Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Zombieween!

Well, because it seems that yesterday's post full of pictures was unpopular, I give you now...

... a post full of pictures.

Whatever. It's my blog and I'll post pictures of zombies if I want to.

Here ZombieSailor is, inexplicably, blow-drying brains. (Everyone knows that juicy brains are best)

I (ZombieDoctor, because it's what I had lying around the house) did my own makeup, while Nick (ZombieShaolinMonk) got his makeup done by our host, who has taken actual classes and has learnt how to correctly apply stage makeup.

Our host.

Some of our host's handiwork (note the matching throwing star wounds, compliments of ZombieNinja, who was also at the party):

We also saw ZombieJesus there, sporting a pair of wicked stigmata...

King of the Jews and the King of Rock'n'Roll in one place. Where else but Zombieween?

Our host and hostess. Zombies in love.

There are more pictures and many video clips which some might find highly offensive, so I'll be sure to post those soon.

I promise a return to knitting content later this week, mostly because my youngest sister called me tonight and asked how her scarf was coming along because it's getting cold out there and she would like to have it before winter, please. No pressure, though.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Worth Maybe Forty-Seven Words

In a moment of diminished mental capacity and total wordlessness (did I just coin that?), I present to you some of my favorite pictures.

[now with captions!]

Close-up of my wedding boquet. I love this picture.

This squirrel runs back and forth on this wall outside our (downstairs) office windows at work. One day he stopped and looked in the window at us (or his reflection?) for close on five minutes. He was cute.

Some manner of lily, captured at The House On The Rock.

Pansy in the library courtyard, after the first snowfall. I think this one is going in my dye inspiration folder.

Embroidery detail of a favorite black dress.

Epic sky outside a grocery store back in early September. I think.

Experimenting with settings on my camera while at a friend's wedding.

(all taken by me.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Getting in the "Spirit"


Our neighbors are having a Zombieween party this Saturday, and my plan is to go as a zombie prom queen, but I have yet to find (a) a tiara, (b) dead-looking flowers, and (c) a sash. Do prom queens get sashes? I was too busy dancing like a lunatic and/or making out with my boyfriend at my proms to notice.

Who's got sweet Halloween plans this weekend? (For the purposes of this question, "sweet" covers a lot, so spill it!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Knitterly Tea Swap Goodness!

I got my Knitter's Tea Swap package!
From someone who loves Elvis! Who could that be?

When I opened up this adorable envelope...

I found out that it was Sandi of Hunka Hunka Burnin' Yarn! (So you see how the Elvis heads fit in? See? You see.)

I got soft & pretty sock yarn, from a company I haven't heard of (I love trying new yarns!) in soft greys and purplesI got beautiful Uruguayan yarn from Romni Wools (Sandi's from Uruguay originally and Canada now, and it was great to get goodies from both her cultures!)

The flower on the side is a perfect decoration, and she made it from her Clapotis leftovers. It's probably the closest I'm going to get to a Clapotis for a long, long time.

The vegan goodies she sent are great!
I've been seeing these Larabars in the stores but hadn't tried one until last night, and it was full of tasty goodness! I haven't tried the ginger biscuits, but I think they're going to be great. One of the ingredients is "partially inverted syrup" which makes me picture a little bottle of syrup trying to do a handstand but always falling over. It's a very adorable ingredient.

And last but not least by any means, the teaIt's Yerba Mate, also from Uruguay. I am brewing up a cuppa right now (I couldn't wait to post all this).

ETA: I'm an idiot. I forgot to post up the prettiest part of the haul, the bracelet that Sandi made herself:
It's beautiful, and complements quite a lot of my clothes. And it makes little jingley sounds when I move my hand. It makes me smile!

Thank you, SandiPurl, for an amazing haul!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dear Midwestern Interstate Drivers

I know it's been a while since driver's ed. for some of you. I know that it's hard to remember all the various piddly laws and bylaws and social mores and the common sense that makes driving less of a giant freaking headache for everyone. I know it's especially hard to remember all that and maintain a constant speed when you're busy talking on your cell phone, listening to your favorite song on the radio, navigating an unfamiliar turnpike system, yelling at your obnoxious children, getting road head, or whatever.

All I ask is this:

If you're in the left lane you better be going at least 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, passing someone, or about to take the weird exit on the left. Because if you're just hanging out in the left lane enjoying the pretty scenery, making a point about how no-one really needs to drive that fast, or passing someone with infinite slowness and care, I am going to ride your ass, flash my lights, and honk my horn at you for being such a damned idiot. I may also give you the finger.

Because I am done, people. I am done with Midwesternly holding-my-peace. I am done putting up with damned idiots on the interstate who can't maintain a consistent 70 miles per hour (it's a little slow, but I'll take that over the pride drivers who start out at 65mph but who speed up when I try to pass them. Are they threatened by my Ford Contour's weeny appearance? Do they have to prove that their car is better than mine? The mind boggles.), and who can't seem to understand that THE LEFT LANE IS FOR PASSING AND FOR THE SPEEDY.


In better news, we spent the weekend in Ypsilanti (god, I love typing that word) Michigan with Mark & Amy. We had a great time and ate astonishingly well (much vegan and vegetarian-friendliness there), and enjoyed seeing our friends and their cats. It was, sadly, a picture-less visit, though not for lack of fodder from the kitty quarter. Knitting content to follow in a later post. I am tired.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Day of the Brain Dead

It's Tuesday, it's grey and gloomy outside, and I have a headache of unknown origin. I am going to take a big blog cop-out and write a list of discrete items instead of coming up with ways to tie them all together in a big essay. The scientist in me is triumphing over the creative writer in me today, and I'm okay with that.

1. Snowfall, Early
Last Thursday, on October 12th (not even halfway through the month!) we in north central IL experienced our first snowfall of the season.

It wasn't much, but it did stick around for a good 3 hours. Threw everyone off their game, too. People didn't come into the library (battening down the hatches for the Great Blizzard of Aught-Six?), they drove all poorly (more poorly than usual), and wore mis-matched winter gear.

2. Friday Femiknitter
I spent 12 hours on Friday with the Femiknitter, who was in town (and by "town" I mean "my portion of the state") for various reasons. I had a superawesome time (evidence here) hanging out with her. We went to a yarn shop (of course) in ... some nearby town (all the suburbs of Chicago run together and are indistinguishable to me. Except for Evanston, because there's a big ol' university sitting in the middle of it.) called Three Bags Full. I mean, that's the name of the yarn shop, not the town. All the parentheses kind of mucked up my meaning. (I don't care. I'll write longer explanations.) Anyway. Yarn was purchased, fun was had, lunch was eaten, secrets were shared, GPS navigation systems were used,

and bottles of Diet Coke were exploded using Mentos.

A good time was had by all.

3. The Inevitable Malabrigo Purchase
I bought Malabrigo.

It is two skanks of Rojo Vivo and one skank of Glazed Carrot (they are in no way similar to the Malabrigo from which I made my Tempting. Not at all. Nothing to see here. Move along.) (Okay! So I like ORANGE! It's not a crime.). They are destined to be a scarf and hat set for MyVeryOwnSelf. I had thought about doing the My So-Called Scarf, as this yarn is way fluffy and would look faboo in that pattern. But then I realized something...

4. I can't stop ribbing!
I love it. I love the way it's cuddly and hugs whatever it surrounds. I love the vertical stripes. I love the simplicity of it. I cannot get enough of the rib. (No "for her pleasure" jokes, please. I've gone through every single one of them in my head.) I've picked out a sort of pattern, based on the scarf/bonnet in Knit 2 Together. So, the ... orange Malabrigo will find itself in a rib pattern ... where have I seen this before? That's when I realized something else...

5. I'm either a perfectionist or a fraidy cat
Because I seem to be sticking to one basic design element (the rib) on one basic piece (the scarf) (the sweater doesn't count, sort of, because it was just three tubes joined up -- no shaping). I conclude that either I am such a nit-picking perfectionist that I must completely master every aspect of knit/purl rib and scarf construction, or that I am incomprehensibly afraid of trying something new.

To be fair, I have assigned myself three scarves just now (for my bridesmaids (yes, the wedding was in July)), only two of which involve ribbing. I am broadening my knitting horizons with the lace scarf for Laura. Okay. Maybe there's a third conclusion. Maybe I just like ribbing and want to make myself a cuddly scarf, dammit.

Because there's this...

6. A Designer is Born
Or hatched. Or is still incubating. Who knows. But I drew this the other day, when I couldn't find a good bolero / cropped cardigan thing with self ties.

Obviously I have no idea how sleeves are constructed. I hope to learn at some point in the future, before I start making them. The little upside-down Vs are intended to represent the vine lace pattern I envision on this little number. I think I will use some heavier sock yarn (the stuff in blazing, retina-searing pink) for this and make it a summertime wrap / cardigan / bolero / thing.

7. On A Related Note...
(No! This was a list, and now it's got segues! Transitions! I can't be having this!) [Creative Writer stuffs Scientist into a bag and sits on it]

Anyway, I have abandoned the poorly-behaved green yarn + Hourglass Sweater combination. I'm now going with KnitPicks Swish in Copper. At least, I put in my order for it yesterday and intend to use that yarn for that project. (yes, after I said I wasn't going to order any more yarn for a hundred years)

Now, there are two things to consider: (a) I hear that Swish has a tendency to share its dye with the whole world. I am probably going to give this a big ol' vinegar rinse when it comes to my house, because I don't want my needles / couch / clothes getting full of copper-colored dye. (b) If you checked out Femiknitter's blog, you'll have noticed that she's having issues with the neckline of her Hourglass -- it's way too Jennifer Beals for her taste. I've heard a lot of people have had issues with the neckline. I want to bring the neck up tighter, maybe make it into a crewneck. So I will.

9. And In A Still More Related Note...
I ordered Jaquard acid dyes from KnitPicks to finally get to coloring my own yarn. I happen to think that this tutorial by Nicole of All Buttoned Up is pretty darn amazing, and very handy for the handpaint style that I want to use. So I'm going to use it. As soon as the order comes in. (It's "pending" right now. I don't know what that means, other than that my order is not on its way. Grrr.)

10. In An Entirely Unrelated Note...
Everyone go say hello to Heather. She had a rough day yesterday and could use a cheery comment, a virtual visit, a supportive smile (I'm sorry, the alliteration just took hold of me and wouldn't let go).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This Week's Best Headline

Troops Battle 10-Foot Marijuana Plants

Sounds like a sweet battle.

Fo Shizzle My Nizzle

Thanks to the Femiknitter, I found this link that gave me this translation and spent a good 10 minutes laughing my damn ass off. Go forth and be amused.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Of seashores and high altitude matrimony

My trip to California, pictified.

I flew in to LAX, met by Christine (the bride-to-be), Sarah G. (her sister [we have another friend named Sarah, so we always call this one Sarah G.]), and Pam (Christine's supergood friend). Oh, and Pam's new baby, Joie (pronounced "Joey") -- she's a girl.

Our first stop (after being lost and turned around eight ways from Sunday) was the Santa Monica Pier. It was amazingly beautiful and sunny and fun. They said the day was remarkably clear, so I feel pretty lucky to have these great pictures.

I splashed around in the ocean despite the cold, so that I could say I have been in TWO oceans.

I had forgotten my sunglasses at home (naturally, as I was traveling to the Sunshine State) so I bought some on the pier, and they are crazy and green (!) and have rhinestones. Heehee!

We stayed in Bakersfield (where Christine & Matt live) the first night, and as I was running on Chicago time I crashed pretty much right after dinner.

The next day we headed up the mountain, where Christine & Matt were going to be married (in Sequoia National Forest, where they have all the nature). Bakersfield is about 200 feet above sea level. The wedding location is between 5500 and 6000 feet above sea level. The distance between the two points is given as 40 miles. There was much eye-closing on this drive.

We drove through the Kern River valley, where part of the road was missing due to rain washing it out and/or an avalanche. (This is weird to me on many levels -- (a) because in the Midwest we don't have to worry about the weather moving large parts of our land around, just the houses; (b) we were still driving on the road.) Click on the picture of the sign and see how many people have died in the river in the last 30-odd years. Fun!

On Saturday, we saw Christine get married. She looked beautiful, she smiled a lot (an anomaly for this week -- she was pretty tense), and she didn't know about the tablecloths that arrived in Orange when they were supposed to be silver, until after the reception (with appropriate linens) was underway.

It was amazing to see my oldest friend get married. I was one of two matrons of honor (matron!?), a fact I didn't find out until after I got to California. Sneaky.

On Sunday, SarahG and I headed back down the mountain on the early side (8:30am) and got some amazing pictures of the mountains dressed in fog. The glittery thing in the middle is Lake Isabella. It was beautiful, and pretty darn awesome for my first ever mountain experience.

And then I came home. Not much knitting to report, except a wee bit of the waiting-in-airport variety, on the Mistake Rib scarf so I didn't have to pay attention.

It's nice to be home.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Stock, Taking

It's a new month, and because I'm so disorganized calendar-wise I didn't remember all the important stuff that is happening this month (because as long as my calendar reads "September" I don't need to pay attention to what comes after September), I'm organizing my knitting.

(We all have our little procrastination faults. Let me have mine.)

I have finished the back of the Wee Baby Maggie Cardigan ("Cotton Cardigan" on the sidebar) ...
And have cast on for one of the fronts. It's all very exciting, all this garter stitch (5 rows) leading into miles of scintillating stockinette. Thrilled beyond belief, I am. But seeing Wee Baby Maggie (Nick's cousin's daughter) over this past weekend kind of perked me up on the baby knitting. Fortunately this doesn't have to be done anytime soon (I'm making the 18-month old size), and her (one year) birthday present is already done (the Fluffy Baby Sweater). I'm ahead of the game on this one. And because I just typed that the yarn gods will smite me, and they smite hard.

I'm also exactly this far on the twisted rib socks. Remember how I said I didn't care about the pooling? Yeah, I think I might be starting to care.It's reminding me too much of a candy cane. But do I want to rip it all now? Meh. I don't know -- they're just not going very fast (perhaps they would if I actually knit on them), and the twisted rib stitch is the likely culprit (not my lack-of-knitting, of course). I'm putting these on the Banished list, and I'll think about it later.

In other sock news, I have turned a heel.It looks like a jack-in-the-pulpit, don't you think? Do you know what a jack-in-the-pulpit is? Because my sock looks like one. This is another source of meh -- it's sport weight self-striping yarn on size 4 dpns. I'm not really excited about it. I mean, it's good practice and I'm definitely into a solid "green" phase right now, but ... meh. Sport weight. Size 4s. I have some sweet Koigu and Socks That Rock beckoning to me. Banishment?

In New Project news, I have begun almost all the Bridesmaids GiftsLaura gets the Penobscot Scarf, my first attempt at small and non-threatening lace. It's Socks That Rock mediumweight, possibly the Azure Malachite colorway. I'm really enjoying the lace bits (they make me feel competent!), the yarn has a perfect springyness (can't wait to work up some socks in this stuff), and I love seeing the colors work up so prettily. These colors are very Laura, and I'm excited about working on it.
Maribeth gets the following:A 3x3 rib scarf in Catalina bulky alpaca, color "natural" or "cream" or something. It's so soft, but it tends to bloom a bit and the errant hairs inevitably go up my nose and I have to contort my upper body so as not to sneeze all over the pretty gift and leave an unexpected embellishment buried in the ribs.

And Miss Margaret gets this:

Mistake rib scarf in KnitPicks Andean Treasure (baby alpaca) in the Moss colorway. Oh my god, this stuff is amazing to work with. Soft, silky, and it doesn't bloom like the other alpaca. Brilliant! I am working with it doubled because Margaret wants a scarf to wear when she returns to the Midwest from Florida, and she doesn't want a wimpy scarf. No wimpy scarves here!

So why am I getting all organized? I'm deciding what to bring on the plane. What plane? The plane to California for Christine's wedding this weekend. (Christine, the only bridesmaid whose project is not yet begun, because I am a bastard.) This is the Big Thing in October Which I Forgot, Kind Of. I did buy my ticket and everything, but that was a while ago.

Airplane knitting. I'm thinking the Margaret scarf, because it's on bamboo needles and those are less likely to be interpreted as an open threat. Maybe the lace, too? I'm not bringing the Hourglass Sweater because it's currently occupying the "glorified swatch" position in my workbag and I'm not sure if I'll keep going on it in its present incarnation. More on that later, after California.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Behold! For I Am A Grammar Snob!

So, I picked up this book from work (the local library -- find yours and support it!) the other day with high hopes. I've been on a big ol' non-fiction kick lately because I love learning about stuff I never learned in school (stupid "college track" high school education meant that World History wasn't on the course list). I knew that Charlemagne existed and was pretty cool and unified ... um, places that were disparate (?) and was a Holy Roman Emperor. That is all I knew.

I started reading the book and the first thing I saw was a selected genealogy of Charlemagne's family. Nothing I like better than a good genealogy (seriously, it's my other hobby), so the book was looking good. The next thing I saw was a time line of the rise and fall of the Carolingian (Charlemagne's) Empire, with a column for what was going on in France, the Byzantine Empire, Western Christendom, and the Islamic World. Very awesome--I really like knowing what was going on elsewhere outside of the main story. This is something else that was never really covered in school -- the fact that history is a bunch of interrelated stories and that the Western world did not exist in isolation.

Then, on page 1 of the Introduction, catastrophe befell my reading. The author wrote "They and myriads of other Europeans..." Myriads of other. No. No, my friend, this is not correct. The word myriad is like the word many, in that it doesn't get pluralized. It also doesn't get a preposition tacked on the end of it. It should have read "They and myriad other Europeans..."

And now, I don't know if I can finish the book. I read that sentence and became disgusted with the author (about whom [look! proper grammer used pompously to show that I know how to use it!] I know little, except that he has written many [not manys!] historical biographies and books about, well, stuff we didn't learn in school) and haven't read any further.

Which is a shame, because it looks like the book could be quite good. Perhaps I should abandon my high moral grammar horse and just enjoy the book? Does anyone else have issues like this when they read? Am I the only over-principled reader?