Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tying Up a Lot Loose Ends

Profound intro: Today is the last day of an old year (2006) and tomorrow is the first of a new one (2007). It's time for resolutions. There's a lot of navel gazing in this post. If that sort of blogging bores you, you might want to move along. If you are intrigued, get comfy. This promises to be a long post.

I will admit that I have read the plans of my fellow bloggers and I applaud the ambitiousness of all those folks who want to improve their lives. I, too have plans for improvement. I have resolutions (2005 and older ones) that I bring to this day, still unresolved. Maybe I'll address them this year. Or maybe I won't.

First the Resolutions:

Lose 15 pounds. Last year, I resolved to lose 25, and I managed 10. Not so shabby. I would like to be close to "fighting weight" for my 40th high school reunion this June. But there's a really personal reason that I've confessed only to a very tiny select audience. It involves the possibility of exploring the potential for a cosmetic procedure that I've dreamed about for years (since I started growing them in about third grade). Not enhancement (good gawd, not that!), but rather a uni-lateral reduction. (Cryptic enough for ya?)

Get more exercise. I have a bike. I have a stepper. I have an exercise ball (it's still in the box). I have a book on yoga. The Community Center starts its winter exercise schedule this week and a one-hour yoga class (8 weeks?) is being offered on Thursdays (same night the Other Half teaches this semester). Tempting. Very tempting.

Eat better. More veggies, less red meat (of course there's the problem with my diet (in the generic) and that of other members of the household). Maybe lunches.

Entrelac! Learn some Entrelac! Last year, I resolved to steek. Thanks in part to the Harlot I cut and finished an acceptable steek during the Knitting Olympics. This year, I want to make something (felted bag? baby blankie?) using entrelac. You heard it here. Hold me to it.

Use up stash! One in, two out! Let's "blame" this one on Wendy, shall we? Even though I've said before (and will say again) that my stash is out of control (as am I*) let's blame Wal-Mart's decision to phase out yarn and fabric and the demise of many over-pricing, snotty, snooty, upstart-with-the-rise-in-the-popularity-of-the-craft LYSs on Knit From Your Stash 2007, shall we? (Note: if your sarcasm alarm is going off, how quick you are!)

Explore spinning, dammit! I've bought a book, watched the videos, bookmarked the sites. The spindle and the roving have been collecting dust long enough. This is the year.

Comment more. Stop depending on the blogs and lists I follow strictly for entertainment. Jump on in and actually participate.

I do believe that will keep me busy.

How I spent my long weekend (so far):

The Selfish September Ragg sweater is finished.

I used Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns as my starting point. It's the "raglan" version, knit bottom up in a blend of 30% wool/70% ack that has been aging in the stash since Smiley's still had 50 cent specials. The yarn is Mayflower Hit Parade (according to the label) but I believe it may be a Patons product.

I used about 13.5 balls (about 1900 yards) to make a 50" sweater. So, dudes, without my time factored in, you are looking at a $7 sweater.

If you don't factor in the 48 hours' knitting time, it's a real bargain. Add that in, and (at 1/1/07 PA minimum wage) it's a little over $300!

Notes on this sweater: Ann Budd's books are a valuable tool, but like any tool, they are only as good as the crafter on the other end. Something, somewhere went wrong, oh so wrong.

You can't tell it by looking, but by the time the raglan decreases were finished and the neckline was decreased, I should have had (according to the pattern) something like 74 stitches remaining. I had more than double that. I think I measured wrong when I decided I was ready to bind off the center neck (peaked too soon, what else is new?). I had a real Jennifer Beals Flashdance thing going with that neckline.

My solution was to pick up the neck ribbing stitches and to decrease severely on the first round. Once I was in a better range of stitches, I ribbed for an inch and bound off.

Result: Exactly what I was hoping for. A slopping around sweater that will look good with jeans, cords, khakis. It's lightweight, and warm. But not too warm.

Wash and block and I'll wear it on Tuesday.

Other Selfish September Sweater Update: I'm pretty sure that the lovely green wool will be heading to the frog pond. The texture and the color are fighting each other. If I ever finish it, I'll likely never wear it. So sad as it is, Rip-it, Rip-it.

A last hurrah:

The Dollar Tree has been putting yarn (closeouts) for sale for several months. The Tree is where I bought all that Frenzy and Ping Pong over the summer.

A couple weeks ago, they flooded the market with Fancy Fur (ewwww) which I had no trouble at all resisting.

Yesterday, though, was a whole different ballgame.

LB Boucle (some tiny bit of mohair content) in scrumptious colors. Yes, it's mostly ack, and yes, the colors are way loud. But look at those colors! If they won't brighten a dreary winter day, nothing will! I bought 3 each of 4 colors: Popsicle, Parfait,Lime Blue, and Jelly Bean.

This is my last purchase before Knit from Your Stash 2007 starts at midnight. I may go back and get more today. It's earmarked for Charity Community Knitting.

From here on out, one in, 2 out is the rule.

And speaking of Rules:

4) Knit From Your Stash 2007 for Sheepie is month-to-month and renews each month without notice as long as it continues to have the desired stash reduction effect.

Later today (or early tomorrow), I will post the FO Totals for Sheepshots for 2006. Stay tuned. Refreshments may be served.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Economic Awareness, Consciousness, Sensitivity*

Yeh, I said I was in and I'm really in now!

Wendy started it and a lot of us picked up the gauntlet and then some [expletive delted] commenting LYSO on her blog comments went into a not-so-quiet rant about how a Stash Diet, started by one Blogger Who Doesn't Even Live In Her Area (yes, I checked) was going to freakin' put her out of business! And it was all our fault!

Well, Commentor, I have followed your very few blog entries (no, I'm not linking--wouldn't want to give her the "hits") and the last couple, well, Hon, if your 'tude in face to face (f2f) life is anything like your 'tude on your blog, Wendy ain't the one that's doin' your business in!

Retail isn't for weenies! Retail involves being "up" all the time. Retail involves rolling with the punches. Constant change. And a Happy Face. I learned from a Master. And I was damned good at it. (My sales figures for the last year I worked retail before I quit to be a SAHM were incredible and record-setting according to that same Master.) And I know I don't want to go there ever again.

Too many people (translate: women) get into retail because they "like" their product. Books and yarn are two biggies that come to mind. The retail world is Hard Work and Long Hours and a Lot of Heartache and you don't get to see your family a lot and the wages suck, particularly if you are the Owner. And you get very little opportunity to "enjoy" the product you are selling. If One Person can screw you that badly, you need to be in another line of work.

Market forces, baby. (Can anyone say Oprah vs. the Cattlemen?)

* The title of this blog is lifted shamelessly from the Unnamed Blogger's current entry. I may use it as my rallying cry!

Economic Awareness--I have a first obligation to myself and my family, not to some faceless LYSO who doesn't seem to realize that I do not owe her a living just because she sells a product I buy. My stash has reached epic proportions. I bought most of what's here (or traded for it or was given it as gifts). It's paid for. That's about as pure as Economics gets.

Consiousness--(see above) I am conscious of every spending decision I make. And my Social Conscience is quite healthy thankyouverymuch.

Sensitivity--What the F? Who is being insensitive here? (I believe that is a rant for another day!)**

Okay, so here's what I'm doing with my stash. Look familiar? Hearken back to Yesteryear (or September, take your pick).

Now that the fateful Christmas Knitting is done (yeh, except for the Alteration, keep me honest), I've picked up the Ragg That Is So Near To Completion and begun the not-so-long journey to the neckline. Each row gets shorter.

I will be glad to be done with this. I want to wear it!

It would be everso nice to include it in 2006 totals. It would be okay if it was the first toss of the new year, though.

And here's the next bear sweater (I have 10 :eep: bears that I'd like to clothe for the January 15 deadline.

This is #2, a pseudo-Icelandic, in bits of leftover Pingofrance II.

Who had the crazy idea to knit navy on ebony needles, I wonder?

I have a couple of bear clothing booklets (book sale, had to buy 'em) that I'm perusing for additional patterns.

** And speaking of Sensitivity I noticed a marked change in grocery shoppers yesterday. Gone was the mad rush. People were pleasant; they returned smiles. They said "excuse me." Amazing what a difference a week makes! Can we keep it up into 2007?

I sure hope so!


Friday, December 29, 2006

How Many?

More than 240! That's how many ends there were to weave in!

2. That's how many buttons.

1. That's how many buttonholes I sewed closed (see above) when I could find only 2 matching buttons (of several types) that would work.

Yes, even with an enormous button stash. The ones I wanted to use were too big or too flat or the wrong color. Or just wrong. Just because it's for charity doesn't mean it shouldn't be perfect.

It needs a wash and block, but the knitting is done and the ends are woven.

Next, I start the alterations.

Then I do the resolutions.

Then I tabulate the FOs for 2006 and the yarn knit up and such.

Then I lie down.

But first, it's off to the Lifestyle Center (the new name for "shopping center") to return a book that the Other Half bought me for Christmas. Why? Well, because I bought him the exact same book.

Then to the grocery store. For soft food. Because I chipped a filling. On my front tooth. Again.

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pretend You Are Surprised!

I finished something! Tiny sweater for a bear. The pattern is from the Pattern a Day Calendar, June 22, 2005. I've made lots of these.

His new home will be somewhere in Maine. Farm Witch is collecting warm hand-knits and handmade toys for Spruce Run in Bangor, ME, a domestic violence shelter.

It's all about the kids, but there are prizes, too. (This is where the Bunnie will be heading.)

Check it out, then knit a bit and make a little kid smile.

'cause, Dudes, it's about the smiles.

Oh, and I started someting new!


It's going to be a kid afghan or a lap robe. In log cabin variation. I'm using up my washable odd bits.

Used to be that I did one of these Use-It-Up blankies about once a year. Then it went to about 9 months. They seem to be getting closer together!

Here's where I am on Dulaan.

See all those ends? You aren't seeingthe half of it! Because I've already woven about half of them in.

Playing games. Knit a round on the hem, weave in all the navy ends. Knit another round, attack the gold ones. And so on.

Next ones's going to be solid! Just sayin'

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Because There Were Queries

The stockings were hung on the china cabinet with care (and little stocking hanger thingies from The Tree).

They were stuffed with stuff (like candy--mmm chocolate), most of which has been consumed. So there.

One Out Of Two Ain't Bad:

The Arans were unwrapped and tried on. And while the Not Nearly So New As Last Christmas Daughter In Law said she loves hers and it's "comfortable," it really is too big and needs alterations.

She left it with me so that I can do the deed. It's marked. I'm waiting to be fully awake and have some sunlight to work under.

Should be a (relatively) easy fix.

Older Kid's looks like it was made for him, which it was.


Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Yule, Dudes!

The early morning hours of Christmas in a house full of adults are quite different than those in a house where children reside.

Mostly, the [adult] children are asleep having stayed up way too late watching Christmas Entertainment, or visiting friends.

And so, only the female parental unit is awake and waiting in anticipation of the Opening Of The Gifts, knowing full well what is in that Great Big Box.

The anticipation, Dudes, lies in the anticipation of the Opening Of Gifts By Others.

Will the Christmas Arans fit?

Will the stocking stuffers delight?

Are the books the right titles?

Will there be chocolate?

Meanwhile, the female parental unit sits, slowly and carefully weaving in ends, and waiting for the household to rise.

Merry Holiday, may your day be filled with joy.

Film at 11.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve 2006

With all of the Christmas Knitting That's Going To Be Done finished, I can turn my attention to Other Things.

Like the Dulaan Sweater currently OTN. I have reached the Armpit Going Left (as opposed to the Armpit Going Up) and have bound off the side stitches. I feel like I'm on the home stretch until I look at All Those Ends.

There's some serious weaving in my future, I fear!

I'm still a little concerned about the length, so there might be some horizontal striping before the seed stitch border at the bottom.

And so, I cast on Something Else.

It's a beanie.

Made of Patons Classic Wool in burgundy (so far) but I have plans to add some navy. And maybe some hunter green.

It might wind up in the Ship Support bin if it's big enough. Or in the Dulaan bin if it isn't.

I cast on 84 stitches onto a 16" size 7 circ. 2X2 ribbing for about 2", then switched to stockinette. I'll decrease at 7 points when it's tall enough.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Early Morning Musings

Unable to access her email account because of guests sleeping in the office/stash room, Sheepie attempts to spread holiday cheer through Blogger and fails miserably.

I have been pondering the gloriousness of the season (and the promised return of the sun) and thinking about some random encounters I experienced over the past several weeks.

Demand for food does not necessarily increase in the winter, despite increases in home heating costs, nor even because of the winter holidays. In actuality, the greatest demand for food is in the summer when school is out and the school lunch (and breakfast) program is suspended and only about 10% of the eligible children participate in summer food programs (for whatever the reason).

No, instead, the demand for certain food items increases exponentially. This is particularly frustrating for those of us who make a daily effort to ensure that people are fed daily not just at the holidays.

Case in point: one day last week, I fielded both phone calls and emails from people in search of "holiday needs" for themselves or for needy neighbors. They were seeking (variously) holiday food (specifically turkeys and hams), toys, warm clothing, presents.

The local Sally Anns register folks for these programs in the fall. Registration closed many weeks ago. Getting added to already groaning lists is next to impossible. I scratch my head. Did you suddenly realize that Christmas is coming?

Here at the Casa, the Other Half and I decided that the house renvations would be our anniversary and Christmas/Solstice gifts to each other. It was an enormous expense (as those of you undertaking similar projects know), but more than that, there little that we want and even less that we need. And dagnabit, we are both capable of going into a store and purchasing those things ourselves.

There was little surprise when the Older Kid announced that he and the New Daughter In Law had decided that Christmas would be a scaled back affair at their celebration (here at the Casa), as well.

When I queried, I discovered that he (they?) were also appalled and overwhelmed by the conspicuous over-consumption that they see around them. Way too much being spent by people who may or may not be able to afford it on "stuff" that really isn't necessary.

And yet, doubt always exists. As I gaze upon the pile of presents under the tree, I find myself wondering, "is it enough?" And I am sure that the answer is "yes."

Is it everything? Not a chance. But it is enough.

We are sheltered; we are fed; we are clothed. We have each other.

It is enough.

10 a.m. update:

It appears that 8 times was the charm. You know how most patterns say "join, being careful not to twist?" Well, this pattern didn't (being knit flat and all) so, I wasn't and on try #7, havng finally matched the seed stitch correctly, I looked at the knitted fabric on my lap and saw, "Oh $%@#$@^*%(%)%(^!!!!!" There's a freakin twist in the #$^$^*)^)^^%$(&%^&^%%^$%$^ knitting. (The last time I had a twist in circular knitting was years ago!)

[ahem] There was no picture. I was sobbing uncontrollably.

So I ripped it yet again and knit across, and cast on the bridge and laid it flat, then (after very careful examination) knit across the remaining stitches. Please note that there is no twist this time.

(If there is a problem that can be encountered in knitting this tiny little piece, I have. Encountered it.)


Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Baking at Casa Sheepie

Use only the finest ingredients.

Decorate carefully. This is important.

First batch done. Second batch in the oven.

Cookie dough consumed: just enough that I'm starting to feel queasy.

Let the mad revels begin!

Many Ho-Ho-Holiday Thoughts

I am officially off until Tuesday. The "kids" arrive in a couple of hours and this room (where they will sleep) is in a state of total disarray.

For one, I'd like to get to a logical stopping point in the Dulaan so that I can vacuum in here, inflate the air bed, and bake some cookies.

If only Dulaan would cooperate!

The offending row:

It would seem that I am incapable of counting to three.

I have tinked this same row of this very small sweater many times now. The latest tink was caused by my misreading row 2 of the 5 row pattern as row 3. And so, I painfully un-knit back over 162 stitches yet again.

This thing will not defeat me!
And my Knitbabysurprise December "What's in your bag" swap package arrived! It was on the front porch when we brought in the morning paper. (It was not there when I got home from work yesterday. Santa? You out there?
Blogless Betty sent me a wonderful package of cheer:

Here it is in the box. (No, the post office didn't ignore the "Fragile" on the outside. I am responsible.)

Here it all is spread out.
There's a scarf pattern and yarn to make it up, a ball of Patons Classic Wool in a lovely blue colorway, some toys for the kitties (Sparky thanks you, Betty), new stitch markers, two pretty Christmas ornaments, and a cool Christmas tree candle.

And here's the bag that Betty mmade in my traditional "hang it on the thermostat" pose.
Ironically, Both Betty and I chose navy blue for the bags we made! (Perhaps, like me, Betty knows that navy hides a lot of potential problems than, say, white. If you get my drift!)

Here's a close-up of the pattern stitch.
Isn't it pretty?
In further stashbusting news (in which I admit to being a bit of a yarn snob):
I checked the spreadsheet last night, you know, just to see.
A while back, I made a mental commitment to use up (or give away) my vast stash of acrylic yarn (mostly committed to charity knitting), and then I counted what was left. Then at the end of January (11 months ago) I found that I had 31 balls of 100% ack and 129 balls of blends with ack as a major component.
Right now, I am down to 5 balls of pure ack. and only a few (less than 50-44, exactly) of blends with ack in them. I am feeling so righteous!
I've "upscaled" my charity knitting. I'm using sock yarn (wool) for baby stuff and superwash wool or heavily wool'd blends for everything else. It's warmer, it's washable, and it certainly feels better to knit.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bah, Humbug

Little knitting happened today, though my Work Mentor asked for help with her knitting, so I guess I am now a Knit Mentor. Who would have thunk?
I was making nice progress on the little Dulaan sweater tonight when I decided to go back and read the pattern. Oops.
Had to tink 4 rows and of course, it was 4 of the 2-color rows.
For those who mssed the original post about this puppy (it's been a while since I started it), it's in Kids, Kids, Kids which is an XRX (Knitter's) book. Still in print, available many places.
So, following the tinkage, I was able to cut back to one end on the royal ble, which led to the mess you see above. Giant, tangled, blob of yarn blarf. I have been re-balling for the better part of the evening. I haven't lost ground, but I didn't gain any either.
Additional Fashion Advice:
1) If you are under 15, don't dress like a ho.
2) If you are over 15, same deal.
3) "Hootchie" clothes are especially unbecoming on toddlers.
Happy Solstice to those who celebrate.
This would be the day for the traditional Torching of the Greens to welcome the return of the sun (or to entice it to return, this being the shortest day/longest night of the year here in the Northern Hemispere).
Since we are not allowed to burn stuff outside, we settled for a candle. It wasenough.
Others got a bit carried away. There was a fire event a couple blocks from the food bank this afternoon which necessitated a detour. Some people don't know how to celebrate responsibly.
(Seriously, I hope everyone was okay and that it was the firefighters that got carried away--same crew sent six trucks to investigate a shorted out smoke detector at the food bank. They're thorough!)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Diet and Fashion Advice

Okay, lots of bloggers and list folk are jumping on the concept widely known as the Yarn Diet or Temporary Yarn Fast or some other iteration started by this crazed woman. Wendy, I love ya, but I'm here to say that wool diets and the Sheepie are about as compatible as food diets and the Sheepie.

Just take a look over there on the sidebar if you need proof!

When I started "confessing" the size of my stash, here at Sheep Shots, I had 53.7 miles of yarn. That was a little less than 2 years ago. Right this very minute, the stash is at 50 miles, not counting about 7 pounds of coned wool that I am dyeing for Dulaan projects and a bunch of other stuff that isn't on the spread sheet. (I am so embarrassed!) To make matters worse, I have a trail going back to 2001 when I first started keeping track of the stash via Excel.

On July 1, 2001, five and a half years ago, there was barely 33 miles of yarn in the stash.

All I need to say is "yarn diet" and I start browsing the on-line stores like, oh, I look at cookbooks when I start thinking about losing a few pounds. [And Sheepie's been working on this same 15 pounds for months!]

So here's the deal. Wendy's original premise (with exceptions, exemptions, and Get Out Of Jail, Free card) was more like:

[Pretend that Wendy's "Knit From Your Stash" button is there. Blogger doesn't want it there. Go figure. Who knew Blogger owned a yarn shop?] Update: No need to pretend, Blogger cooperated after a re-boot.

Rabbitch may be onto something (we think a lot alike). So, I present my Stash Busting, Not a Yarn Diet Rules of the Game:

1) Two out, one in. For every ball of yarn I want to buy, I need to knit up or sell, or give away 2 balls from the stash. Landfilling (even fun fur) is not an option!

2) Equipment, books, patterns, magazines, and tools do not count! Since I rescinded the Christmas request for swift and ball winder, I'm gonna need to buy 'em. I cannot wait until my birthday. Buttons, however, are included.

3) If there's a really good sale, Rule 1 can be put on temporary hold as long as Rule 1 is invoked and followed within, oh, 30 60 days.

Likely, there will be more rules. As I think of them, I'll post 'em.

And in Knitting News:

I picked up this little Dulaan number again last night when I realized that the End As We Know It of Aran #2 was in sight.

Day-um, I'm close to finishing. (Well, I'm more than halfway.)

So I started working on this one.

Just a couple more stripes, then the left sleeve, the seams, hem, buttons. Voila!

Then, I started to panic about The Second Coming of Aran.

Too big. I know it's too big. (It's not too big. It's Outerwear! It's exactly the right size based on the measurements I have. It will fit. Stop obsessing!)

[I should listen to the voices. They make perfect sense!]

But I was a little concerned about stretch and the weight of the sweater and the back neck which was kept "live" and the ribbing knit across on the live stitches, so I went back and did a crochet chain across the shoulders and the back neck. Just a little insurance.

Then I made a little butterfly of each of the Aran yarns and slipped them and an extra button into a sweet little baggie. Then I wrapped the sweaters and put them under the tree.


You thought I had forgotten!

Fashion Advice (for free--and it's worth it!)

Some thoughts that came to mind at the diner on Saturday:

If your cleavage resembles a Plumber's Crack, you should consider a higher neckline.

If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, remember the effects of years of sun, bad eating, and age.

If the seat of your pants looks like it's full of ferrets when you walk, consider a larger size.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Home Stretch

Aran Update:

The body is dry and the sleeves are "dry enough." I'm ready to sew it together!

So I checked the fit. The sleeves and the armhole are a perfect match (sort of like they were made for each other [chuckle]).

So it's pinned in place and now I begin the careful stitching.

Finish can make or break a sweater!

And so can buttons.

I found these at The Button Drawer. They have lots of styles. It was hard to pick just one.

So I bought another pound of "novelty" buttons. Just in case.

The next picture you see will be of the Completed Sweater on the Intended Recipient (assuming that I adjusted correctly for proper fit).

Stay tuned!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Kitchen is finished (except for the new stove, but I believe that's coming today!)

New curtains are downstairs waiting for a very minor adjustment to the length (we "lost" 1/2" in floor to ceiling height) because they aren't long enough to "puddle" fashionably on the floor.

I'll get to that later today.

Then I'll put up the Christmas tree (takes only a few minutes--it's small, and the lights stay on it year to year), hang the wreath on the door, and call the house "ready."

The Aran, however, is not ready.

Yesterday, I had about 4 more hours to go on the second sleeve. I decided to put it aside temporarily (because my hands were/are screaming in agony from using the same size needle for days on end) and pick up the button band (smaller needle, should help a little). That involved a little math and some adjustments as I had lengthened the sweater about 4".

I picked up the stitches with a 29" size 4 needle (nice point, slightly smaller than the called for size). Hello! 29" needle could barely accomodate the nearly 400 stitches so I knit the first row onto my 60" addi turbo (not as sharp a point, but a long enough cable for all those stitches). Three hours later (factoring in breaks), I bound off all the stitches, and proceeded (after scouring out the kitchen sink) to "scour" the wool.

Very hot water, a healthy squirt of dish detergent with "degreaser" added (I used Ajax brand, but lots of others feature degreasers). Three soaks and 2 rinses later, I tossed it in the washer to spin out the excess water (it's too big for the salad spinner!) then patted it out on towels on the pool table.

I am pleased.

Film later, perhaps.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

More Things I Have Learned

1) When you pull up at a diner and say "How bad could it be?" you are about to find out.

2) I can make decent progress on this sleeve reading on-line.

3) I can knit a lot more on this sleeve watching TiVo.

4) If my reckoning is correct, I can finish this sleeve by 4 p.m. today. If I sit here and knit, take no breaks.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Things I Have Learned

And I'm sharing them right here for free!

1) Measuring a sleeve every right side row does not make it grow faster. On the contrary. Just sayin'

2) My 'fridge has wheels--so you can pull it away from the cubby and clean. Wow! Who'd a thunk it?

3) The post office is less busy at 10 and 2 than it is at 8 and noon.

4) Measuring on the wrong side doesn't work either.

5) If you plan to "collect all 5," you'd better buy 6 or 7 boxes right off the bat, 'cause when you go back for more, they'll all be gone :sob:

5a) Unless you want Chocolate Lucky Charms.

6) Going on a "yarn diet" is, for me, about as useful as going on a food diet. All it does is make me crave more, more, more. So there will be no yarn diet at Casa Sheepie this year, though Sheepie will continue to watch the size of the stash (see sidebar).

7) Mailing "made things" and odd balls of yarn to People Who Might Enjoy Them feels really good.

8) House do not clean themselves.

9) Sweaters (especially the sleeves) do not knit themselves either.

More later if there is more to report.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Well That Was Fun!

Five out of six "vacation" days (plus 2 weekend days) have had me hog-tied to the house with flooring issues and appliance issues (yes, they were necessary, and yes, I was able to get out, and yes, I was able to sit and knit).

My stove and fridge are still in the living room, and the floor guy is coming back tomorrow at 7:30 in the ay em (yes, there is one of those on Saturday) to put the molding back and slide the stove and fridge back into place. (The new stove is being delivered Monday.)

Overlapping all of that was the need for me to work at least a small part of 2 days and fulfill a blood drive (work-related) commitment on a third. And I have an article to write.

Some vacation.

But the flooring is finished (see photo above) and sweater sleeve (see below)

is looking pretty good. I have about another 6" to go on this one (cast on Tuesday, but untouched for 2 days). What you see was (mostly) accomplished today. I would love to be finished with the knitting by Sunday, picking up the ribbing then. Then the hot water wash to get rid of the last of the spinning oil, then some serious blocking.

I could get some quality knitting time in yet this "vacation."

Tomorrow? Oh, please! May tomorrow be filled with knitting.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Promised Update

There was stuff to report!

Photo taken at the lunch break shows that the flooring is nearly laid.

This is a composite product called "Dura-ceramic." It's individual tiles (like ceramic), but it's warmer and not nearly as hard (translate: the dropped skillet is less likely to chip and break it).

Tomorrow, the grout goes on, then the appliances go back, the drapes get hung. You know.

(I'm thinking about some rearranging on the counters.)

And in knitting knews, the secret project is finished.

Isn't Bunnie sweet?

Dishcloth cotton (Sugar 'n Cream) on size 4s. My hands are screaming at me! There will be more, but they will be washable wool or ack because no way in hell am I putting myself through that again!

But isn't she sweet? (I think it's a girl.)

Ready to Mail

I'm pretty sure that I announced (at least to the postal clerk) that all of my Christmas packages were mailed thankyouverymuch.

I never said anything about Solstice or Hanukkah, though!

Presenting, the Hanukkah Weasel Bear.

Knit of Bernat Ping Pong (which is remarkably soft, though it looks like it would be scratchy as all get out). Just sparkly enough.

A seat of the pants sort of hat.

The eyes are buttons, white, layered with black. The nose is embroidered.

Hat Recipe: Body:On size 7s: Cast on 72, join. Make a cuff of 3X1 ribbing for about an inch. Switch it stockinette and knit until there's 5" from the beginning. Decrease (I did it at 9 points) every other row, draw up, fasten off.

Ears: Cast on 12 stitches. SS for 6 rows. Decrease each side EOR twice, then 1 more time (6 st). Knit 2 rows even. Increase each side EOR twice, then once more. SS for 7 rows (yes, it will be longer on one side. That's the back.) Bind off. Sew side seams. Make another unless this is a bear with issues.

Ear placement: Move 'em around. Try different places. I deliberately chose to cock the head. I think it looks cute that way. Less rigid. Stitch the ears in place.

Eyes: I used buttons (7/8" white, 5/8" black) and layered them. You could embroider the eyes instead, or use just the black buttons. Bears have big eyes. (Because I said so.)

Mouth and nose: check out a manufactured Teddy. Copy it! (or not) I embroidered the nose and mouth with black yarn.

Make sure that everything is fastened off securely!

There may be another post later today if there's anything to report.

(I still have 5 balls of Ping Pong left. I am thinking about dumping them. Just sayin')


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tag, You're It!

Okay, Rabbitch, you got me. (I hate the whole meme scene, but seein's that it's you. . .)

“THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

1) I can spend hours browsing at the Dollar Tree or in any yarn store, but any other kind of store, it's "get in, get it, get out."

2) Clutter at work drives me nuts. Clutter at home is normal.

3) I currently own three pairs of sneakers and I sometimes wear all three of them on the same day (and sometimes two unmatched ones at the same time--see previous blog entries).

4) I clean the shower after my shower. Yes, exactly what you are thinking.

5) I do not like memes and seldom read them, but respond every time I am tagged.

6) My idea of a Great Vacation is staying home and Doing Nothing.

Steph, Hockeymom , Mariella, Romi, Ryan, and Farm-witch, you are next!

And Speaking of Vacations: Mine has been incredibly noisy. There has been a guy in my bathrooms and/or kitchen half of the time, mostly beating things into submission and using a nailgun (so far). Tomorrow, the tile laying starts.

Here's the old floor, after we moved everything we could, vacuumed (the Other Half) and mopped (me).

(The dishwasher's blue because it still has its protective shipping wrap. That comes off soon.)

The next step, after removing the Major appliances, was the application of 1/4" plywood "underlayment. For this, you need a nail gun.

Note that when the stove was moved, 10+ years' accumulation of gunk was exposed. Say it with me: "ewwww"

All of my kitchen stuff is now stowed temporarily (until Friday) in the living room.

Yes, the unplugged stove (we are living on reheated in the microwave leftovers, of which there are plenty).

The fridge is plugged in.

The cat pan, cat dishes, table and chairs are all sharing space with sofas and such.

And now a word from our sponsor:

I do not know where I bought this stuff, but I'm going to want more when the bottle runs dry!

A squirt of this and a sponge removed stuff that Top Job, Mr. Clean, and Formula 409 couldn't touch with a scrubby thing and 10 minutes' elbow grease.

What a terrific product!

(Home Depot, I think. In the paint aisle, maybe?)

Hey, I finished something!

It's a scarf. With tassels.

And bells.

Obligatory mirror shot says it all. That's wrapped a couple of times and still hits the waist.

It's a present, but I'm thinking about making another one, maybe not quite so festive. For me.

And on my needles, besides the Aran, is a hat. A silly bit of Hanukkah fluff.

Film soon.

And of that other thing that I thought would be finished yesterday, but isn't quite.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Score Is Tied


Thirty Six Years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to in a wedding befitting broke frugal college seniors:

Yes, kids, we really were that young once.

(and that skinny)

I could wax poetic about the wonders of a happy marriage and offer advice on how to keep it going that long, but truth be told is, there is no secret.

It's hard work and a desire to keep it going.

That's all. No magic. No secret.

And no giving up when things get rough.

Most of our friends who married at the same time are still married. No magic. Just hard work.

And speaking of hard work, lookie here!

I didn't finish the second side last night as planned. I managed to get within 2 rows, then my eyes kept slamming shut. The last two rows and the 3-needle bind off happened at 6 this morning.

Then I did the clippy thing (see November 23 entry) and tried it on.

Good news and bad news are both the same! It doesn't fit me!

Intended recipient is considerably narrower than I (see photo at the top of this entry--that was 36 years and I'm not saying how many pounds ago).

My biggest concern was the sleeve opening. It fits and should be just fine. :whew:

Then I cast on the first sleeve.


Fifty-eight, dummy! Not Fifty six!

See that little card taped to my monitor? Thank Franklin (you'll need to scroll down to the December 13 entry) for urging us on! (I have one of these taped to every computer I use. 13 :eep: days until Christmas!)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Just a Big Kid at Heart

Warning: No Not much knitting content

My current favorite cold cereal. You probably do not want to know my favorite hot cereal -- unless, of course, you live in the South or in Washington, D.C., in which case, you are probably offered My Favorite Hot Cereal anytime you eat out (and sometimes when you eat "in") even in the summer, and if you didn't grow up eating it, it's probably about as appealing as Scrapple (don't ask).

Or should I say "them?"

But I digress.

(I heard you say "yet again!" I'm not deaf, you know!)

Here's part of the reason why.

"Collect all 5!"

What reasonable adult purchases more Cheerios when there is a half-full box already in the cabinet?

Why any reasonable adult who is concerned about her cholesterol. That's who! (Or which. Or what.)

Especially when the first one collected is the worst of the bunch! Luck's gotta turn, no?

This one has an on/off switch on the back and about 8 beats of some Penguin Salsa.

Let's just say that it wasn't the one I wanted.

There. That's better.

And they hook together so that you can make a little Penguin Conga Line.

Check your grocer's shelf and get your own. I'm not sharing!

Knitting update: I started something else. Yeh yeh. And the horse you rode in on!

This morning I went to give blood and one of my cow-orkers asked what I was making. I told her. She gave me that look. And walked away muttering.

I haven't touched the Aran yet today, but I will tonight. I should be able to finish the left front.

But I made it to the post office and mailed a couple of gifts and a prize to one of the wieners winners of Rabbitch's Hat Challenge for Vancouver.

Update on the Aran in the a.m.

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