sidebar... I should probably move them so I can be reminded more easily), but I'm not in the mood to post them just now.

Pictures will be coming soon, as soon as I can find my cameras and be not hungover.

Hello 2006!
Hello only 7 months until the wedding. Oh god.