Saturday, June 30, 2007

SP Revealed!

Got my last SP10 is the haul!

Tofutsies - which I will be very curious to try out.

Some Knitpicks Memories sock yarn...she didn't realize you need 2 skeins for a pair. I really love the colors though so I am trying to see if I can find a pattern for ankle-socks that I might be able to squeeze out of this.

Finally, blocking pins and a needle sizer. Thanks Megi! It has been great getting to know you over the last few months.

And, before I wrap up - I have made a little more progress on Bayerische:

It is sort of hard to see the stitch pattern here, but trust me it's there. I am now halfway into the second repeat. I got some Knitpicks circs to use instead of the DPN's and my speed has about doubled since I switched. It's still by no means fast, and it does still kill my hands so I can only do about 3-4 rounds at a time.

I also started a new pair of Monkey socks now that my smaller needles are here, am one repeat into that as well. But my camera battery died, so no photos of that just yet.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

4 rounds, 90 minutes.

I suppose this is progress compared to yesterday, but it still feels pretty sucky to be going this slow.

Still doesn't look like much.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Eunny Jang is Satan's Spawn.

How else would you explain this...

7 rows of ribbed cuff - 45 minutes.
1 increase round (not counting my bonehead mistake that I had to fix) - 10 minutes.
1st row of charts - 30 minutes.
2nd row of charts - SEVENTY-FIVE MINUTES.
3rd row of charts - 50 minutes.

After all this knitting time, here is what I have to show for it:

Seriously, on most other sock patterns I would be most of the way to the heel flap by now.

The only positive I can find here is that this makes the Grasshopper socks look easy and quick.

I anticipate I will be finishing the Bayerische sock sometime in 2016. And then I can cast on for the second one.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Yarn and Insanity

...or is the yarn part insanity too?

Here is my alpaca sock yarn - yay! 2 pairs' worth. Even though I am amazingly otherwise engaged with socks, I can't wait to knit this up.

A bunch of people were going in on some dischcloth cotton to save on shipping, so I jumped in. I wish I could impress upon you how HUGE these cones are. Each of them weighs a pound. All this only set me back $22 (no that does not include the sock yarn).

And the insanity that includes Bayerische:

First I would just like to point out that certain CHEATERS* started knitting before yesterday evening. Those socks that are only halfway through the cuff ribbing are the ones that were started at the proper time (mine is the red one, eh?). I do forgive the cheaters though, because I got some tips from them that I can use when I get further into this. I am wondering what the heck I got myself into. After all the pre-talk about how easy this was going to be, I sat there last night watching people curse and say how they wanted to cry. These are knitters that are WAY more experienced and competent than I am. And I did say last night that if I mis-cross a cable, so help me I am not going to fix it (I don't know if this is actually true, by the way). I am really scared of this, to be honest. If it is any indication, right after I finished the first round I pulled one of the DPN's right out of half the stitches it was holding. I managed to pick them up again, but, uh, LOSER! I'm going to try to finish the cuff tonight.

Um, and why is the Yarn Harlot's blog not working today?

*I'm really just busting the chops of those who started early. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New loot!

My new STR club kit came today! Here's the yarn:

It's STR lightweight and the colorway is "Firebird". Now I need to really get cracking on those Grasshopper socks so I can work on these!

My Loopy Ewe order was also delivered today...

I have been wanting some sock blockers...when I got some for Julie in the Monkey swap, I knew I should have bought some of these for when I needed to place another order, I went for it.

This was the reason for the order. Tomorrow is the start of Summer of Socks, and I'm going to join a Bayerische knitalong that starts tomorrow. Between that and the Grasshoppers, I'm definitely not going to win any quantity awards, but that's OK. It should be fun. Anyway, I needed a good length of solid color yarn for the Bayerische. This is actually very slightly variegated, which you can't really tell in the photo. It won't be enough to interfere with the stitch pattern, but should make it a little more interesting for me (I really don't like knitting solid color stuff...)

Worked until 6:50 tonight - then the drive home. I drowned my misery in wine and peanut butter ice cream (not at the same time).

Monday, June 18, 2007

Nice change of pace.

I didn't have to go into the office today...instead we had a community service event which was about half the driving distance for me. We did some building and cleanup at a facility for an organization that does equestrian therapy for kids with all sorts of disabilities (physical and mental). I was assigned to a cleanup team, which meant LOTS of cutting branches and clearing brush. There was lots of poison ivy, but as far as I know, no one got into any unfortunate situations with it. It was HOT though, about 90 degrees and very humid so I was wiped out and in desperate need for a shower.

We were done there a little before 3:00 so I actually got home at 3:15. By 4:30 I had showered, done all the Monday evening chores, run a load of laundry, and gotten through all my work email. Whee!

I came home to a huge surprise from Julie - a lovely thank-you package (absolutely not necessary, but extremely sweet of her).

I love Julie's origami bookmarks - I use the ones I have all the time, and it's great to have more, especially since she uses such fun paper for them. (Look at the totally cute tiny purple ones!)

These are a little hard to see since I didn't remove the plastic wrapping, but they are some beautiful note pads - one is a long shopping list format, and the others are sticky pads, which are probably the prettiest ones I've ever seen.

Some absolutely gorgeous yarn that she dyed herself...the color in person is actually a little bluer than this, so what looks pink is actually closer to a lilac. I am already itching to knit with it.

Whee - bubble wrap!

These were inside the bubble wrap...

And inside there - handmade soap! I've been watching Julie make soap for awhile now and am very impressed. I have molded glycerine soaps but you won't get me anywhere near lye! I can't wait to try these out. Plus they are wrapped in such pretty fabric, I will need to find something I can use that for since my sewing skills are abysmal.

Thanks so much Julie! This really was a nice surprise and everything is wonderful.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Busy day

It was *really* hot today, so we stayed inside most of the day. I made some Shepherd's bread to use this week, did a little housecleaning, and a lot of knitting. C put up a new mailbox (the old one was falling apart) before it really started getting hot.

After supper it had cooled off a bit, so we went out to harvest strawberries:

All that took us about 10 minutes. Most of these will get used in recipes...these berries are great in things (waffles, jam, sorbet), but not as good on their own.

While we were out there - we saw a hawk! I had never seen one so close before.

He is on top of the next door neighbors' playset. When we went to go outside, he was sitting on our patio, but he moved by the time C grabbed his camera (you didn't think I took those nice photos, did you?)

My photos are much more mediocre, but of more interest to knitters...

I opened up a skein of STR in Fire on the Mountain:

And wound it up.

I swatched for Monkey this afternoon (no photo of that). Yes, I've made them twice before, but they have been a bit small for me, so I went up a needle size. Unfortunately, with those needles my gauge is TOO much bigger. I need to try to find something in between. Of course I discovered this AFTER I placed a Loopy Ewe order today. (I may have done a little too much online shopping in general today.)

I can, however, show you my progress on the Grasshopper sock. It is very slow going, but I am moving forward. I think I have about 2 1/2 inches to go before starting the heel, according to the pattern - it says to go until you are 3 inches from the edge of the recipient's (my) heel.

I will be so glad when this one is done. I'm only pressing on because I love the way it is looking.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ready to move somewhere there are no cicadas.

Last night I went to leave work and as I was driving through the parking lot a cicada jumped onto the back of my neck (seems it snuck into my car) and started screeching into my ear. I threw the car into Park, opened all the doors, and tried to get the thing out, but I couldn't find it anywhere. All seemed to be OK, so I went to leave again, but I could hear it chirping even though I couldn't find it. It "talked" to me the whole way to the grocery when I got there I went into the hatch of my car and shook everything in the hatch, and finally the cicada flies out, right into my face of course. But when I was done with my grocery shopping and got in my car, I heard the chirping again! I heard it all the way home, when my husband finally folded down the back seat and found it, not in very good shape.

He dispatched it for me. :)

I will be so glad when cicada season is over.

So I've been tagged for a meme by someone whose name I don't know... seems it is the "7 random things" meme. I just recently did a 100 things about me post, but we'll see if I can get through this one without repeating anything.

1) I hate Starbucks. I love coffee, will not touch that burnt-out crap they try to pass off as coffee.
2) I refuse to frog my knitting in almost all cases. I usually either leave an error as is (if you can't really see it), drop a stitch down to the error and pick it back up, or tink.
3) I work way too many hours. Either I am at the office way too long, or I am doing work at home on my laptop. I am trying very hard to gradually reduce this (but it's definitely not something I can do quickly).
4) I dream about tornadoes when I am under a lot of stress. I really hate those dreams.
5) I was a Goth in high school (this tends to shock everyone who didn't know me back then).
6) I smell like chlorine all the time. I swim often enough that no amount of showering gets rid of it.
7) For some reason, people always assume I am a vegetarian. I don't eat meat as often as most people, but the truth is, I'll eat any meat that doesn't come from a cow (beef or veal).

As for the Grasshopper socks, I made a lot of progress last Sunday, but then Monday I found a dropped stitch. The pattern is weird enough that my only recourse was to tink back about 10 rows, which took me all week. I am now back to creating instead of destroying.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


The 17-year cicadas have emerged. Luckily, we don't have them by my house, but at work we have them by the hundreds of thousands. They are so loud I can hear them sitting at my desk, and when you walk outside it is so loud it hurts your ears. Today I was on my way home when I saw this on my passenger seat:

(sorry for the blurriness, cell phone photo) Anyway, eek!

In better news, I got a new SP package!

Colorful Opal sock yarn...

This is actually more of a teal than the navy the photo looks like...

And fun fur, except it's silk instead of acrylic. I am imagining what might need a fun fur border :)

And fun candies. Thanks SP!

Julie has a fun meme where you list the things you are doing to help the environment. I can't stay away from this one -

1) I drive a hybrid car.
2) We have replaced most of our lightbulbs with compact fluorescents.
3) I carry canvas shopping bags and use them for most food purchases. Sometime I will remember to bring them along for other types of purchases.
4) We compost all food garbage except meat and bones.
5) We don't eat any processed food, so we have very little packaging to throw away.
6) We have an organic veggie and flower garden.
7) We keep our heat at 68 in the winter and 78 in the summer. When it gets too hot in the summer I go hang out in the basement.
8) We recycle every unneeded scrap of paper that comes into the house.
9) We use a manual lawn mower.
10) My husband takes the train to work (we used to carpool until he started working in downtown Chicago).
11) We try to buy as much local food as possible, in season.

I know there is more - we are absolute fanatics about this - but I'm too tired to think of it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

And there's more...

Here are my BMFA club socks (OK, so I'm only a few inches into the first one), started at the hotel on Wednesday night (and ripped back a few times, but who's counting?):

As others have said, the p2tog lace knitting is SLOW going...even with following people's tips. But I love the way it is coming out, and these are going to be incredibly comfy socks, so I am persevering.

Meanwhile, I have decided to engage in some retail therapy to soothe some disappointments I have had over the last few days - I found a source for locally hand-dyed ALPACA sock yarn. Yum. I am also pondering some sock blockers to further take away the sting.

Time to leave the nest.

I finished the Monkey socks on Tuesday night, then went out of town for a few days. Now, they are ready to go to their new home.

I am very sad to see them go. My swap recipient is very lucky she has smaller feet than I do, or I might have, um, "lost" them.


Pattern: Monkey, by Cookie A.
Socks that Rock mediumweight, Love in Idleness colorway
Size 1 Knitpicks DPNs

Saturday, June 09, 2007

In need of email addresses.

I am going to be taking this blog private within the next few days, due to some unfortunate circumstances.

Unless you know for sure I already have it, please send me your email address to: meezercat at gmail dot com so I can add you to the "approved" list.

Thanks everyone.

Monday, June 04, 2007


I didn't know this lady, but she deserves good thoughts from all us knitters:

Dorothy Ellis LaBar: 1910 - 2007
Devoted to church, civic duty--and knitting

By Joan Giangrasse Kates
Special to the Tribune
Published May 31, 2007

Through it all, Dorothy Ellis LaBar knitted.

During a half-century as a member of Gary Memorial United Methodist Church, where she sang in the choir and volunteered at a popular resale shop that she co-founded, the longtime Wheaton resident knitted.

During her many years as an election judge and more than three decades of organizing -- as well as collecting on a street corner -- for the annual Salvation Army drive, she knitted.

And much later in life, when needles and yarn provided her the company and friendship of other just like her, who for more than two decades donated hundreds of lap robes for residents of DuPage Convalescent Center, Mrs. LaBar knitted.

"To her, knitting was more than just a craft or art form," said her daughter, Elizabeth Landerholm. "It was a way to connect with others."

Mrs. LaBar, 96, a longtime community volunteer named Wheaton Woman of the Year, died of natural causes Monday, May 28, in the Methodist Home retirement facility in Chicago.

The youngest of six children, Mrs. LaBar was born in Chicago and raised in Oak Park. After graduating from Oak Park and River Forest High School, she attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for a year, where she studied music and was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota sorority.

"It was during the Depression that she dropped out of college to help support her family," said her daughter.

In 1938, Mrs. LaBar married her husband of 52 years, Daniel R., who died in 1990.

The couple lived in Riverside before moving to Wheaton in 1951.

A member of Gary Memorial United Methodist Church in Wheaton since 1952, Mrs. LaBar sang in the choir for 50 years and served as its librarian. She was also a founding member of the Wesley Shoppe, a resale shop that donates the proceeds to the church.

"Dorothy was always knitting -- during choir rehearsals, at church events or while sitting near the register at the resale shop," recalled Dave Brewer, the office manager for Gary Memorial United Methodist Church. "She'd knit any time, except worship time."

Beginning in the 1960s, and for more than 30 years, Mrs. LaBar was chief organizer of the annual Salvation Army drive in the Wheaton area.

"Each year Dorothy would have what we call a mission moment, when she'd stand before the congregation and ask for donations to her favorite cause," said Brewer. "She alone collected thousands of dollars for the Salvation Army."

In the early 1980s, Mrs. LaBar was the recipient of the Wheaton Woman of the Year Award for her contributions to her community, family members said.

For many years, Mrs. LaBar was also a member of the DuPage Homemakers and Green Gardeners.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. LaBar is survived by a son, Daniel LaBar Jr.; three grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

How's this for customer service???

I have to put in a good word for the Chef's Catalog. Listen to this:

There was, until recently, a Chef's Catalog retail store somewhat near-ish to where I live. When my mom was in town at the beginning of April, we decided to swing over there on our way to a restaurant for lunch. Turned out they were closing the store, so everything was 20% off. Well, they carry All-Clad pans, and All-Clad never goes on sale. So we bought a bunch of stuff. And the next Saturday I went back and everything was 40% off, so I bought more All-Clad. Happiness and much cooking ensued.

Come to find out a few weeks later, that All-Clad is having a special deal right now, wherein if you spend $500 on All-Clad products, you receive the following:
- 8 skewers for the grill
- barbecue mitts
- apron
- a freaking PANINI PRESS PAN (I have been lusting after this for YEARS).

There is an order form that can be found online for the skewers/mitts, so that is not much of a problem, but to get the apron and pan, the merchant you buy it from is supposed to send them to you (or give, in the case of a brick-and-mortar merchant). Sigh.

Well, I figured what did I have to lose, so I emailed the Chef's Catalog customer service department last week to see if they'd be willing to send me the loot if I sent them copies of my receipts. It took them awhile to check into things, but then yesterday I got an email that yes, I could fax over the receipts and they would honor the offer.

Now of course things at work were insane today, and I remembered as I was on my way out the door at 6:30 this evening. But I dutifully sent my receipts via fax, and came home to an email from Lisa (best customer service employee in the world) who tells me she got the fax and the goods are being sent out to me right away.

I think this Lisa woman, who has been helping me all along, deserves a huge raise. Plus, that company has just won my loyalty for life. If you are at all in need of any sort of kitchen equipment, I highly recommend these guys.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Milwaukee coolness.

Last night we had MSO tickets. Since the parking garage always fills up early, we usually get there around 6 (for an 8:00 concert) and then go somewhere to eat within walking distance. Last night was no exception. But afterward, we went for a jaunt on the Riverwalk, which I totally didn't even know existed.

Isn't that nice?

The concert was very good as expected, the highlight of which was Symphonie Fantastique.

Getting out of there sucked, as there was some sort of street festival going on and there were drunk people everywhere, both on foot and in cars. Eech. But we made it home OK.