Saturday, February 25, 2006

Holy Crap, People, I'm Finished!

I didn't think it could happen either. But I am finished. I finished Friday night at 11:30pm, much to my surprise (and the surprise of the hat itself, which had visions of non-cooperativeness). My brain is empty so I give you the photo history:

This is the hat on Wednesday, before my all-night knitfest.

This is the hat Friday at about 5:30pm, just after I got home from work. Just before the decreases start. Clearly I have at this point surpassed all my expectations.

Tonight's knitting brought to you by Road Dog beer. Knitter-tested, knitter-approved.

Here we are after all the decreases (the dpns and I got tangled many times... I did not care to document that experience) and about to start the I-cord.

...Aaaaand the I-cord! It was an 8-stitch I-cord and had more of a flattened look than a tubular look. Ask me how much I cared at that point, at which time I realized that I would in fact FINISH this insane project before time.

Cannot. Stop. Knitting. I-cord. Partly because I was really into it (eight stitches per row? that's easy!)(I made Nick and our friend Ryan admire the speed and agility of the I-cord many times) and partly because I didn't know how to end it off.

The finished hat! All those other beers? Only some are mine!

The hat in its natural habitat: my head.

Hooray! I loves it! Do you see the topknot? I cannot tell you how much I love this little topknot! It's perfect. It's not perfect, but it's done and I made it and I'm busting my damn buttons with goofy-ass pride over here. And it's almost 3:30 in the morning and that last sentence quite possibly made no sense. And now I've forgotten how to spell "sentance/sentence" and will no doubt be mocked by those who have not forgotten. Be gentle, dear readers. You're lucky I'm still using the space bar at this point.

(Super-big thank you to SheCrochets, Lisa, Anna, Heather, and Abby for cheering me on. THANK YOU!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Someone Kill That Olympic Counter


You know that count-down bar that some people (some of whom have already finished, so why they need a counter is beyond me) have on their blogs to torture the living crap out of other Olympic knitters gently remind themselves how much time they have left?

It. Needs. To. Die.

I have no photos for you because honestly, the hat does not look a damn bit different now than it did the other day. Not for lack of trying, let me assure you. I have been knitting on that thing for a hundred years (this may be a slight exaggeration) and it's not going anywhere. I need 8 1/4" of hat before I can start the decreases. How much do I have? I have 3 1/2" of hat. Three-and-a-half inches.

Bloody freaking hell.

I have a plan, though. The plan involves not going rock climbing tonight (our usual Wednesday night activity), planting myself on the couch and watching the Battlestar Galactica miniseries and the complete first season (seen 'em before, need only listen now), and ordering some delish pizza or possibly Thai food. I think my Olympic efforts (stop laughing!) deserve some tasty Thai food. Oh, and knitting. Lots of knitting. And I mean that in the purest sense... I'm only doing the knit stitch around and around and around.

Stark raving madness is just a few rounds away, I can feel it!

*this graphic is just mocking me now.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

In Which I Reveal My Inner Geek

I'm blissed out.

Why? The Olympics project is still on the needles, the sink is full of dishes, I don't have enough quarters to do the laundry (for the love of wool I want a house! with my own laundry machines!). So whence came this bliss?

I have rearranged the books.

Last July, when Nick moved in, we combined our resources in many ways including books. I had more books (occupational hazard... when the Library gets rid of old books or passes on donations, I get first dibs) but for some reason I caved and allowed his organizational system to prevail (some call it "compromise" or "picking one's battles," I think I was possibly high on the endorphins of newly-cohabiting). His organizational system was ALPHA BY AUTHOR. Which worked for his twenty books but didn't really work for my 400+ books. But, as I said, I was all high and stuff and let the ALPHA BY AUTHOR menace remain.

When we decided that we'd stay here at least another year (because having our moving day and wedding day occupy the same temporal framework seemed somehow less than fun) I decided that I wanted to make myself a knitting corner apart from the TV area. I have my spot on the couch--perfect for mindless knitting while watching something--but I wanted an elsewhere spot. We have a cozy chair next to the bookshelves and I wanted to put the knitting/crochet books next to that chair, the better to solve a problem with, my dear.

Of course, that would throw off the whole ALPHA BY AUTHOR scheme. I announced to the Beloved that I was reverting the whole collection into genre-based organization--his system be damned! He blinked and said "Okay." I really expected more of a fight, but I wasn't going to wait around for one. After work last night I dove right in and started flinging books off shelves and sorting them into better order. (click to bigginate)

I'm not a cataloger, and I don't particularly like Dewey, so I created my own system in which Nick points out I am the only person who can locate a volume. Neener neener, bud. They're my books.

After much hard work and sneezing (I am not the best housekeeper and my shelves house more than books) (sorry Mom!), I am just so goddammed tickled to have the books in groups again! I don't know authors' names in most cases, but I sure as hell know what the book is about. No more will I search fruitlessly for that one book on the sociology of mental disorder (I was a psych major) -- now I know exactly where it is! Huzzah!

And more importantly, I have my knitting corner all set up.

This is my cozy chair, with bag and quilt. The quilt was given to me by my grandmother and made by my great-grandmother out of old neckties. It's a wee bit gaudy, but hell if I'm going to put it away.

The chair and the easily-reached knitting shelf (the middle one).

A close-up of my pattern binders, crochet books, knit books, calendars and wedding bullshit. There's even a space for a drink.

This is the top of the bookcase, with an old apple crate to hold my current projects. On the far right, outside the apple crate, are two ceramic thingies that hold my bigger notions and a ball of recycled rayon, because it looks pretty there.

Now my world is rotating a bit more smoothly. Bliss.

Oh, perhaps you stopped by for Actual Knitting Content? I'm telling you, it's a bit boring just now. The hat is on circular needles now and has reached the point at which I'm creating the hem by stitching the cast-on edge together with the current round. It is purple, it is stockinette, and I have only seven days left. Enjoy the coming days of madness, my dears.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Dad!

This is My Dad and today is his birthday:

He doesn't always wear these clothes (he was raising funds for the hospital where he works as a Life Safety Officer and other titles as well).

My Dad is awesome.
He is a goofy, goofy man;
he taught me how to drive stick shift (complete with informative explanation of how the clutch works in the engine, or something), how to throw straight, and how to identify a false start in football;
he brought me flowers on Valentine's Day when I was in pre-school;
he is a wonderful actor in, and also a lighting designer at, a local community theater;
he sings! he dances!;
he tells wacky dumb jokes that have been in our family longer than the silver (and I laugh every time);
he watched all the basketball games, band concerts, track meets & football games (I was a drum major and directed the band at halftime) that he possibly could;
he even watched me play rugby a few times, even though he said it freaked him right out to see his daughter get hit.

My Dad is the best dad ever, and loves his daughters very muchly. And we love him T-H-I-S M-U-C-H!

Hooray for my Dad!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valimtime's Day

A little backstory: a few years ago I was working the circulation desk at the library and I was checking books out to a mom and her wee son. I told the boy that the books were due back on Valentine's Day, and he got all big-eyed and said--very clearly--"Exactly on Valim-time's Day?" and I almost fell over from cute. Now I can't say it correctly. The cute gets in the way.

Now for my non-coherent bits of post.

The Mitties Are Finished!

I actually finished them last week on Tuesday (I think), but didn't post about it because I'm a lazy bastard and was caught up in the Knit-Olympics preparation.

Let's Do The Time Warp Again

Okay, so here's a little free advice: If you ever go into a Bed Bath & Beyond, attach an end of acrylic yarn to your car and take the skein in with you so that if you get lost, you can always follow the yarn back out. Why am I telling you this? Because Nick and I spent SIX HOURS in a BB&B on Saturday. SIX HOURS. I am not even kidding.

What the hell were we doing in there for SIX HOURS, you may ask? We were registering for wedding gifts. Now, I've heard tell of those couples who can register in under two hours... or under 30 minutes; all I can say is either they have harmonized their decor choices very well, or one of them must have had no opinion at all. Oh my god, I had no idea that one of us could be so freaking picky about kitchen towels ("That pattern hurts my eyes" "That color red makes me enraged" I'm convinced that one was said just to make me insane). We're still discussing kitchen towels. It seems a small point, but an important one.

The bridal consultant (Tina at the Rockford IL store) was amazing. She helped us choose dishes, she brought us snacks partway through the SIX HOUR experience, she showed us table linen options that we would never have considered, and she was fun.

And at least I had this to take the edge off:

(The Knitting Olympics Hat fits conveniently into my purse!)

By the time we were done, it was 8:00pm (we had no idea because there are no windows in the Bed Bath & Beyond... just miles and miles of housewares) and we were going to hang out with some friends, but I was defeated after the SIX HOUR registering freak-out.

Last night was another fine night in the history of our little group (I've changed the name permanently now just to stand my ground against Sew Fast Sew Easy, those bastards). Stephanie brought her pig (completed in less than 3 weeks, btw)

The pig is currently looking for a name. Any suggestions?

Heather was knitting on her Knit-Olympics Challenge, the Irish Hiking Scarf (I tried to get a picture of it but it wasn't cooperating. Or the lighting was crap. Or I can't operate my new camera. It was probably the lighting.)

I was working on my miles and miles of stockinette. Which isn't as pink as it looks in these pictures.

This is what it looked like most of the time.

Oooh, it's all rolly!

Can you see the knot? I found a knot in my yarn and nearly cut it out and spit-spliced (which I've been wanting to do for a while, just to see), but then I remembered that this bit I'm knitting now is the hemmed part and will not be seen when the hat is complete. Huzzah.

When I first started this in-the-round project, I thought it would be super hard to coordinate all those needles. Then I found out it wasn't hard, just attention-grabbing. Then I started to think that I could of course finish this hat in 16 days--no problem! Then I knit like a maniac last night and obtained only a net total of 1.5 inches. I need another inch before I can move up to the size 4 circular needle, which everyone tells me is hella faster than the dpns. Good. Speed is crucial in such Olympic events as knitting.

[and did you see the post below? It's wonderful!]


Maribeth & Lloyd 11-26-05
Originally uploaded by GetYourHookOn.
My sister Maribeth and her Lloyd are engaged!

Hooray! We love Lloyd, we think he is a wonderful guy, and we are thrilled that he is going to be part of the family. Huzzah!

There's a story there about my Dad making Lloyd draw cards to marry my sister, but I'll save it for later.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dinner will be late--I have to get gauge!

Official Knitting Olympics Post

Tomorrow is Opening Day of the Knitting Olympics. Ask me how my project preparation is going.

Gah! Don't ask!

I'm excited about starting, and I'm getting comfortable with all the necessary apparatus (apparatae? apparatuses?)

Don't ask me what I'm doing there. I have no idea. I just learned how to use the double-pointed needles like 10 minutes before I took that picture.

Oooh, look! A triangle! Just like in the books! I'm on my way to Olympic glory!

So that was, what, Tuesday? On Wednesday night I started knitting with the Intended Yarn on the smaller needles. I did this at the Library board meeting--they must have thought I was nuts ("Is she pulling another needle out of her bag?"). Oh well. I learned a lot and was able to shut up a bigot, so that's cool.

Love! Thy name is yarn!

Now I must run and start working the Intended Yarn on the appropriate-size needles, get gauge, measure my hat, and plot my plan of attack for the 2pm cast-on tomorrow. And make dinner. Acutally, I'm only making the side dish of dinner (vegan nachos to complement our burritos from El Burrito Loco). And I'm probably going to make Nick do that.

tsk... all these sacrifices I must make for my art.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Do Needles Count as Stash?

Superbowl Sunday was pretty awesome. Not the game (though that was okay), but the hanging out with family.

On the way to the party, Beloved and I stopped to see my Grandma Shirley (the one with the cancer) in the nursing home. She's doing really well and her spirits are high, and I brought her roughly ten pounds of books (her new room doesn't have a TV, because only the Medicare-paying patients get TVs. If you're private-pay, you get a smaller room with much much fewer amenities, and sometimes the staff forgets to CLOSE THE WINDOW in January so you get kind of cold.). Despite the contents of that rant, Grandma is in good spirits and keeping herself busy. She's working her famous ripple-pattern crocheted afghan (I think she's made one for every member of the family, plus all the residents of our town), this time for herself. Because of the cold.

After our stop in Rockford we headed out to the gathering at my Uncle David's house. Good times, awesome company (my Gram & my Aunt & my Dad were being really goofy and it was so fun I wish I had recorded it). I brought my knitting but didn't get to any of it, which in retrospect was a good thing, as I had only slept for four hours the night before and was a little nutty.

I was going to teach Maribeth (youngest sister) and Lloyd (her BF) how to knit (he wanted to learn how to knit. On Superbowl Sunday. In front of my Dad and Uncle. Lloyd is a strong man, and I take my hat off to him.), but it didn't work out due to my sleepiness and the watching of the commercials.

(In case you were wondering, Yes, I did finish the Lloyd Scarf. He loves it. I had a picture of him with it somewhere, but it seems to have vanished. But I finished it, I swear!)

Traditionally we celebrate my and Laura's birthdays on Superbowl Sunday (in 1986 the Superbowl fell on my birthday, and the Bears were playing, and I thought all the excitement was for me). This year we didn't have a cake (Mom made me a birthday pie, and Laura a birthday fruit salad!) and we didn't really want the singing and the candles, but we got it anyway:

Why yes, yes those are candles in the fruit salad.

At the end of the night I wanted to show my aunts the needle case Laura had made me (they don't knit, but their niece made something awesome. You know.) and they oohed and ahhed over it and my Aunt S. said, "I didn't know you were knitting now" and I said yes, I only picked it up in October, and she ran downstairs and brought back her old knitting needles and said, "I don't knit anymore, would you like to have these?"

And there were two pairs of size 3 needles, one pair of size 8, one pair size 11, two stitch holders, and the most gigantic freaking needles I have ever seen in all my days. So of course I said "Hell yes, Aunt S.! Thank you!"

And some closeups of the huge-ass needles:

That's a size 8 resting on top of the gargantuan needles, for reference-like. There is no size marked on these babies, and my Susan Bates needle sizer only goes up to 16. I'm guessing they're 35s or 50s. If anyone knows the size of the "Reynolds Jumbo Jets," let me know, kay? Thanks.

And now the internet knows that I have not ironed my tablecloth, and my mother is weeping silently into her linen closet.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Cloud of Doom

Something is going on here. Something weird.

And, because I can't blog about it, I give you this:

It's a word cloud, which is a happier representation of the evil (or not evil) that is lurking (or cheerfully lounging) about just now. This little widget scans your unsuspecting blog for the words you use most often and turns them into a t-shirt (which I probably won't be buying... probably). Or you can just pirate the image and show it off. I snagged this widget from JenLa.

(Rest assured that the cloud of doom has nothing to do with my family, friends, anyone's health or safety, living arrangements, or wedding catastrophes.)

In other news, be sure to watch UFC 57 tonight, if you can. We will be watching it all night long, with varying levels of intoxication at every fight. Weeeha! I might even bring the Second Fingerless Mitt along to see what happens when I drink and knit while watching men pummel each other. Wouldn't it be cool if the combination actually made me cable without knowing it?

Edit (3:30pm): The hovering cloud wasn't doom!! It was trying to tell us that the BEST THING EVER was happening at [public institution]. The monstrous reign of terror is over!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I love a good day off work--I get so much done. I cleaned a good bit, organized some old stuff, and spent lots of time and money at The Yarn Exchange. As a "yarn break" in the cleaning. Which I haven't yet resumed. What?

I went with Heather--enabler #1--and brought along my gift certificate from Anna--enabler #2--and spent [undisclosed amount of money] and drooled over the Manos del Uruguay's new colorway, "Woodland," and want to make something of it--entrelac shawl?--but can't think of anything just now, so it's good that I didn't actually purchase the Manos and only fondled it jealously for 45 minutes (I can't find a good link to the stuff, and the Manos website is weird, and I'm a little cranky about it. Snarksnarksnark. Okay, I feel a little better. I'm sorry I don't have a good link for the Manos.). Heather and I also talked the owner into looking at possibly carrying the Malabrigo Buttery Goodness Merino yarn (which I may have mentioned a time or two in passing). We have potentially helped increase the coolness factor of our favorite LYS (which is one and a half blocks from my apartment, and I dance about in glee daily over this fact), and potentially helped destroy the bank accounts of many many friends. Sorry, darlings. All's fair in love and yarn.

Anyway, this is the newest addition to my potential (click to bigginate, natch):

This delightful pile of MACHINE WASH- AND DRYABLE (very important for the new mom) cotton will be made up into a sweater or cardigan or hoodie or something for Miss Baby Maggie, the daughter of Nick's cousin (and if anyone can tell me the official name of that relationship--removed, 3rd cousin, or what--I'll be forever grateful). Hooray! I'm about to embark on my first knitted garment! And by "about to embark on" I mean of course "will get to after the wedding."

In other potential project news, I also picked up my first sets of double pointeds. They are Clover bamboo, and I love them to pieces. Not literally, though.

(Boring picture, isn't it? Makes you wonder why I'm posting it, doesn't it? Me too, my friend, me too.)
These needles will be paired with this yarn...

to make my Knitting Olympics project, a hat in the round on dpns. And can I just take this moment to say HOLY SHIT there are a lot of us doing this Olympic challenge. Click on that link and scroll all the way to the bottom and it will tell you that at last count there are 2,130 knitters who plan to cast on all at the same time (mostly) and work on a project for 16 days, leaving family, friends and pets to wonder where the heck their knitter has got to (she or he is in the knitting corner... just follow the muttering). Expect fallout on or around day 14.

Oh, and the fingerless mitts that I'm working on to keep my hands warm and stitches even? I'm half way there.

I am about 3 inches into the second mitt. I'm a bit concerned about the fact that I may not get it done by the 10th (Cast-On Day), but I think I can muddle through. As long as I don't knit in our dammed office (which we don't heat because we're cheap) (the likelihood of me knitting in our still-full-of-boxes office with the semi-comfortable chair and the guitars is dubious. I'll leave this room to the other geek in the house).

Now I'm freezing and must leave the office--wherein lies our desktop--so cheers, everyone. I'm off to sit in the oven (electric! not as dangerous as it sounds!)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mom, you may want to skip this one

To the complete surprise of no one at all...

You Are a Martini
There's no other way to say it: you're a total lush.You hold your liquor well, and you hold a lot of it!