Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Mocha Squirrel


“Yeah, Hi. I’ll have a large iced mocha squirrel with skim milk, please…”

While driving home today The Boyfriend ordered me a mocha squirrel instead of a mocha swirl latte. Champ, I think I ate your chocolate squirrel.

I also finished my lace shawl! A week and it’s done. I’m not sure it’ll be the 50” in length but maybe after I block it. Sometimes my color and pattern sense come into conflict, or at least my desire to knit with a yarn and a pattern out weigh my common sense about color variegation and intricate patterns. See my first lace shawl as a prime example. Love the Socks That Rock colorway, pirate booty but it completely distracts from the stitch details of the lace, spring bandits. C’est La Vie! As Dad would say, maybe next will be the time I remember this lesson.

Speaking of Dad…Check out the Knitted Christmas gift recipients

Socks Socks Socks and a Hat.


.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

We had a brilliant Christmas. As always Mum is a hosting genius. We stayed for a week and felt welcomed and at home the entire time. Even when the kittens were bouncing around on us as we slept, we felt like we belonged there. The extended family gathering was fun, not as fun as the cocktail dress but that might have been an unmatchable high point. We tried out the game Apples to Apples which had us calling bottled water chewy and boyfriends untrustworthy (yes The Boyfriend did take slight offense to this). Christmas with the in-laws wasn’t long enough but as compensation there was a very tasty vegetarian pot pie and mountains of yarn. And lastly we rounded out the holiday week with a visit to AP. It was great to be with my extended family for so long and truly enjoy the time with family who are also friends.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

And here it is, Christmas Eve.

And here it is, Christmas Eve. Are you ready? I’ve been listening to a lot of knitting podcasts and talking with the Seacoast Knitters. Everyone is knitting a lot of Christmas gifts this year. More than I recall in previous years. I wonder if this is a symptom of the economy or if we’ve all advanced enough in our knitting that we’re confident that our finished objects are as nice, if not nicer than the store bought equivalent? I think some of both reasons played into my Christmas knitting this year. Which by the way was finished last Friday. I took the day off to write Christmas cards and finish wrapping presents. The cards and the must-wrap-now presents were finished by 8 am. That left quit a bit of knitting time. Did I mention I love snow knitting days. Which is exactly what Sunday was. The Boyfriend and his three cats all cuddled in next to me on the couch. It was lovely.

Looking at my Ravelry page the last 6 finished objects are Christmas gifts! Wow, I only knit for AP and VS last year if I’m remembering right. Oh and the wine cozys.

Yesterday I had the day off, it was a case of use the time or loose it. So after the baking and more baking and laundry and packing was finished, I started a new project. A lace project!!! Eeee Gats!~#$%!

MMH & The Enforcer were quit persuasive the other night that my 100% merino Socks That Rock yarn would make a better shawl than a sock. At least a sock the way I’d have to knit it. Super tiny needles and reinforcing nylon thread that inevitably wouldn’t match perfectly and would then drive me batty every time I looked at how it didn’t match. It would’ve been a project in frustration. The Enforcer’s Spring Bandit shawl has turned me green whenever I see it. So the fact that she was wearing it, promising that I could knit it no problem, and on size 5s. I was sold! So here is my first lace project. I’m calling it the Christmas Bandit. It will be a lacey triangle rainbow when I’m finished. I absolutely love it and stayed up entirely too late last night so I could “finish just one more row!”

This past fall VS asked me to knit her a lace shawl and I managed not to laugh in her face. I thought they were massive endeavors that only the most tolerant and most skilled knitters could accomplish. Yeah I’m skilled but typically I lack the patience necessary for complicated charts and I didn’t think a she had any idea of the 50+ time investment that would take. But if all lace is this much fun, then bring it on! I can knit lace for Mum, VS, AP, AB, Memere, LT, The Mumma, you name it!!! And it’s a double bonus that it’s a new skill for me. Following the charts and doing the mirror image for the second side is not easy. It’s not the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s not for the weak either.

But enough about my newest addiction! I’ll have to set that aside for the next couple of days (except in the car! I can do lots of knitting during the two hour drive to and then from the in-laws. Which reminds…must pack my head lamp!)

Until we speak again, Merry Christmas and here’s hoping you finish all of your holiday knitting in time and have a wonderful holday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My shoulder is cold

I have a friend that I typically see once or twice a week. It’s not uncommon for us to go as many as 10 days without seeing each other. This week she’s gone across the country to celebrate the holidays with her family. I’m very happy for her and for them as I’m sure they will all enjoy the time together. But, I miss her. It hasn’t even been a week since I last saw her but knowing she’s not where she normally would be is making me feel slightly off, like a part of me is disconnected, or out of place. You know that feeling when it’s cold at night and you’re all snuggled in a warm bed but your one shoulder is out and that’s cold? That’s how I feel about her not being here, my one shoulder is cold. Have you ever felt that way about a friend?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Quotes

MacOban, the Christmas tree is not your enemy!

The Boyfriend in response to Mac's constant need to sit on presents and bat at the bottom branches of the Christmas tree.

Your laugh is like an evil cartoon laugh…!

A coworker in response to my laughing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Preparations

Ok, let me explain what happened in the afternoon. The boss walked into a coworkers cube and said, “Ewwww! What is that?” And then the coworker explained that a friend in another department had a prank pulled on them and their desk was covered with these fake cockroaches and she took some to bring home to her son. I immediately popped up and said, “so wait, that bug wasn’t from my Secrete Santa?” To which everyone started laughing and the joke was on me. I’m so glad I didn’t get the equivalent of a lump of coal.

I did a bad thing. I started a pair of socks for myself while I’m on a knitting deadline. And then, I really liked the pattern and how the stripes were working up, which means I haven’t touched the last pair of gift socks for a few days. I have about 4” to go. Totally do able but every time it’s knitting time I’d rather work on the new stripy socks for me.

The Boyfriend has been a super trooper this week. Finishing up his classes and taking part in wrapping more than just my presents. He does the paper and I do the decorating. We wrapped miss LT’s gift in two stacking boxes tied together with string. Linus thought this was irresistible and claimed it as his own. It’s funny to look over at the Christmas tree and see a large fluffy Christmas kitten bow.


Not wanting to be left out, Isitt has been busy addressing Christmas cards. I think I shuffled her off my lap and table five or six times the other night while I was working. Oh and Mac, well he’s always been fond of hitting those bottom branches of the Christmas tree. One year he brought the whole thing down but since then he’s been gentle with it. And The Boyfriend ties the tree to the wall with fishing line, so you know, no worries.


Hope your Christmas preparations are going well.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Secret Santa!? Really?

My department is doing a Secret Santa exchange this week. Something every day leading up to breakfast and the big reveal. Last night I laid out all of the treats I’ve picked up over the last week making sure that I have chocolate/candy and some sort of goodie for each day. Nothing cheesy, nothing useless.
This morning I wasn’t the only with the idea of arriving early and delivering the goods. When my recipient opened mine it was a success. Later in the morning I went to the bathroom and came back to find a fake cockroach on my chair. Oh that’s nice! There was a cockroach incident in the dorms while I was in college that prevented me from sleeping well for about a month. So now here’s this plastic one, all to realistic if you ask me, that I need to move to sit in my chair. I Just threw it in the trash and didn’t acknowledge it to my coworkers. Now I’m twitchy and itchy all over. Who thinks that’s what santa would give!!! Honestly? This isn’t April fools. And now I’m dreading the rest of the week.

Later…I discovered a dove Christmas ornament had been hung in my cube. It’s very nice, but it doesn’t make up for my scare at seeing the fake bug!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Report

The list of knit gift recipients continues to grow as the allotted time in which to complete them continues to shrink. I started the holiday season with three people in mind, then it quickly bloomed to six. And then I felt an urgent need to knit a baby set of legwarmers, mittens, and a bonnet for a baby that won’t be arriving until March. I’ve finished two of the original gifts and two of the later additions, which leaves me with, yup you guessed it, two unfinished gifts.

One is a pair of socks that I’m 70% finished but man it’s a slog. The mindless rib seemed like a good idea at the time. Then I knit two pairs of socks that way and I’m really just over it. The other gift is more of a happy just because present since I wont see them between now and Christmas and I don’t want them to feel obligated to reciprocate.

Audio book wise, I’ve begun Dragons of the Dwarven Depths by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Wait, I think my geek flag is showing a little here. I still have a couple of hours left on Atlas Shrugged. I’m past the big speech and it just seems anti-climatic at this point. I also listened to the first Sookie Stackhouse book, Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris. I thought it might be fun since I enjoyed the first half of True Blood so much. Yes first half. The show just fizzled out for me at the end of season one. I won’t not watch seasons 2 & 3 but I wont go crazy searching for them. When they’re streaming on Netflix I’ll check them out, but not before. Oh and the book was even more graphic than the shows. I bit too much for me. But I must say, the show did an excellent job bringing the books to life.

I’m off to work so I can knit on the remaining sock at lunch. Have a pleasant Tuesday!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Finished!!!


I knit these so fast. Like someone who doesn’t work. Three days off for Thanksgiving helped out with that. Berroco Sox seems to be a durable yarn, not soft but worth it if the sock wear well. Loved the pattern, Groovy Socks. Simple to knit with a decorative result (best kind of sock pattern if you ask me). These are the Speta & Finach socks. I thought Mum’s version of feta and spinach was too memorable to let pass without memorializing it. Oh and I’ve knit 26 socks since June 1st!


Closer view of the stitch pattern.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Sweater's Worth...

Did you catch my mention of Webs? Yes last weekend we attempted to visit Webs for the second time in two weeks.

I was a woman prepaired, a woman on a mission.

I had a seven item list. This was monumental since I’ve only ever had a yarn shopping list one other time, Rhinebeck this year, and that was really more of a yardage requirement list. Saturday morning bright and early off we go to Webs. I’m thinking I’ll follow the Crazy Librarians example and attempt to spend less than $50, that way I’m sure to beat Meow Meow Head in the ‘who can spend less game’ that we only play when she knows she’s won.

Did I mention that the list contained,
-yarn for a boy hat, indistructible and superwash
-half a sweater’s worth of yarn to go with the Zenith Dive I picked up from The Communicator at the yarn swap
-yarn for a girl hat, no idea what color
-a pattern for the sweaters worth of mohair I’d picked up from The Communicator at the yarn swap
-a sweater’s worth of tweed yarn to make the Berroco Nonpareil Sweater
-a sweater’s worth of Misti Alpaca in Granite to make my Elizabeth's Percentage System sweater
-and one more thing I can’t remember, so clearly I didn't get it.

Ok first flaw in my logic, all that can not be purchase wholesale for $50, let alone retail. Second flaw in my logic, just because it’s on the list doesn’t mean I have to buy it, this is not grocery shopping. That being said, I didn’t buy it all, the pattern proved too illusive, oh and the girl hat flew my mind once we found the perfect tweed for the Nonpareil (Valley Yarns Williamstown is a perfect substitute). I choose Navy and I believe MMH went with forest green.



And then my long lost love, the one that got away found me. Misti Alpaca Hand Painted Worsted Weight 100% Baby Alpaca in Granite. Does that sound as wonderful to you as it does to me? I’ve been pining for this yarn since we saw it on our way back from Rhinebeck. I know you’re wondering if it’s wise to make a sweater out of Alpaca but I honestly don’t care. I love this yarn that much.

And now off to make the Sweet Potato Casserole we’ll be bringing to Thanksgiving, finish my Christmas knitting and dream of my Misti Alpaca!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Halt

I have one of those jobs that’s crazy. Specifically it’s crazy at the beginning of the week and then tapers down as the week goes on. Every Monday it’s wild and requires my full attention or things will be missed. Every Friday we collect ourselves and begin prep for the next week. And then some times the work just runs out. I work as hard and as fast as I can all day every day to try and ‘dig out’. I can count the number of times when I’ve been without a mountain of work on one hand. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fast pace and constant goal just out of reach. Today just happened to be one of those grinding halt days. It’s a funny feeling when you’ve been chugging along, full speed ahead and you suddenly find there’s nothing left to do. You have this magical thing called free time. And there are other projects to tackle and deadlines to meet but their not looming ahead of me like the signs hanging overhead on the highway. Instead they are the signs posted at the on-ramp noting that a city is 26 miles away and another is 72 miles. No impending doom and plenty of time to stretch my legs and breath. What a rarity.

Of course Thanksgiving is coming and with it lots of family time. All of The Boyfriend’s family will be there this year which is nice since I desperately missed his mother last year. She’s my knitting buddy. Unfortunately I don’t see her as often as we’d like but we always catch up on each others projects, new techniques, and yarn when we’re together. I have to start thinking of projects to bring. You know socks will be involved, but will I pull out one of the new yarns I got this past weekend when we ventured yet again to Webs. In the last week, between the Yarn Swap and Webs I have enough yarn for 5 new sweaters. Seriously, F-I-V-E!!!! That’s insane. But I had to get yarn for the Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern…can you say Misti Alpaca in Granite? I’ve bought this color way in two other yarn weight/contents and finally broke down and got a sweaters worth. I know Alpaca!!!! Am I crazy? Yes I am, crazy in love with this color!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Love Bites

The first night I spent in a hotel with our beloved Emma was semi-eventful. I remember falling asleep just north of New York City, exhausted at driving through the city so late at night. What was semi-eventful was this new cat. She was a full of affection and extremely sweet. At some point during that short night I was awoken by my nose being bitten by a purring cat, not something Isitt or Adan was known to do. It was Emma exhibiting her trademark characteristic. If the human does not lavish enough love and affection at the time demanded, then Love Bites will follow. Love Bites being yet another song we added to her list of song, which includes two versions of The Twilight Zone (one techno and one classic rock). Since that time I’ve alternated between calling her Emma and Love Bites.



This was in August. This was when I first had the urge to listen to the Def Leppard song Love Bites. Here it is mid-November and today was the day to dig it out of the CD cabinet. I definitely haven’t listened to any Def Leppard since I got the Ipod about 2 years ago, but it’s more than likely that it’s been 10 years since I’ve listened to them.


So this morning I’m driving into work. I pull out the CD, and put it in the player. The first song starts. I sing along but notice that the sound isn’t as ‘rockin’ as I remember. Song two comes on, and I realize that there has to be something wrong with them or my memory is getting shotty. I pull out the CD case, “Greatest Hits 1980-1995” well perhaps the 15 year old Samurai who so loved Def Leppard is different than the 28 year old Samurai. Music has changed. Perhaps what I once considered rockin is now mundane. Or perhaps some evil boyfriend has been riding in my car messing with my bass.



It could be said that we have bass wars. He mistakenly thinks the bass should be kept around ‘center’. What is center? Center is not enough bass I tell you. I max out the bass. I want to feel it in my stomach as I pound on the wheel to the beat. It could also be said that we have volume wars as The Boyfriend has been known to insist that I like music at an ‘unreasonable volume’. Silly Boyfriend. Once I rectified this situation I found that Def Leppard does indeed continue to rock.



Which led me to my next quandary. Why doesn’t The Boyfriend enjoy the Def Leppard? By all accounts they are as much of an 80s Power Ballad band as all the others. The only reason he could prefer Feigner and Journey to them is that pop culture, aka Will Farell, has not seen fit to embrace them. Poor lonely Def Leppard. At least they rocked my car all the way into work this morning, oh and all the way home tonight.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

66% Unaware!

I spent the better part of Monday listening to the Knit Pick’s podcast. It has been about 6 months since I listened with any sort of regularity so I had some catching up to do. I ended the workday feeling more inspired to knit big projects than I have in months, years even. I can really see some gapping holes in my knitting knowledge that I was completely unaware of. Ok not completely but at least 66% unaware of.

The first area is general sweater construction. Knitting sweaters in pieces and seeming has been the way I’ve constructed all but 2 sweaters. For some reason the magazines all seem to think that panels and seems are the way to go. I’m really starting to wonder if this is correct. Elizabeth Zimmerman gave us the Elizabeth's Percentage System Sweater and wonders like the Baby Surprise Jacket. I am missing out on a whole area of knowledge that accompanies knitting garments in the round and converting patterns to do so. Part of my sock addition is that I can simple go in circles for hours and never ‘purl back’. Perhaps I’d knit more sweaters if the ‘purling back’ step is eliminated.

The second area is steeking. Yes, I’ve steeked. 4 times on one vest to be exact. And I’m not-uncomfortable doing so. But I’m also not using them as I should. Steeks are another opportunity to turn flat knitting into circular knitting. At the moment I can’t think of anything I’ve knit recently that would’ve benefited from knitting in the round with steeks but I will make an effort to use it more going forward. Cutting isn’t scary!

Finally, is the area I’ve been avoiding. The type of knitting I’ve purposely looked away from and plugged my ears singing lalalalala I don’t see you. Lace. There are so many benefits to lace knitting, the biggest being that it forces me to full grasp SSK & K2tog, which goes which way, and most importantly to read charts. I’m not a big fan of charts or intricate work. But The Communicator’s Hemlock Ring Blanket is knit with Bulky yarn and has 4 rounds of Stockinett stitch. That can’t be too difficult. Sweetie’s Mom knit a worsted weight triangular shawl that I loved. And even as we speak a friend who has been knitting for close to 60 years is attempting her first lace project with great success. I’ve tried lace before with tiny nickel needles. It was too slippery and too unruly. But if I’m smart about this and use wood with a nice flexible cable I should be able to handle it. Afterall, lace knitting isn’t about fun for me, socks weren’t either when I started. Lace knitting is about improving my skills and trying new things.

I’m thinking that my first step is to challenge myself to knit one of Elizabeth's Percentage System Sweater for myself. It doesn’t need to be fashionable, just warm. It’s a garment to learn construction not highlight my ability to craft stitches. Now where is that book? Somewhere in the yarn closet I’m sure. I remember the black and white diagrams and tiny pages of newsprint type paper.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Early Morning

This morning, Isitt, Mac, or Linus woke me up. At 5:30 someone walked into the bedroom and started scratching on the recliner. This cannot be allowed so I admonished the offending cat and tried to go back to sleep. No luck. Just the other day Lucy, MMH and I were discussing how fate would have it, that on the mornings when you can sleep in, you aren’t able to. For me it’s usually the realization that I can have quiet knitting time that pushes me out of bed.


But honestly when you’re woken up that early. The least they can do is pose for some in progress knitting photos!

.

.

First there are the Bernstein socks. I started them at a cat show while listening to the little guy belt out his objections. It proved too difficult to capture the detail of this sock with a kitten model.



Then there are the Mittens that Mac was embarrassed to show.



And lastly Isitt really turned up the cute to show off these.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Haul in a Linus...repeat

Last night I thought drinking a latte at 7pm was a good idea. Well you know, the Samurai goes out for drinks after work and then the Samurai falls asleep. I didn’t want that to happen hence the caffeine. I successfully stayed up until 11:30 and did lots of knitting. I was helped by the fact that I started watching The Lion in Winter without realizing it’s a 3 hour movie. I’d give it a B+. Excellent acting and dialogue. It could due to be an hour shorter though.

I Finished a Christmas gift, yeah that leaves one to go. And while motivation was with me, I cast on for a new sock. One can never have too many socks on the needles. The yarn is knitting Fever Indulgence With Aloe and I’m doing a simple rib pattern. So far I’m about 3” into it and it’s random stripes are really working for me. I have to say, now that I work full time and the majority of my knitting is done in public where I find the simpler the sock pattern the better. I’m not going to win any design contests but I will be able to talk and knit and not think about what my hands are doing.

SO yeah, latte. I don’t know if this is an age thing or what but lately if I have evening caffeine, not only does it keep me up, but it also wakes me up early. Well before the sun came up I was awake. I tried to sleep, I played with Isitt and Mac, I tossed and turned, and then I gave up. 5:15 on a Saturday morning and I’m up. I pulled on my toasty sweats and headed down to the garage. If I’m up I might as well be productive. Thinking I’d have a good 3 hours to myself, without prying eyes or judgment it seemed the perfect time to pull out the stash and at least get all the various sock yarns together. It’s not that The Boyfriend ever says anything about the stash, it’s our silent third partner but I feel his eyes on it and it makes me cringe. Best to deal with it when he’s not around.

Haul a bag or a box or a bin into the house. Haul in a Linus. Haul in a different bin. Haul in a Mac. Haul in a bag overloaded with yarn and haul in the same Linus. Can you see how this morning started?

Endeavors such as these never go the way one expects. I thought I could quickly sort through the sock stuff. Put away some recent sport and alpaca purchases (my yarn is sorted by weight except alpaca which is kept in a special separate bin in the house, almost like I expect the wool and alpaca to start fighting if left too close together). I sorted the sock yarn. Found the missing yarn, that had prompted me to reorganize, I couldn’t find a skein of sock yarn yesterday morning before work and it had been weighing on me. If you can’t find the yarn when you want it, then what’s the point of a stash? I also found 6 projects, ok more than 6 projects, but I found 6 hibernating projects that could be frogged. 4 of them were from 2008. One and a half socks, a design I had no desire to finish. A sweater I’d never photographed as it was a design in progress that fell short of the mark. The colorwork Devon Rex bag and mittens have been sitting for too long. The vest out of alpaca from a pattern written for a size 34 that I was adapting to a size 44 but hadn’t thought through enough before I began. The fuzzy angora cowl with hidden cables and lace. All of them were missteps in judgment that weren’t worth finishing. It makes me happy to frog and realize the errors of my ways, knowing that I’m a better knitter now than I was just a year ago when I cast on that angora cowl.

And the fruits of my labors? This massive pile of needles and stitch markers suddenly appeared from the flying yarn. I’m resolved to knit the 4 thumbs that are needed to finish the 2 pairs of fingerless mitts that were also hibernating. And it’s only 9 O’Clock!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

True Samurai Knitting History

OK so your saying to yourself, Samurai what have you been doing? Any knitting?

Why yes indeed. Oh and did you notice it’s only 50 days until Christmas? I’ve been working on two Christmas gifts. Sorry no more commentary than that. I’m about three quarters of the way through one gift and a third of the way through the other. I should finish them both on time.

After the excitement of Rhinebeck and promise of a new sweater, I quickly cast on the Princess Lace Panel Cardi thinking I’d make it three quarter length sleeves. The charcoal-black color is beautiful although the lace pattern barely shows. I think I will do the contrasting button band to add some excitement to the front since the lace blends in. Don’t get me wrong. I love the lace, but anyone who isn’t a knitter sitting within 12 inches of the front of the cardigan isn’t going to be able to tell there is a pattern there. Thankfully it’s simple lace and I really enjoy this yarn. I’ve already finished the back and am about half way through the front left side. Can you see the same thing I can see? A third Crème Brulee sweater in my future?

I’ve also been catching up on True Blood. It’s an excellent show. How is it that the same cable environment that brought me Rome, one of my favorite shows, also brought us The Tudors which I couldn’t stomach and now True Blood which I find thrilling. All completely different time periods and story lines. All have a healthy dose of fornication and intrigue. Honestly, they’re just explicit soap operas when you think about it. The major difference is that I could immediately identify with the supporting characters in Rome and True Blood. Poor Tara and Octavia. Endearing Sam and Titus. Annoying but interesting Jason and Atia. Irresistible Bill and Lucius (but not right away for Bill). I was so repulsed by King Henry in the Tudors that I couldn’t watch it. I think a large part of the revulsion was brought on by the constant sneer of Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Which is odd because I really enjoyed him in Match Point (excellent movie by the way). Mr. Meyers and I disagree on how King Henry would’ve behaved, not that I think he was an angel, I just don’t think he was as evil as Meyers portrays him. And while we’re turned toward history lets head away from historical fiction and to more scholarly history. Stuff you missed in History Class and Hard Core History have been filling my ears with knowledge. One podcast is more fact driven and the other takes an in depth look at the past and how it relates to the present. Both are entertaining in their own ways and I can listen to both while I work which is a major bonus.

Tonight I’ll be working on my Burlington socks in Wendy D. Johnson’s Summer 2008 Sock Pattern. These are made with Schaefer Nicole in Gertrude Ederle color which is a navy-plum-evergreen color. I’m hoping to finish these quick and add them to my sock drawer as I find that the majority of the socks I’ve knit for myself are wildly colorful which isn’t something I necessarily want peaking out from under my pants in a department meeting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Clearly Mz Undrstod Callie

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again

Peace Train, Falcor, and Isitt Rose…what could they possibly have in common?

It all begins at 5:30 am on Saturday morning. You see Mum and I were heading off to a cat show with Callie, Emma, Isitt, and Bernstein. It was very dark when we headed south. Mum had been on a Cat Stevens or Yusuf Islam kick. After many hours of research and listening to his music she ready to educate me for most of the ride to the show. I vaguely remember hearing the song Peace Train when I was younger but knew nothing about it or the song writer. It’s all very interesting and catchy. Since about 6am on Saturday morning I’ve been hearing the song on repeat in my head. I’m not tired of it yet, although The Boyfriend wont let me play it on repeat anymore.

This was the best Cat Show we’ve ever had. We showed everyone on Saturday. Callie made three finals and Bernstein made two. At the end of the day Curlfect had it’s first Grand Champion. To those not in the cat world, that is the lightest level of achievement. Once attained the Grand Champions compete to become regional and national winners, accumulating a point or percent of a point for each Champion they compete against along the way. While we enjoy showing cats, we will not be ‘running’ Callie to gain a regional win. We’re pleased that she has achieved this status.

By Sunday Isitt had attained her Champion status and sat out, leaving Callie and Emma to duke it out with another Devon named Disco Lemonade. Isitt is a bit spoiled, but hey I’m not the first person to ‘ruin’ my Loganderry Devon. One of friends frequently throws her hands in the air and says ‘mistakes were made’. And it’s true, I too made mistakes and now have the most perfect and affectionate cat on the planet who is uncomfortable around strangers and not the best show cat. So while the others were working, Isitt tired out the harness and relaxed. By the end of the day she was rolling around on the floor and had become friends with all our neighbors. Perhaps she could still have a show career.

Once Callie became a Grand Champion it was like they pulled out all the stops. She made four more finals. One judge made her BEST CAT, which is essentially 1st place. The best specimen of all of the cats against each of their individual standard when compared to all the other cats. It was truly wonderful.

Nearly every judge commented on Callie’s ‘tortitude’ or her split personality or her red head expressing itself. Technically Callie is a Silver Patched Tabby and White, which is another name for Tortie or Calico. This means she carries the dominate red gene and the dominate black gene as well as the white spotting gene. This is good for Curlfect because it means she can have kittens that are every color except solid white, she doesn’t carry that color trait but if the father did she could have solid white kittens. How did I get on this genetics tangent? What I was trying to say was that it’s a common theory that red females are more feisty than any other color of cat. It was nice of the judges to see beyond her attitude since like Isitt, Callie isn’t a fan of showing and tends to get huffy but to her credit she is more easily distracted from her huff.

When I returned home I found that The Boyfriend had made apple crisp with some of the mazillion apples he picked. He’s gone three times this year. Seriously, if it weren’t the end of the season I’d be worried about him, why all the apples? Isitt was happy to be home and immediate curled up and exhibited her full fluffy coat which reminds some people of a lamb. It might have been that she was a white lump of curls sleeping on my lap as I was knitting, but I can’t say for sure. The Boyfriend recently discovered a resemblance between Isitt and Falcor from The Never Ending Story. And for those of you who don’t love show cats this may have felt like an unending story but what can I say? The coolaid has been drunk, the gauntlet has been thrown down, and the challenge accepted. I’m one of those Devon Ladies!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I dare you to listen to this and

not get hell no! stuck in your head. I warn you, it might not be as funny to older readers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rhinebeck and Webs

Thought you kids too far to make it to Rhinebeck or Webs might like to see what I got. I didn’t get nearly as much this trip as previous times so it won’t be a display of excess but there are some pretty yarns that now live at my house.
.
.
Blue Moon Fiber Arts: Socks That Rock in medium weight in the Raven color Corbie. It’s a blue purple color over dyed with even darker blue. I can see something manly with The Boyfriend’s name on it. A hat perhaps, since even the lightweight is too heavy for socks in my opinion.
.
.

Blue Moon Fiber Arts: Socks That Rock in medium weight in the color Sugarplum. It’s a lovely purple, lavender, sea foam green mix. Definitely has my name on it. I’m seeing fingerless mitts or some such thing.
.
.
Blue Moon Fiber Arts: Socks That Rock in medium weight in the color Jingle Bells. OK, I’ll fess up to it. I already have this color…but but….but it’s in light weight. I just love the pale green and vibrant red contrast. I see baby clothes when I look at this color. I think The Communicator may have knit baby clothes in a similar color which is why it’s been labeled as such in my head.
.
.
Glamour Bunny was my cave purchase. I’ve seen this at all of the New England sheep and wool festivals. A couple of the girls are knitting the softest fingerless mitts I’ve ever felt with this stuff. Not wanting to be a follower but wanting a pair of my own, I was over come and purchased a navy blue and pastel blue blend (theirs are solid so mine are different!). I’ve knit the mitts except for the thumbs already. Sooooo soft!!!!
.
.
After flashing the Decadent Fibers women so that she could see my Hey Teach Sweater made out of their Crème Brulee yarn, I found my way back into the booth and happened upon more Crème Brulee. Can you believe it? I just love their yarn and it knits so nice oh and they dye such pretty colors. Well I was destined to buy another sweater’s worth. I went with the a light charcoal gray color knowing that I’d be more likely to wear that than a flashy purple or red, which is what my eyes are typically drawn to. I’m not sure what sweater this will be, but knit on size 9 needles, it will work up fast. I’m feeling inspired after my Diorama success and want to launch into another sweater straight away but I also sense the snow and holiday season coming. So I’ve put a Christmas countdown on the site to help remind me to work on those Christmas gifts in addition to my usual sock knitting and occasional sweater knitting. It is funny though, the time when I’m most inspired to Christmas knit is January. Definitely not October-November. I think it’s the hype around new fall yarns that pulls my brain toward thoughts of self indulgence rather than charity.
And that’s it for Rhinebeck yarn. I feel slightly embarrassed to say that is all I bought. I was trying so hard not to buy sock yarn and to find the perfect sweater yarn that I passed up on a lot of yarns that were beautiful and deserving.

Rhinebeck and Webs too

In the warehouse I found some great deals. It took all my will power not to buy a sweaters worth of ...
Misty Alpaca Hand Paint Baby Suri Silk in a gary, taupe, green variegated color. Actually there was a lot of self talk about knitting sweaters with DK weight yarns. I already have enough DK alpaca yarn from Peru (my boss used to carry it back in her suitcase when she’d visit the factories). If it had been worsted, I’d be done for. And that’s knowing that it grows and shouldn’t be used for sweaters. Really this is the most beautiful yarn I’ve seen in years.
.
.
Misti Alpaca Chunky in a rust color found it’s way into the basket as well. It spoke to me about becoming a Christmas present so it had to come. As did it’s cousin in soft baby pink. It’s the same yarn I just knit the Meathead and Si Captain hats out of. Chunky alpaca is my kryptonite. It’s true. If you were to look up Knitting Samurai on Wikipedia you’d see it listed there along with sweet elvis crepes and red devon rex cats.
.
And lastly there was a sock breakdown as well. Here is the standard series of events when a new sock yarn is encountered…




  • Samurai sees yarn she’s never seen before, eye narrow and head tilts


  • Samurai touches yarn to confirm skin can tolerate it’s texture


  • Samurai assess yarn for nylon content


  • Samurai confirms it is not Auracania Sock yarn as Samurai has a jihad* against it


  • Samurai's color detector locates most pleasing color


  • Samurai purchases yarn


Really it’s that simple.
In this case Wisdom Yarns in color Los Angeles was the novel sock yarn of choice.





*The use of the word Jihad is meant in jest. If any offense is taken to my irreverent use of the word I apologize.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What happens when you take 8 knitters and a cat to Rhinebeck?

They get drunk on the yarn fumes for starters.
Friday morning we left bright and early. Arguably I was a bouncing ball of energy, too excited to sleep and ready to go an hour ahead of time. I know, I’m always late so your amazed. Meow Meow Head packed light and was able to fit all of her stuff in just one car which was good, it left the rest of us plenty of room in the other. Having visions of the trip back from Pennsylvania with Lulu last fall, I opted to ride in the non-cat car. When we arrived we were all pleased with the house. It was beautiful and spacious and modern enough for me to be comfortable.
Two trips to the train station later, we had all of our party and were ready for a nice dinner in Rhinecliff. Then we were off to bed and up early to head to the fair grounds. Having been last year, Meow Meow Head and I were adamant that we be out of the house by 8:30. This naturally meant that I was up at 6 “trying” not to wake people up while I got ready so we could get going. The day was a blur of smiles and yarn. I will just leave you with some of the highlight words…

  • Socks That Rock yarn
  • Artichock Freda-French-and Fried
  • Katie’s Sylvie Jacket
  • Dips
  • Si Captian Baseball Hat and Meathead Hat
  • Flashing The Decedent Fiber Lady with my Hey Teach Sweater
  • Joan going back for Pam
  • Cheeses
  • Kissing Llamas
  • Knitted Bob Costume
  • NY Style Pizza

Day two was rainy but that didn’t stop us. I think we all bought some Crème Brule from Decedent Fibers. And on Day three with our Rhinebeck hangovers, we headed home via Webbs. What a crazy group of ladies!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Diorama Done and Rhinebeck Tomorrow!

Haha! I've completed the Diorama before leaving for Rhinebeck! Ok so I look a little like Linus in it. He's gained a bit of weight recently and looks like a stuffed sausage in a Linus suite. Yeah so that's about how I look with this buttoned up. But it's cute and I'll wear it anyway!


Friday, October 9, 2009

Rhinebeck is coming!

Do you realize that Rhinebeck is in like 7 days!!!!????? I’ve been knitting on the Diorama, thinking I had plenty of time to finish it. I knit the back and right front and about the time I started the left front it hit me that if I’m going to finish this thing in time for next weekend I really need to be done knitting it by Sunday so that I have Monday to block it, Tuesday to dry and Wednesday to sew it up. Thursday I’ll be packing and then Friday morning we’re off. Normally I’d be fine to finish the last 10” of the front by Sunday but this is a cat show weekend. Mum and I are off to Canada with 10+ hours of driving in our future. I hope I can squeeze in some knitting during that time, but it’s all late afternoon-evening driving which is more difficult for older eyes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Evolution of Samurai and Boyfriend

We went to a wedding this weekend of a college friend/roommate. This caused The Boyfriend and I to marvel at how much our old college buddy had changed. We’ve known him since our freshman year in college, 10 years this fall. Of course people change over a time period like that. In the few visits over the years since college I had not picked up on the cues while my other half had. He had been watching the progression from rebellious beatnik poet to someone more interested in the party and following the expectations of society. The overwhelming display of personal tastes that is the nature of a wedding drastically highlighted this change for me. It made me sad but it also made me wonder about myself.

In a few days The Boyfriend and I will have been together for 11 years. It’s hard to imagine a time when we weren’t together. Nearly half of our lifetimes have been spent in unity. 13 years ago I started sophomore year at a new High School and met a boy who would change my life. Looking back at ourselves we realized that we too must have changed over such a long period of time. We concluded that there have been three major shifts for us both;
  1. We are far more liberal, I was more liberal from the start which means that I’m still more liberal but the conservative boy debating in high school civics classes about war and the economy would not recognize the man I’m married to today. And the girl who was once quoted in the local newspaper campaigning to bring home our troops would be shocked at my opinions on the current war and economy.
  2. We both value the environmental and animals far more than our younger selves. I think most people would agree that they are more aware of the environment now as the entire society has shifted to concerns on global warming and reducing waste but becoming vegetarians was not something either of us planned.
  3. Neither of us has much use for pop culture. The Boyfriend spends minimal time watching sports, which used to be his consuming passion. And without cable I do not find myself missing mainstream TV. I am far more content to listen to an audio book and knit, from the child who was tortured by her father’s need to sit and read every evening rather than watch TV.
There are other smaller things like Mac, Linus and Isitt, he would never have had a cat without me and I would never have imagined that cat showing would be something I’d enjoy. And our current choices of occupations, are definitely not what we set out to do. But in the end I think what matters most is that we have evolved together. He doesn’t mind my knitting and I love discussing philosophy with him in between books. And I write all this to you as I download N’Sync onto my Ipod because it’s been awhile since I’ve listened to them. Yeah, probably since high school. So not everything changes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Common Ground Fair 2009

The Common Ground Fair was this weekend. I was so excited about renting a cottage and having a girl’s weekend that I couldn’t sleep the night before. I was up and ready by 6:45am. We left at 7:15 which got us to the Fair Grounds around 10:30, perfect time to beat the traffic and circle the food before the crowds really set in. We did in fact circle 3 times before choosing a delicious, organic, made in Maine breakfast of Pea Soup, Indian Samosas, and a Pumpkin Milk Shake. I really only purchased Lavender Soap and Enchanted Knoll sock yarn at the Fair. Ok and Pine Soap as well. No Balsamic pillows this year!! (hehehe) It was a great sunny day and Meow Meow Head wanted to take all the yarn home. Then we were off to our cottage with a great view of the ocean and a roaring fire, which I did poke a little but nothing dangerous.

The next day we hit 4 yarn shops on the way home. While it can be said that I exercised great control at each store, when you look at the combined haul it appears I was less successful. I did purchase some Indulgence with Aloe. I’ve never heard/seen this before and was surprised by the inexpensive price and how soft it is. Upon returning home and reviewing my haul I felt a bit guilty. In response I did put about 30 of my previous stashed yarns on Ravelry over to “Will Sell or Trade”. Some of the yarns that I know I’ll never use like, Plymouth cottons, Aracania, and Celtic.

The Common Ground Fair was a great dry run for Rhinebeck, which is only 17 days away!!!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Best song from last night

This wasn't from our show but it's pretty close to what they did for us. I loved the faster beat on this version of I'll go Crazy if I don't go crazy tonight.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Diorama

I’ve been a goal inspired knitter for a while now. I enjoy posting monthly challenges and attempting to complete my goals by the end of the month. This is the first month is 2 years that I have not had a challenge. There is just so much going on and then there is all the excitement about going to Rhinebeck. It’s the 19th and I’m just now sitting down to come up with a challenge. It seems more appropriate to be thinking about October at this point. But, because there’s always a but, and there’s always an exception, I would like to bust out the Diorama that the SKs are having a knit-a-long for. It’s a vest/tank top that I’ve completed 6” of the back in 3 days. I’d really like to finish it before we leave for Rhinebeck so that I can wear it one day and my Hey Teach the other. I’ll be a proud knitter underneath my coat and hat. Oh that reminds me, I need to pack hats and mittens for the trip since it was so cold last year. So there you have it, I’m going to finish the Diorama by October 16th. Yesterday I went to the park and sat by the water knitting and listening to Atlas. Here is a progress picture of the Diorama so far.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Buttons Coach McGuirk

I’ve had a couple of things on my mind lately. Maybe you can help resolve questions.
Why do my new pants have 4 closures? Why do they need a zipper, a button, and two I-hooks? The standard 1 button, 1 zipper method of closing pants seems to be working. The pants don’t spontaneously fall off. Unfastening takes about 3 seconds. So what I don’t understand is why the manufactures felt the need to add these extra hooks and move the button inside. It couldn’t have been to stop them falling off so it had to be to slow down the removal time. This is not appreciated when I’m rushing to the bathroom.

Ok, I just had to vent.

Last night I watched the beginning of Season 3 of Dexter. I think this is their sophomore slump. The first two seasons were intense and always left me wanting more. The 3 episodes last night featured Jimmy Smits looking tired being annoying to Dexter. I’m not sure it was even worth my time watching. I’ll give them another disks worth of episoides to improve or I’m out. In February we canceled cable TV because we watching it a couple nights a month, paying $100 a month and always feeling like we had TV homework to do and catch up on ‘our shows’ which we weren’t that thrilled with. Since February my desire to watch TV has continued to decrease which also decreases my tollerance for non-attention grabbing shows.

Against The Boyfriend’s pleas and begging I decided to tackle Atals Shrugged by Ayn Rand. My friend Hillary loved it in college and MMH has been wild about it for awhile. I’m about 20% through the book. It was touch-n-go when the industry tycoons met to discuss “Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule”, it was a bit too blatently obvious what she was trying to argue, but I made it though. While I find the plight of Dagny interesting I am not overwhlemed by Rand’s commentary on sexism. I will give her props for making me symulatianously hate and respect Hank Rearden.

And lastly, I finished my 10th pair of socks for the 52 pair plunge. I’m so far behind its ridiculous. I’ll be pleased if I can complete a half plunge at this point. I don't think my brain has registered that I'm knitting socks slower since I just keep casting them on but you know, options are a good thing. Last night I worked on 4 different pairs of socks. This is my second go round with The Monkey pattern which I love. I used my own dyed yarn in the color way Coach McGuirk. The yarn had a dry texture to it which makes me wonder if I didn’t rinse it well enough when I finished dying it. Or perhaps I overcooked it when I was setting the colors. I’ll be soaking them in wool wash and checking to see how much color comes off. Spiraling and stacking did occur which drives me a bit crazy so I had to knit clockwise and counter-clockwise to mix up the color spiral. It is a different experience knitting with your own dyed yarn. It makes the socks feel a bit more mine than the others.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Clap Clap Clap...Cat Show!!!

Bernstein Bear and Twilight Zone “Emma” couldn’t have been better. Well actually, Bernstein could’ve been a bit quieter in the show hall, the smallest cat in the place demanding to be heard as he objected to being touched by anyone besides Mum. He gots lots of looks and attention for his small stature and big voice. Of course climbing to the top of the scratch poll didn't decrease his cuteness factor either. Emma was a doll, receiving her open ribbons and beating a few Grand Champions into two top 10 positions, a 9th and a 10th place. She is a MUCH better show cat than Isitt. Although, it might not be Isitt’s fault. I’m a pretty good handler/stage mom if I may say so myself. I kiss and hug and do all the necessary cleaning, rewarding, fluffing and playing. But when it comes to my Isitt Rose I can’t help it, I turn to mush. She’s MY girl and I just want to hug her and protect her which makes me a nervous Nelly while she’s in the ring and out of my care, which then causes her to be on edge rather than the relaxed little princess that she normally is. Any other cat, I can calm them down and show them with confidence, well any cat except Nessa Rose, I had a soft spot for her too if you must know, but she has the perfect show cat personality so it didn't matter. Today one of the girls even laughed at me calling me ‘softer than Charmin’. It's something with those Rose girls I guess.


It was a relatively slow show, with a small number of cats and lots of spectators so the judges took their time with each cat so that the audience would have a good look. This meant that there was time for a quick trip to the local yarn shop in Mystic Connecticut. I was very disappointed they didn’t have the Scheafer yarn they advertise on their website. It’s become my new obsession. On the way there was a TRM. 'Knitting Samurai, what’s a TRM?' That’ would be a Turtle Rescue Mission. It began as we turned around after spotting the turtle trying to cross a busy road. We went back, stopped in the middle of a T intersection, while I ran the turtle from one side of the road to the other as traffic waited. One woman even rolled down the window to encourage me that I could do it and then thanked me once he was safely across. It felt so good to know I helped/saved him.