Saturday, October 28, 2006

Here we go!

We leave in about an hour. Very nervous and excited.

See you all in 2 weeks!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I just checked some weather forecasts for Italy. Venice is in the upper 50's during the day, which is about what I expected....but Florence and Rome are at about 80 degree highs! This is going to change my packing plans a bit - which originally involved only long sleeve shirts including some fleece! London has been in the 60's, which sounds ideal. I don't care if it rains, I'm ready for that.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Only a few more days until vacation!

In preparation, I got me some Euros:


We also participated in Early Voting on Saturday, as Illinois now allows it.

Better than absentee, I think.

On Saturday we went to the Milwaukee Symphony, which was amazing. We had a wonderful time. There were even encores (which rarely happens at the symphony)! Tons of fun.

Yesterday, I went to an Alpaca show a couple miles from my house. I got to pet an alpaca, which was even softer than alpaca yarn, amazingly enough. Of course I forgot to take pictures of any alpacas, but I did buy yarn!

The first is an off-white laceweight, and the other two are charcoal gray (they almost look black in the photo) that I would categorize as sport-weight. They are SO soft. I think I got good deals too, based on what I have paid for alpaca yarn elsewhere. I may or may not have purchased something for my SP as well, but I won't spill the beans because I know she is trying hard to figure out who I am :)

I finished the retro rib socks (and just now realized I forgot to take photos - duh. that will be tomorrow). Here is my next Socktoberfest sock:

This is only about 1.5 hours' work - it knits up pretty fast. It's an Opal DK weight on size 3 needles, and me likey. Anyway, this is all I'm doing for now. I just wanted to have it started before I put it in the luggage, to prove I really am knitting, in case my bags get checked. I'm also going to start another retro rib before I pack it as well.

Now I must do more laundry and get packing as I believe the packing will take me all week!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My SP is going to love me.

I don't normally post my gifts for my SP here, but I have to for this one.

Today I went to a LYS I'd never been to before, that is right by my work. Aside from the fact that I spent 30 minutes walking around looking for it (I needed the extra exercise anyway after eating those damn brownies this week), it's really very close to work and I will go there more often now that I know where it is.

I was planning to do just a small Halloween-y package for her, but then I saw this:

Gorgeous purple Koigu. Now mind you, I've never bought Koigu for MYSELF even, and this is the most beautiful colorway ever. It looks even better in person (what looks like black in the photo is actually darker plum, and there are about 6 different shades in there). Oh, and these were the only 2 skeins.

Anyway, so there are things both good and bad about having a spoilee with similar tastes. Good - easy to find stuff they'll like. Bad - it's really hard to give it away once you have it.

Now that this is now a not-so-small first package, it's painfully obvious to me that I'm going to go over the recommended spending amount. But I don't really care, as long as she appreciates it, and I think she will. I hope she has fun with it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More chocolate :)

For my boss' birthday, I baked brownies to take to work tomorrow.

They are my usual drool-worthy brownie recipe, but with peanut butter chips instead of chocolate chips, and sprinkled with Reese's Pieces on top. I warned everyone they better work out tomorrow! :)

And here's my progress on Retro Rib Sock #2...

If I work hard, maybe I can finish by this weekend.

Edit: I just ate 3/4 of a brownie. I couldn't finish it. Too rich. I feel sick :P Co-workers are in for it tomorrow. Boss will love it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My hair is foofy. :)

I just got it cut and they always tease it up 'n stuff. Normally it is pretty flat (I prefer to think of it as "sleek").

And here is me being silly... (who, me? silly?)

And, per the other day's Socktoberfest posting, here is my sock yarn stash (I was waiting for a few skeins I ordered to show up from Knitpicks, and now they are here).

  • Do you have certain patterns planned for some of the yarns? Do you buy yarn and then choose a pattern?

    All the Knitpicks yarn is probably going to turn into Retro Rib Socks, like the pink ones I'm currently working on. The pattern is fun and it works really well with the yarn. Sock yarn is the only kind of yarn I'm generally comfortable just buying without a pattern in mind...because if I buy enough yarn for a pair, it's generally enough no matter what pattern - unless, I suppose, I decided to do knee socks...then I would have to know before I bought the yarn.

  • Does a certain sock yarn you have in your stash take you back to a certain event? (where you were when you bought/received it? what was going on in your life at the time!)

    Not really, but the Socks that Rock (middle row, far left 2 hanks) is from when I went to Stitches this summer. I didn't realize how hard it is to get your hands on...otherwise I might have bought more of it! I can't wait to use it. But by the time I use it up, it might be time for next year's show and I can buy more!

So the big trip is 2 weeks from today...pretty much at this exact time in 2 weeks I will be leaving for the airport. Yikes! I went to the bank today and ordered some Euros so we'll have them ahead of time...and C has a coworker with leftover British Pounds, so we'll buy those too, just to make things a little easier.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tips on weaving in ends.

When you are finishing up with your weaving in, and you go to tie a knot to secure everything before breaking the yarn...but a knot forms before you have pulled the yarn all the way through, DO NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, pull out the scissors and cut it. You are probably cutting through actual knitting, which will proceed to unravel. Then you will have to do a frantic surgery on your mother's birthday gift, leaving a horrid scar behind.

Sigh. This needs to go in the mail tomorrow. But it was the best patch-up job I could do.

Here is the full thing, with scar not visible:

And, for good measure, this is the sock I am knitting at work (during lunch). It's plain stockinette, which means I can keep knitting even if someone comes to bother me during lunch, which happens all the time. I don't have to worry about staying in pattern.

Still, I am distraught about my mother's birthday socks. They were pretty well perfect until I went and did that. I suppose it could be worse, but it looks truly awful.

Hi SP!

I got a quick email from my SP9 spoiler today. Hope you enjoy reading the blog! I do allow anonymous comments here, so feel free to post something.

In sock news, I got 8 rows done last night. Not quite the 12 I was hoping for, but I had a very productive day overall yesterday so I'll let it slide.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Wiped out.

So, the symphony last night was OK. I think the CSO is overrated. The venue was really really cool (over 100 years old), but the orchestra is no better than Milwaukee's, and I think actually maybe not quite as good. C said he thought they were sloppy.

Today has been kitchen frenzy day. First, lowfat pumpkin pound cake (not half bad). Then the usual bread for the week - buttermilk honey bread this time around. Also have had a pot of chicken stock going all afternoon, and right now a mushroom pizza is in the oven (although I had nothing to do with the pizza, C owns that).

I also spent a few hours doing fall cleanup in the garden. While doing that, I found the oddest plant I've ever seen. It has huge holes in the leaves (I've seen other weeds with holey leaves though). And it has these kiwi-shaped things with huge spikes all over them. I took a photo before pulling it, so you could see what I mean.

Isn't that just completely bizarre? If you have any clue what it is, let me know!

I am finally planning on starting the second sock tonight. If I get through the 10 (or 12, I can't remember) rows of ribbing on the top I'll be happy.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Let the games begin!

I've received my SP9 spoilee assignment! :)

I've already emailed her and even gotten a response back, so this looks promising. She seems very excited about it (as am I). She is quite an advanced knitter, which intimidates me a little, but other than that we seem to have lots in common and I look forward to getting to know her.

Tonight we are going to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to see the Shostakovich 10th Symphony. Should be fun. The tickets were free but we have to drive since the train schedules aren't cooperating - and we're going out to dinner down in the Loop, so the evening will most definitely not be free. We're going to Nick's Fishmarket for dinner, which I'm kind of looking forward to. We went to the O'Hare location a few years ago, and at the time it was one of the fanciest restaurants we've ever been spoiled we've gotten since then :) It's still a very nice place, and more money than I would want to spend very often!

Oh, and as far as I've gotten on the second retro rib sock is to wind the hank of yarn into a ball. But it will get going soon!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Personal Best :)

I finished a sock in 3 weeks! Woo!

And it's by far the best sock I've done. My skill with kitchener stitch is definitely getting better, though I still have a little lump at the end of the row when I'm done. But, a beautiful sock nonetheless. The pattern is the Retro Rib Sock from IK Winter 2004. I am going to use this pattern a LOT. The yarn is KnitPicks Sock Memories, and now that I know for sure I can knit a whole sock from this pattern with one hank (it looked dicey there for a bit), I am headed to their site right now to buy more because it works great with this pattern.

The next one of this pair goes on the needles tomorrow (or possibly tonight, depending on when I finish up online).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


So now that I get the point of Socktoberfest (thanks as usual Julie), I went and signed up.

Here are my answers to the questions posted yesterday:
  • When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
    I just tried it. I had finished up some hats/bags with DPNs after mostly knitting on circs, and figured I could give it a shot.
  • What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
    So here they are. I bought the pattern at the LYS and used self-patterning yarn. They are too big, not because of gauge problems, but because I apparently wasn't paying full attention to the pattern. Then I did a similar thing in a different way on the other sock. So I can only wear them around the house, definitely not with shoes...but they are very comfy. I machine washed them (not superwash yarn) hoping for a little shrinkage, but no luck. I still like wearing them.

  • What would you have done differently?
    Only paid attention to the pattern!
  • What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
    As with other types/weights of yarn, I love hand dyed... I have some lovely Socks that Rock yarn that I am dying to start using.
  • Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
    I knit them on DPNs. I would like to try on circs as I love knitting on circs, but it seems like a huge pain.
  • Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
    I've only done flap. I'd like to try short row because maybe it would be easier. My biggest challenge is picking up the stitches along the heel flap, because I suck at picking up stitches in general.
  • How many pairs have you made?
    Two pairs completed. I am currently working on two more pairs right now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Secret Pal 9 Questionnaire!

  1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
    My favorites are wool and alpaca. I still haven’t tried cotton yet. I am really really into handpainted sock yarn right now. I don't like novelty yarn or acrylic in general.
  2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
    I use some lovely needle rolls made by my SP8 spoiler. I love them.
  3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
    I’ve been knitting for about a year and a half – self taught. I would say I’m advanced beginner, I can do socks and have done a sweater but am terrified of things like intarsia. I plan to do lace soon but that scares me as well.
  4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
    Yes – Amazon. It's not too exciting at the moment.
  5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
    Pumpkin(!) or vanilla.
  6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
    Major sweet tooth. I love dark chocolate, plain with no add-ins. Except for dark chocolate Reese's cups, but I can never find them. :(
  7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
    Nothing else really – I cook and bake but I don’t know if that counts. No spinning.
  8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
    I like classical, new age, and old-school goth (yes, it’s a weird combo, I can explain if you're that interested).
  9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
    Overall I prefer jewel tones – purple/plum is my favorite. I don’t like pastels, and I stay away from yellow. I have no problem with any neutrals (black, white, gray, cream, brown).
  10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
    I have a husband and 2 cats.
  11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
    I wear scarves, hats, mittens, and I’ve never worn a poncho. As to whether I would, I suppose it depends on the poncho.
  12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
    Bags and socks.
  13. What are you knitting right now?
    2 different socks, a sweater for my husband (which seems to go on forever), and a rug (which I don’t work on that often).
  14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
    In general, yes.
  15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
    I love love love circs. But I haven’t knit anything on them in awhile. I prefer bamboo for straights and DPN’s, but will also use aluminum. I prefer aluminum for circs. I’ve never tried plastic.
  16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
    Yes, to both. Bring on the hanks!
  17. How old is your oldest UFO?
    About a year – I have a booga bag I have never gotten around to felting.
  18. What is your favorite holiday?
    Christmas. Love it.
  19. Is there anything that you collect?
    Not other than yarn…
  20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
    I really want to make the Baby Bobbi Bear pattern from Blue Sky Alpacas…hoping I will have time for that after finishing my work on Christmas gifts!
    I subscribe to Interweave Knits.
  21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
    Lace…but like I said, it scares me. I will try it at some point soon, though!
  22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
    Yes, and I can’t wait to make some socks for MYSELF once I am done with all these gifts for Christmas! My feet are 10 inches long.
  23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
    April 5th.

Just when you thought it was safe...

I'm back. :)

Actually, I was going to post yesterday, but we had nasty weather of the type that required shutting down all the computers and high-tailing it to the basement. More of that is expected tonight, but it's not here yet.

So, I still want to show the lovely dinner from Sunday....

This is a cider-roasted chicken...Brined in apple cider for 7 hours, roasted for an hour, then the skin was removed and it was basted with reduced apple cider...roasted for another 10 minutes and basted again. It was delish.

And for pie :)

You can't really see it, but the steam vents are in the shape of a heart. C is in charge of the piecrusts around here, and he always vents them with a heart or a smiley face.

And I need to show off the sock I am working on! I started this 2 weeks ago. I am hoping to finish it by this weekend so I can get the other going and hopefully complete it before I leave for Europe.

Speaking of Europe, I've discovered that British Airways does not allow knitting needles in carry-on baggage. Ever. Nothing to do with the heightened security. Please cry with me. I am looking at 2 hours minimum sitting at O'Hare, an 8 hour flight to London, a 4 hour layover in London, and another 2 hour flight to Venice. I will be taking sock knitting with me in my checked bag, but you know I am going to get much, much less done than I originally hoped.