A little bit of writing, a little bit of knitting...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

It's the Most Secretive Time of the Year

It's that time of the year again... As of Wednesday, Mom pulled out her Christmas music, which is completely insane. But that's Mom. If you ask me, Christmas music should be banned until after Thanksgiving.

As a knitter, however, I have to start thinking about Christmas in October at the latest. In fact, I've been known to start my Christmas knitting in January. Or August. This year, however, I haven't been quite so ambitious -- which could have something to do with the fact that, until a week or so ago, it was still in the 80s. It was just too freakin' hot to think about Christmas knitting. But now that it's cooled off a bit, it's time to crank that Christmas knitting into high gear. I started mine last week -- and it's completely consumed me, to that point that I have a nearly-finished sweater sitting on the couch, just waiting for a neck band. But I've been so focused on my first Christmas gift that I've completely forgotten about the sweater.

The problem, however, is that I want to share pictures of this beautiful Christmas gift that I'm working on. It really is gorgeous. Sometimes, I just sit there and squeeze it -- just because I love it so. But how does one show off pictures of a gift whose recipient is sure to see the picture (thereby spoiling all the fun) the next time he/she visits my blog?

Thus, Christmas is a difficult time for a knitblogger. There's so much to show off -- but it has to be done carefully, so as not to ruin any surprises. But I'm determined to try anyway. Pictures to come...


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Think I Can...I Think I Can

Things have been pretty slow around here since the Dallas trip. After spending Day 1 of our adventure wandering around the hotel, trying to find someone to clean my room (in hopes that a good cleaning would get out the terrible damp, mustiness in the room, which we dubbed "The Bog"), I managed to get some work done on Friday -- only to end up sick halfway through the day. Stupid room. Of course, that meant that by Saturday, when we finally had a chance to wander around the city, I was a big, sick lump of blah. (Also, in the Hotel Room from Hell, the power went out in half the room, and no one could fix it for almost a full day -- and, no, we weren't even staying in room 1408)

We did, however, get to see the Dallas sites. We did all the JFK stuff (which was amazing, though it made for a less-than-upbeat day of sight-seeing), and we did some shopping. We even ate from all three of the Texas food groups (steak, Mexican, and BBQ). But the most exciting thing about our trip to Dallas?

I hunted down a Sonic. Clearly, their infuriating ad campaign works. You see, ever since we lived in Massachusetts, we've been seeing these Sonic ads. They had them in MA, and they have them here. The problem? There aren't any actual Sonics in the immediate area. Not for miles. It always drove our friends in Massachusetts crazy -- because they were from Texas, where they actually have Sonic. But it also drove me crazy because I'd never actually been to one -- and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. So finally, I got to go to Sonic. And there was great rejoicing. I got myself some chicken things and fries and a cherry lemonade, and it was all good. Since it was Satuday, I couldn't really taste all that much -- but what I did taste was delicious. And now I'll be even angrier when I see those stupid Sonic ads -- because now they'll give me unquenchable Sonic cravings. Darnit.

So anyway...I was hoping that my sinus thing would go away once we got back home and away from The Bog. But, alas, it was a cold -- not allergies. So I was down for a few days. That wasn't good -- since I had to quickly pull myself together and try to sound like a normal human being on Wednesday morning, when I had to record the radio show. Fortunately, I sorta pulled it off (hear for yourself). Thank you, Aleve Sinus.

In the midst of all the craziness last week, there wasn't much time for knitting. Can you believe that? But I'm getting there. I'm absolutely, positively determined to finish the latest sweater. Considering my bad luck with sweaters of late, it'll be a miracle if I bind off without frogging it all out -- but I'm so close... It wasn't all that easy at first -- since it was way too hot to sit around with a sweater on my lap. But now that the weather's cooling down, I feel a lot more motivated to finish it.

Apparently, Blogger doesn't want me to show you the picture, so for now I'll just say that I'm almost done with the first sleeve, and I still like it. And that, my friends, is a good sign.

Of course, now it's time to get crankin' on the sweater -- because I just realized that Christmas is just around the corner. YIKES! I bought my first Christmas Gift Yarn at the store on Monday -- and I've even got some fun patterns picked out (but I can't say anything about it -- because everything I'm working on right now is for someone who reads the blog...).

The problem, however, is that while Miss A and I were knitting on Monday, we both decided that we really need to make ourselves new shawls (I wore my Fireball on Sunday and got such wonderful compliments that I decided that I really need to wear shawls more often). So Miss A picked out her yarn -- and I helped her pick out a stitch pattern. And then she helped me pick out a couple of stitch patterns (one for plain yarn, one for variegated), and I've spent the last couple of days standing in front of my stash, trying to pick out some yarn.

I have some gorgeous lavender mohair -- but I was planning to use that for a sweater from Fitted Knits. And I have some pretty tweedy stuff, but I wanted to make a pullover. Same goes for the hand-dyed puple and turquoise. And I have some sparkly purple stuff, but I'm not sure what I'd wear it with. And I have some blue stuff and some orange stuff, but that's too springy. I also have lace weight stuff, but I want to do something heavier for the winter. I suppose I could always go with a plain navy, but that just seems too boring...



All this talk of yarn, however, has me thinking about next year's big tent sale at the Super Fantastic Yarn Outlet Extraordinaire. I didn't get to go this year, and I was totally bummed -- so I want to start planning for next year's trip. Who's up for a little knitting weekend in Canada with me next summer? Though they don't schedule the sale until May or so, I'm thinking that if we planned a trip for August 15-16 or 17, the sale should be going on then. Here's what I'm thinking: we'd leave on Friday morning, so we could get to the sale by Friday afternoon. Then we'd get a place to stay (maybe a B&B?) and hang out and knit. On Saturday morning, we can wander through the nearby flea market / farmers' market before returning to the sale to buy the stuff that wasn't out on Friday -- or that we're kicking ourselves for not buying before. Then we can either head back on Saturday night or Sunday morning. I know...I know... It's 10 months away. But I don't want to miss those $2 2-pound hanks (and $4 2-pound cotton cones) again next year.

So mark your calendars now -- and start putting together your wish list for The Great Yarn Blow-Out of 2008!

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Free Movie Tickets, Anyone?

Hey, everybody! New post coming soon -- I promise! -- but I wanted to add a quick note for any of you in the Columbus area. NightsAndWeekends.com is sponsoring an advance screening of the new John Cusack movie, Martian Child, on Wednesday, October 24, at 7 pm at the AMC Lennox. If you'd like free passes, all you need to do is sign up for our newsletter (which will also tell you when we've got other free stuff to give away -- as well as provide all kinds of links to the latest reviews). Anyway, just sign up and send an email with your mailing address to MovieTickets@NightsAndWeekends.com right away, and we'll hook you up. I've got a limited number of passes left, so it's first come, first served. For more info, visit NightsAndWeekends.com/join/.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Howdy from Texas!

Last night, we arrived in Dallas. And in the first four hours in The Big D, I was served a giant platter of barbequed chicken, along with a half-gallon-sized glass of lemonade. And while I was sitting there, trying to hack at my giant chicken, I looked down to find that a grasshopper the size of my head had settled itself on my leg. And at that moment, I attempted to muffle a Texas-sized shriek.

I ended up taking *only three knitting projects* with me. Can you believe it? One of them was a sweater, though, so that should keep me busy while I'm here. If not, I may just have to spend some time touring the local yarn shops....


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

On the Road Again...

Tomorrow, I head out for a little change of scenery. Paul has a few meetings in Dallas, so I'll be going along for the ride, er, flight.

It doesn't matter how long or how short the trip (or which time zone we'll be traveling to). That last day before we leave is always just a little bit frantic. Got to pack...and finish some laundry...and get some work done...pay some bills. And, most importantly, gotta figure out which knitting to bring. I'm sure I'll end up bringing three weeks' worth of knitting for three days' worth of traveling -- but hey...I like to be prepared.

You never, know, though. I may need to do some yarn shopping while I'm there. So how about it -- are any of you in the Dallas area? Anyone know a good shop or two to visit while I'm there?

PS - Miss A didn't show up at knitting this week -- so no pics of Goth Babe. It was just me and Miss S the New this week -- which meant that there may have been only two of us, but it definitely wasn't quiet.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Who Needs Sweaters?

They say that fall is the time when people get serious about knitting again. That was the case when I worked at the yarn store -- things really picked up in September and October. But who needs sweaters when it's October 6 and it's 88 degrees?

I doubt if my extra knitting lately has had much to do with the weather. I think it's mostly just due to stress. Higher stress levels require more knitting time.

Last weekend, I finished the latest in a long line of baby blankets. It was definitely a quick project -- less than two weeks isn't too bad for a blanket, if you ask me. And it turned out nice and soft and squishy. The picture didn't turn out the best (there's something a little messed up about the colors), but here it is. I'm sure you get the idea...

I was determined to get the blanket done on Sunday -- because I wanted to bring it in to show the girls on Monday. And I couldn't actually *work* on it on Monday -- because Miss A and I had declared it Dishcloth Day.

When I arrived at the store, Miss S the Little was already there. She was still working away on her sock, though there was one little problem -- she had no idea where she was. So after consulting with her mom, we figured out where she was (and then we fudged the pattern a bit to make the numbers work). She spent the rest of the day working on the gusset -- and fighting with her stitches, which are so ridiculously tight that she's building some serious arm muscles while wrestling with them. She really needs to chill a little -- or I fear that she'll have a stroke before she's 20. I've told her that once she finishes her sock, I'm going to teach her to knit more loosely -- because knitting is not supposed to be that stressful.

Miss A arrived a little bit late -- and, according to her mom, in a cranky mood. But we cheered her up right away with talk of dishcloths and other such craziness. (Emily: I also told her about your brilliant tiny-safety-pin idea for the Knitted Goth, and she *loved* it -- I'm sure she ran right home to dig some safety pins out of her mom's collection.) Miss A and I both picked out stitch patterns from my handy-dandy pattern books, and we got to work. Miss A, Miss S, and I actually had a ton of fun this week. There was much giggling -- mostly, it seems, on my account.

As I packed up and got ready to go, I set a goal for myself. I told the girls that I was determined to start a sweater this week -- one that I would actually finish instead of ripping out again. You see, I've had horrible luck with sweaters recently. The green one was ripped out once -- and it's about to be ripped out again. And I was almost done with the blue and brown one this spring when I decided that I hated it and ripped it out. So on Monday night, I decided to give it another try. After all, I figure that it'll be sweater weather eventually, and I'll want a new sweater. So I cast on with the blue and brown varigated yarn again. I have a completely different pattern in mind this time -- another top-down cardigan, but with an overlapping front. I've already divided for the sleeves, and I still like it -- so that's a start.

Since this week was an extra-busy, extra-stressful one, I ended up picking up my needles a lot. When my computer got cranky and decided to take its dear sweet time in opening documents, I'd pick up the dishcloth that I leave next to my desk chair. When I was brewing up another cup of coffee, I'd work a few more stitches on the sweater. I figure every stitch helps.

Last night, though, I took a little time off from knitting -- because there were more urgent matters at hand. It was opening night of the hockey season, and Paul and I were there -- both to celebrate the new season and to celebrate our anniversary (6 whole years!) -- as has been our tradition since we moved to Columbus.

It seemed a little strange to be heading to a hockey game when it was in the 80s. I actually held off on donning my jersey until I got out of the car at the parking garage. But once I got into the crowd, it didn't matter how hot it was. I was going to wear my jersey, even if it meant slowly roasting to death.

There's just something about opening night. There's so much excitement. So much anticipation. So much...hope. The Blue Jackets (as my nine-year-old nephew is quick to point out) don't have the best of records. In past season, they haven't won a heck of a lot. And they're the only team in the NHL that's never made it to the playoffs. We all know this. And, considering we were playing our first game of the season against the Ducks, the guys whose names are currently being engraved on The Cup, I wasn't expecting a whole heck of a lot. But on opening night, anything is possible. And nothing can compare to the energy in Nationwide Arena on opening night.

This year, though, things were different -- and I'm not just talking about the cannon that the Blue Jackets had introduced, to celebrate each goal. I'm talking about the game. Right from the beginning, it was pretty clear that something had happened to the boys over the summer. They were fast. They were tough. And they weren't messing around. By the end of the first period, we were up 2-0 -- and the crowd jumped up for a standing ovation. I've never heard the crowd at the Arena so frenzied.

After three intense periods of hockey, a few goals had been scored, some blood had been spilled, and my voice was totally gone. And the scoreboard looked like this:

It was a good night at Nationwide Arena.

Ah, hockey season. My favorite time of year.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Sentimental Stripes Day!

I sat down at my desk this morning and changed the date on my Knitting Pattern-a-Day calendar, only to find that September 25 is Sentimental Stripes Felted Tote Day! Yea!

So if you happen to be stopping by the blog today because of the calendar, howdy! And if you happen to have any questions about the pattern, feel free to contact me at kdk-at-nightsandweekends-dot-com.

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