Sunday, April 29, 2007

A few more things..

My Rockin' Sock Club shipment showed up while I was in Baltimore...

Truly swoon-worthy. It may be a few weeks before I get started working with it, but I will get there.

Tonight's dinner:

Just LOOK at these. I hope these are as good as they look. Most artichokes have a stem 3/4 inch wide...these are at least an inch and a half. And the heart tends to be double the size of the stem. Whoah.

I am almost scared to eat dinner. But they are just about done steaming now...

So I will leave you with one more photo, of my favorite black cat, who likes to hang out on the top step so that we can fall down the stairs trying to avoid stepping on him...

Monkey Swap Two Questionnaire

(Can you believe I am doing another swap? I decided to do it because I love these Monkey socks.) My answers are in light purple, because I can't find a way to format the text of the questions, which I pasted here from somewhere else.

The basics:
How long have you been knitting? A little over 2 years.

Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep? I am intermediate. I have been knitting socks for about a year, and in that time I have knit approximately 10 pairs.

The measurements:

Shoe Size: US 9

Foot circumference: 10 inches (for the record, the circumference of my leg where the top of a sock would hit is 11 inches...may want to loosen gauge on the leg)

Foot length: 10 inches

Yarn Preferences:
What colors do you love? Purple, especially plum purple. I like jewel tones in general, and I stay away from pastels most of the time.

Do you prefer solids or variegated? Usually makes things more fun.

Do you prefer wool, cotton or acrylic yarn? Definitely wool.

What colors would you never wear? Yellow, unless it was part of a rainbow configuration. (I do like rainbows)

Knitting Gadgets
Favorite needles.
Plastic, metal, bamboo or wood? I like bamboo for straights and metal for DPNs or circulars.

Are there any knitting accessories you don't have in your collection but would like? The only thing I can think of is a needle sizer. However, I don't have a whole lot overall.

Would you be willing to have an international Monkey Pal or do you prefer one in the US? Either is fine with me.

Do you have any allergies? I am allergic to a lot of fragrances as well as tobacco smoke - either of these will set off a nasty asthmatic reaction :(

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Good Eats

I finally got a picture of this restaurant in Baltimore's Little Italy, which has my last name on it. We have joked for a long time about opening our own restaurant (but wouldn't really do it, I have no interest in getting into that industry), so seeing this is always fun. I've seen it 6 or 7 times but never had a chance for a photo. We had dinner in Little Italy on Wednesday night (in a different restaurant), so as we drove by we stopped and I took a picture out the car window:

So it's not spelled quite right...We actually have a double S in ours...but it's still fun.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Biz Travel

So I'm flying to Baltimore tomorrow morning. There is rain predicted in both Chicago and Baltimore. I have not worked any more on the Monkey socks (though I could probably have finished one if I had let myself), but will be taking enough yarn to complete the pair, just in case of delays (I really better not be THAT delayed, but if I don't take extra, I will be).

I do what they ask me to do, but I hate flying, and I hate being away from C for even one night...sigh.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Getting the hang of it...

So, here is the yarn prior to winding...

I am now 3 pattern repeats into the Monkey sock...I seem to have finally figured it out - thanks to all those who helped!

It is striping nicely. I am dead-on with the gauge but I'm a little nervous these won't fit because they're not very stretchy. Oh well - if they don't I'll be ahead on Christmas knitting, eh?

Today I actually feel worse than the last few a really awful cough, my lungs feel raw. And it's really too warm out to be drinking hot tea. I went to the gym and swam this morning, which was a huge mistake - I was really struggling to I did not go to yoga. I think I will skip tomorrow.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Apparently I am an idiot. :(

Can someone help me with this? I am on the 3rd row of the lace pattern for the Monkey socks, and am hopelessly confused.

The instructions say to do this for each needle (16 stitches on each of 4 needles):
[P3, k2tog, k3, yo2, k3, ssk, p3] to end.

So. I purl 3 stitches, do the k2tog, knit 3, 2 yarn-overs, knit 3, ssk, and I have ONE stitch left, because I've decreased two. Yes, I did increase two as well, but those aren't available for purling at the end. Someone please tell me what I did wrong so I can continue on with the pattern? It is knitting up nicely with the STR, but I am thinking I must be messed up because I've never done lace of any kind before.

I have searched the Internet, and all I find is people saying what a great, well-written pattern this is, so it's clearly me. Help!

Friday, April 20, 2007

You can tell a knitter is sick...

...when she hasn't knit a stitch in 5 days.

Just a cold, but I feel like crap. Been going to bed early, and tonight will be no exception. Although I'm hoping to cast on for the throw rug and get that going a bit before bed.

As for the socks, I am leaning toward Monkey (those look so cool) but I am worried I won't have enough yarn as it calls for a pretty lightweight one. Anyone know anyone who's knit those with STR (mediumweight)?

Colorways for inspiration...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Opinions Needed.

So I discovered today that I need to go on a business trip next week. This means I need to start a new sock, as the project I'm just about to start (a throw rug) won't work too well on an airplane. The new Rockin' Sock Club pattern is about 2 weeks away from arrival, plus the first one was so complex I'm not sure I'd want to take the next one on a trip either.

What I need are recommendations for a good pattern. It doesn't have to be super easy, although I'd prefer not having to mess with cabling. I'm good with either cuff down or toe-up - I have to say that I really loved a lot of things about the toe-up pattern for the Inside Out socks I just finished. I have 2 more skeins of STR in my stash and am thinking I'll use one of those. I haven't done Jaywalkers yet, so that is a possibility, but I need to examine the pattern more before I decide (I keep skimming it). So I would love to hear people's thoughts...I am thinking I will probably cast on Friday or Saturday evening, so you have a few days to think about it and respond. :)

Monday, April 16, 2007

My secret pal is crazy... a good way! I got another little package from her today (this is kinda fun...)

Australian wool in a gorgeous rich brown...

And chocolate, which is always a good thing. I stared at the coconut ones for an hour until I just ripped into one about a minute and a half ago. Yum!

Thanks again, SP! :)

And on another topic - to enable you STR colors are in. I haven't bought any yet, but...I don't think I will last long (plus, sock yarn is allowed!)


I was going to post my one finished STR sock, but look!

Let me just say my hands are aching. But I love them. I never would have picked a pattern this challenging, but I did it :)

Pattern is "Inside Out" by Kaci Hayes for the Rockin' Sock Club. Yarn is STR mediumweight in the "Monsoon" colorway. The foot was done with US size 0, the toe and heel with size 1, and the leg with size 2.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Secret Pal Strikes Again!

I got a lovely little package from my SP on Saturday...

Inside was some Berrocco Glace yarn...

I have never used ribbon yarn before but am looking forward to giving it a try. The color didn't come through so well, but it is a beautiful plum color.

And a very grapefruit-y soy candle.

Soy candles are the best. I have never seen a soy votive - every soy candle I've ever seen has been in a glass holder, so I assumed that the soy wax was too soft to stand on its own. (Or maybe this thing will melt all over my table, we'll see.) ;)

Anyway, thanks SP! You have really been great so far.

In other news, I finished the first of my Inside Out socks on Sunday... I'm about an inch into the foot of the second one (right where it starts looking a little, um, untoward). I'll try to post some photos tomorrow - it's getting late and I want a little knitting time before bed.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

And so it goes.

Well, these photos are from Tuesday, but today is the proper day to post them:

A coworker made both of those for me. My birthdays have a tendency to suck - staph infection, huge work crisis, anthrax scare (and believe me I wish I was kidding about that one), etc. - so I took the day off work and booked a massage. The massage was at my gym so I figured it would work perfectly to go for a swim, grab breakfast in the cafe, then go to the massage. Well, when I went to back out of the garage I didn't realize the door was only 2/3 open and was treated to a sickening crunch. Incredibly, the crunch was not my car - there are scratches in the paint, maybe 2 or 3 inches across, not ideal, but not bad given the circumstances. I managed to break the garage door and it did not want to close again. It is bent right where I backed into it, and it gets stuck behind the door frame. Well, I went and hung by my arms from the door and was able to get it to close. Had to do the same thing when I came back home. We will see if I need to end up buying a new garage door. Sigh. Anyway, I did manage to swim, and get a (fantastic) massage, but there was no time for breakfast in there after all the drama. I did get to eat a leftover brownie (see second picture above) after lunch, though.

Anyway. I promised more about the Yarn Harlot. She was in the Chicago suburbs Tuesday night, so Bobbi came to meet me at my office and we went from there. We got there about an hour and a half early, and as you might imagine there were already a lot of people. But we chatted up the people around us, and worked on socks, and it was fun. One person went up to the microphone and asked if we could go around the room and show everyone else what we all were knitting. That was a lot of fun, and a great way to pass the time. By the time we were done, Stephanie was about ready to come talk to it worked out great!

Here she is taking pictures of us all with her sock...

She kept saying how scary we all were, how nervous she was, etc., but she was a fantastic speaker, and funny as hell. (I tried to take a video, but the person in front of me kept moving her head in my way. But it may be worthwhile for those who won't be able to make it to see her, so I will post that as well.) She talked for about an hour, and then we all got in line to meet her. We waited for just over an hour, and there were more people behind us than there were in front of us! Luckily, everyone was very friendly and chatty (of course - they were knitters after all). I have no idea how late the last people were there.

Here is the video:

When it was almost our turn, I got a nice shot:

She started laughing when she saw I was knitting the infamous phallic sock... and decided that for the photo she wanted to hold it "properly." I did not manage to stop laughing before the photo was taken and hence look like a complete goon:

Anyway, she is the sweetest, most down to earth person ever. I think 90% of the reason she is so successful is that she is someone you would love to have as your best friend.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sleep deprived, but totally worth it...

...when you see why I was out late on a "school night."

For those of you to whom this photo will mean something (and I think that is most of you), it needs no introduction or explanation:

More later. ;)