Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Bargain at Twice the Price

I had to make a run to the Mart of K today. The drying rack that has served me well for several years died a sudden and unexpected death on Friday.

So, sad though I was to see it go (out to the curb), I was ready to move on.

I won't bore you with the pictures, but the new one is metal, not wood, and should hold up under the abuse of sopping wet skeins and bras and such.

I happened upon the leftovers of Easter, and being a person who cannot pass a clearance rack without at least stopping to look, I could not pass up this incredible bargain!

90% off! the original $1.49 price.

So I bought 10!

With the fair fast approaching, I started a blankie with the marigold yellow Encore.

Cast on this morning. All you see there is the garter stitch border. There will be lacy hearts, too.

Two entries finished, two on the needles. Four months to go.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Short Post

Look familiar?

You've seen it buried under snow.

Now you see it shrouded in fog.

This was the view from our front door this morning. Either it was very foggy, or the cloud cover was very low (I'm voting with the clouds--we live atop a "mountain.")

The Friends of the Library is having a sale. This is all I bought for me. The Other Half bought even less.

It's a classic, so I won't bother to review.

Fifty cents.

Progress Report(s): The yoke of the pink lacy baby sweater is finished and I have started the first sleeve.

Strawberry buttons are sewn onto the second little denim sweater. It's been manhandled through the washer and dryer so it's nice and soft and fully shrunk.

Movie Review: Blood Diamonds is thought provoking and very well done. See it!


Friday, April 27, 2007

The End of the Yarn Diet

If I were a person inclined toward swearing, I would be swearing a lot right about now!

I spent a good long time confessing to the breaking of the yarn diet (for a good cause) and ::poof:: the post and the pictures. All gone! ::sob::

And so, dear readers, I will attempt to reconstruct, but it will not be easy to re-achieve that particular level of wretchedness. Please bear with me.

And I have a sore throat, too.

Sale At Webs. 'nuff said?

Let me digress.

I have knat up all of the ack, all of the blends, all of the superwash but a smallish stash of Annabelle Fox DK that I am holding for a toddler size Aran.

My wardrobe and stash being somewhat drab neutral, I was immediately drawn to the wonders of the On Sale Encore and bought some.

Then I hit Elann to suck up some of the On Line Summertime (machine wash/dry flat) in shades of grenadine, daffodil, and marine. I swatched and gave the swatch a cycle through the washer and the dryer to see if it could take that treatment. I am happy to report that it came through with flying colors (that was not a pun).

Summertime knits up into something that feels like stretch terry. It's lightweight and really soft.

But 4 bags?? ::ahem::

Dulaan Challenge: I issued a challenge to the Dulaan group that i am part of (of which I am part?) to complete one more *anything* by May 1." (Challenge was issued on/about April 25.)

Then I took for-freakin'-ever to pick out a pattern and yarn.

Here's mine. Pattern by Norma, Manos del Uruguay Almost Solids combined with the leftover mohair from the recently completed shawl. There was about 1' of the mohair left when I cast off.

And now, I simply must get started on the fair knitting because, dudes, it's only ::eep:: four months away. ::eep::

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Something Different

Time for some Product Reviews!

I haven't done this for a while. At least not since the episode with the Greased Lightning (which I love).

These two are in the 1 on a scale of 1 to 10 (or even lower) range.

I was prepared to love these sneakers to death. What's not to love? They're Prop├ęt. They're leather. They're silver. They were on serious sale (on-line). Like I said, what's not to love?

I ordered my usual size (I've purchased this brand before) and waited for them to arrive.

Not even close to fitting! At least a size too short and the medium width was more like a narrow. ::sob::

The sad part is, the cost to return them would have been more than they cost. (I said it was a serious sale!) I gave them away. ::sob::

Then there was this. I was prepared to love this cereal, too. I love Grape Nuts. I love trail mix. (I often add nuts and raisins to my breakfast Grape Nuts).

What's not to love?

Someone had the bright idea to add a serious lot of sweetener (they say honey right on the box) and some cinnamon to the mix.

Big mistake.

I gave the rest of the box away.

It was a good day to declutter.

Knitting Knews: Not much was accomplished today. I got one repeat added to the sockie baby sweater. I finished a car-knit hat. I finished an afghan square. Ho hum.

Coming soon: The confessions of a yarn dieter. Can you say binge? Film at 11 or so.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

End of Day One

I'm thinking that there won't be a lot of progress shots on this one. I'm also thinking "fair entry."

Time is running, the clock is ticking, the wheels are turning and so far I have a shawl and a dishcloth.I need to get cracking.

At work, we are gearing up for the NALC (National Association of Letter Carriers') food drive. That's the day (May 12 this year) that your postal carrier will be looking to pick up ( a pack of food) when s/he delivers the mail. If you buy a couple cans each grocery trip between now and then, you can make a real difference in your neighbor's life.

Movie Review: (a couple days late). Notes on a Scandal stars Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. That's why we rented it. Wish we hadn't.

Good entertainment is getting harder to find!

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Started Something New

Go on, act surprised!
I've had this Geranium-colored sock wool stashed for a while. I can't think of any better way to use it!
Click on the picture to make it bigger. Don't you just love the button? (I have 6.)

The book is Vogue Knitting American Collection. The pattern is Best Baby Sweater (Elizabeth Zimmermann). The same pattern traveling under the name "Baby Sweater on Two Needles, Practically Seamless" is also available as the February offering in Knitter's Almanac.

Yarn is Kroy 3-Ply (sock yarn--85/15 wool/nylon) and is machine washable and goes right into the dryer.

This one will go into the gifty box for the time being against the next baby announcement/baby shower.

Long Monday at work. The week off didn't help much. I could use another.

Meetings coming up all week. I do so love meetings!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Green

Happy Earth Day!

No knitting pictures today, though there was knitting. (It was just dipsh*t knitting and besides, you've seen the WIPs before at least once.)

Here in the Northern Hemispere, it seems that spring has finally arrived. The grass is turning green and all of the trees are starting to get that first yellow glow that means leaves aren't far behind.

I'd love to wax philosophical about spring and Earth Day and my lord, is it really 36 years already?
I was a college student in 1970 (the very first Earth Day) and I have the button. No, really, there was a button (and probably a bumper sticker, too).
We were young and naive back then and were pretty sure that we could and would change the world.
Something got lost in our growing up, didn't it?

I took this quiz and discovered that, while I am "better than average" for my country (needing 18 acres to sustain my lifestyle where my country's average is 24 acres), there's not enough actual space on the planet for me and my kind. (It would take 3.9 planets to sustain us if everyone lived like I do. I'm going to work on making some changes.
Take the quiz. See where you stand, and vow to make some changes yourself.

Changes that I know I can make:
Eat more local food. Right now, I think I'm limited to eggs, potatoes, maybe apples. It takes some extra effort to seek out the farmer's market, but I'm going to try.
Drive less. Plan errands more carefully so that the car can stay in the garage one day a week. Again, not easy, but worth the effort.
Look to renewable resources. (This one's easy, she says with tongue planted firmly in cheek). No more plastic yarn. None! Well, maybe just a little. But not to be swayed by the glitz of the bright colors. Stick to the muted shades of wool, alpaca, cotton.
Who says it's not easy bein' green?


Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Bed and Three Squares

Does anyone but me remember when pets were fed once a day, usually at night?

Neither do they!

Breakfast is served at 5 a.m. (Yeh, I know.), "lunch" at 3:30 when I get hme from work, and then there's "midnight supper" also known as "2nd dinner."

Spoiled much?

Or are we just very well trained?


Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's Not Stash

I'm rather fond of declaring that if the ball is broken, it doesn't count. So, in an effort to continue the downward spiral of the stash total (eyes right), I have methodically and carefully broken into each new skein of yarn as it entered the house.
No, really. I started a leetle something from each of the Red Heart skeins.
Crappy ack shouldn't count.
I have completed one hat (and re-rolled the remains of the skein), Started another (and will do the same). Knat up a blue square (ditto). Am knitting a red/white/blue square (above) with plans to follow suit.
That leaves a red skein, and 2 more variegated. And the 5th of May a full 16 days off.
What new stash?


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wednesdays Aren't For Wimps

The roses are dead (and out at the curb).

These lovelies have replaced them. Fresh from the garden.

It's 8:15 in the pee-em here in Pee Ay, and I just got a phone call from someone with an Outsourced Off-Shore Accent trying to sell me a satellite dish. Is this the new way around the Do Not Call registry? If you aren't calling from the USA, you aren't bound?

Well, that's annoying.

We are nearly out of cookies. And grocery day is two days away.

And my stomach is upset.

There was more, but the annoying phone call drove all the other rants right from my mind.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Home Stretch

Why is it that the last several inches seem to move further away, rather than closer the longer you work? I feel like this final edge is taking decades!

For example, the last foot of this edging felt a whole lot like a mile.

Here it is flat on the bed. In the dark. Because we replaced our bedside lamps with high intensity "sunlight" ones.

And here it is folded.

The knitting is done and the ends are woven and it is soft and cuddly and really quite nice.

Finer points:

Yarn: Plymouth Outback Mohair (about 800 yards)

Needles: 6.5 mm

Pattern: here

And lookie what the mailman broughteth!

All the way from Down Under. A package of yarny goodness (Not Stash!)

Some pinks I can really live with (or at least knit up into something wonderful)

There's Sirdar from England (the lavendar Wool Cotton), Cleckheaton 8-ply, Willawool Rainbow, Wool Angora Crepe from Australia, Jewel 8-ply from South Africa, Fanfare 8-ply from Indonesia, Twilley's Capricorn from Spain, and Magic Garden Buttons from New Zealand.

I feel so international!

Thank you, Nanna!

Storm Update: The rain has stopped (at least for the moment), the water is subsiding (and our basement stayed dry, knock wood!), the wind is still howling (and 2 of our big yard garbage cans are MIA--I thought I saw one drift by at 6 this morning, but at that hour, I wasn't going to wrestle it into the trunk of the car!) Our frontmost birch tree (the half-dead one) is falling to the ground in bits and pieces. At this rate, we won't need the tree guy to cut it down!

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Reportedly, a(n) FO

The knitting on the tiny denimy sweater was finished early this morning and all that I still needed to do was 1) select buttons, 2) install the crocheted button holes and sew the buttons on, and 3) wash and block (yes, even cotton!) before packing it up to await an appropriate moment for giving.

The decision on the buttons was about the hardest part (isn't it always?) First, I needed to pull out some possible choices. Then, I needed to decide: 1 button? 3 buttons? buttons the whole way down?

Some of the cutest ones, I had only 1s and 2s (penguins, doggies) others, I had lots (hearts, strawberries). I let the Other Half make the choice (1), accomplished 2 and half of 3. When the sweater comes out of the dryer, I'll take a final picture so you can see what he chose.

Next question was: Is there enough for another? (Two coworkers, two sweaters.)

I threw the completed sweater onto the handy Ekco. It weighs 4 ounces (give or take--this scale is less than accurate).

Okay, the rest of the yarn is still on a cardboard cone.

Wind it off onto the ball winder, throw away the cone. (no, I do not need it for another craft, and neither do you!)

Throw it on the scale.

Et voila!

Nearly 6 ounces of yarn left. So coworker #2 (the one whose baby's gender is undisclosed as yet) will also get a little denimy sweater.

Then, I get to go through the whole button ordeal again.

Tammy has a little Dulaan thing going. She's challenged all Dulaan knitters to post pictures of what they've finished.

I participated in the last round (and won a neat prize!) so I'm here, just flashing the pictures since I can't remember which ones were entered previously.

Everything in these two piles has been posted here before, but I find it cool to see them all in the same place at once. Way cool!

There are 8 sweaters, ranging in size from infant to about a size 8(?) or so.

And there are 14 hats. Some are Tammy's pattern, others came from my own devious mind (cast on 80, or 70, or 60, knit around until you are going blind, decrease, draw up fasten off), still others are from actual pattern books.

There are also 18 pairs of commercially knit socks, and a couple more hats and a pair of mittens contributed by friends.

I'll be packing up and mailing as soon as I find a box.

Then, I need to get started on my fair entries.

Movie Reviews: We saw 3 over the past 2 weekends.

The Pursuit of Happyness has so much food for thought and is so freakin' intense that I am glad we were at home and not in a theater. I had to get up and walk away several times. That intense! Remember the ship sinking scene in Titanic and how it went on and on and on? Yep, just like that! Don't watch it alone.

If you are inclined even in the slightest toward paranoia, The Good Shepherd will reinforce everything you think you fear about Skull and Bones and oh, my, they really are out to get us. It's well-made and darkly scary. Good adult movie. Not for kids.

I was prepared to fall in love with Happy Feet. I did not. This one could have been an early Disney where Bambi's mother gets shot, the evil stepmother turns into a witch and poisons Snow White, you know the drill. Themes that are seriously not for little kids. Okay, maybe I'm a bit squeamish, but I don't think so. There's a strong environmental message and a lot of scary sh*t in this one!

Fresh from the dryer! A good hot wash and a trip through the dryer tightened the knitting up nicely and evened out the stitches.

I know that there's a touch of "knit snobbery" at play when I say I always block the things I give away, but darn it, they look so much better!

And in this case, better to get the shrinkage over with before New Mom throws this into the washer and dryer herself.

Yep, it shrank (as it was supposed to) about 10% in length. Having made this same stuff into a sweater for myself, I knew what to expect.

Note: The scalloped edge is a design feature that takes some getting used to.

And the buttons? Here's what the Other Half picked: All of them!

Seven little shank buttons, each with a different kid-themed picture. From the top: lion, dolly, Scottie, Cat and the Fiddle, dinosaur, doggie wearing a hat, sailboat.

They are from a Pound of Buttons pack from The Button Drawer.

Lest my readers think that I am terminally cheap, I have also bought full-price buttons from this source. But the Pound bags are lots of fun.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Remains of the Ham

What was left of last Sunday's Ham became tonight's 15-bean soup.
*A package of 15-beans, a nice overnight soak with several changes of water. (I used half the beans for tonight and froze the other half, pre-soaked, for another meal)
*An onion, several cloves of garlic, a bit of carrot, a stalk of celery, all chopped.
*2 quarts of water, a bay leaf or 2, and the seasoning pack from the beans (or a couple, three boullion cubes).
*A ham bone with some meat.
Seven hours on "low" in the crock pot.
*Add a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes.
1 more hour in the crock pot.
Served with freshly baked garlic rosemary focaccia.

Can I just say, in my own defense, that I could have done some serious shopping if Spillaine's hadn't rearranged the store and gotten rid of most of the yarn!
Okay, what's in the bag?

Indestructible yarn for Ship Support.
Red, White, Blue.
Yes, I broke the yarn fast. Because I was completely out of Yarn Appropriate For This Project.
Shut up!
I bought 7. My rules entitle me to 14!
I will be doing some serious stash damage toward the end of the month. For a really good cause.
(There better be some good stuff left at Webs. )

Sometimes I just need a little beauty in my life. These came from the grocery store.

$3.33 and worth every penny!

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Get Back To Work

Three loads of laundry, one swept floor. Yep, that was as much as I could stand. My vacation isn't over yet!

I managed to start the border on the shawl of the mo, and though the color breaks look pretty harsh here in the light of the flash, they really aren't that obvious. (Or I am in denial--you decide!)

This pattern lends itself to a variety of color changes. I will use it again, I know.

Seeing that I have many babies to knit for, I started a 5-hour sweater in this denimy stuff that I bought 2+ pounds of from Elann (don't bother checking, it was a couple years ago).

It's supposed to work like some of the other Denim cottons, shrinking, softening. I made myself a summer sweater which I quite like.

The 5-hour pattern wasn't doing it for me, so I switched to:

This cute number (without the stripes) from The Portable CrafterTM Knitting by Leanne Bennet.

I bought it "remaindered" at Ollies a few months back.

Quick Review: At $3.99, it can have a place on my shelf. At $12.99 (MSRP), not so much. There's nothing here I don't already have pattern-wise. What it has going for it is the compact size (5 3/4" X 6 1/2") like the Vogue Knitting on the Go series.

There are errors in the pattern I started. Fortunately, it's an intuitive one (and there are 3 other variaions in the book).

I'm suspecting that I can finish this and the shawl this weekend.

It would feel good to have some FOs to post.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Time To Go Home

We woke up to weather that looked a whole lot like this.

Mother Nature's way of telling us that it was time to head back to Pennsylvania.

Stormy, windy, lotta rain.

The first hour on the road was pretty evil, then it stopped raining.

And in case we didn't get the message, the roof replacers and carpet layers gave us a hint, too!

Yes, that's right outside our balcony.

The disadvantage of a corner room, I guess.

We didn't get to see or hear it in use.

Thank the FSM!

And here are a couple of pictures of the hotel room.

We had a kitchen, complete with stove, fridge, microwave, and dishwasher.

King-size bed, table and chairs for 4, sofa (pull-out bed), and space enough for country line dancing

(Picture of the room post-housekeeping)

Big bathroom complete with shower and jacuzzi for 2 (or more) and enough floor space for country line dancing.

It was a nice place, but we are glad to be home.

And just so that Mother Nature could have one last chuckle: Snow is predicted for the weekend!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Penultimate Day-Picture Heavy

Really cool wading bird--Little Blue Heron. We also saw Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons (like I have on the creek at work), Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets and a number of bay and marsh ducks.

Sighting of the day was a

Bald Eagle-- a first for both the Other Half and me.

I love adding to the life list!

There were ponies at this end of the island, too. And yes, they still pen and swim (and auction) the ponies in the summer as a fund raiser for the local volunteer fire company.

Here's the bridge that you take to get onto the southern end of
the island.

It's a drawbridge that swivels in the center rather than lifts in the middle.

We sat for a few minutes waiting for boats to glide by in both directions.

Bridge fully open and read for watercraft to pass.

Lightkeeper's House on Assateague.

For scale. (Not a very good "for scale" photo.) It's tall.

It was closed. (Everything was closed! Season doesn't start for a few more weeks.)
The good thing about going in the winter (I know, but it sure feels like it!) is that there aren't bugs.

On the way back to OC, we snapped a couple pictures of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility.

I'm guessing that they get really good TV reception!

Giant anchor salvaged from a shipwreck off the Maryland coast. The cannon in the background, ditto.

Today we walked to the beginning of the boardwalk, past the carnival crap and the very quiet amusement park rides to where the Lifesaving Museum is. It was closed.

Knitting continues: This is where I am on the mohair shawl. I like the progression of the colors.

It really is soft and cuddlesome. And I really am throwing a smokescreen to hide the lack of other knitting.

I cast on a baby bootie in salmon silky stuff (I think it's part cashmere) but the shape was too funky, so I frogged it.

I'm thinking that regular sockies would be a better use for this yummy stuff.

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